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CASPer Test 101: What It Is and How to Prepare in 2021

CASPer Testing

To those that have been lurking around the Student Doctor Network forums for a while, “CASPer” is a very familiar acronym. For those that are unfamiliar with it, however, and try to google it, they you usually will encounter a bunch of mattress-related websites or pictures of ghosts. How could mattresses, ghosts, and professional school admissions possibly be related?

What is the CASPer?

To answer the question above, the CASPer test has nothing to do with “Casper” the mattress company or “Casper the Friendly Ghost” from the children’s cartoons series/movies. It is an acronym for Computer-Based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics and is a situational-judgment test developed in Canada over 10 years ago. Initially only part of the McMaster University Medical School admission process in 2010, where it was developed, it has now spread like wildfire to many other medical schools (over 60 in the US alone), dental schools, nursing schools, and various other professional programs.

What is the format of the CASPer test?

Here are some important points about the CASPer:
The CASPer test is composed of 12 online scenarios, either text or video, with three questions per scenario. You have five minutes to type your answers to all three questions.

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How is the CASPer test Scored?

Each scenario is graded by a different CASPer-reviewer. Each reviewer assigns it a score from one to nine. It is completely unknown how exactly they assign those scores. As part of your application, your overall scores get sent to the schools you apply for, not to you.

Why don’t I get my scores?

Good question. Altius Assessments, which runs the test, does not provide any information about why test results are not released to students.

The CASPer has completed a pilot this past cycle where they shared with a limited number of applicants which quartiles they scored (0-25%,25-50%, etc.). Besides this pilot, a limited number of schools share with applicants their ranking among the school’s other applicants.

How many times can I take the CASPer test?

The CASPer is taken once per admission cycle. To learn more about the specific dates for your desired program, go to CASPer test dates and fees – Casper

How do schools use the CASPer score results?

Different schools use the CASPer score in different ways. For example, some use it as a component of their admission formulas and others use it as a screening tool.

How do you study for the CASPer test?

This has probably been the most pertinent question about the CASPer test since its inception.

Answers have ranged from “there is no need to study for it” to “you’ve got to invest thousands in CASPer-preparation courses”. The former is not recommended since most applicants are not used to completing timed situational-judgment tests like the CASPer. The latter is also not recommended since there are a lot of companies out there who claim to be CASPer experts, which doesn’t make much sense given the limited feedback test-takers get on their performance. These companies also charge hefty fees, which further propagates socioeconomic disparities in professional school admissions.

This is where PrepMatch comes in.

What is PrepMatch?

PrepMatch is the first-ever peer-to-peer CASPer preparation platform and it is completely free.

Motivated by the lack of free preparation resources for the CASPer, PrepMatch was developed by a group of Canadian resident physicians, medical students, and pre-meds very recently. It has been used for this year’s Canadian professional school admission cycles for medicine, nursing, and other programs and has been received with widespread praise and admiration. Now the group behind PrepMatch wants to spread its mission beyond the borders of Canada to the US.

The way PrepMatch works is quite simple. You complete your desired number of CASPer-like scenarios, either timed or untimed, and have the option to get them reviewed by other users online. To get your answers reviewed, you have to review other users’ answers yourself. This is a fairness mechanism that ensures the more answers you review, the more feedback you get yourself. The feedback you provide is also subject to being rated, and the algorithm helps match users who provide high-quality feedback with one another.

The scenarios featured on PrepMatch are original and have been confirmed to reflect CASPer-like scenarios and questions by those who have taken the test.

PrepMatch cannot provide you with “gold standard” answers but it does help with the following:

  • Practicing formulating answers under a time crunch
  • Typing faster
  • Thinking like a reviewer when providing feedback on the answers of others
  • Being exposed to the perspectives of others and seeing how they work through scenarios
  • Providing a database of hundreds of questions you can work through
  • An easy-to-use platform for keeping track of your answers

Go check out prepmatch.com to try this amazing free platform for yourself.

Watch Our Webinar To Learn More About CASPer

Watch the SDN and PrepMatch webinar (above). We break down the basics of the CASPer test, including:

  • What it is
  • How it’s scored
  • How you can prepare for free using PrepMatch, including:
    • How best to study
    • Strategies to consider in answering

The webinar was streamed on SDN’s YouTube and Facebook pages. Check them out for more information and future Webinars and educational videos.

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