Last Updated on July 19, 2022 by Laura Turner
What is it?
The Casper test has nothing to do with “Casper,” the mattress company, or “Casper the Friendly Ghost” from the children’s cartoons series/movies. Casper is an acronym for Computer-Based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics and is a situational-judgment test developed in Canada over ten years ago. Developed as part of the McMaster University Medical School admission process in 2010, it has spread to many other medical schools (over 60 in the US alone), dental schools, nursing schools, and other professional programs.
Which medical schools use Casper?
The Association of American Medical Colleges provides a breakdown of which medical schools use Casper or another situational judgment test such as AAMC PREview.
What is the format of the test?
Here are some essential points about the Casper:
The Casper test comprises 12 online scenarios, either text or video, with three questions per scenario. You have five minutes to type your answers to all three questions.
How is the test scored?
A different Casper reviewer grades each scenario. Each reviewer assigns it a score from one to nine. It is entirely unknown how exactly they give 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 explain why you don’t get your test results.
You will receive the quartile where your score lies (0-25%, 26-50%, 51-75%, 76-100%). A limited number of schools share their ranking among the school’s other applicants with applicants.
How many times can I take the 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 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 test?
Since its inception, this has probably been the most pertinent question about the Casper test.
Answers have ranged from “there is no need to study for it” to “you’ve got to invest thousands in Casper-preparation courses.” We don’t recommend the former 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, further propagating socioeconomic disparities in professional school admissions.
Is there free Casper test prep?
Yes. PrepMatch is the first peer-to-peer Casper preparation platform, and it is entirely free.
PrepMatch was recently developed by a group of Canadian resident physicians, medical students, and pre-meds. It has been used for this year’s Canadian professional school admission cycles for medicine, nursing, and other programs and has received 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. You have to review other users’ answers yourself to get your answers checked. This fairness mechanism ensures that 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 input 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
Watch Our Webinar To Learn More
Watch the SDN and PrepMatch webinar (above). We break down the basics of the Casper test, including:
- What it is
- How it’s scored
- Free student-run prep using PrepMatch, including:
- How best to study
- Strategies to consider in answering