More medical schools are requiring applicants to take the CASPer exam. After taking the MCAT, another exam is the last thing most students want! But the CASPer exam isn’t another exam testing your scientific knowledge. Nor does it judge you based on your scores. Instead, the CASPer exam is used to measure your situational judgment when you’re presented with real-life situations. You determine how you would respond to each question and why you would respond that way.
In this article, we’re going to break down the CASPer exam into bite-sized chunks. We’ll discuss each section of the CASPer, how to tackle it and what it means for you. It’s all part of our med school admissions consulting here at International Medical Aid.
About The Test
CASPer is broken down into sections. Each section contains a video and some text. After watching the video and reading the content, test takers will answer three questions. The questions are open-ended, inviting you to answer with how you would respond to the situation. You’ll have five minutes to answer all three questions. Each section of the exam follows this format.
Most test takers complete CASPer in 60-90 minutes. You’re allowed to take a 15-minute break halfway through the exam, but this is not required. We recommend it, though. When given the opportunity, it’s always good to give your brain a break.
The Sections of the Exam
CASPer asks questions designed to evaluate you for the following:
- Problem Solving
- Self Awareness
These areas are considered imperative for health care. Your responses will be “graded” based on how you’re likely to act in a health care setting.
A group of evaluators will score your exam. These evaluators represent the diversity that medical schools look for in their applicants. They are experts in the field and deeply care about the future of health care. Once they rate your test, they’ll forward the results to the medical schools you’ve applied for that require the exam. Your application will be automatically updated.
Dates and Fees
Since there are no “right” or “wrong” answers for the CASPer, it’s administered on a computer, and you can take the exam anywhere. However, there are strict rules regulating the exam. You need to register online three days before you want to take the exam. To create an account, you’ll need the following:
- Photo ID (official one issued by the government – student IDs don’t count)
- Email address
If you need accommodations to take the test, you’ll need to submit documentation of your medical condition for proof of your need. This must be done at least three weeks in advance. Acceptable accommodations include extra time to complete the exam, videos with closed captioning, assistive software (speech-to-text) and assistive personnel (scribe/reader).
The results of your CASPer exam are only valid for one admissions cycle. Unlike the MCAT, which you can retake multiple times until you’re satisfied with your score, you may only take CASPer once in an admissions period. So, you’ll need to take CASPer once per admissions cycle.
The good news is, it’s not expensive to take the exam. We selected different options on the CASPer website to give you an idea of the cost. Prices range from $25 to $75, and test fees are non-refundable. But the fees include the cost of the exam and the fee to distribute your results to the schools to which you’re applying. And, you can reschedule when you take the exam if you have a scheduling conflict, under the condition that another test date in the same admissions cycle is available. You can’t pay for the exam during one admissions cycle but then take it during another cycle. It must be during the same cycle, or you’ll have paid for nothing. So, while it’s inconvenient to take the exam for every admissions cycle that you apply for, you can make it work, and it won’t break the bank.
Preparing for the Exam
CASPer has a section on its website to help you prepare for the exam. Here are a few of their recommendations.
- Take a sample test to ensure that your computer is capable of running the program. The last thing you want is technical difficulties on the day of the exam. That will take away from your ability to perform well on the test.
- Get used to the test format. Remember that you’ll be presented with a scenario, and then you’ll have five minutes to answer three questions regarding it. The five-minute time frame doesn’t allow a lot of time to think about what you would do. That’s because, in so many situations, you have to make split-second decisions. CASPer is designed to measure your responses in those kinds of situations.
- It’s okay if you get cut off in the middle of your response. It’s better to write out all your thoughts than to leave something out because you have 20 seconds left on the timer. Type as much as you can!
- Take all the time you have to answer the questions. If you finish with a full minute to spare, don’t just go to the next section. Instead, take a few seconds to think more deeply about the question you’re answering. Most of the time, there will be something else you can think to say.
- While you’re permitted to take the exam anywhere, the exam is proctored, and it requires your complete attention. We recommend a quiet setting, like a library, to take the exam.
The CASPer exam is a fantastic tool that works in your favor. When admissions committees look at you, they want to see a full picture of who you are as an applicant, as opposed to a headshot that only shows part of the picture. If you have questions about the CASPer exam, reach out to us. International Medical Aid offers med school admissions consulting to help you prepare for everything from primary applications to taking tests. We understand the stress that comes with taking exams. That’s exactly why our med school admissions consulting includes preparing for exams (and anything else you might need).
Good luck taking the CASPer exam! Remember, there are no right or wrong answers, so you don’t need to stress over the exam. We recommend preparing for the exam, getting a good night’s sleep and taking it with fresh eyes in the morning.
Medical school is waiting for you… and the CASPer exam is just another step in that process. You’ll do great!