September 2, 2019
The CASPer exam and CASPer prep question categories you need to know.
So, you are getting ready to take CASPer in order to gain acceptance into a medical or health sciences school of your choice. Good for you! Successfully passing the CASPer exam is an important first step to your future in the healthcare field. The key to writing CASPer, of course, is being prepared, both mentally and emotionally – and that means working with CASPer practice questions and completing a sample CASPer practice test (or two), well in advance of the real exam.
This blog will prepare you with everything you need to succeed. Read on to get all the basics on the CASPer test, what it’s all about – and the practice questions, categories, tools and simulated tests you need to feel calm and prepared on exam day.
What is the CASPer test, what does it measure and how is it used?
The first thing to understand is that the CASPer exam is not an IQ test – nor it is a medical knowledge assessment, so rest easy. It doesn’t factor in school grades or textbook learning. CASPer (Computer-Based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics) is a 90-minute, web-based admissions test for medical and health schools that aims to measure your situational judgement and critical thinking capacity – something very important for those pursuing a health sciences career.
It serves to evaluate your personal and professional characteristics, such as your professionalism, ethics, critical thought process, communication skills, and personal empathy through a series of situational questions.
For some medical and health schools, the CASPer test is now used to enhance – and even replace — the traditional medical/health school admissions interview. It really gives schools a window into who you are as an individual – and, potentially, who you could be as a future healthcare professional
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Which schools now use the CASPer test?
The CASPer exam was developed by researchers at McMaster University (Hamilton, ON Canada) in 2011-2012 – and is now used to screen candidates for admission at schools around the world. See which schools require the CASPer exam.
What to expect – and how do I prepare for the CASPer test?
Structure of the test:
The CASPer exam is a 90-minute test consisting of 12 unique sections. Each of these sections is comprised of a short video, multimedia or text, followed by three questions based on the content, situation or theme presented. Be prepared to be asked to respond to situational challenges presented in the material – or asked questions that require a certain degree of judgement and self reflection. You’ll have 5 minutes to answer all questions in each given section. Also note: there is an optional 15 minute break at the halfway mark if you choose to take it.
This is not always easy. Thinking critically and clearly in such a time-sensitive environment is one of the biggest challenges you’ll face in completing the CASPer test.
CASPer test dates & fees:
The CASPer Test is offered once a month or more and can be taken via your computer through any internet connection. (Please note, CASPer discourages the use of a smartphone or tablet to take the test) See the 2019 test dates for Canada and the United States.
From personal experiences to ethical dilemmas: the CASPer question categories
The CASPer question categories vary widely throughout the test. You will find hypothetical situational questions, those related to your own unique experiences in life, work and school, questions tied to current events or policies – and those relating to ethical dilemmas, and personal boundaries at work and home. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
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Now, let’s look a little more closely at some of these CASPer question categories in order to uncloak any mystery, derive some insights and ultimately strengthen your CASPer test prep.
There are many categories, question types and scenarios in the CASPer exam. Each seeks to test your understanding and instincts around best practices for resolving ethical dilemmas, managing conflict and maintaining professional boundaries in a work situation.
CASPer Questions around Professional Boundaries
Questions around professional boundaries are not always straightforward. They are not about guarding your own interests. They really are geared to test your judgement in protecting parties on both sides of a given issue or situation. Ensuring there is respect, equality, appropriate behaviour — and that power dynamics do not get unbalanced or out of control is paramount here. Let this guide you in your response These questions may also have to do with acting with discretion, for example in the case where a co-worker is having relations with another member of your medical team and you know about it. When is it right to speak out and take action – and when is it wrong? Is it ever ok to offer personal assistance – or your personal information – to a patient or colleague in need? Here’s an example: You work in a book store that is not doing financially well. A customer wants to buy a book using the U.S. price on the back, which reflects a value of the Canadian dollar much lower than it is today – what do you do? Knowing the fine lines of conduct in this area of professional boundaries can be very tricky. This is especially where preparing in advance with CASPer practice questions and a CASPer sample test may be very helpful.
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CASPer Questions around Ethics
Medical ethics encompass an important category within the CASPer test – and you need to be prepared for questions of this nature. The best advice is to familiarize yourself with general principles of medical ethics. You don’t need to bury yourself in ethics textbooks, but you should be comfortable with some of the thoughts and practices currently respected in the medical field. These can include principles such as non-maleficence, beneficence, autonomy and justice. They could apply to different medical situations you may find yourself facing such as patient confidentiality, fairness and respect. In an ethical dilemma, for example, you may have to deftly navigate sensitive grounds or deal with competing priorities. For example, what if you were on a jury trying to decide whether the family of a child victim should be able to sue a lighter company after their child misused a lighter and died in an accidental fire?
You are not expected to be a master of ethics. CASPer examiners will realize you are still young and still learning about the medical field and the professional world. The ability, however, to make a sound, logical argument that expresses an ethical decision will set you in good stead to succeed on CASPer questions of this kind.
CASPer Questions around Conflict of Interest
Receiving gifts. Showing professional favour to friends or family members. These are just two common scenarios that would be regarded as conflicts of interest in the healthcare field (in fact, in many fields). A conflict of interest is where an individual acts for his or her own benefit, prioritizing his/her own gain above their duties, obligations and professional responsibilities to patients. It might occur in a case where a doctor receives a gift from a medical rep. That gift could influence the physician positively towards the rep, his company and medications. It might cause him to naturally favour the drugs from that particular pharma company over medications from other companies when prescribing drugs to patients. This is a classic conflict of interest in the medical field. Needless to say, accepting gifts is never considered ethical, legal nor acting in the interest of patients. When doctors seek to profit or benefit from a gift, bribe, kickback – or professional arrangement, it is looked down upon, however innocent these ‘reps bearing gifts’ may appear.
It’s not always this clear cut. An understanding of what constitutes a conflict of interest, in fact, closely ties into an understanding of ethics — and there are many shades of grey. You need to develop an instinct and understanding for the invisible boundaries that exist in the healthcare field to answer these questions successfully in your CASPer exam. Here again, practice with CASPer practice questions and a CASPer sample test may be very helpful.
Now you know the key categories within a CASPer exam – but there is a great deal more. Would you like to learn more …and proceed to try out some CASPer practice questions and a CASPer practice test?
At MedApplications, we strive to help you prepare for CASPer using high-fidelity technology backed by an evidence based CASPer program designed by McMaster Physicians. Only MedApplications offers a program designed by medical doctors and past CASPer examiners – including personal coaching along the way.
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