January 25, 2020
How to Prepare and What to Expect
Computer-based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics (CASPer®) is a test that takes approximately 90 minutes. The test’s validity has been criticized by various scholars as it’s taken in a non-proctored environment, however, nonetheless it remains a standard component of many health professional admissions’ assessment.
It’s worth noting that evaluating the professional and personal qualities and skills is an imperative part of all medical school enrolment processes. For years, the evaluation has been done via personal essays submissions, interviews, and even submissions of autobiographical sketches. Initially, the Computer-based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics was established as a screening approach in the assessment of non-cognitive skills of medical school candidates before they sit for their interviews.
CASPer® Format and Structure
The Computer-based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics features 12 sections which are further broken down into 4 non-video and 8 videos sections. The test lasts for approximately 90 minutes with each of the 8 videos sections lasting for one to two minutes. For the four non-video sections, each section is usually a brief word-based prompt. This prompt is usually followed by 3 questions for every part.
Grammar in CASPer®
The candidate has a maximum of five minutes to answer all the questions in each section. However, the answers aren’t analysed for grammar and spelling mistakes. While overall impression of your answer is important, marks are not deducted for grammatical errors.
Unlike other standardized tests where there are predetermined fail or pass cut-offs, the CASPer® test is simply an indispensable tool when it comes to ranking a large group of candidates according to their non-cognitive skills.
Recent research revealed that applicants can benefit more from preparing adequately prior to taking the test. Coaching and practice impacts on a student’s situational judgment such as in the CASPer® test. Recent literature argues that the candidates can gain some significant benefit from adequate preparation for the test.
To effectively prepare for the test, it is recommended that the candidates should do the following tasks successfully before they take the CASPer® test.
- Make sure that you can type very fast (at least 40 words each minute without major errors)
- Practice self-reflection on your personal experiences especially around a conflict, your failures, and weaknesses. You should also feel comfortable to share the lessons learnt from such experiences.
- Try to complete at least one CASPer® test that is fully timed before you take the actual test. This will go a long way in making you familiar with the time restrictions and the test’s expectations.
Though the CASPer® test for medical school is challenging especially because of the fact that the candidates are ranked against one another, the existence of the 12 parts allows the candidates to demonstrate their non-cognitive skills to a broad variety of assessors. It appears that the CASPer® test continues to be a requirement for all medical school admissions. It’s therefore recommended that the applicants should prepare adequately before taking the test.
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