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How It Affects Pre-Med Students

The Situational Judgment Test (SJT)

A new test is currently under research by The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) to be conducted when interviewing med school entrants. The Situational Judgment Test (SJT) is currently under trial in different med schools in Canada. It is expected to be rolled out within the next few years. In the paragraphs below, we’ll explain what you need to know about the SJT test and how it’s likely to affect your med school application.

What Is The SJT Test

The situation judgment test is designed to test an applicant’s non-cognitive abilities. This includes testing an individual’s problem solving and interpersonal skills. In most cases, the candidate is given a video or written prompt and asked how they would react to a particular situation. SJTs are aptitude tests that have been used for many years. It’s only until the late 20th century that medical schools have adapted their use as a way to test candidates’ decision-making capabilities.

Why Use SJTs?

Medical schools use SJTs to determine whether a candidate can act like a real doctor. They want to determine whether the candidate has people-skills, which is hard to evaluate in an oral or written interview. Doctors are expected to be able to work with others and empathize with their patients, provide the best care even in tough situations. Not all medical school applicants have these abilities even with their high MCAT and GPA scores. Medical schools wish to identify candidates with strong interpersonal and decision-making skills from hundreds of applicants with excellent grades.

There are SJTs like CASPer and MMI that are a pre-requisite in certain medical schools which you may already be aware of. The question is, why is it that the AAMC is creating a new test if SJTs already exist? Perhaps the AAMC wants to develop a test that will be widely recognized and used in just about every medical school in the country. It could be that they want to develop their own in-house test in order to get rid of the middle men who are used during the admissions process.

Are SJTs Immune To Coaching?

The perception that SJTs are not susceptible to coaching implies that there are people who naturally lack personal characteristics like great interpersonal skills and they will never learn them. This is far from the truth. Human beings behave in a certain way based on their personal experiences and what they learn. As a result, SJTs like CASPer can be coached using specific training.

More Preparation For Candidates

With the introduction of a new test, med school candidates will need to prepare more and possibly have a new system to learn. You can seek coaching to improve your chances of performing high in SJT. The fact is that plenty of medical schools will continue to make efforts in finding well-rounded candidates. Competencies such as teamwork, ethical responsibility to yourself and others around you as well as resilience will critical to your med school application.

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