Start your test without unnecessary worries.
Testing your system prior to the test is a great way to ensure that you start CASPer without unnecessary stress. Restart your computer on the day of the test to ensure needless background programs are closed. Perform the system requirements check (make sure you are logged in to access this link) to ensure that your webcam and computer are working properly. See our previous post here and our official article on the Student Doctor Network for more tips on how to prepare for the CASPer test.
Take the full five minutes to respond.
If you finish your response before the five minutes is up, it is a good idea to go back over your answers and see if there is more you can add or better clarify. Is there more you can add to tell us why you chose the stance you did? Raters are looking for your motivations for taking a position, rather than only the position itself, so it helps to explain your reasoning as completely as possible within the time given. We have found that individuals who used all five minutes in responding tended to score higher on CASPer than students who moved on to the next section before their time was up. So if you run out of time while responding, don’t worry, you are on the right track.
Read fully, then plan your response.
After the video or written scenario is presented, you will be asked to respond to three open-ended questions within a five minute window. You will feel pressed for time, but make sure to read all three questions and take a moment to reflect and plan your responses. This will allow you to avoid repeating yourself as you move from question to question, or missing addressing a question completely. Consider all aspects of the dilemma presented to make sure you are covering the issue from as broad a perspective as possible.
Don’t panic if you don’t finish your thought.
With a restricted amount of time to answer all three questions, it is common for the time to run out while you are finishing your thought. You will be automatically moved onto the next section, but don’t panic! This happens to almost everyone and raters are used to seeing unfinished responses. Raters are also explicitly trained to ignore spelling and grammar issues, so focus on the content and explaining yourself vs. fixing grammar or typos.
If you are disappointed by your response, don’t worry. Take a deep breath and try your best on the next section. Each section is graded by a *different* rater who has no idea who you are, or how you performed on a past section. Do not be concerned if you feel like your answers were particularly weak for one of the sections, because you will still have 11 other sections to reveal your true self! Use the few seconds in between each section, and the 15-minute break in the middle to collect your thoughts, calm your nerves, and reset your mind for the next section.
Find a quiet place to take the test.
One of the benefits of an online test like CASPer is that the test can be taken almost anywhere. Plan ahead of time to ensure you are in a place free of distractions. If you live in a house with many noisy roommates or family members, let them know you will need quiet for the duration of the test, or arrange to take the test in a quieter location like your school or community library. When changing locations, keep in mind to re-run the system requirements check (make sure you are logged in to access this link) as to ensure the network quality is high. We would also recommend headphones to help you focus.
Don’t bother cheating.
It makes sense that in a high stakes test, some people will be interested in gaining an unfair advantage. As we want to ensure the test is fair and gives a reliable measure of the people skills of ALL applicants, we invest heavily in sophisticated detectable and invisible security measures. Keep in mind that all forms of cheating violate the Terms and Conditions of the CASPer test, and cases of cheating will result in scores being withheld and your case being forwarded to all programs. Since research shows cheating (like having someone help you formulate responses) is unlikely to improve your score, and the consequences are so high, why would you bother?
The CASPer test is unlike “ability tests” with right or wrong answers, so just relax and give it your best shot!
If you know of instances of attempted cheating (e.g., cheating methods, disclosing confidential CASPer content, etc.), please report all potential violations anonymously through the CASPer Security Tip Line Form.
Be familiar with the format.
From our own internal data, we have not been able to find any evidence of practice effects, as student scores generally do not seem to improve when they retake the test in a subsequent application cycles. The nature of the test is to assess your personal attributes, something that is unique to you, and that is hard to change in a short period of time. You can (and should!), however, familiarize yourself with the test format by completing the system requirements check (make sure you are logged in to access this link), which runs you through 3 sample scenarios. This can help reduce test anxiety as the format of the sample scenarios is identical to the test!
Coaching or paying for test prep—does it help?
As CASPer is used more widely, the number of test preparation companies has also risen. Some companies make the claim that CASPer scores can dramatically improve after taking their course or their practice tests. Keep in mind that these companies don’t know how well anyone scored either before or after their test preparations. Any results reported around acceptance rates are likely confounded as applicants taking test prep courses are generally more affluent. We have heard students directly recommending to other students that they don’t think it helped them. Ultimately it’s your choice, we just don’t want you to waste your money!
We know taking any sort of test can be stressful and our goal is to get you through CASPer smoothly. The programs you are applying to are not just trying to make you jump through another “hoop” by mandating CASPer, but trying to understand their applicants beyond just academic grades. This is a benefit to both you and the programs by ensuring that the future of our healthcare and education is in good hands.