The Savvy Pre-med Comprehensive Guide to the CASPer Test


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How did the CASPer test come about, you ask?

In 2017, medical school admissions committees gathered at a mysterious conference and broadly concluded that:

- The application process was not time-consuming enough

- There should really be more ways to charge students money for applying to medical school

- Trying to evaluate a student’s writing and interviewing was too hard, and couldn’t there just be a test to simplify each applicant’s social skills into a single number?

We’re kidding, of course. We like to poke a bit of fun at the CASPer

We think the real reason medical schools have started to require the CASPer is because it requires very little time and energy on their part and it gives them one more piece of data to help make an application decision.

Unfortunately, the CASPer probably here to stay, and more assessments like this might be created to help avoid candidates seeking an unfair amount of help on admissions components like essays and MCAT prep. 

We’ve written extensively about the test, so we wanted to create a one-stop reference guide for our pre-med readers facing this step in the admissions process. 

We hope this guide can decode what seems like a complicated, daunting test.

In truth, like the friendly ghost of the same name, the CASPer really isn’t that scary!

What is the CASPer Test?

How is the test formatted?

What do schools do with the results?

How is the test graded?

What’s a good score on the CASPer?

How can you prepare for the CASPer?

What schools require it?

What is the CASPer Test?

The CASPer (Computer-Based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics) is an admissions test developed by researchers at McMaster University. Several medical schools require it as admissions criteria alongside interviews, letters of recommendation, and essays. 

According to the official CASPer site, it’s designed “to evaluate key personal characteristics” and serve as a “reliable measure of traits like professionalism, ethics, communication, and empathy.”

Check out The Skinny on the CASPer to gain a more comprehensive understanding.

How is the test formatted?

  • - 90-minute test

  • - 12 sections of video and word-based scenarios (they are *non-medical)

  • - Each scenario has 3 follow up questions (must be answered in under five minutes)

  • - Optional 15-minute break halfway through

Sign up to take it online here: www.takecasper.com

Double check the technical requirements and try out the sample test to ensure your computer and internet connection are suitable.

The CASPER costs $10 to take and another $10 each time you send it to schools on your list.

What do schools do with the results?

Error: Ask again later. No one knows exactly how much weight is given to the CASPer by the medical schools that use it.

Medical schools tend to be creatures of habit, putting the most weight on admissions factors that have proven to matter over the years. For example, many med schools still do not put much weight in the PSYCH section of the MCAT, since they have yet to see its predictive validity with their own students.

How is the test graded?

  • - Each section is graded separately

  • - Scores are sent to schools on your distribution list; you can add schools after taking the test

  • - Scores are valid only for the current application cycle

Raters are supposedly trained to ignore errors in spelling and grammar. Your responses are anonymous, so a rater does not know who you are, or how well you’ve done on any other section.

What’s a good score on the CASPer?

The CASPer writers claim, “You will NOT receive your CASPer score, in the same way you would not expect to get “results” from an interview, reference letter, or personal statement.”

Except the CASPer is a TEST, not an interview. You would expect to get your MCAT score, wouldn’t you? 

At this point, we do know that the test is scored on a -5 to +5 scale, with the majority of pre-meds scoring between -2 and +2. 

How can you prepare for the CASPer?

Savvy Pre-med Founder Rob Humbracht weighs in:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2nRFOBucUU

You can’t prepare! At least, so says the company that makes it. “The general literature suggests that situational judgment tests (SJTs) are relatively immune to test preparation, i.e. that coaching is unlikely to provide benefit.”

Of course, the writers of the SAT and MCAT used to say that too, back when they were first created.  It’s as if the CASPer writers are claiming, “We’ve created the world’s first standardized test where coaching will do no good.” Really?

We think this is poppycock. In fact, we’ve written several articles on CASPer prep::

How Should You Prepare for the CASPer Test?

3 Practice CASPer Questions and Best Responses

Sample CASPer Test Questions: Monty Python Style

What schools require it?

Here are the current available CASPer test dates/times for participating MD and DO schools for the 2019-2020 cycle:

  • Jul 7, 2019 - 2:00 PM EDT

  • Jul 7, 2019 - 5:00 PM EDT

  • Jul 18, 2019 - 5:00 PM EDT

  • Jul 18, 2019 - 8:00 PM EDT

  • Jul 30, 2019 - 5:00 PM EDT

  • Jul 30, 2019 - 8:00 PM EDT


SCHOOL DISTRIBUTION DEADLINE (FINAL DATE THIS SCHOOL CAN BE ADDED TO YOUR CASPER DISTRIBUTION LIST)

Albany Medical College

December 25, 2019

Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine

March 12, 2020

Central Michigan University

March 12, 2020

Des Moines University, College of Osteopathic Medicine

March 18, 2020

Drexel University

December 25, 2019

East Tennessee State University

December 25, 2019

Hofstra University

October 10, 2019

Liberty University, College of Osteopathic Medicine

March 12, 2020

Augusta University, Medical College of Georgia

October 10, 2019

Medical College of Wisconsin

December 25, 2019

Mercer College

December 25, 2019

Michigan State University

January 23, 2020

New York Medical College

January 23, 2020

Northeast Ohio Medical University, College of Medicine

January 23, 2020

Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine

April 16, 2020

Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine

April 16, 2020

Rosalind Franklin University, Chicago Medical School

December 3, 2019

Rutgers University, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

December 26, 2019

SUNY Upstate

December 3, 2019

Stony Brook University

December 25, 2019

Temple University

January 23, 2020

Texas A&M University, College of Medicine

November 6, 2018

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, School of Medicine

December 3, 2019

Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine NY

April 16, 2020

Tulane University, School of Medicine

December 3, 2019

University of Colorado Denver, School of Medicine

December 3, 2019

University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Medicine

November 19, 2018

University of Miami (Miller)

March 18, 2020

University of Michigan

February 15, 2020

University of Mississippi

December 25, 2019

University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine

October 10, 2019

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of Medicine

March 12, 2020

University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, Long School of Medicine

January 23, 2020

University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, School of Medicine

September 3, 2019

University of Washington, School of Medicine

December 3, 2019

Virginia Commonwealth University, School of Medicine

October 10, 2019

West Virginia University, School of Medicine

May 18, 2020

Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific-Northwest

March 19, 2020

Was this guide helpful? What CASPer questions do you still have? Let us know in the comments below, and we’ll respond personally!