Answering Your FAQs About the New CASPer Snapshot
By: Savvy Pre-Med Staff
If you’ve already taken the CASPer or have registered for it recently, you have probably received the following message:
“Thank you for taking the time to complete your CASPer test. We are excited to invite you to take CASPer Snapshot – a video response tool.
CASPer Snapshot is one more opportunity for you to demonstrate your personal attributes and communication skills to the programs you are applying to - especially during this time where face-to-face communication is difficult.
Depending on when in the admissions process the program reviews your Snapshot, it could help increase your chances of landing an interview spot.”
If you take this message at face value, the CASPer Snapshot sounds pretty important for your chances of getting a medical school interview.
But that doesn’t seem accurate in reality.
From what we can tell, medical school applicants don’t need to worry about the CASPer Snapshot, at least not for this cycle.
So far, we haven’t heard any reports of medical schools requiring the CASPer Snapshot. In fact, the University of Michigan School of Medicine has sent messages to its applicants, explicitly saying that it will NOT be requiring it.
Our guess is that the makers of the CASPer, Altus Assessments, simply decided to create their own version of the AAMC Video Interview Tool for Admissions (VITA), so that they could cash in on this new market (even though they’re a bit late to the party).
Like the VITA, the CASPer Snapshot will be free this cycle, but you can bet that will change in the future. Compared to the VITA, the Snapshot will be even more of a cash grab for Altus, since the CASPer is taken by candidates for countless types of graduate school programs.
Now Altus will have two CASPer tests that it can charge applicants for. Maybe they should spell it CA$$$Per…
Regardless, the CASPer Snapshot could gain traction with medical schools in the future, and there’s a chance that some medical schools will add it to their requirements this year, so you should take time to familiarize yourself with it.
Answering Your FAQs About the New CASPer Snapshot
Alright, let’s get into those FAQs!
What is the CASPer Snapshot?
CASPer Snapshot is a one-way video response tool that mimics an informal interview.
Is the CASPer Snapshot mandatory?
Altus Assessments will ask all CASPer test takers to complete Snapshot this admissions cycle (2020-2021), but it does not SEEM to be mandatory for medical school admissions this cycle.
According to Altus, the company is currently working to compile a list of programs who plan to use Snapshot in their admissions decisions this cycle.
Why did Altus Assessments create the CASPer Snapshot?
Much like the AAMC’s justification for the VITA, Altus claims that the Snapshot was designed with altruistic intentions:
“With COVID-19 disrupting much of higher education, Altus Assessments wanted to support both applicants and our partner programs with the addition of Snapshot, to aid in decision-making for many re-imagined admissions processes across the country. The intention of Snapshot is to allow programs to learn more about you.”
But let’s be real - this is a long-term ploy to grab some of the market share on video interview tools. Essentially, it’s stealing the VITA and applying it to the countless graduate school programs that are affiliated with the CASPer.
Which medical schools are requiring the CASPer Snapshot?
None that we’re aware of, but we’ll update this post if that changes!
NOTE: if you decide to take the Snapshot, all programs on your CASPer Test distribution list will have access to your Snapshot responses. Schools could choose not to review your Snapshot at all, or they could use it as an additional screening and selection tool.
If medical schools aren’t requiring the CASPer Snapshot, should I bother taking it?
Probably not. You have enough to worry about with the VITA and upcoming live virtual interviews with medical schools.
However, if you feel that you will be a strong virtual interviewer, and you think that your application could use a slight edge, then perhaps take it as a way to potentially boost your chances for an interview or acceptance.
What is the format of the CASPer Snapshot?
It’s designed to take no longer than 10 minutes to complete. There are 3 questions with 2 minutes allotted to read and respond to each question. You can pause and take a break between questions, but you won’t be able to pause while reading and responding to a question.
After you sign into your CASPer account, you should see a prompt to complete the Snapshot. You will have the opportunity to practice responding to two practice questions before starting Snapshot. Playback these practice responses to ensure your audio and video are clear.
Once you start Snapshot, you will be asked to begin recording yourself, and that is when you will see the first question. You will read the first question and respond, all while being recorded. You have up to two minutes to read the question and respond.
Once the first recording is completed, hit the “Submit” button to move on to the next question. All video recorded responses will be automatically saved.
What kind of questions will be asked on the CASPer Snapshot?
You can expect questions that would arise in any standard admissions interview, including questions about your character and future profession. Here are some examples (borrowed from Altus):
- Tell us about someone you admire and why.
- What is your favorite book?
- What is an obstacle you have faced, and how did you get through it?
- What aspect of your future profession are you most excited about?
How is the CASPer Snapshot different from the AAMC VITA?
Snapshot is an extension of the CASPer Test and has no affiliation with the AAMC. It takes approximately 10 minutes to complete, versus 35 minutes for the VITA. It only has 3 questions, compared to the 6 questions on the VITA.
The VITA is intended for US medical school admissions only, whereas Snapshot is offered to all CASPer affiliated programs worldwide.
The two interview tools are not interrelated. Medical school programs will receive results from both tools, and they will use their own discretion on when/how to use Snapshot and/or VITA.
What are the dates and timeline of the CASPer Snapshot?
CASPer Snapshot will be offered to all applicants for the duration of the 2020-2021 admissions cycle, once they have a reserved or completed CASPer Test.
You can complete the Snapshot before or after you take the CASPer Test. If you’d like your responses to be considered in your application, Altus recommends completing Snapshot before the distribution deadlines for the schools on your CASPer Test score distribution list.
If you’ve already completed the CASPer Test and the score distribution deadline has passed for your programs, and you have not taken Snapshot, your application will not be considered incomplete or invalidated.
What equipment is needed to complete the CASPer Snapshot?
Ensure that your internet, microphone, and webcam are working and reliable.
Can the CASPer Snapshot be retaken due to technological problems?
If for some reason your responses are corrupted or there is some reason you need a retake, the CASPer team will review your video responses. If deemed appropriate, they will reset your Snapshot so you can try again once issues have been resolved.
How much does the CASPer Snapshot cost?
It’s free for the 2020-2021 cycle, but we believe that will change in the future.
How will medical schools evaluate the CASPer Snapshot?
The way medical schools decide to use Snapshot responses is at their discretion.
Where should applicants record themselves for the CASPer Snapshot?
You can take the Snapshot from whatever location you want as long as you have a reliable internet connection.
Since Snapshot draws on audio/video recordings and is meant to mimic an interview, Altus highly recommends that Snapshot be taken with an appropriate background, and that your face is centered directly within the view of your video, as well as facing the camera at all times to ensure clear audio recording.
What should applicants wear while recording the CASPer Snapshot?
Wear the same thing you’d wear to a standard in-person interview at medical schools. Appearance definitely matters.
Can the CASPer Snapshot responses be canceled?
Once you complete your Snapshot, you cannot retake it unless you experienced technical problems and your responses were not saved correctly.
Will applicants be able to see their CASPer Snapshot videos?
No. Once you complete the Snapshot response recording for a question, it is saved automatically and you are moved on to the next question. You will not be able to view any of your recorded responses. They will only be accessible by programs for review during the admission process.
Can applicants retake the CASPer Snapshot and update videos if they mess up a question?
You will not have the opportunity to re-record yourself, so be sure to use the practice questions, located above the “Take Snapshot” button, as many times as you’d like until you’re comfortable with the format.
Can applicants apply for accommodations on the CASPer Snapshot?
To make a CASPer accommodations request, please visit the FAQ page on takecasper.com and contact the support team through the orange intercom chat bubble on the bottom right-hand corner of your CASPer account, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How should I prepare for the CASPer Snapshot?
The VITA is likely going to be far more challenging than the Snapshot (more questions, longer duration, more challenging topics, more pressure, etc.), so we think preparing for the VITA should sufficiently prepare you for Snapshot.
Have any questions about the CASPer Snapshot that we missed? Let us know in the comments below, and we’ll respond to you personally!