April 5, 2021

How Does the AAMC Situational Judgment Test (SJT) Compare to the CASPer?

The Savvy Premed

By: Savvy Pre-Med Staff

In the 2020-2021 application cycle, the AAMC piloted its Situational Judgment Test (SJT) at two participating schools. And now, leading into the 2021-2022 cycle, the AAMC SJT has expanded to five schools that either encourage or require the test.

Even though it hasn’t been explicitly stated, we believe this is the beginning of the AAMC’s long-term goal to compete with the CASPer, an SJT created by Altus Assessments that many medical school programs already require.

Moving forward, nearly all applicants will be forced to take at least one SJT, and thousands will have to take both. 

So, how do the two SJTs compare? What do you need to know before taking them?   

How Does the AAMC SJT Compare to the CASPer?

We’re here to provide a breakdown and get you ready to tackle these tests!

Which medical schools require the CASPer and AAMC SJT?

Here is a current list of the US allopathic and osteopathic medical schools that will require the CASPer test in 2021-2022:

  • Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • American University of The Caribbean School of Medicine
  • Arkansas College of Health Education
  • Augusta University
  • Baylor College of Medicine
  • Boston University School of Medicine
  • California Health Sciences University
  • Case Western Reserve University
  • Central Michigan University
  • Des Moines University
  • Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell
  • Drexel University
  • East Tennessee State University
  • Florida Atlantic University
  • Howard University
  • Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, FlexMed
  • Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Indiana University
  • Long School of Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center
  • Medical College of Wisconsin
  • Meharry Medical College
  • Mercer University
  • Michigan State University
  • Michigan State University
  • New York Medical College
  • Northeast Ohio Medical University
  • Oklahoma State University
  • Oregon Health & Sciences University
  • Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences
  • Penn State University
  • Renaissance School of Medicine, Stony Brook University
  • Rocky Vista University
  • Rosalind Franklin University
  • Rutgers New Jersey Medical School
  • Rutgers, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
  • Sam Houston State University
  • San Juan Bautista School of Medicine
  • State University of New York
  • Temple University
  • Texas A&M University
  • Texas Tech University El Paso
  • Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
  • Touro College
  • Touro University – Nevada
  • Tulane University
  • University of Colorado Denver
  • University of Illinois at Chicago
  • University of Miami
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine
  • University of Rochester
  • University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston
  • University of Texas Medical Branch
  • University of Texas Southwestern
  • University of Vermont
  • University of Washington
  • Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine
  • Wake Forest School of Medicine
  • West Virginia University
  • Western University of Health Sciences
  • William Carey University


On the other hand, the AAMC SJT only has five participating medical schools for the 2021-2022 cycle:

  • Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine
  • Morehouse School of Medicine
  • University of California Davis School of Medicine
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine
  • University of Minnesota Medical School Twin Cities

When should I take the CASPer and AAMC SJT? How do I sign up for them?

Register for the CASPer

Register for the AAMC SJT (you will need an AAMC account)


Some participating CASPer medical schools have posted their test dates and distribution deadlines. You can see them here.

For example, Central Michigan University has a distribution deadline of April 4, 2022 and lists the following possible test dates:

May 4, 2021 - 5:00 PM EDT

May 20, 2021 - 5:00 PM EDT

Jun 3, 2021 - 5:00 PM EDT

Jun 17, 2021 - 5:00 PM EDT

Jun 29, 2021 - 5:00 PM EDT

Jun 29, 2021 - 8:00 PM EDT

Jul 8, 2021 - 5:00 PM EDT

Jul 8, 2021 - 8:00 PM EDT

Jul 18, 2021 - 1:00 PM EDT

Jul 18, 2021 - 4:00 PM EDT

Jul 29, 2021 - 5:00 PM EDT

Jul 29, 2021 - 8:00 PM EDT

Aug 10, 2021 - 5:00 PM EDT

Aug 10, 2021 - 8:00 PM EDT

Aug 22, 2021 - 1:00 PM EDT

Aug 22, 2021 - 4:00 PM EDT

Sep 9, 2021 - 5:00 PM EDT

Sep 9, 2021 - 8:00 PM EDT

Sep 23, 2021 - 8:00 PM EDT

Oct 14, 2021 - 5:00 PM EDT

Oct 28, 2021 - 5:00 PM EDT

Nov 16, 2021 - 8:00 PM EST

Dec 7, 2021 - 5:00 PM EST

Jan 6, 2022 - 8:00 PM EST

Jan 20, 2022 - 8:00 PM EST

Feb 17, 2022 - 5:00 PM EST

Mar 22, 2022 - 5:00 PM EDT

Altus claims that the rest of the test dates and distribution deadlines will be updated throughout April 2021. We expect most test dates to be the same across schools, but the distribution deadlines will vary.


The AAMC SJT will be offered in five testing windows across 10 dates.

What is the format of the CASPer and AAMC SJT? What do the two tests assess?


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.”


  • 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

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

The non-refundable test fee for American students is $12 (click here to learn about test fees for non-US students), with an additional $12 fee for every med school you distribute your results to.


The AAMC SJT is a standardized test that presents a series of hypothetical scenarios students may encounter in medical school and asks examinees to evaluate the effectiveness of a series of behavioral responses to each scenario.

Responses provide insight into candidates’ knowledge of effective and ineffective behaviors across eight core competencies: Service Orientation, Social Skills, Cultural Competence, Teamwork, Ethical Responsibility to Self and Others, Reliability and Dependability, Resilience and Adaptability, and Capacity for Improvement.

The scenarios were developed for pre-health students, so healthcare experience is not needed to perform well on the exam. Following each scenario, you will be asked to rate the effectiveness of different actions using a four-point scale: 1 = very ineffective, 2 = ineffective, 3 = effective, and 4 = very effective.

There are 30 scenarios and 186 items on the test.

A practice exam is available to help you become familiar with AAMC SJT scenarios and items. The AAMC SJT exam includes some “field-test,” or experimental, scenarios and items being considered for future use that do not count toward your total score. Field-test scenarios and items will not be identified on the test.

The length of an exam session is generally 90-100 minutes, including a maximum of 75 minutes of exam time plus additional time for administrative activities.

If you’re the comprehensive type, feel free to read this sizable PDF from the AAMC.

How are the CASPer and AAMC SJT scored? What do medical schools do with the results?


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 medical 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.

  • 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.

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.


The AAMC will release SJT score reports corresponding with each testing window.

Your score report will include a single, total score ranging from 1 to 9. You will also receive a percentile rank which shows the percentages of examinees who received the same score or a lower score than you did on the exam. The percentile shows how your score compares to the scores of other examinees.

When you elect to have your exam scored, you will select the school(s) to receive your score report. You do not need to take any further action after exam day to ensure the school(s) you selected receive your report.

Schools will have access to score reports the same day they are released to examinees. For the 2021-2022 application cycle, only participating schools will be accepting AAMC SJT scores and may consider them as one part of their ultimate admission decision.

How Exams Are Scored:

The AAMC collaborated with medical educators, including faculty, admissions officers, and student and diversity affairs officers, to develop the scoring key for the SJT.

Your score is based on the extent to which your effectiveness ratings of each response align with medical educators’ ratings. Full credit is awarded for an item if your response matches the medical educators’ rating. Partial credit is awarded if your rating is close to the medical educators’ rating.

Step-by-step guide for finding your score report online 

Sample score reports for scored and voided exams

Percentile ranks currently in effect


How can I prepare for the CASPer and AAMC SJT?



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

Also make sure to check out our CASPer Advice on our YouTube channel.



  • Read the AAMC SJT: Examinee Preparation Guide
  • Review the eight competencies assessed on the AAMC SJT exam
  • Review the AAMC SJT Sample to learn about the structure of exam questions
  • Complete the practice exam to familiarize yourself with the scenarios and items on the exam and use the scoring key to understand your performance
  • Watch a tutorial for the online testing system to familiarize yourself with it (the tutorial is available when you log in to the testing system)
  • Attend two webinars on April 8th and April 12, 2021 to learn more about the SJT and how schools will score and assess it 
  • Come to the test rested and focused so you can put your best foot forward


Have any questions about the CASPer or the AAMC SJT? Let us know in the comments below, and we’ll respond to you personally!

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