CASPer (Computer-based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics) is the most recent addition to the application process for the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University (“McMaster”). CASPer is an online test used to help screen applicants as part of the medical school application process, as one of several criteria assessed in determining candidates’ invitations to interview.
The CASPer score makes up 32% of the pre-interview rank. It is thus equal in weighting to a candidate’s MCAT score and undergraduate GPA.
How long has CASPer been used by McMaster?
CASPer was officially implemented back in McMaster’s 2010-2011 application cycle as a method to evaluate candidates’ interpersonal and critical thinking skills. This was a change from McMaster’s previous application screening process which required candidates to write a series of short essays.
What is the structure of the CASPer test?
CASPer is a 90-minute test consisting of 12 stations. There is very little information that McMaster has publicly released concerning CASPer’s exam structure. What McMaster has released is that each section follows a similar format consisting first of a short video or other directed text, followed by 3 questions relating to the material presented in the video or question stem. Some sections are prompted by situational challenges displayed in short video clips; others are prompted by self-reflective questions. The applicant has 5 minutes to answer all questions in a given section. The exam includes a 15 minute break at the halfway mark as well as an exit survey given at the end of the final section.
Is there an example of a CASPer video that I can watch?
McMaster has provided a sample video on their website to familiarize students with the CASPer exam. You can access the video at: http://fhs.mcmaster.ca/casper/demovid/casperdemo.html.
Astroff has designed its own Sample CASPer Videos. Please refer on the right-hand-side panel and click on the “Astroff Sample CASPer Video.”
How is McMaster evaluating candidates on CASPer?
In one of McMaster’s research articles outlining CASPer (see www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19907396), the authors noted the following criteria used by judges to grade the applicants’ answers: communication skills, strength of the argument raised, suitability for a career in medicine, and overall performance on the scenario. To do well on CASPer, it is integral to have well-communicated, persuasive, knowledgeable and relevant answers to each question.
Sample CASPer Questions: to help you get started.
CASPer Tests: Practice with Astroff CASPer online simulations.
Register for CASPer Courses:
CASPer Course Level 1: Learn strategies for answering difficult CASPer questions.
CASPer Course Level 2: CASPer case studies and debrief session.