This material was prepared by Astroff, leaders of CASPer preparation. Our team, led by Dr. Robert Astroff, consists of his selection of top medical students and doctors working together in an effort to provide the most effective way to Master CASPer. Our strategies are fully detailed in our Prep Courses for CASPer, but here are 12 tips to get you started:
1. Gain an understanding of CASPer:
2. Set yourself apart:
In order to stand out, there are 2 components of an answer that you should strive to achieve: (1) demonstrating a genuine understanding of the issue - ethical or otherwise - being examined; and (2) showing originality in your answer. It is very difficult to showcase both of these areas on each answer given the short time constraints, but having this goal in mind will maximize the number of answers that achieve both components.
3. Develop your understanding of medical-related issues:
- Read books and articles related to ethical issues, group dynamics, cultural sensitivity, professionalism, and communication. For example, review literature concerning society’s expectations from its doctors, and understand the importance of cultural sensitivity and communication in the medical profession.
- Examples of reading materials include news articles on the Canadian heathcare system.
- Contemplate potential questions; and practice typing responses within the allotted timeframe.
4. Minimize potential technical glitches:
- Given that this test is conducted online, it is necessary to minimize technical glitches and Internet problems to the greatest extent possible. It goes without saying that any technical problems that you encounter on the test day can add significant stress that may affect your performance. Ensure that you carefully follow the instructions you have been provided.
- It is also important to ensure you have a strong, stable and secure Internet connection when writing the exam.
- As it is your responsibility to ensure the stability and security of your Internet connection during the test, find a work station conducive to writing the CASPer exam that has a strong Internet connection, and make sure that you regularly use the Internet at your test location before the test to check the reliability of your connection.
5. Practice your typing:
Bring your ‘words per minute’ up to speed by using type-speed practice websites, or by creating timed typing exercises for yourself. Candidates can increase their chances of success if they can type accurately and efficiently. This is a preparation technique that many applicants miss out on! Remember: the faster and more reliable your keystrokes, the more you will be able to include in your answer.
6. Don't cheat!
Applicants who later are invited for interviews may be required to type short-answer responses to questions at the time of their interview for signature comparison.
7. Think before you write:
Take a few seconds to consider your answer before beginning your response. Without pausing to think, you may find that your answer rambles and you may miss some key points/themes/perspectives by jumping ahead into the writing component. On the other hand, there is very little time to ponder a question. As such, a careful balance must be struck, and only by practicing Sample CASPer Questions and Simulated CASPer Tests can you begin to refine the time management skills required. Keep in mind that a shorter, more coherent answer will likely impress evaluators more than a longer, less articulate one.
8. Keep an eye on the clock:
Time management is key on this test. Read all the questions through and make sure you give yourself enough time for each question. Remember, each question is weighed equally!
9. Evaluate multiple perspectives:
Even in situations where you believe there is a ‘correct’ moral or legal response, you can demonstrate that you have a comprehensive understanding of the situation by describing why someone may choose to make the opposite decision.
10. Develop your technique:
While practicing different types of CASPer-style questions, develop your approach to answering questions. When you find a technique that maximizes your performance, ensure you are consistent with using it on test day. Often, when students get nervous during their actual exam, they abandon the strategies that have been working well for them. Do not try anything new on test day that could potentially confuse your answers!
11. Keep calm:
The questions on the CASPer exam are objectively difficult - so you will be challenged. You may find that you read through a question and do not know what to write, which can lead to anxiety. Writer’s block happens. It is important to stay focused and calm during CASPer to maximize your concentration and produce the best answers that you can. And, if you believe you have performed poorly on a particular module, then just move on and stay positive about the next challenge!
12. Be professional:
Your words make a first impression. Just as in an interview, appropriate language is needed to put your best foot forward. That means: no slang, no conversational language, no politically incorrect remarks, etc. Remember, communication skills are one of the key qualities being examined by CASPer evaluators.