Taking the Casper Test soon and looking for some tips to help you ace it? You’ve come to the right place! We’ve got five Casper Test prep tips to prepare you for your test date.
Before diving into our tips, we’ll go over what the Casper Test is, what it assesses, and why university programs, such as medicine and dentistry, have adopted it as part of their admissions process.
The Casper Test is one of three components of the Altus Suite – an assessment used by many professional schools to assess applicants’ personal qualities. You can learn more about the other two components of the Altus Suite here.
Casper is a situational judgement test; it presents you with hypothetical situations to which you have to develop a response. It uses an open format, which requires you to provide the reasoning behind your answers rather than just selecting the most appropriate response. This format makes room for a variety of responses and allows test takers to apply their own lived experiences to the questions and hypothetical situations they face.
The hypothetical situations are presented in two different ways throughout the test:
- A block of text (AKA word-based)
- A short video (AKA video-based)
Either way, each scenario is followed by 3 questions to which you have to respond in one of two ways:
- You have to type out your responses to the first 9 scenarios. This section of the exam only gives you 5 minutes to complete each set of 3 questions before moving on to the next scenario.
- You have to record a video response to each question in the second part of the exam (6 scenarios). You have one minute to record a response to each individual question.
The test assesses your social intelligence – your ability to navigate interpersonal relationships – and screens applicants for the professionalism and empathy required by certain professions, such as nursing, dentistry, and medicine. Social intelligence in these settings can facilitate the delivery of diagnoses and make patients feel involved in their own health care. According to this study, it can also positively impact the overall efficiency of the care they receive.
Possessing social intelligence is also personally and professionally beneficial to students pursuing a career in healthcare. A 2019 study followed 45 medical students who took an elective centred on mindfulness that taught them skills such as compassion and acting without judgement. These students were better able to manage their own stress and were able to apply what they learned to their personal relationships as well as their patient interactions.
If you’d like to read more about the Casper Test, check out this blog post!
Casper Test Tips
Now that you understand what the test is and why it’s important, let’s get into our five tips!
Tip #1: Identify the qualities they’re testing for
There are 10 aspects of social intelligence and professionalism that the Casper Test assesses. They’re drawn from frameworks used by professional schools and/or governing bodies, and as a result, have a lot of overlap with frameworks such as the AAMC’s core competencies for medical students or the College of Nurse’s of Ontario’s list of competencies for registered nurses. The 10 aspects are…
- Problem solving
Keep these aspects in mind when responding to the questions and hypothetical scenarios on the test! You don’t have to apply all of them to every single question, but you should be using at least one in each answer. Let’s use one of the practice questions listed on Altus’s test prep page to illustrate how you might use these aspects of social intelligence in your responses:
You are the store manager at a toy store and you overhear the following interaction between a customer and one of your employees at the front desk. The customer asks to return a toy he bought recently. When asked if he has his receipt, he says that he doesn’t have one but he definitely bought the toy here. Apologetic, the employee explains that she can’t give him a refund without the receipt. However, she can give him store credit.
The man says that store credit just won’t do. He really needs the refund because his daughter came down with pneumonia and he needs the money to fill her prescription. The employee stands her ground, repeating that she can’t give him a refund without the receipt. He asks for an exception, just this once, just because his daughter’s health is at risk. The employee turns to you and asks for your input on the situation.
The scenario is followed by these three questions:
- As the store manager, would you give this customer a refund? Why or why not?
- If you decide to abide by store policy, how could you refuse the refund in a way that shows empathy for the customer?
- In your opinion, what is the most essential quality to possess in a customer service position? Explain your answer.
Question 2 explicitly asks you to demonstrate empathy, but a strong answer would also demonstrate some or all of the following qualities:
- Self-awareness: What are some biases you might hold about lower-income people? How are they playing into your reaction to this situation?
- Equity: You need to address this situation in a fair manner. While the store policy dictates that this man needs to have his receipt in order for you to conduct the return, he’s in dire financial straits and you’re in a position to help him.
- Communication: The second question involves your response to the customer. You need to be clear, effective and empathetic in how you would address him and clearly outline other ways you can support him.
- Professionalism: As an employee, you’re expected to abide by a certain behavioural standard. You should recognize and incorporate this standard into your response.
- Ethics: Your response should clearly demonstrate your moral code and how it plays into this scenario.
Tip #2: Work on your social intelligence and empathy
While familiarizing yourself with the test’s format and the qualities it assesses is great, the best thing you can do to prepare for the test – and for the academic and professional paths ahead of you – is to work on your social intelligence and empathy. As we previously mentioned, working on these qualities will help you avoid burnout and will improve your personal and professional relationships.
In their blog post about improving your empathy, Altus outlines three steps you can take:
- Seek out new perspectives and experiences to broaden your frame of reference and familiarize yourself with how other people think, feel, and live. This might look like talking to strangers on the bus, reading articles or books by people who are different from you, travelling to a new country, or volunteering in an unfamiliar environment.
- Emotionally connect with people by listening without problem solving, reciprocating their vulnerability and sharing your stories, and relating to them based on shared experiences.
- Acknowledge and unlearn your biases to improve upon your self-awareness and awareness of why others behave the way they do. Ultimately this will improve your relations with other people and teach you to leverage your own privilege to support others.
Tip #3: Get comfortable in front of the camera
Remember: you’ll have to record a total of 18 video responses throughout the test and you only have a minute for each response, so you need to be able to clearly and concisely articulate your thoughts.
The people who evaluate your responses are trained to disregard things like what you’re wearing or whether or not you use proper grammar. In fact, they don’t even dock points if you get cut off before finishing your answer! Instead, they identify and assess your overall argument and are trained to follow your reasoning. You can read more about how they evaluate the test on Altus’s FAQ page.
The best way to get comfortable in front of the camera is to film your responses to practice questions while timing yourself. Take a second to reflect on the scenario and the question, briefly outlining your response before you press record and start your timer. Once the minute is over, watch the footage and make note of the following:
- Did you manage to articulate your key arguments before the timer went off?
- Was your speech impeded by anything (hands covering your face, speaking too softly, etc.)?
- Did you take up a lot of time with filler words?
Improving on these three factors throughout your practice sessions will make you a more efficient communicator!
Tip #4: Check your technology and select an appropriate environment
You have to complete a mandatory systems check within the 6 hours prior to taking the exam to ensure that your technology is running properly. Make sure you complete it in the same space in which you’ll actually be completing the test. So, sit in the same room and use the same pair of headphones. Doing so will ensure that your environment isn’t too loud or your microphone too weak to accurately capture the sound for your video responses.
A few factors to take into consideration when selecting your environment are…
- Do you have a strong Wi-Fi connection?
- Is it a communal space with lots of background noise?
- Do you have a comfortable space to sit?
- Do you have enough room for your computer?
- Do you have access to the space for the 2 hours it’ll take you to complete the test?
If your home doesn’t fulfill these criteria, consider talking to your local library! Depending on their availability, you might be able to reserve a study room for the duration of the test. This would take care of your Wi-Fi connection and ensure you have a comfortable, quiet space to complete the assessment.
Tip #5: Practice, practice, practice!
We’ve already alluded to this throughout some of our other tips, but it’s worth stating it explicitly. By practicing for the test, you’ll improve your ability to analyze the scenarios and to formulate clear, concise responses. You’ll also get more comfortable with the test’s format and with using your technology!
You can use the questions listed on the Casper Test preparation page and take the practice test that you can access through your Altus account.
As we previously mentioned, the individuals who assess your test are trained to focus on the content of your response rather than other details, such as incorrect spelling or grammar and incomplete sentences. What matters is that you’re able to get your thoughts across as clearly as possible, whether that be in paragraph form or bullet points. When writing out your responses, don’t be afraid to try formatting your responses in a few different ways until you find the format that allows you to most easily express yourself!
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Those are all the tips we have for you today!
Looking for additional Casper Test practice resources? We’ve got you covered! Book a free consultation with one of our experts or check out our Caper training service to learn more about how we can support you throughout your test preparation!