Casper: it is touted as an exam you can’t study for by its administrator, Acuity Suite. However, similar to your preparations for the SAT or ACT, that doesn’t mean that you can’t prepare. Having a strategy to approach this situational judgment test can improve your performance and score in the top percentile against your peers.
Required by many medical, dental, and BS/MD programs, the Casper (Computer-Based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics) is designed to assess what type of student you are beyond your resume and transcript. According to the Acuity Insights website, “it asks what you would do in a tough situation, and more importantly, why.” CASPER evaluates you on the following skills:
- Problem Solving
Students applying to medical school, dental school, or direct medical programs can only take the exam once per application cycle. Because of this restriction, you’ll want to be prepared by understanding what the exam is testing you on, how it is evaluated, and how to develop strategies to approach these challenging situations.
Casper is split into two sections: a video response section and a typed response section. In total, it will take between 90-110 minutes, if you take advantage of the 20 minutes of optional breaks, to complete the entire exam.
In the video-based section, you will be presented with ten video scenarios. After you watch the brief scenarios, you’ll have one minute per each of the three questions to answer. Six of the ten scenarios will require you to type a response, and the other four will require you to record a video response.
In the typed response section, you will read five scenarios and have to answer three questions per scenario. This time, you will have five minutes to answer all three questions. In this section, three scenarios will require a typed response, and the renaming two will require a recorded video response.
Because you are under a time constraint, it is recommended to be able to type a minimum speed of 40 words per minute.
You will get 15 minutes of optional breaks during the test, which you can use to grab a snack, stretch, or relax for a few minutes. It’s important to note that Casper will automatically restart once the break time expires, so keep track of the time carefully.
The exam is administered online, so you can take it from the comfort of your own home. We recommend that you take the exam in a quiet place with headphones to reduce any distracting background noise. However, you have to take the exam all at once, so plan to dedicate two hours to finish the exam.
How Is Casper Scored?
Your scenario responses are rated on a scale from 1 (unsatisfactory) to 9 (superb). Your final score is a culmination of all your answers. Each section is scored by a different rater, which helps reduce the exam’s subjectivity or biases.
You will not be penalized for grammar or spelling mistakes, so it is more important to focus on the content of your answers while still making sure it is comprehensible. You also won’t receive a lower score if you run out of time before finishing a sentence. The raters will look at your response as a whole and will rate you based on that.
Approximately two to three weeks after you take the Casper, your score will be sent automatically to the programs you selected when registering.