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About Matthew Hintermayer, Sarah Lépine and Owen Chen

Matthew Hintermayer is a first-year MD-PhD student at McGill University. He completed his undergraduate degree in psychology at the University of Waterloo and his master’s degree in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Western University, studying traumatic brain injury and the frontotemporal spectrum disorders associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). He is currently conducting research investigating the regeneration of damaged neurons at the Montreal Neurological Institute.

Sarah Lépine is a second-year MD-PhD student at McGill University. She started her training in the laboratory studies program of the CEGEP of Saint-Hyacinthe and then completed an undergraduate degree in cellular and molecular biology at the University of Sherbrooke. She recently began her doctoral studies in neuroscience, and her thesis involves using stem-cell–derived culture systems to model ALS.

Owen Chen is a first-year MD-PhD student at McGill University. Prior to medical school, he completed both his bachelor and master of science degrees in biochemistry at McGill. He is currently pursuing his research at McGill’s Goodman Cancer Research Centre, where he studies cell cycle dysregulation in cancer.

Introduction

Historically, the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) was the only required standardized test when submitting applications to Canadian and American medical schools. However, in recent years medical schools have placed a larger emphasis on the nonacademic qualities of applicants that better predict those who will make good doctors. Typically, these assessments have been done by implementing problem-solving activities in the interview process, which assess applicants’ approaches to ethical dilemmas. Some medical schools have also started using the Computer-based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics (CASPer) as a standardized assessment of these “soft” skills, with results on this test comprising up to a third of an applicant’s preinterview score. This current chapter will focus on the unique challenges of this intimidating and elusive test, as well as describing some general recommendations for preparation.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • The CASPer is a computerized test required for admission to some medical schools that assess nonacademic qualities.

  • You can prepare for the CASPer by learning about medical ethics, problem-solving strategies, and reflecting on your personal and professional experiences dealing with conflicts.

  • Questions on the CASPer can be scenario-based or resume types, each requiring a unique strategy to answer effectively and concisely.

  • There are some technical considerations that you will need to take into account to succeed on the CASPer, including typing speed, time management, and the testing environment.

  • Effective preparation for the CASPer involves reflecting on your skills and implementing them in your study strategy.

Computer-Based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics (CASPer)

What Is the CASPer?

The CASPer is a computer-based situational judgment test designed to assess nonacademic or soft skills. Unlike the MCAT (discussed in the previous chapter), the CASPer does not require any specific content knowledge to ...

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