• Rajani Katta MD & Jenny Li-Wang BA

Casper Practice Test: Example Scenarios

Updated: Sep 1


In this post, we present several example Casper scenarios and break down how we would respond.


We wrote the book on Casper test prep and understand how challenging it can be to respond to scenarios in just 90 seconds (for the typed response section) or 60 seconds (for the video response section). That's why, in our book and the Casper blog post series, we've focused so much on identifying different types of Casper questions and applying frameworks to make answering easier.


If you'd like to jump straight to your area of interest, please see these posts that address specific areas related to Casper test prep:


  1. Background on the Casper test

  2. Format of the Casper test

  3. How is the Casper test graded?

  4. Tips and strategies for how to prepare for the Casper

  5. Types of Casper test questions and how to answer them

  6. Example Casper questions and responses

  7. The Casper Test Prep Guide (with full-length sample test)


If you’re interested in becoming a stronger applicant, we also offer an online course: Medical School Interviewing 101. Our before-and-after videos and insider tips on the admissions process can help you become a standout applicant.





Scenario #1:


You are friends with both Daphne and Natalie. They have planned to take a trip together, which is three months away. Daphne has started making the travel arrangements. After first confirming with Natalie, she put down a deposit on a rental house. One week later, she asked Natalie to contribute her share of the deposit. Natalie emailed her back and said that she was no longer able to take the trip. Since the trip was still three months away, Natalie stated she was confident that Daphne could find somebody to take her place and therefore would not contribute to the deposit.


Daphne is upset by this response, and she turns to you for advice. What would you say to her?


[Take 30 seconds to think about the scenario.]


Example weak response:


I would suggest that Daphne ask Natalie to pay her share of the deposit. Natalie made a commitment, and it's important to honor our commitments. The fact that the trip is 3 months away does not negate the fact that Daphne asked her friend for confirmation before paying the deposit. Since Natalie made the commitment, the ethical thing to do is to pay the deposit even if she cannot take the trip.


Why is this response weak?

Although the response does highlight the applicant's ethics, it is weak in several important areas:

  • The response lacks empathy, as there is little attempt to understand the situation from Natalie’s point of view.

  • There is only one approach suggested. This is a missed opportunity to showcase the applicant's creative problem-solving skills.

  • This approach also doesn't highlight the applicant's sense of collaboration, because it lacks any attempt to get people working together to reach a solution.

As previously described, for a situational judgement question, we recommend the I3P approach. Here’s an example of a sample response that applies I3P.



Example strong response:

This is a challenging situation, because it brings up issues of fairness, reliability, and the importance of upholding your commitments. This conflict also has the potential to impact their friendship and both of their finances. I would start by asking Daphne to seek more information, especially on Natalie’s reasons for backing out and her understanding of the financial impact. It is possible that Natalie is dealing with financial troubles or other issues that are overwhelming her. If Natalie is having financial issues, then Daphne should ask if she can contribute in other ways, such as finding a replacement. If Natalie is simply backing out because she no longer wants to go, then it is reasonable for Daphne to respectfully ask for reimbursement, either via payment now or via a payment plan.


Why is this response stronger?

  • The response clearly articulates the primary issues and impact of the situation on the parties involved.

  • It does not act on assumptions but rather acknowledges the need for more information. This demonstrates empathy for Natalie’s situation, which we know very little about from the prompt.

  • This approach proposes multiple potential solutions depending on the missing information, showing flexibility and creative problem-solving.



Scenario #2:


Role: You are a co-worker.


You work the opening shift at a coffee shop. Your co-worker, Matthew, is chronically late to work. Another co-worker, May, tells you she is frustrated that Matthew is not doing his fair share of work, especially because your mornings are so busy and the shop is already understaffed.


[Take 30 seconds to think about the scenario.]


Do you agree with May’s frustration? Why or why not?


What could your manager do to prevent similar situations from happening in the future?


How important is punctuality in a workplace?


Image showing two employees in a coffee shop talking about stealing tips.
What would you do in a situation like this?

Our Sample Responses


Do you agree with May’s frustration? Why or why not?


I agree that it can be frustrating if you feel like you’re performing a disproportionately large amount of work in a team. Especially if the same issue keeps happening over and over again, May might feel resentment build over time. However, it’s important to think about the reasons Matthew may be late to work, such as personal obligations or factors that make it difficult for him to come on time. For example, if Matthew needs to take public transportation, his schedule might be a little more outside his control. It’s important to be empathetic towards his situation and not automatically assume he’s late because he’s lazy or doesn’t care about his job.


What could your manager do to prevent similar situations from happening in the future?


As the goal is to ensure that the necessary work gets done while ensuring that employees feel that the work is divided fairly, our manager could assign different employees daily tasks or responsibilities to help all the necessary work get done. Assigning tasks would ensure employees don’t feel like they’re doing an unfair share of work, and it also gives employees more flexibility. Maybe employees don’t all have to arrive at the same time, as long as the daily tasks get done. For example, perhaps Matthew could receive more of the clean-up responsibilities later in the day. This policy could help May know each employee has their roles to accomplish and would accommodate Matthew’s later arrival time.


How important is punctuality in a workplace?


Punctuality, especially in the service industry, is important because you’re accountable to others in your workplace. This includes your teammates, co-workers, managers, and clientele. We owe it to one another to make commitments and stick to them. One of these commitments is respecting each other’s time, by being punctual. However, punctuality is not everything, as there are many other qualities important in a good employee as well, such as being mentally present at work, hardworking, eager to learn, kind, and other important qualities. Sometimes we are not punctual due to factors outside our own control, and it’s important to be empathetic and understanding when this happens.




Scenario #3:


Role: You are a friend.


Your friend Aaron is worried about his brother Nathan, who recently went through a divorce and lost his job. Aaron wants to visit Nathan across the country, but Aaron has a big work conference coming up. He’s afraid that missing the conference will exclude him from a promotion. No other family or friends are available to be with Nathan at this time, and Nathan can’t afford to travel himself.


[Take 30 seconds to think about the scenario.]


What advice would you offer your friend, whose brother is struggling? Explain your reasoning.


Would you offer monetary assistance to help your friend’s brother? Why or why not?


Imagine you learn that your friend’s brother has a gambling problem which contributed to his recent hardships. Would your response change? Explain your response.



Image of a man gambling after a divorce, while his brother worries
Would you help your friend's brother, who is in financial trouble?

Our Sample Responses


What advice would you offer your friend, whose brother is struggling? Explain your reasoning.


This is challenging, because it highlights the tension between professional goals and personal and family priorities. I would first express sympathy to Aaron about the situation, and tell him that I admire his desire to be there for his brother. However, I also understand that the conference and promotion are important opportunities for his career. I’d ask if there’s any way for him to travel to see Nathan for even a few days, to be present without taking too much time off. Another option would be for him to help pay for Nathan to visit, so the brothers can be together as often as possible when Aaron is not at work.


Would you offer monetary assistance to help your friend’s brother? Why or why not?


Because Aaron is my friend, I would want to help. While I don’t feel comfortable giving money directly to his brother because I don’t know him well, I might offer gift cards for meals or groceries. I would also try to think about possible jobs Nathan could look into or offer to connect him to people I know in his industry.


Imagine you learn that your friend’s brother has a gambling problem which contributed to his recent hardships. Would your response change? Explain your response


My response would be the same in that I would still try to help Nathan and be sympathetic to the situation, but I’d have a new understanding of the situation. A gambling problem can seriously impact your life, and it will take a lot of hard work for Nathan to change his behaviors and regain control of his finances, job, and personal relationships. I think knowing this information would help me think more concretely about potential solutions, such as joining a gambling support group or therapy.


 

A full-length practice test with sample responses can be found in our Casper Test Prep Guide (2022-23).



For more on how to prepare for the Casper test, please see the other posts in this series.

  1. Background on the Casper test

  2. Format of the Casper test

  3. How is the Casper test graded?

  4. Tips and strategies for how to prepare for the Casper

  5. Types of Casper test questions and how to answer them

  6. Example Casper questions and responses

  7. The Casper Test Prep Guide (with full-length sample test)

 

Dr. Rajani Katta is the creator of Medical School Interviewing 101, the course that teaches students how to ace their interviews. She is also the author of the Multiple Mini Interview: Winning Strategies from Admissions Faculty, the Casper Test Prep Guide, and The Medical School Interview. Dr. Katta is a practicing dermatologist and served as a Professor of Dermatology at the Baylor College of Medicine for over 17 years.

Jennifer Li-Wang is the author of The Casper Test Prep Guide and a graduate of Rice University with a double major in English and the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality (SWGS). Jenny grew up in Los Alamos, New Mexico and in her free time enjoys reading and writing creative nonfiction.






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