• Rajani Katta MD & Jenny Li-Wang BA

What is the Casper Test: Important Background

Updated: May 18


How to prepare for the Casper test


That's the big question facing many applicants this season, and that's the question I wanted to tackle in this 6-part blog post series.


If you're planning on taking the Casper, then you know how challenging it can be to prepare for this quick response test. In this post, I'll be reviewing some important background on the Casper test.


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)



What is the Casper test?


The CASPer test (hereafter referred to as the Casper test), is the Computer-Based Assessment for Sample Personal Characteristics. The test creators describe it as “an online, open response situational judgment test (SJT)”.


  • The test is centered around several video or text-based scenarios.

  • Each of these addresses a hypothetical ethical or personal dilemma that you may face in a professional context.

  • While some questions may include a medical scenario, most questions ask the test-taker to roleplay as a participant in non-medical scenarios

  • For example, you might be a student in a group project, a concerned coworker, a retail store manager, and so on

  • You will be presented with the scenario, and then asked to respond to three questions.

  • You will be asked to provide either a typed or video response, depending on the scenario.


Image of woman taking the CASPER test.
The test is centered around several video or text-based scenarios.

Is the Casper test hard?


Personally speaking? Yes, I think the exam is hard. That’s because this is not just a test of situational judgment.

  • It’s a test of what you would do in a situation AND

  • how well you can explain your thought processes AND

  • how quickly you can type all of that out AND

  • In a situation where there’s no clear right or wrong answer.

Let that sink in for a moment.


I’ve been a practicing physician for over 20 years. I’m a parent of teenagers. I’ve had challenging situations with colleagues, patients, and certainly with customer service in all types of settings.


And I still find these questions challenging! It can be challenging to quickly come up with several potential approaches to an awkward situation AND explain the thought processes behind my approaches AND type it out AND take no more than about a minute and a half for each question (when typing).


That's why I've thought long and hard about how to prepare to address some of these challenges, and why I wrote this blog post series on the Casper exam.



Can I take the Casper more than once? Should I retake my Casper?


You can only take the Casper once per application cycle. You cannot retake the Casper more than once in the same application cycle, which is why spending the necessary time and effort on preparation is so important.


If you end up reapplying to medical school for the next admissions cycle, you’ll have to retake the exam.



What technical requirements do I need to take the Casper?


Altus Suite requires a working webcam and microphone for you to register for Casper. This is so they can remotely proctor the exam and so you can videotape some of your responses. You will have the opportunity to conduct a webcam and microphone check prior to the start of the test.


It’s also extremely important to have a strong Internet connection. Before the exam, you’ll need to check your Wifi speed using an online speed test.


When you watch the introductory video about Casper, note that they recommend disabling other web applications and making sure that you have updated versions of both Google Chrome and Firefox (the only two browsers that support this exam). This may seem like a minor point, but one of our students ran into issues with Chrome and had to download Firefox at the last minute. Luckily, this switch worked, but it caused a delay.




How much does the Casper cost?


The Casper test costs $12 for US students, plus another $12 for every additional school you send your results to. This means that if you register for the test and send your scores to four medical schools, you will spend $60 on your Casper test overall.


Your fees cover not only the Casper test, but also two other assessments administered by Altus Suite: Snapshot and Duet. All fees are “final, non-refundable, and valid only for the then-current admissions cycle.”



Which schools require Casper?


Casper is currently used by a number of different schools and programs in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Qatar, and Australia/New Zealand.


When you register for the exam, the website will ask you to select the country in which your desired program is located, followed by the specific school/program/programs to which you are applying.


In the US, programs that require the Casper include some Allopathic Medical Schools, Osteopathic Medical Schools, Physician Assistant Programs, Veterinary Medicine Programs, Dentistry, Audiology, Optometry, Physical Therapy, and others. Some undergraduate programs require the Casper as well, such as some undergraduate nursing, physician assistant, and BA/MD programs.


The test is extensively used by Canadian professional schools, extending to use in programs such as Master of Theology, Master of Musical Therapy, Biomedical Engineering Technology, Bachelor of Education, Respiratory Therapy, and others.


  • As of 2021, the Casper test was used by over 50 US allopathic and osteopathic medical schools.

  • For the 2021-2022 cycle, a total of 46 US allopathic medical schools required the Casper test.

  • For the 2021-2022 cycle, a total of 13 US osteopathic medical schools required the Casper test.

  • For the 2021-2022 cycle, a total of 51 US physician assistant schools required the Casper test.

  • For the 2021-2022 cycle, a total of 11 US dental schools required the Casper test.

  • Here is the full list of the schools within these five categories that require the Casper.


Which allopathic medical schools require Casper? These are some selected examples from the full list of Allopathic Medical Schools that require Casper

  • Baylor College of Medicine

  • Boston University School of Medicine

  • Florida Atlantic University College of Medicine

  • Howard University College of Medicine

  • Michigan State University College of Human Medicine

  • New York Medical College

  • Northeast Ohio Medical University Medicine

  • Penn State College of Medicine

  • Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine

  • University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine


Which osteopathic medical schools require Casper? These are some selected examples from the full list of Osteopathic Medical School that require Casper:

  • California Health Sciences University College of Osteopathic Medicine

  • Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine

  • Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine

  • Sam Houston State University College of Osteopathic Medicine

  • Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine New York


Which Physician Assistant schools require Casper? These are some selected examples from the full list of Physician Assistant Schools that require Casper:

  • Augusta University Physician Assistant Program

  • Florida State University Physician Assistant Program

  • Idaho State University - Caldwell Physician Assistant Program

  • Stanford University Physician Assistant Program

  • University of Charleston Physician Assistant Program

  • University of Pittsburgh Physician Assistant Program

  • Yale School of Medicine Physician Assistant Program


Which Veterinary Schools require Casper? These are some selected examples from the full list of Veterinary Schools that require Casper:

  • Kansas State University

  • Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine

  • Lincoln Memorial University School of Veterinary Medicine

  • Long Island University School of Veterinary Medicine

  • Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine

  • Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine

  • Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine

  • Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine

  • Texas A&M University School of Veterinary Medicine


Which Dental schools require Casper? These are some selected examples from the full list of Dental Schools that require Casper:

  • California Northstate University

  • Case Western Reserve University

  • Indiana University

  • University of Louisville

  • University of Utah


When should I take the Casper test?


To schedule your exam, you can head to the Casper website and sign up for your preferred date and time.


When you’re scheduling your Casper test, there are two main variables to remember:

  • It takes up to three weeks for Casper scores to be processed and sent to schools

  • Some medical schools will not review your application until they receive your Casper score


Casper tests for upcoming admission cycles become available in the spring. Schools differ on when they prefer applicants to take the Casper, but a safe bet is to take your test in the early summer of your application year.


Since some schools don’t consider your application complete until they receive your score, a good rule of thumb is to time your test so that your scores will coincide with the submission of your secondary applications.


Since it takes about three weeks to process your score, the latest you should take your Casper is in July.


People planning out when to take their Casper test.
Take into consideration how long the scores take to process and that some schools will not review your application until they receive your Casper score.



Casrper Test Dates:


As the 2021-2022 cycle comes to an end, the new dates for the 2022-2023 cycle should be released soon. We will update this blog post accordingly.



When should AMCAS applicants take the Casper?


For the 2022-2023 application cycle, here’s the general timeline for AMCAS applicants:

  • May 4, 2022: AMCAS application opens

  • May 28, 2022: first day to submit to AMCAS

  • June 26, 2022: processed applications start being released to schools

  • June 26 & onward: applicants can expect to start receiving secondaries (assuming they applied on or near the earliest submission day)


In general, you can expect to start receiving secondary applications as soon as medical schools receive your primary. For applicants who submitted their primary applications as early as they could (May 28), this means secondaries should begin to arrive in early July.


You should plan to take your Casper about three weeks prior to when you receive your first secondary. This puts your test date in early to mid-June for AMCAS applicants.


However, realistically speaking, it will likely take some time for medical schools to begin reviewing your application due to the sheer volume of applications they receive, even if you submit on the earliest date possible. I have spoken to AMCAS and TMDSAS students who took their Casper as late as mid-July and it did not impact their applications at all.



When should TMDSAS applicants take the Casper?


For the 2022-2023 application cycle, the timeline for TMDSAS applicants looks like this:

  • May 3, 2022: TMDSAS application opens

  • May 17, 2022: first day to submit to TMDSAS

  • May 17 & onward: processed applications start being released to schools, & applicants can expect to start receiving secondaries (assuming they applied on or near the earliest submission day)


For TMDSAS applicants, most schools require applicants to provide their Casper score to be considered for an interview. Applicants can begin expecting to receive secondaries as early as the end of May. Ideally, your Casper is already complete at this point. A test date in early May is a safe bet. Again, however, schools will take time to process the other components of your secondary application before extending an interview offer. The latest I would risk delaying your Casper would be in mid-July.



When should AACOMAS Applicants take the Casper?


Compared to AMCAS and TMDSAS applicants, we recommend that AACOMAS applicants take their Casper test sooner. Dates for the 202-2023 application cycle have not been released yet, but for the 2021-2022 application cycle, the timeline for AACOMAS applicants is:

  • May 4, 2021: AACOMAS application opens

  • June 15, 2021: DO schools begin receiving & processing applications

  • June 15 & onward: applicants can expect to start receiving secondaries (assuming they applied on or near the earliest submission day)


Ideally, AACOMAS applicants should take their Casper three weeks prior to the arrival of their secondaries in late June. This places a reasonable test date in mid- to late May for AACOMAS applicants.



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 running her small crochet business.





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