The CASPer test is a fast-paced, situational judgement test compromising of 12 scenarios in 75 min. To do your best you must:
- Understand the CASPer test and how it is scored
- Have a clear and practiced process and mind set that you need for the day of the test, which is discussed below
- Understand the type of issues/dilemmas that are often raised on the test
Despite what many people may think, it is entirely possible to study for the CASPer test. Through understanding and practicing for the CASPer test, we can train ourselves to quickly digest information and determine an appropriate response to ethical and moral problems. Here are 8 tips to keep in mind when preparing for and writing the CASPer test:
CASPer Tip 1: Make sure you Understand the Scenario
Understanding the scenario is critical to writing an appropriate response. If you misunderstand the scenario your answer will be off-topic and your score will not be your best. In the CASPer test, 8 of the 12 scenarios are video-based. As the video plays (you can not rewatch it!) keep an open mind, do not make any assumptions, and take note of what actually happens in the scenario. The other 4 scenarios, which are text-based, should be read at least twice.
CASPer Tip 2: Read all Questions and Answer the Easiest one First
Many people don’t realize that although you are given 3 questions you will be scored on your overall response. This means that being able to write a well-thought-out response to a single question is better than having a rushed response to all three. Quality is more important than quantity.
Each scenario is followed by 3 questions. Read all 3 questions, pick the question that seems the easiest, reread the question again to make sure you understand it properly, and take a few seconds to pause and reflect on the question before you answer it.
Do not try to write your response as soon as you have finished reading the question. This can lead to disorganized writing that will be hard to follow by your CASPer raters. Make sure to read through your questions two times to make sure that you completely understand the question and response required.
Organize your own thoughts within your head before writing them down. This will allow you to write a clear and coherent answer that is well thought out to include all the points CASPer test raters are looking for in a good answer.
The test is fast-paced so answering the easiest question first makes sure that at least one question is answered. Furthermore, answering the easiest question first allows your mind more time to formulate answers to the harder questions.
CASPer Tip 3: Identify ALL Issues and Discuss the Most Important one:
Each scenario will involve a different set of issues that you are supposed to identify.
If you are unaware of all the issues in each scenario then you will not be able to choose the most important issues to write about.
Later on in this post, we will discuss the types of appropriate responses to specific scenarios. Some examples of issues could be the safety of others, societal impacts, or group dynamics. For example, if in a scenario where you are privy to information about someone cheating on a test the pressing issue is ethics and plagiarism.
CASPer Tip 4: Don’t Make Assumptions:
It is important in all scenarios to always reserve judgement and not make any assumptions. CASPer scenarios almost always are missing key information and facts, and it is your job as a test taker to understand that this is the case. Your scenario may imply that certain things have occurred, however, it is your responsibility to confirm that this is the case. Oftentimes a good place to start is to indicate that you will talk to members in the scenario privately to get further details on potentially sensitive topics. For example, a scenario may imply that your friends are having marital problems, but it is important to first have a private conversation with them about it before jumping to conclusions. Perhaps, the cause of this scenario is not what you think it is; reserve your judgement until you have all the facts. Be careful to not gather this information publicly and in front of others as this is extremely unprofessional and will be embarrassing to those involved.
CASPer Tip 5: Identify all Parties Involved:
As a professional, you should be able to appreciate that the actions of what you and others do can both, directly and indirectly, impact others. For example, if you learned that your coworker was inappropriately clocking in when they were not working. Who is affected by this? Fellow coworkers? Your boss? Yourself? The company? Showing that you are able to identify everyone who is both, directly and indirectly, involved indicates to raters that you have the thoughtfulness and maturity to fully appreciate the complexity of a situation.
CASPer Tip 6: Provide a well thought out common-sense solution:
There is no perfect answer to a CASPer scenario. However, there are rational decisions that you can make that cause the least amount of harm to all parties involved. Being familiar with common professional ethics can help guide your decision-making process. However, the ability to create a clear, concise, and common-sense decision does not require extensive knowledge of medical ethics. Outline that you understand who is involved and what key information you want to gather. Then, create your decisions based on the possible outcomes you can imagine happening from your inquiries. If I find out that ______ then I will _______. If I find out that ______ then I will _______.
CASPer Tip 7: Do your best and move on
Each scenario is scored individually by a different rater. Once you are finished with a scenario, forget about it and move on. Do not judge your performance or the difficulty of the question, do not dwell on your answer or difficulty you may have experienced. Do not let your self-perceived performance on a question affect your ability to do your best on the next question. Do your best and move on. There is an optional 15 min break halfway through the test, take it to breathe and relax to get you ready for the second half.
Remember that CASPer above all else is a test of your communication skills. Be precise and concise. Quality over quantity. If on the test you blank out, just remember to communicate to the raters 3 aspects of your decision process in your response:
- Non-judgmental processing of the scenario
- Ability to identify the most important issue
- Gathering the facts that are relevant to your actions
CASPer Tip 8: Practice, Practice, Practice:
Many people believe that you cannot practice for the CASPer test. However, this is not true. The more we are able to engage in activities regarding ethics and decision making, both in-person and online, the more comfortable we become with them and the more effective a response we can create. However, the practice that you do must be deliberate and self-reflective. If you practice haphazardly, using bad habits, and without reflection and feedback, you are only solidifying these bad practices. Practice makes permanent. Your practice must be deliberate, in that you are practicing to improve your performance. The fastest way to improve is to receive feedback on your practise tests from professionals who currently occupy the fields that you intend to enter. However, if that is not possible try approaching a family member or friend who is mature, professional and ethical. Additionally, we recommend starting slow in an untimed environment and slowly working your way up to conditions that follow the exact format of the real test.
CASPer Issues and Dilemmas and How to Deal with them Effectively
Ethical/Moral Decision Making:
These scenarios involve a problem in which any decision will cause some sort of physical, emotional or psychological harm. In these scenarios, it is essential that you demonstrate your thought process in making a moral and ethical decision that causes the least harm and the greatest amount of overall benefit.
Positions of Power Imbalance and Professional Boundaries
In relationships where there is an asymmetry in power such as teacher-student, employer-employee, doctor-patient there are boundaries that must not be crossed such as having a personal relationship.
You must demonstrate your understanding of how positions of authority affect the dynamic between professionals and members of the public. One must understand where to draw boundaries and what lines must not be crossed in these situations.
Self-Reflection and Personal Awareness:
Many CASPer test questions will ask you to talk about yourself, times you have encountered difficulties and how you overcame them. What is important to talk about in these scenarios is how you’ve learned from and grown from past experiences. The nice thing about these scenarios is that you can prepare yourself in advance for questions like these. Think about times where you faced major challenges, had arguments with peers, or had difficulty in a class setting and how you went about overcoming these problems.
Autonomy and Informed Consent:
In health care, patients have the right to autonomy and informed consent. As a health care professional one must respect and support patients’ autonomy and informed consent.
Informed consent refers to a patient’s right to understand the options available, including the option of non-doing, and their respective advantages and disadvantages. In healthcare consent by a patient must be informed before proceeding with treatment. This information should be evidence-based and include scientific information, not personal beliefs.
Autonomy refers to a patient’s right to make their own decisions regarding what choices they make with your information. Except in the case of extreme circumstances, such as situations that threaten the lives of others, people are free to think and act upon their own decisions, and this must be respected. This includes the decision to seek alternative solutions, which professionals should be aware of.
These scenarios involve two parties undergoing a conflict, in which it is your job to resolve the issue. Here you must be able to show that you are non-judgemental and do not immediately take sides or jump to conclusions. Instead, you must be able to be professional and mature with the ability to come up with a compromise that takes into account both parties and their issues/opinions.
As a professional, you should be able to understand and be able to empathize with the feelings of others. By being able to do so you are building a trusting relationship between yourself and these individuals and are better able to take care of their needs. This can include situations where you meet people of different cultural, social, economic, racial, or religious backgrounds. These differences can influence other people’s decision-making process in ways that you may not at first understand. It is your job to empathize with them and try to understand their perspective while providing the best possible solution to a given problem.
Collaboration and Communication:
Working as a part of a group is key to any situation you will find yourself in. Being able to effectively communicate with others and show you are willing to work with different people across a plethora of backgrounds is essential as a professional.
As a professional, it is your responsibility to make sure that all information that someone else tells you in private is kept confidential at all times. Oftentimes people will reveal embarrassing and/or sensitive information to you that they do not want others to know. By keeping this information private you are showing that you appreciate the trust and confidence that they place in you, which is important in building relationships with others.
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Using practice scenarios that mimic those that are provided on the real CASPer test is critical to improving one’s performance on the real thing.
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