Understanding Altus Suite: Casper, Snapshot, and Duet


So you know about Casper, but what’s with Snapshot and Duet? Where did they come from, and do they apply to you? That’s right, your road to medical school acceptance just got even longer. Read on to learn more about Altus Suite and its components, including Casper, Snapshot, and Duet.

When did Casper change to Altus Suite? What’s included in Altus Suite, and how do you know whether or not you need to complete these additional application components? We’ll answer these questions and more about the recent change from CASPer to Casper, Snapshot, and Duet.


From the Casper Test to Altus Suite

Casper stands for “Computer-Based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics.” It’s a computer-based test created to evaluate your people skills, professionalism, empathy, and ethics. Casper measures who you are beyond your hard skills and exceptional grades.

Casper was developed in 2010 by Harold Reiter and Kelly Dore at McMaster University’s Program for Educational Research and Development (PERD) in Canada. It was created due to a perceived lack in the conventional medical school application’s ability to communicate an applicant’s interpersonal communication skills and empathy to an admissions committee.

There’s a lot more to being a doctor than exceptional knowledge of science. Doctors must also be able to clearly and effectively communicate with their patients, and this is something that’s difficult to measure based on someone’s MCAT score and personal statement.

Beginning with the 2022 application cycle, Casper is now Altus Suite, with the URL changing from “takecasper.com” to “takealtus.com.” Casper is now one of the three components that make up Altus Suite.

For questions specifically related to the Casper test, read our comprehensive Casper Test Guide.


Understanding Altus Suite: Casper, Snapshot, and Duet

Altus Suite is a multi-part assessment designed to evaluate a prospective medical student’s people skills and bedside manner. Applicants now have multiple opportunities to demonstrate their personal and professional skills in both verbal and written content.

Altus Suite comprises three parts: Casper, Snapshot, and Duet.

Casper is a 100-120 minute situational judgment test that evaluates 10 non-academic attributes in applicants, such as collaboration, empathy, ethics, and professionalism.

Snapshot is a short (about 10 minutes), one-way video interview that further assesses an applicant’s people skills by asking them why they want to pursue medicine and become a doctor.

Duet is a value-alignment assessment that compares what an applicant values most in a program to what the programs have to offer. Duet only applies to applicants to US medical schools and graduate medical programs.

Altus Suite descriptions of Casper, Snapshot, Duet

Whether or not you need to take Casper, Snapshot, and Duet depends on each school you are applying to. Check the Altus website as well as the requirements for each specific school you are applying to in order to know exactly what’s required.

Below we’ll answer common questions about each of the different Altus Suite components—Casper, Snapshot, and Duet.


Common Questions About Casper

How is the Casper Test Scored?

Casper presents you with 15 different scenarios. Each scenario is scored by a unique Rater, which means that no two sections of your test will be scored by the same person. Raters are not provided with any of your personal information whatsoever.

Casper isn’t made up of right or wrong answers. Raters are given general information about the central concepts and ideas that are essential to the section, but they aren’t given any kind of answer key.

Each scenario has three questions, but sections are scored based on your overall performance. If you miss the last question, but your previous two answers are comprehensive, you may not incur a penalty.

Read our guide for a complete overview of How the Casper Test is Scored.

How Long is the Casper Test?

The Casper test takes 100-120 minutes to complete, including two short breaks. There is a typed response section and a video response section with a total of 15 scenarios. You will be presented with either a word-based or video-based scenario followed by three open-ended questions.

Where Do I Take the Casper Test?

The Casper test is taken online, so you can take it from home or from any place that’s quiet and comfortable. All you need to take the test is a computer, a reliable internet connection, up-to-date browsers, a working webcam, and a working microphone.

How Many Times Can You Take a Casper Test?

You can only take the Casper once per application cycle. If your medical school application is unsuccessful, you will need to take the Casper again if you choose to reapply.

For more information about Casper, read our Casper Test FAQ, which covers 16 common questions.


Common Questions About Snapshot

When is Snapshot Due?

Individual programs determine their Altus Suite requirements for their admissions process. It is recommended that you complete Snapshot within two weeks (14 days) of taking your Casper test, as this will ensure all of your Altus Suite components can be viewed together by the programs you’re applying to.

If individual program requirements change, you will still be able to complete Snapshot anytime before your earliest program distribution deadline.

Where Does the Snapshot Interview Take Place?

Just like the Casper test, you will participate in your Snapshot interview virtually. This means it’s up to you to ensure your technology is up-to-date and you have a reliable internet connection. Choose a quiet room free from distractions where you won’t be interrupted.

How Long is the Snapshot Interview Process?

The Snapshot interview should take about 10 minutes to complete. Snapshot is made up of three interview-style questions, and you are allotted two minutes to respond to each.

You will also be asked to complete a mandatory practice session that will help you prepare for the real interview. After practicing, you can begin your Snapshot interview, though you can practice as many times as you like.

Before the recording begins for the real thing, you’ll be able to read the first question and have 30 seconds to reflect on your response. You have up to two minutes to record your response, but you can stop the timer if you finish early. Responses are automatically saved, so you cannot re-record yourself.

How Many Snapshot Interviews Do I Need to Record?

You will usually only need to complete one Snapshot interview, which will then be sent to all of the programs on your distribution list. The exception to this is if you are applying to both English and French programs. In that case, you will need to record one Snapshot in English and one in French.

Does it Cost More to Complete Snapshot?

No. You will only need to pay one fee ($12) when you reserve your Casper test. This fee covers all applicable parts of Altus Suite. An additional $12 will be charged for each school you send your scores to.

What Will I Be Asked During the Snapshot Interview?

Expect the questions to be similar to the other professional interviews you are preparing for, such as questions about why you’re applying to medical school, your strengths and weaknesses, and tell me more about yourself.

For example, “What is an obstacle you have faced, and how did you get through it?” Or, “Tell us about someone you admire and why.”

21 Medical School Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

How Do I Prepare For the Snapshot Interview?

Ensure you take the interview somewhere quiet and test all of your tech in advance. Make sure your background is clean, and you are dressed professionally, wearing neutral colors like you would for an in-person interview.

Prepare answers to common interview questions like the ones mentioned above and practice answering them alone in front of a mirror, in front of friends and family members you trust, and in mock interviews.

It’s also important to warm up your face and vocals before the Snapshot interview. Tripping over your words will make you appear nervous, so quickly repeat phrases like “red leather, yellow leather,” and “the tip of the tongue, the teeth, and the lips.” Focus on really enunciating each and every word and exaggerating the movements of your mouth.

This kind of practice will loosen up your mouth and help you to speak articulately and confidently during the interview.

Like an in-person interview, you will only have one chance to answer each interview question, which means you need to be thoroughly prepared and practiced before beginning your Snapshot interview. After your two minutes are up, your live-recorded interview questions are automatically submitted, which means you need to practice being succinct when answering common questions.

While practicing, use a timer to get a feel for how long you’ll have for each question. Don’t memorize your answer so that you’re not tripped up by a slightly different question, but do practice hitting specific key points within each of your answers.

If you are having difficulties with confidence, body language, answering succinctly, or getting your point across clearly, we recommend participating in mock interviews, which will provide an honest assessment of where you’re at and what you need to work on.

For detailed information about how you can prepare for your interviews, read our comprehensive Medical School Interview Guide.


Common Questions About Duet

Does it Cost More to Complete Duet?

No. You will only need to pay one fee ($12) when you reserve your Casper test. This fee covers all applicable parts of Altus Suite. An additional $12 will be charged for each school you send your scores to.

When is Duet Due?

Individual programs determine their Altus Suite requirements for their admissions process. It is recommended that you complete Duet within two weeks (14 days) of taking your Casper test, as this will ensure all of your Altus Suite components can be viewed together by the programs you’re applying to.

If individual program requirements change, you will still be able to complete Duet anytime before your earliest program distribution deadline.

How Do I Prepare for Duet?

Duet is a measure of your own personal values and preferences, so there is no practice component. Read the instructions, the characteristics, and their descriptions carefully before moving on to the comparison pages. Once on the comparison pages, choose what feels right to you, as there is no right or wrong answer.

Before completing your Duet assessment, take some additional time to assess what you are looking for in a medical school and what matters most to you. Unsure? What locations do you prefer? How much are tuition and fees for each school you’re considering? What financial aid opportunities are available? What are your special interests in medicine? Do you align with the school’s mission and values?

Read our guide on How to Decide Which Medical Schools to Apply to, which includes 12 important factors to consider.


Prepare for Altus Suite with Med School Insiders

Although you can’t study for Altus Suite, it’s important to prepare for it. Med School Insiders offers Comprehensive Medical School Admissions Packages that will help you with every aspect of the medical school application process—including Altus Suite. We’ll walk you through the entire process, provide you with Casper sample questions, and prepare you with the methods you need to dominate your Casper test as well as the other components of Altus Suite.

Browse our wide range of resources, which includes articles and guides on the Casper test, the MCAT, the medical school application process, and more.


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