While most of your medical school application is centered around your grades, hard skills, and personal background, the application does little to shed light on an applicant’s empathy, communication skills, and ethical decision making. In order to determine how strong an applicant’s soft skills are, dozens of schools across the United States and the world now require applicants to take the Casper test, which is part of Altus Suite. So, what medical schools require Casper, and how do you know if you need to take the test?
Read on to learn what the Casper test is, which schools require the Casper, and why so many schools are adopting this test.
Save our complete Casper Test Guide for the best ways to prepare for Casper, detailed study strategies, Casper dos and don’ts, and frequently asked questions.
Last updated January 2023.
What is the Casper Test and Do You Need to Take It?
The Computer-Based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics, known more commonly as Casper, is one of three components within the Altus Suite, a multi-part assessment designed to evaluate a prospective medical student’s people skills and bedside manner.
- Casper is a 100-120 minute situational judgment test.
- Snapshot is a short, one-way video interview.
- Duet is a value-alignment assessment.
Developed in 2010 in Canada, Casper is a computer-based situational judgment test that measures who you are beyond your hard skills and grades—the test assesses your interpersonal and intrapersonal skills, professionalism, ethics and ethical decision making, empathy, and bedside manner.
The Casper tests people based on the following 10 Constructs:
- Problem solving
Casper is made up of 15 scenarios. There is a typed response section and a video response section. Within each section, you will be presented with either a word-based or video-based scenario followed by three open-ended questions. There are three word-based and six video-based scenarios in the typed response section, and two word-based and four video-based scenarios in the video response section.
Typically, the scenarios are not based in a clinical setting but are instead taken from everyday life. For example, if you’re grocery shopping and see a pregnant teenager steal some diapers, what do you do?
Casper takes about 100-120 minutes, which includes two breaks. In the typed response section, you have five minutes to respond to all three questions before the test automatically moves on to the next scenario. In the video response section, you have one minute to respond to each question individually.
Each of the 15 sections is scored by a unique rater, which means no 2 sections of your test will be scored by the same person. Therefore, your Casper score is made up of multiple different, objective impressions of you. The raters have no prior knowledge of you whatsoever and have no idea how you answered the other scenarios.
Casper raters are required to complete a training session and accreditation in order to score the test, and your test results are automatically sent to the schools you’re applying to.
Casper isn’t a test of your academics—Learn How the Casper Test is Scored.
Whether or not you need to take the test depends on the schools you are applying to.
Only certain schools require applicants to take a Casper test, but more and more schools are added to the list each year.
What Medical Schools Require Casper?
Not all medical schools require applicants to take Casper, but the test has seen a recent and significant rise in popularity, and that popularity is showing no sign of slowing down. Currently, there are dozens of programs in the US that require Casper, as well as schools in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Qatar.
Here is a list of every US medical school that requires Casper. (Updated January 2023)
- Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine
- American University of The Caribbean School of Medicine
- Arkansas College of Health Education
- Baylor College of Medicine
- Boston University School of Medicine
- Central Michigan University
- Drexel University
- East Tennessee State University
- Florida Atlantic University
- Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell
- Howard University
- Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine
- Indiana University
- Kansas Health Science Center – Kansas College of Osteopathic Medicine
- Marshall University
- McGovern Medical School, UT Health Science Center Houston
- Augusta University, Medical College of Georgia
- Medical College of Wisconsin
- Meharry Medical College
- Mercer University
- Michigan State University
- Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine
- Netter School of Medicine Quinnipiac University
- New York Medical College
- Northeast Ohio Medical University
- Oregon Health & Sciences University
- Penn State University
- Rush University Medical College
- Rutgers, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
- Sam Houston State University
- San Juan Bautista School of Medicine
- State University of New York Upstate Medical University
- Renaissance School of Medicine, Stony Brook University
- Temple University
- Texas A&M University
- Foster School of Medicine TTUHSC El Paso
- Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
- Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, Nevada
- Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, NY
- Tulane University, School of Medicine
- University of Colorado Denver, School of Medicine
- University of Illinois at Chicago
- University of Miami, Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine
- University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine
- University of Texas at Tyler Health Science Center School of Medicine
- University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, Long School of Medicine
- John Sealy School of Medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch
- University of Texas Southwestern
- University of Vermont, Larner College of Medicine
- University of Washington, School of Medicine
- Virginia Commonwealth University, School of Medicine
- Wake Forest School of Medicine
- West Virginia University, School of Medicine
- Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific- Northwest
- William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine
For medical schools around the world, here is a list of every school and program that requires applicants to take Casper.
Why Are More Medical Schools Requiring Casper?
The medical community recently began to emphasize the importance of a doctor’s soft skills, professionalism, and bedside manner in addition to their scholarly knowledge and ability to apply that medical knowledge.
Medical school applicants hoping to one day become a physician must have a strong foundation of medical knowledge and possess superior smarts. Fortunately, there are plenty of metrics with which to test an applicant’s cognitive abilities. More schools are adopting Casper because it tests areas of being a doctor that are underrepresented in your medical school application.
Strong interpersonal skills are just as vital to a doctor’s success as superior cognitive abilities and medical know-how. Doctors must be able to effectively listen and communicate with their patients in order to accurately diagnose them and, depending on the specialty, deliver bad news to the patient and their family when the time comes. They must also maintain absolute professionalism throughout every patient interaction and be guided by iron-clad ethics.
While your personal statement, letters of recommendation, and Work and Activities section provide some insight into your ethical decision making, empathy, professionalism, and communication skills, the primary focus of your medical school application is your hard skills.
Admissions committees want to know who you are beyond your grades. They do not want to accept an applicant with stellar grades if it means that applicant is socially inept, rude, or possesses a Machiavellian sense of morals and ethics.
When faced with an ethical dilemma, as physicians often are, what will you do? Will your patients feel safe and comfortable with you, or will they dread every interaction and question whether or not you have their best interests at heart?
Admissions committees are realizing the importance of having these questions answered before they accept an applicant to their program, and the Casper is the best method they have of ascertaining the strength of your soft skills.
Casper Test Dates
In order to register for the Casper test, you must create an Altus Suite account with the following information:
- Government-issued photo ID
- Valid email address
- Working webcam
- Working microphone
You must register for your Casper at least 3 days before your preferred test date so that your identity can be verified and your payment processed. Do not book the test last minute.
Casper test dates vary between schools, but the test season generally runs from May to December. It’s imperative that you pay close attention to the due dates set by the schools you are applying to. The test dates for upcoming admissions cycles are made available in the spring. The Casper costs $12 for American students and an additional $12 for each school you want the results sent to.
You can only take the Casper once during an admissions cycle. If you are unsuccessful at matriculating to medical school, you will have to take Casper again the following admissions cycle.
Casper Test Preparation
You can’t actually study for the Casper like other tests, but you can practice for it by answering sample test questions, taking practice tests, increasing your typing speed, improving your reading comprehension, and understanding the video format—all of which we strongly recommend you do!
Casper is not a complicated test, nor is it a long one, but it will challenge you in ways tests of your hard skills won’t. In order to be successful, set plenty of time aside to practice and prepare.
Review our 15 different Casper preparation strategies that will help you succeed on test day.
Casper Prep With Med School Insiders
Med School Insiders offers Comprehensive Medical School Admissions Packages that will help you with every aspect of your medical school application—including Casper. Our team of doctors has years of experience serving on admissions committees, so you’ll receive key insights from people who have been intimately involved in the process.
Still have questions? We cover 19 common Casper questions in our Casper Test FAQ.