Duet is a screening tool that claims to help professional programs determine whether applicants’ values and goals match those of their own. As part of the Altus Suite, together with the CASPer test and the Snapshot interview, the Duet alleges to evaluate your personal and professional fit for the programs of your choice. In our blog, we will review how the Duet works, when and how you should complete this assessment, and how you can prepare for it.
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What is the Duet?
The Duet is one of the components of the Altus Suite, a multi-level assessment tool used by professional programs to screen and evaluate applicants. While the CASPer test claims to evaluate your professional skills and maturity, the Duet is claimed to be used to evaluate whether your goals, values, and characteristics are a good fit for the programs to which you are applying.
Right now, Duet is only used by both graduate and undergraduate medical programs in the US to evaluate applicants and is typically required in addition to the CASPer test. Some nursing programs, physician assistant programs in the US, vet schools and other professional programs may require applicants to complete the Duet. Below is a list of medical schools in the US which require or recommend Duet as part of their admissions process:
MD Schools That Require Duet
- Michigan State University College of Human Medicine – CASPer required, Duet strongly recommended
- Temple University Lewis Katz School of Medicine – CASPer and Duet required
- Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine – CASPer and Duet required
- Tulane University School of Medicine – CASPer required, Duet recommended
- University of Colorado Medical School – CASPer and Duet required
- University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine – CASPer and Duet required
- Rush Medical College of Rush University Medical Center – Duet required
- East Tennessee State University James H. Quillen College of Medicine – CASPer and Duet required
DO Schools That Require Duet
- Sam Houston State University College of Osteopathic Medicine – CASPer and Duet required
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How Does the Duet Work?
In order to assess whether you are a good fit for the programs of your choice, the Duet requires program stakeholders, such as deans, directors, and so forth, to complete the assessment of their school or program and rank its values and priorities. This is the program profile that will be used for comparing whether the applicants to this program fit the program’s needs, wants, and priorities. Programs may use the results of your Duet assessment to refine the candidate pool for medical school interviews or when deciding on offers of admission.
Duet is not scored in the same way the CASPer test is scored. You will not receive the results of your Duet assessment or which schools “fit” you best, as these will only be sent to the programs you’re applying to, along with your CASPer score.
Once you schedule your CASPer test date, you as an applicant will be required to complete the Duet assessment. Acuity Insights, which distributes the Altus Suite assessment, recommends completing Duet within 14 days of completing your CASPer. Duet takes approximately 15 minutes to complete.
If you are not writing the CASPer test, you can complete Duet at any time, but keep in mind that it takes 2-3 weeks for your results to be released. Know the application deadlines and keep your medical school application timeline in mind when you schedule your Duet or CASPer.
To complete Duet, you will need to log into your Altus Suite account and choose the Duet prompt. Review the instructions carefully before you begin the assessment. The Duet has three categories:
You will first review and reflect on the program characteristics and definitions. Keep in mind that you will be presented with 21 pairs for comparison, 6 of which are between characteristics under Teaching & Learning, 6 pairs between characteristics under Mission & Culture, 6 pairs between characteristics under Program Features, and 3 pairs between the main categories. For each pair of characteristics under a given category, you are to select the one that is more important to you and continue until all comparisons are complete. There are no right or wrong answers here, so choose the characteristics that are most important to you and your career goals.
Please remember that you can only change the response that immediately precedes the current one. You will not be allowed to go back more than one response to change your answer. Here are some examples of the kind of characteristics you could run into:
As I already mentioned, after completing the comparisons between all pairs of characteristics, you will be asked to compare the categories in pairs and select the one that is more important to you. For example:
- Mission & Culture vs Program Features
- Program Features vs Teaching & Learning
- Teaching & Learning vs Mission & Culture
To get you ready for the Duet, check out an example of what your list of comparisons might look like:
- Culture of diversity, integrity, and respect OR Altruism & patient-centered care
- Culture of diversity, integrity, and respect OR Scientific innovation
- Culture of diversity, integrity, and respect OR Education and accessibility
- Altruism & patient-centered care OR Scientific innovation
- Altruism & patient-centered care OR Education and accessibility
- Scientific innovation OR Education and accessibility
- Approachability of faculty OR Student-centered teaching
- Approachability of faculty OR Interdisciplinary learning
- Approachability of faculty OR Early clinical exposure
- Student-centered teaching OR Interdisciplinary learning
- Student-centered teaching OR Early clinical exposure
- Interdisciplinary learning OR Early clinical exposure
- Research opportunities OR Community outreach opportunities
- Research opportunities OR Promotion of wellness in the student body
- Research opportunities OR Access to advanced medical technology
- Community outreach opportunities OR Promotion of wellness in the student body
- Community outreach opportunities OR Access to advanced medical technology
- Access to advanced medical technology OR Promotion of wellness in the student body
- Mission & Culture OR Teaching & Learning
- Teaching & Learning OR Program Features
- Program Features OR Mission & Culture
Once you submit your assessment, your answers will be compared to the profiles filled out by the programs you applied to. The programs to which you are applying will then receive your automatically generated “fit” score for every category the school values in its applicants and your applicant ranking overall, i.e., your ranking of values will be compared with the program’s ranking and a score will be automatically calculated. This is the score that will be used to determine how well you fit in the programs of your choice.
Altus Suite claims that the CASPer test helps programs assess the strength of the personal and professional attributes of each applicant, while the Duet helps the programs figure out how well the applicant will fit in with their overall mission and values. Ultimately, the Altus Suite claims to assess different competencies and characteristics of each applicant, and to demonstrate how the applicants’ priorities will align with the schools’ objectives.
How to Prepare for Duet
Because the Duet is not an assessment of your knowledge or skills, it may seem like there is nothing you can do to increase the likelihood of getting a high fit score with your programs of choice. How can you really prepare for an assessment that evaluates your goals and professional priorities? But there are things you can do to try and ensure a high fit score with the programs you want to get into the most! However just like you can prepare for CASPer, you can prepare for the Duet. Let’s review a few tips that can help you prepare to fill out your Duet assessment profile successfully.
1. Research the Schools of Your Choice
Your research into the values and priorities of your chosen schools should begin long before you fill out the Duet. Applicants to any professional schools need to determine whether their academic, personal, and professional backgrounds and goals align with their chosen programs. If you are applying to medical school through AMCAS, TMDSAS or AACOMAS, you are strongly encouraged to explore your schools of choice on their official websites and social media to determine what your schools of choice value in their applicants. Not only will this help you prepare for the Duet, but it will also bolster your applications! Remember, your applications must emphasize the qualities, experiences, and skills valued by your chosen medical schools.
To do this, start by researching your schools’ official websites where most schools will outline their mission and goals. For example, let’s review the mission statement of the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine:
By reading their mission, you will learn that Texas A & M medical school values research, scholarship and access to health care. This means that your application must demonstrate your skill, experience, and interest in these categories. Perhaps you have extensive background working as a research assistant which you can highlight in your AMCAS work and activities? Or you have a perfect GPA and MCAT score that demonstrate your dedication to academic excellence? Or maybe you have clinical, hands-on experience delivering quality health care services or you have clinical research experience as a premed. The takeaway is this: before you even sit down to plan your application components, you must research the schools to which you want to apply. Your research will shed light on what your preferred schools value in their applicants and allow you to emphasize experiences and skills that would make you a great fit for the programs of your choice in your application!
Remember that the Duet’s fit score alone cannot really help you get in. This is why looking into the schools long before you complete the Duet is necessary. Your application must be stellar and fitting for the schools to take notice of you. If you do the research before completing the application and filling out the Duet, then both your application and your Duet profile will demonstrate that you are a good fit for the program. Both the application and the Duet will highlight the skills, goals, and priorities that will match those of your preferred programs.
2. Learn How to Use MSAR
The best way to learn what kind of qualities and characteristics your schools of choice value in their applicants is learning what kind of applicants these schools tend to admit. To do this, you must learn how to use the AAMC MSAR database. This online database provides you will the necessary acceptance data and statistics to help you determine whether you are a good fit for the programs you choose to apply to. While the mission statement and goal descriptions on official websites are usually easy to find, they can sometimes be vague or unhelpful. The MSAR database is much more helpful because it gives facts about academic, personal, and professional backgrounds of accepted applicants, which means that you can use this data to determine your own suitability for your preferred schools.
Check out how MSAR can help you choose the right school:
In addition to providing the GPA and MCAT thresholds of each MD school, the MSAR database outlines the educational and premedical experiences of their matriculants. Let’s examine the following chart from the Texas A & M medical school:
If you were looking to apply to Texas A & M medical school, this chart could help you determine which experiences and skills to highlight in your medical school application, and eventually in your Duet. As we already learned from the school’s mission statement, this medical school prizes research experience, just like the majority of the Ivy League medical schools. Moreover, while applicants are not expected to have paid clinical experience, they should strive to acquire meaningful volunteer and shadowing experiences. This means that in your application and Duet assessment, it would be wise to indicate that you value research opportunities, as well as the opportunity to work in diverse and underserved communities.
Let’s review another example. If you want to become a military doctor, the experiences and goals you emphasize in your medical school application and the Duet will be slightly different from those emphasized by applicants who want to become civilian doctors. Firstly, you will need to find schools that align with your goals. An obvious example of such school in the United States is the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, or the USUHS. Let’s review their mission statement:
This medical school is specifically designed to prepare medical officers, so if this is your objective and you are a US citizen, there is no better school for you. Your application and the Duet must clearly demonstrate that you value similar priorities, experiences, and skills that are valued by the USUHS.
So, what does that mean for your Duet? If you are applying to the USUHS make sure to prioritize your dedication to the military. Additionally, you can emphasize that you value research and development of the medical sciences in the military context and desire to provide medical services to the members of US military and their families.
As you are researching schools, keep a log of qualities, characteristics, and goals valued by each medical school you are applying to. This document will become very useful as you sit down to fill out your Duet assessment. Instead of relying on your memory or going back through your application components, this log will quickly bring back whatever objectives and attributes you should emphasize in your Duet.
1. What is the Duet?
The Duet is one of the three applicant evaluation tools that comprise the Altus Suite, a multi-leveled assessment tool used by professional programs. The Duet assesses the fit between applicants and their chosen programs.
2. What is the Altus Suite?
The Altus Suite is an assessment tool composed of two tools: the CASPer test and the Duet. Some or all parts of the Suite are used by professional programs in the United States and Canada to evaluate professional and personal qualities of their applicants.
3. How does the Duet work?
Program stakeholders fill out a profile that outlines the program’s priorities and the qualities they value in their applicants. The applicants fill out the same assessment in which they rank which characteristics they value in their chosen programs. The profiles are compared, and an automatically generated fit score is sent to the schools. Based on the fit score, the programs can determine which applicants are the best fit for them.
4. How do I know if my program requires the Duet?
If you are applying to a program or medical school that require CASPer, you should research whether the other two parts of the Altus Suite are also required. To do this, reach out to your programs of choice to determine if the Snapshot and the Duet are required.
5. How and when do programs use the Duet in the selection process?
Programs may choose to use the Duet at any point during the selection process, including choosing candidates for interviews or as they are sending out admissions offers.
6. When do I need to complete the Duet?
You can complete the Duet any time after you log into you Altus Suite account and register for your CASPer test. You must complete the Duet no later than 10 days after you write your CASPer test.
7. How long will it take to complete the Duet?
It will take you around 15 minutes to complete this portion of the Suite assessment.
8. Can I prepare for the Duet?
The best way to prepare for filling out the Duet assessment is to research your chosen schools. Both your application and the Duet must reflect your suitability for the programs you choose to apply to. For example, if you are applying to a physician assistant programs, make sure to research the PA school requirements, the mission, and the objectives of the programs you want to attend.
Keep a log of the qualities and skills the programs of your choice value. When you sit down to fill out the Duet, review the log and rank the appropriate characteristics and priorities in your assessment.
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