The Altus Suite assessment, distributed by Acuity Insights, is a multi-level evaluation used in the applicant selection process for many undergraduate and graduate programs in the US, Canada and abroad. Altus Suite is commonly used as an assessment tool by medical schools and other medical programs. The full assessment is comprised of the CASPer test, the Snapshot interview and Duet assessment. In this blog, we’ll cover every part of the Altus Suite assessment, how to prepare for each and what you need to know!

Disclaimer: BeMo does not recommend, endorse nor affiliate with Altus Suite or McMaster and vice versa. The following provides our opinion about Altus Suite and its components. To take the Altus Suite assessment, provided by Acuity Insights, contact the organization directly.


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List of Medical Schools That Require Altus Suite

US MD Programs That Require Altus Suite

  1. American University of The Caribbean School of Medicine – CASPer only
  2. Baylor College of Medicine – CASPer only
  3. Boston University School of Medicine – CASPer only
  4. Central Michigan University College of Medicine – CASPer only
  5. Drexel University College of Medicine – CASPer only
  6. East Tennessee State University James H. Quillen College of Medicine – CASPer only
  7. Florida Atlantic University College of Medicine – CASPer only
  8. Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell – CASPer only
  9. Howard University College of Medicine – CASPer only
  10. Indiana University School of Medicine – CASPer only
  11. Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine – CASPer only
  12. McGovern Medical School, UT Health Science Center Houston – CASPer only
  13. Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University – CASPer only
  14. Medical College of Wisconsin – CASPer only
  15. Meharry Medical College – CASPer only
  16. Mercer University School of Medicine – CASPer only
  17. Michigan State University College of Human Medicine – CASPer required, Duet recommended
  18. New York Medical College – CASPer only
  19. Northeast Ohio Medical University Medicine – CASPer only
  20. Oregon Health & Science University – CASPer only
  21. Penn State College of Medicine – CASPer only
  22. Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School – CASPer only
  23. San Juan Bautista School of Medicine – CASPer only
  24. State University of New York Upstate Medical University – CASPer only
  25. Stony Brook University School of Medicine – CASPer only
  26. Temple University Lewis Katz School of Medicine – CASPer and Duet required
  27. Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine – CASPer and Duet required
  28. Foster School of Medicine TTUHSC El Paso – CASPer only
  29. Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, School of Medicine – CASPer only
  30. Tulane University School of Medicine -- CASPer required, Duet recommended
  31. University of Colorado Denver Medical School -- CASPer, Snapshot, and Duet required
  32. University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine -- CASPer, Snapshot, and Duet required
  33. University of Miami Miller School of Medicine – CASPer only
  34. University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine – CASPer only
  35. University of Texas at Tyler Health Science Center Houston – CASPer only
  36. University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, Long School of Medicine – CASPer only
  37. John Sealy School of Medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch – CASPer only
  38. University of Texas Southwestern – CASPer only
  39. University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine – CASPer only
  40. University of Washington School of Medicine – CASPer only
  41. Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine – CASPer only
  42. Wake Forest School of Medicine – CASPer only
  43. West Virginia University School of Medicine – CASPer only

US DO Schools That Require CASPer

  1. Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine
  2. Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine
  3. California Health Sciences University College of Osteopathic Medicine
  4. Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine
  5. Kansas Health Science Center - Kansas College of Osteopathic Medicine
  6. Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine
  7. Sam Houston State University College of Osteopathic Medicine (All 3 Altus Suite components required)
  8. Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine
  9. Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific
  10. William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine

List of Medical Schools That Require CASPer in Canada

  1. Dalhousie University
  2. McGill University
  3. McMaster University
  4. Memorial University Faculty of Medicine
  5. Queen's University
  6. University of Ottawa
  7. Université de Montréal
  8. Université de Sherbrooke 
  9. Université Laval
  10. University of Alberta
  11. University of Manitoba
  12. University of Saskatchewan

Want to hear about how this CASPer test prep strategy increases your score by at least 23%?

What is the Altus Suite? 

Over the last few years, the Altus Suite has morphed into a multi-level assessment that can be used by some schools to evaluate the suitability of applicants for professional programs. CASPer, being the most well-known part of this multi-level assessment, was the first component to be introduced to the public.  A few years later, professional school applicants learned that along with the test, they are expected to complete an additional short video interview, the Snapshot, that is claimed to help schools get a better understanding of the applicants’ personality and communication skills. And now, the Altus Suite assessment has also added the Duet – a value-alignment evaluation that claims to compare programs’ values with those of the applicants to find the ideal fit. The 3 parts of the assessment are designed to evaluate applicants’ soft skills, personal values and motivations, and alignment with whatever professional program they are applying to.

While not every professional program uses all of the Altus Suite assessment to evaluate applicants—for instance, many programs only ask that applicants complete the CASPer test—some programs ask applicants to complete all 3 components. Most commonly, CASPer or the other parts of the assessment are a required part of applying to medical schools in the US and many medical schools in Canada. CASPer and Altus Suite are also used as evaluation tools by some of the best vet schools, nursing programs and dental schools. CASPer is a common requirement for applications to PA programs in the US and PA programs in Canada.

How do I book my CASPer?

Applicants can book their CASPer, Snapshot and Duet online through the Altus Suite portal after creating an account. Your payment and registration for the test cover all parts of the assessment. Once you book your CASPer test date, you can complete the other two stages of the assessment at your convenience within the indicated time restriction, i.e., no later than 10 days after you take CASPer. You must complete the CASPer test on a specific date you book, but you do not have to complete the Snapshot and the Duet at any specific time. Don’t forget to keep in mind application deadlines and try to complete all three components of the Altus Suite assessment in a timely manner. Keep your medical school application timeline in mind, and remember that it takes between 2-3 weeks for Altus Suite to release your scores to relevant programs.

Remember to check whether your undergraduate or graduate program is one of the programs or medical schools that require CASPer and which parts of the assessment are required. Not every school will list the full requirements, so you can always contact the admissions office to confirm what you need to complete for your application. If you’re applying to one of the medical schools that don’t require CASPer, you may still be asked to complete just Duet or Snapshot, so be aware of the full application requirements!

Components of the Altus Suite

Now let’s go over each part of the assessment in more detail.

#1 The CASPer Test

This is the most familiar part of the Altus Suite, yet it is the most intimidating. This situational judgment test is famous for its difficulty, prompting many students asking how to prepare for CASPer. It doesn’t help that some suggest that it’s not possible to prepare for CASPer. At BeMo, we have found by using the right strategies and practice, students can in fact prepare for CASPer and feel confident in their completion of the assessment. We have found the coaching effect on CASPer for applicants can actually increase their score and better prepare them for the challenge. The key to scoring well on CASPer is to understand the test’s format, content and the strategies you can use to answer the questions.

Let’s quickly recap what the CASPer test is:

What’s on the CASPer test?

The CASPer test, which stands for Computer-based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics, claims to assess the suitability and qualities of professional school applicants for the programs they apply to.

CASPer claims to assess 10 attributes: 

The CASPer test is comprised of 15 scenarios dealing with real-life situations, broken into 2 sections. The first section contains 3 text-based scenarios, and 6 video prompts. You are asked 3 open-ended questions based on the scenario observed. Essentially, the questions will prod you to answer how you would deal with the situation you witnessed. In the first section, you are given 5 minutes to type your answers for those three questions. In the second section, you will be presented with 2 text prompts and 4 video prompts, with each scenario followed by 3 open-ended questions. You will have 1 minute to video record your answer to the questions.

There are 3 types of questions you will see on the CASPer test:

  1. Scenario-based questions
  2. Policy-based questions
  3. Personal or quirky questions

We’ll explore strategies for each of these different CASPer test question types in the next section.

How is the CASPer test scored?

Your performance in each scenario is given a score between 1 (lowest) and 9 (highest). You will be evaluated on your ability to remain objective, non-judgmental, non-assumptive, diplomatic, and professional in your answers. You will receive a quartile score for your CASPer test, which means you are scored in comparison to how other applicants did on the same test on the same date as you. So, if you scored in the 4th quartile for your CASPer test on your test date, this means you scored higher than 75% of your peers on that date. Your score will be released to you 3-4 weeks after you take your CASPer test. Altus Suite will also release your score to the programs you’re applying to 2-3 weeks after you complete your test. Programs won’t receive your quartile score, but your raw z-score instead.

Keep in mind that you are also scored holistically for each scenario, so if you miss a question or don’t finish typing a sentence, this won’t significantly impact your score. It’s better to provide a quality answer to one question over three incomplete or unsatisfactory answers to all 3 questions in the scenario.

We recommend taking a CASPer practice test, similar to an MCAT diagnostic test, to gauge how well you perform under CASPer’s time constraints and get familiar with the test content and question types. Altus Suite offers an official practice CASPer test for applicants on their website.

#2 Snapshot

The Snapshot is a one-way video response tool claimed to allow you to connect with professional programs to give them a more well-rounded view of you as an applicant. As we already discussed, the CASPer test is meant to evaluate your professional suitability, but the Snapshot evaluates your communication skills, personal traits, and disposition. Like many other video interview tools, the Snapshot is technically designed for schools to get to know their applicants better. Snapshot questions are not unlike common PA school interview questions, nursing school interview questionsmedical school interview questions, or any other questions you may face in a professional interview. You are likely to be faced with questions like “tell me about yourself”, "what's the biggest obstacle you have overcome?", "Why did you choose your profession?", "what’s your greatest weakness?”, and so on.  

You will record the interview using the same account you created for the CASPer test. The Snapshot consists of three questions in total and you will have 30 seconds to brainstorm your answer without being recorded and two minutes to respond to each question while you are being recorded. The entire interview should not take you more than 10 minutes. Snapshot pauses recording while you are reflecting on the question for 30 seconds. 

Once your video interview is complete, the results are sent to the programs of your choosing. You won’t be able to view your recordings yourself, and you won’t be given a score of any kind.

Check out the types of questions you can expect from the Snapshot:

#3 The Duet

This is the most recent addition to the Altus Suite assessment, and therefore the least known. Essentially, the Duet is designed to assess your suitability for your chosen programs. At the same time, the Duet also claims to assess which programs are the best fit for your academic and professional goals. According to Altus Suite, representatives, or stakeholders, of professional programs, such as medical schools, complete an evaluation that generates a Program Profile. The applicants to these programs then complete the same assessment in which they choose the elements from several categories they most value in programs. The schools’ program profiles are then compared to the applicants’ rankings of values, goals, and priorities, resulting in “fit” scores for each applicant. The programs then receive the “fit” score of applicants for each category as well as the overall applicant rankings. Currently, the Duet is only available to US graduate medical programs and is piloted for US undergraduate medical programs.  

While the Duet sounds like an objective and standardized way to assess the fit between applicants and schools, it’s early to say whether this evaluation is truly non-biased. Considering that the Duet is designed to help schools find applicants whose values and goals align with their own, there may be an inherent partiality towards the schools. 

As with the Snapshot interview, you will not receive a score for your Duet submission and you will not be able to view the results. Your choices will be sent to the programs you indicate, and only they will be able to view the results of your evaluation.

Here’s a quick overview of the Altus Suite assessment components:

How to Prepare for the Altus Suite Components

How long does it take to prepare for CASPer?

Notorious for its unpredictability, the CASPer test is difficult to prepare for, but not impossible. The key to a successful CASPer answer is having answer strategies for CASPer question types. You must design a CASPer prep approach to tackle any question category you may face. We recommend at least 6-8 weeks to prepare for CASPer. This prep includes taking CASPer practice tests, developing your answer strategies with sample CASPer questions and working on your timing, if need be. You may also choose to enroll in a CASPer test prep course, so it’s best to give yourself enough time to complete the course, too.

Completing the CASPer test takes between 100-120 minutes, and you’ll be given two optional breaks of 5 minutes and 10 minutes during the test. It’s a good idea to take advantage of these breaks to gather your thoughts and get ready for the next scenario.

Read on for our CASPer prep tips and question strategies!

Watch this video for our ultimate CASPer prep strategy and sample passages!

Situational or scenario questions

After witnessing a scenario, you will be presented with questions that ask for your personal reaction and assessment of the situation. Questions of this category may include “What would you do in this scenario?”, “What is going on in your mind right now?”, “How would you handle X situation?”, and so on. When you’re faced with a CASPer scenario follow-up question, it is important to do identify these 3 things:

  1. The most pressing or urgent issue presented in the scenario
  2. Your role in the scenario
  3. All the players who are affected directly or indirectly by the situation, including the most vulnerable parties or the person who will be most affected by any decision or action you take

Lastly, remember not to make any assumptions and remain as non-judgmental as possible in your answer. When you’re typing up or recording your answer, follow this response structure to hit all the key points:

  1. State the most pressing issue in the scenario and how you can ensure the well-being of the vulnerable party.
  2. Gather information missing from the prompt by having private conversations with the parties involved.
  3. Using if/then statements, outline 2 or 3 possible outcomes from best to worst case scenario. Then, identify the most ethical and rational solution to the problem, which causes the least amount of harm to all those involved.

Remember that you do not need to include all this information in the first question or repeat information in all 3 of your answers. You are scored based on your response to all 3 questions, so be as concise and to the point as possible, without repeating information or including unnecessary information. Your focus in all your responses should be, as much as possible, to:

  • Answer the questions being asked
  • Include the most pressing issue and your possible solutions
  • Demonstrate as many of the 10 CASPer attributes as you can in your response
  • Remain non-judgmental and unbiased

Scenario question themes

Scenario-based questions on the CASPer test will typically involve a theme, and many will involve multiple themes. These themes may be more general, such as a scenario depicting a conflict of interest or current events awareness, or they may be specific to the profession you are pursuing, such as rural vs. city practice in medicine or social awareness in nursing. Knowing what type of question themes are on the CASPer test will help you quickly identify the most pressing issue and help you to organize your thoughts around the main theme or themes. This can also identify which traits you can highlight in your response. For instance, an ethical or moral dilemma theme provides opportunity to showcase your empathy, non-judgmental approach and communication.

We’ll look at the different themes you can expect to see on CASPer below. And remember that questions will usually involve multiple themes for you to consider in your response:

Policy questions  

Policy questions are designed to evaluate your professional awareness and decision-making abilities. The questions are typically phrased in the following way: "What are your opinions on X in the medical field?", "How would you address the X issue in your professional field?", and so on. With policy questions, the test also assesses your ability to remain objective and non-critical of all sides of an issue. Again, consider the themes that the policy question is asking about, i.e. scope and current social events awareness, rural vs. city practice, ethical/moral dilemma, etc. Follow this general structure to answer CASPer policy questions: 

To prepare for questions in the policy category, research current events, social and political issues, and challenges facing the profession you are trying to join. You can start by visiting websites of your provincial/state and federal/national medical associations to read about the latest policies and news. You can learn about local and global health issues by reading the newspaper, watching the news, and visiting websites of institutions like the World Health Organization. To practice answering policy questions, you can write down a list of the most important and interesting policies you encounter, write down their pros and cons, and try to formulate your own informed opinion. Practice this strategy and know how to implement it in answering different policy questions you might face in the real test.  

Personal questions 

Many follow-up CASPer questions will ask you questions about times when you had to deal with similar issues or situations that are presented in the scenario you are faced with, such as “Have you ever experienced X? What was your reaction?” or “Have you ever been faced with X issue? How did you deal with it?”. Personal questions are meant to assess how you react in certain situations. The question may deal with professional boundaries, ethical/moral dilemmas, conflict resolutions, and other issues. Your answer should demonstrate to the evaluator that you know how to handle yourself in a situation. 

When you answer personal questions remember these steps:

Quirky questions

These are a subtopic of the personal question type, but they are designed to throw you off or catch you off guard. They are designed to test how well you think on your feet and if you can provide an interesting or well thought-out answer to a random question. A quirky question might seem innocuous, i.e. “what kind of fruit would you be?”, but you should take it as seriously as other questions.

The structure to answering these types of questions are exactly the same as personal questions: provide a personal example, discuss what you learned and how you will implement those lessons moving forward. Don’t be afraid to show a little creativity in your answer, as your responses to quirky questions might end up being the most memorable for their uniqueness.

Are there right and wrong answers on the CASPer test? Watch this video to find out:

Snapshot

Like with any interview, you will need to practice with sample questions to prepare for the Snapshot. You must have a strategy for answering the most common interview question types, such as “why do you want to become a doctor?”. The Snapshot mostly consists of personal questions, though you should also prepare for the situational and policy questions just to be safe. You can use the structures and strategies we outlined above for the CASPer test to formulate your Snapshot answers or a mock med school interview.

However, practicing with hundreds of questions before the interview might not be enough for some students. No amount of interview practice is sufficient without constructive feedback. The help of a professional medical school advisor can help you articulate your answers, but it can do more than that. Interviews are stressful and unpredictable. Most students struggle with the spontaneity that comes with interviews. A professional can help you develop confidence and present your best self to the admissions committees. Quality feedback can really improve your answers and make the difference between getting invited to in-person interviews or not. 

Whether you choose to get the help of a professional or not, remember that perfect practice makes perfect. Do not simply run through questions and try to come up with mediocre answers. Make sure to use the fail-proof strategies we outlined above in the CASPer section to ensure that you can tackle any question that comes your way. Additionally, remember that your practice must include timing yourself, as you will only have a couple of minutes to formulate a stellar response to each question.  

To help you get ready for the format, you can even try recording yourself during practice! To recreate the atmosphere of the real interview, practice recording in a quiet place with a neutral background and dress as you would for a professional interview. Recording yourself will allow you to see how you come across on screen and notice whether you are displaying signs of anxiety or stress, such as too much movement, lack of eye contact, or nervous laughter. Recording yourself will also help you to gauge whether you are improving. The more questions you run through and answer using our strategies, the more comfortable you should become with answering questions for the Snapshot.  

The Duet

It is difficult to prepare for this part of the Altus Suite assessment because it is not your abilities and experiences that are being assessed here. However, we are here to give you some tips for how you can ensure that you fill out the assessment to your advantage.

Before you sit down to fill out which qualities and characteristics you value most in the programs to which you are applying, visit the official websites of these schools. Read up on their mission statement, goals, and values. These are all important to assess what kind of applicants the programs are looking for. Based on your research, you will know which characteristics to put in your Duet assessment to target specific schools or programs.

If you are applying to an MD program in the US, learn how to use MSAR to choose the right school for you. This online database provides you with more than just the schools’ mission statement to help you gauge whether you are the right fit for your programs. MSAR also outlines the history of premedical experiences of each school’s matriculants. This means that you can assess what kind of experiences and skills these schools value in their students and highlight these in your Duet assessment! For example, over 90% of matriculants to Ivy League medical schools have extensive research experience, which indicates that you should emphasize your research skills and experiences in your AMCAS work and activities section if you are planning to apply to Columbia or Yale. In your Duet assessment, you can indicate that what you value in the programs you are applying to are research opportunities. 

Did you know that 90% of Ivy League matriculants have research experience?

On the other hand, if you are applying to the University of Mississippi School of Medicine, you might want to emphasize that the qualities you value in medical school programs include community involvement, diversity, providing healthcare for underserved communities, and so on. Why? Because based on the premedical experiences of their matriculants, those are the qualities the University of Mississippi is looking for in its students.   

Remember, it is important to do this research before you start preparing your application components! This way you will be able to emphasize the qualities and characteristics especially valued by the schools of your choice. This will help increase your Duet "fit" score since your application will include the qualities and experiences cherished by the schools of your choice. When the time comes, you will be able to fill out the Duet assessment with the knowledge of what kind of characteristics you should include based on what the schools value in their students. 

5 Tips for CASPer, Snapshot and Duet Success

Whether you’re completing just the CASPer test or all three components of the Altus Suite assessment, good preparation and strategy is key. Aside from knowing how to answer the questions, there are some other tips and tricks you can implement so that come test day, you’ll be confident and self-assured for any part of the assessment. Below are our top 5 tips for acing the CASPer, Snapshot and Duet!

#1 Practice your video responses

It’s a good idea to practice your video responses and record yourself so you can play it back. This will reveal any adjustments you need to make to your answers, but also if you have anything distracting in the background of your shot or any nervous tics you need to fix. Practice recording yourself with the timer on as well, so you can start shaping concise, confident answers within the 1-minute time limit and manage your stress over being timed and recoded.

#2 Practice your typed answers

Many students find that 5 minutes is not enough to answer all 3 questions for the CASPer scenarios. This is why it’s important to take a mock CASPer test and work on both your typing speed and your answers. Again, use a timer so you can use stress management techniques and gauge how fast you can type quality answers. If your answers are too wordy, work on being concise and to the point. Keep in mind that the real CASPer test does NOT require you to write complete sentences. You may use bullet points, so long as you include the important and relevant information. If you’re a slow reader or slow typist, there are many resources you can use to improve your typing speed or improve your reading comprehension.

#3 Test your technology

It’s always important to test your technology to make sure it functions correctly and that you know how to use it. Technical issues on the day of your assessment do happen, but it’s up to you to mitigate these and plan to have back ups. Review the CASPer Systems Requirements checklist on the Altus Suite website to ensure you have the proper equipment you need to take the test. Before you book your test, get your technology prepped, make sure you have a quiet, distraction-free space to take the test and complete the systems check on the day of your test.

#4 Consider your presentation

Since you’ll be recorded during your CASPer and Snapshot interview, and evaluators will be able to see your recorded responses, it’s important to consider how you present yourself on camera and when answering questions. Your posture, body language, dress and tone of voice are all going to factor into your presentation, just as they would in a real professional interview. Be aware of these things during your practice sessions and make adjustments as need be. If you fidget out of nervousness, practice some calming breathing techniques before you record your answers. Practice speaking calmly and confidently, and remember to speak loud enough for your microphone to pick up. If an evaluator can’t understand or hear your answer, you won’t receive a good score! Remember to dress professionally and keep a neutral background in your video so you can minimize distractions to yourself and the evaluator viewing your video.

#5 Do your research

As we’ve mentioned, doing your research is critical to completing your Duet assessment, since you’ll need to evaluate program values and qualifications to determine not only where you would be a great fit but how to choose a medical school or professional program. Researching programs can inform your answers to personal or quirky questions, too, since you can start brainstorming which personal anecdotes or experiences will showcase the qualities or attributes schools are looking for in their applicants. For example, a story about your volunteer work in a rural community will appeal to a medical school that prizes working in underserved areas.

The second thing you should spend time researching is the hot topic issues, current or proposed policies in your profession and current events. Knowledge of these will inform your answers to policy questions, but may also help you formulate answers to scenario questions on CASPer, too. If you know there are gaps in your knowledge or experiences, such as a lack of experience working in rural areas, it is a great idea to at the very least research the current issues facing rural communities when it comes to health care or seek out some volunteer opportunities in rural areas to get firsthand experience.

Want help preparing for your CASPer, Snapshot or Duet? Here’s what our students have to say about us:

Conclusion

There is no denying that preparing for the Altus Suite assessment is a massive undertaking. Getting ready to ace each component of this assessment will take months. To accommodate appropriate preparations, you must carefully plan your application components, standardized tests, extracurriculars, and other commitments. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed in this situation. Instead of making the application process easier on students, the assessment adds more stress and anxiety. If you ever feel that you need assistance, you should reach out to professionals like a medical school admissions consultant to help you prepare for this obstacle. Appropriate and objective help can truly alleviate the fear of the new and unknown features of the CASPer test or Altus Suite assessment.  

FAQs 

1. What is the Altus Suite?

The Altus Suite (now Acuity Insights) is a multi-level assessment tool claimed to be used to evaluate the suitability of applicants for professional programs, such as medical, dental, nursing, pharmacy, and physician assistant schools. It consists of three components: the CASPer test, the CASPer Snapshot interview, and the Duet. 

2. What is the CASPer test and how is it related to the Altus Suite?

The CASPer test is one of the Altus Suite components, the other two being the Snapshot and the Duet. The CASPer test is a situational judgment test designed to assess your suitability for your chosen profession. The test is composed of 15 scenarios that present you with real-life situations, followed by three questions that are based on the scenario you witnessed. Essentially, the questions ask you to assess the situation and answer how you would react to the situation. You will have 5 minutes to type your answers to the three follow-up questions in the first section of the exam and 1 minute to video record your answer to each of the 3 follow-up questions in the second section of the exam. 

3. I only get 5 minutes to type 3 answers for the CASPer test! It’s not enough!

You do not need to answer all three questions to get a high score. The key is to provide a quality answer for any of the three follow-up questions. It may be that you cover all three questions in your first answer. Remember to follow answer strategies and construct a thorough answer. If it’s a scenario question, identify the pressing issue, the vulnerable party, and provide a sound solution. If it’s a policy question, demonstrate your knowledge of the policy, give a couple of pros and cons, and finish with your own take on the issue. Lastly, if it’s a personal question, give a short background to explain your situation, demonstrate what your actions were, and close off by explaining what you learned. Most importantly, remain non-judgmental in all of your answers.  

4. How long is the CASPer test?

On average, the test takes about 100-120 minutes to complete. You will have 2 optional breaks: one 5-minute break half-way through the first section and one 10-minute break before the second section. It is recommended that you take the breaks to relax and get your mind off the test. Do not think about the questions you already completed – this will only make you anxious! 

5. What is the Snapshot and how is it related to the Altus Suite?

The Snapshot interview is one of the Altus Suite components. It is a one-way video interview tool claimed to assess your communication skills and suitability. The Snapshot consists of 3 personal questions and you are given 30 seconds to reflect on each question and 2 minutes to answer each question. You are not recorded while you reflect on the question. The entire interview should take no more than 10 minutes to record.

6. What kind of questions does the Snapshot ask?

The Snapshot mostly consists of personal questions. However, it might be a good idea to prepare to answer scenario and policy questions just in case you face them. If you prepare for all three question types, you will not be caught off guard.  

7. What is the Duet and how is it related to the Altus Suite?

The Duet is one of the components of the Altus Suite. It's meant to assess whether you are a good fit for the programs you apply to. The programs' stakeholders fill out an evaluation that generates a Program Profile. You will also complete the same assessment and choose the elements you most appreciate in the programs to which you apply. The schools’ profiles are then compared to the applicants’ rankings of values, goals, and priorities, resulting in “fit” scores for each applicant. Based on this “fit” score, the schools will be able to see which applicants would be the best fit. 

8. How can I prepare for the Duet?

The best way to prepare for filling out your Duet assessment is by reading up on the programs you are applying to. Research their mission statement, objectives, and past matriculants’ experiences to figure out what kind of qualities they value in their applicants. Jot down these qualities and make sure to include them in your Duet assessment. 

9. Will I know how I did on my Altus Suite components?

You will receive your CASPer score 2-3 weeks after you've completed the test. You will receive a quartile score, indicating how well you performed relative to your peers on the typed section of the CASPer. You won't receive any feedback or score for the video responses you gave during the test. Your Snapshot and Duet components are not scored, but the results of both assessments will be sent to your chosen schools to review. You will not be able to review the results of your Snapshot and Duet components yourself.

10. How do I know if I am doing a good job on my CASPer answers while I practice?

Firstly, you must practice with realistic CASPer simulations. When you answer CASPer questions, make sure to use the answer strategies I outline in this blog. But even this is often not enough. Your strategy might be correct, but unless you get feedback from a professional you cannot feel truly prepared. It is important to know what you must work on and how to improve your answers, otherwise, your answers will not get better. Professional feedback is key because professionals can identify your problem areas, give you concrete actionable advice, and provide you with the necessary training. If you need help preparing for your CASPer test, make sure to contact us

11. Where can I complete the Altus Suite components?

You can complete all three components on a computer at a location of your choice. Since the test, the interview, and the Duet require your absolute attention, make sure that you’re in a quiet place with no distractions. Make sure that your computer has a webcam and a reliable internet connection that passes the CASPer System Requirements Check.

12. How do programs use Altus Suite?

It is up to the individual programs to determine how they will incorporate the CASPer test score and your Snapshot interview into their application decisions. Some programs may use them for interview considerations, while others consider CASPer when deciding on offers of admission. The Duet is used by schools to determine how well the applicant will fit in the program. Visit the program of your choice to find out how Altus Suite components are used. 

13. Do all professional programs require the completion of all three Altus Suite components?

No, not all programs require the completion of all three Altus Suite components. All three parts are only required by some graduate medical programs and undergraduate medical programs in the US. Other professional programs may require only one or two of the components. Remember, many professional programs will not require any of the Altus Suite for application. If you are applying to medical school, don't forget to check out which medical schools require CASPer. 

14. Can you study for Altus Suite?

Yes, we believe it is possible to prepare for CASPer and the other components of the Altus Suite assessment. By knowing the format and content of the test, using practice sessions and developing effective answer strategies, applicants can increase their CASPer score.

15. What is a good quartile score for CASPer?

Ideally you want to have a score in the 4th quartile for CASPer, which would indicate that you scored higher than at least 75% of your peers on the same test. However, you should also evaluate how schools use your CASPer results and how you will be evaluated.

16. How hard is the Altus Suite?

While the CASPer test and other assessments are intimidating, they can be prepared for. Using the right strategies and consistent practice, you can develop a familiarity with the assessment components and confidence in your responses.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting 


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