CASPer personal questions examples are aimed at helping you prepare for the , which is often administered by professional schools as an admission requirement. Personal questions are only one category of the questions asked on the CASPer assessment. There are many different categories of , but personal questions present different challenges. CASPER personal questions, such as the “” question, can be the most difficult, as it asks for your opinion and personal narrative. This article will explore various, real-life CASPer personal question examples and provide answers based on expert-advice from former CASPer test evaluators.
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School administrators and admission committees all say that there is no wrong or right answer when responding to CASPer personal questions. However, this is misleading, because we know . Every answer in a CASPer test is scored according to a Likert-style scale that assigns a numerical value to every answer, which then adds up to your total score. Naturally, a low score means that you did not provide a “correct” answer and you were penalized, as with any other test or exam.
Here are some CASPer sample questions to get started!
How, then, is it possible to answer a CASPer personal question correctly?
1. Make sure you understand the question.
CASPer personal questions are not complicated, but they are difficult to answer because you have to give a lot of information in a short amount of time. But, reading over the question carefully should help you understand its intent, especially when you see command words, such as “explain”, “tell”, and “answer”, which denote what you need to address in your answer.
2. Write only what you need to answer the question; but less is not necessarily more.
Conventional advice would tell you to be concise and keep your answer short, which is good advice. But, depending on the question, elaborating on your response by writing more will provide a fuller, more nuanced answer rather than writing short, simple declarative sentences that don’t reveal a lot about you. This is important because one of the central objectives of the CASPer exam is to understand your reasoning and critical thinking ability.
If you are able to demonstrate your thinking process through your words, then, providing background, and context to your answer could be beneficial, as your assessors will see the maturity of your thinking. Yet, this does not mean that you should be prolix and write too much. You should aim to write anywhere between 5-8 sentences, if you are able. If you feel that you can answer the question with less and also demonstrate sound thinking, then do so.
3. Show how you changed/improved/learned from the experience.
Growth and maturity are some of the aspects of your personality that the CASPer and other are supposed to measure. So, when answering a CASPer personal question, remember to link the experience or event to the development of your character in some way. This could come in the form of learning better time management or organizational skills, consulting many people before making an important decision, or replacing self-destructive habits with constructive ones.
Describe a time when you worked as part of a highly diverse team.
One of my first jobs during my undergraduate was as a server at a very upscale banquet hall. It was there that I learned that diversity does not necessarily lead to better outcomes and performance, but it’s the demands of the job at hand that lends itself more to creating a cohesive and productive work environment. My co-workers were from Northern Ireland, Ecuador, South Africa, China, South Korea, and more. They were all very generous and helpful with me, as the new person, but, personally, they still remained distant and a little guarded. It was only when we had to host high-profile events with a lot of VIPs that I really got to know them, through their actions. I saw everyone giving their all during those events and it motivated me to work harder as well. It was during those events that I realized that no matter where people come from, they will all come together to achieve a mutual goal. When everyone is focused on the same outcome, especially in a healthcare setting that is ultimately how we show our care and responsibility to each other.
Why is lifelong learning important for a professional in your field?
Lifelong learning is an essential aspect of my professional journey as a physician assistant for many reasons. The first, and most important reasons being that I want to give all my patients the best possible care available. A physician’s assistant is often the only healthcare provider in many underserved communities, far away from the large teaching and research hospitals where medical breakthroughs are often made. But keeping up-to-date on important advances in medical science is also important to me to satisfy my unending scientific curiosity. While I want to provide all my patients the most effective and up-to-date treatments, I also recognize that I can take the initiative to make important advances in medical science or treatment models, especially in settings where access to cutting-edge research is limited. When I worked as an outreach coordinator for an urgent care clinic, I liaised with other urgent care clinics and spoke to other PAs, nurses and doctors to see if we could coordinate our care and provide individuals with mental health disorders and addictions within vulnerable populations access to primary care services as well. Through this program, we directed our resources to wherever and whenever the needs were greatest, and we rotated around so we could provide the same level or care to individuals in various locations. The program is still running now and, while I recognize the need for lifelong learning, I also see the importance of applying that knowledge into important research, or other, non-medical ways, which also benefit the community-at-large.
When you become a professional in your chosen field, would you ever refer a colleague to a disciplinary hearing if you were sure they were acting unethically?
Fortunately, I have never encountered a situation where I was faced with deciding whether to report unethical behavior of any colleagues, and, to be honest, I don’t feel like I know how to act exactly. My feelings would be clouded if it was someone, I was close to. But I think that would be my first step; talking to them directly and finding out what was behind their decision. Making a mistake is very different from breaching ethics. The latter is a conscious choice a person makes knowing that what they are doing is wrong, but why or what motivated my colleague to do such a thing would be how I would go about addressing the problem. However, if these ethical violations were to continue, then it would be clear to me that this is part of a larger pattern of behavior that needs to be called out. I would confront my colleague again and tell them that I am considering reporting them, if they will not stop their unethical behavior. With that “red line” set, if they were to cross it again, then I would repot them, without hesitation. It wouldn’t be a knee-jerk reaction to something, but a measured response to someone who is not taking their role as a healthcare provider seriously and is an affront to the profession, our colleagues and our patients.
Tell me about a time you overcame a challenge.
Quitting smoking was one of the most challenging endeavors I faced, especially after nearly ten years of addiction. I made numerous attempts to quit, but often found myself relapsing and making excuses to continue smoking. It was a frustrating cycle that seemed impossible to break.
However, I had a significant realization during my journey. I understood that I needed to genuinely “want” to quit smoking, not just feel pressured to do so. Instead of constantly trying and failing, I decided to wait for that moment of true commitment. I encountered an additional obstacle as I am allergic to common quit smoking medications like Chantix. This forced me to explore alternative methods. I relied on a combination of nicotine replacement products such as patches and gums, as well as sheer willpower, to maintain my resolve. Over time, I developed healthy coping mechanisms, such as exercise and deep breathing, to manage stress and anxiety. With determination and support from loved ones, I gradually broke free from the grip of cigarettes. Quitting smoking taught me the power of perseverance and the importance of truly desiring change. It was a difficult journey, but one that has strengthened my resilience and self-discipline.
Tell me about a time you made a mistake.
One of the most valuable lessons I learned was from a mistake I made during a research project in my undergraduate studies. I was responsible for conducting data analysis, and due to a misinterpretation of the instructions, I ended up using the wrong statistical method. As a result, the findings I presented were inaccurate and misleading. Realizing my error was a humbling experience. I immediately took responsibility for my mistake and informed my professor and team members about the issue. I acknowledged the impact it could have on our project and the importance of rectifying the situation. To resolve the mistake, I consulted with my professor and sought guidance on the correct statistical approach. We reanalyzed the data and obtained accurate results. I then presented the revised findings to the team, along with a sincere apology for the initial error. This mistake taught me several important lessons. First, it highlighted the significance of careful attention to detail and thorough understanding of project requirements. It also emphasized the importance of effective communication and seeking assistance when faced with challenges. Furthermore, I learned the value of accountability and transparency in addressing and resolving mistakes.
I am passionate about science and discovery, much like artists and musicians are passionate about their artforms. Throughout my life, I have admired the creativity and depth of knowledge possessed by artists and other creatives. While I may have felt intimidated and a little envious of their expertise, I recognized that my true calling lay in the field of medicine. Medicine, to me, represents the perfect fusion of art and science. It satisfies my innate desire to create and explore, but with the profound purpose of improving the health and well-being of patients. It requires a delicate balance of analytical thinking and intuition, as well as the ability to navigate the intricate complexities of the human condition. As a physician, I see myself as a lifelong learner and discoverer. Just as artists continually refine their skills and musicians expand their repertoire, I am committed to staying at the forefront of medical knowledge. The dynamic nature of medicine ensures that there is always more to explore, discover, and innovate, which is why I want to be a doctor.
Tell me about yourself.
I am a refugee from the second Iraq War, and the experiences I went through have shaped my perspective on life and my aspirations for the future. In particular, I draw inspiration from my uncle, who was a physician in Iraq. As the family legend goes, my uncle took bribes and kickbacks from pharmaceutical companies to earn the money to helps us relocate to Canada. It is a complicated story, but it has inspired me to advocate for ethical healthcare practices and fight for the well-being of vulnerable populations, as no one should have to compromise themselves morally to support their family. In that respect, I have been a volunteer with the Access Alliance Multicultural Health and Community Services in Toronto since the beginning of my undergraduate studies. Through my work at Access, I have been able to meet people from all parts of the globe and encounter children who, like myself long ago, are navigating a new world and are more than a little scared. I do my best to introduce them to Toronto, by taking them out to see the sights, along with their parents, but, fortunately, children adapt easily and it has been a joy to watch them flourish in their new homes.
One of my greatest weaknesses is my tendency to be overly self-critical and fear failure. I worked in the office of a furniture making factory during one summer and I was so overcome with self-doubt that I constantly asked my supervisor what to do and how to do it, unable to make a decision on my own or handle a problem. As a result, I fell behind on deadlines and, unfortunately, lost my job. This experience was a wake-up call for me. I realized that while seeking help and guidance is important, I also needed to develop my problem-solving skills and trust in my own abilities. To overcome this weakness, I sought mental health counseling to understand my fear of failure. Through therapy, I learned to challenge my limiting beliefs and cultivate a more compassionate and supportive inner dialogue. I developed mindfulness techniques and self-care practices that helped me navigate stressful situations and maintain a healthier mindset. Engaging in mental health counseling was a transformative experience for me. I now approach challenges with more resilience, self-compassion, and a willingness to learn from setbacks.
Thinking of enrolling in a CASPer test prep course? Here's how one can help you:
CASPer personal question examples like the above are meant to help you understand what CASPer assessors are looking for during real CASPer examinations. However, you should not memorize or repeat these answers in your actual CASPer test. You should only read over these sample answers as a way to understand how to craft your own answer, and to help you create a foundation for how to answer any of the CASPer questions. Except, this formula does not apply to every type of CASPer question, as there are several categories and you should read questions specific to those categories when preparing to take your CASPer exam, as part of .
1. What are CASPer personal questions?
Similar to CASPer personal questions are aimed at understanding more about you as a person applying to medical school and has different objectives than the other question categories typically used in CASPer examinations, which measure your ethical stances, knowledge of policy issues, or how you view professional boundaries.
2. Do I really need to prepare for CASPer personal questions?
Yes, you should absolutely prepare for not only CASPer personal questions, but the entire CASPer test. Prepare, in this case, does not mean memorizing answers, but immersing yourself in the interview environment by holding mock interviews, or doing CASPer mock tests to steady your nerves before. You can also prepare by reading over your and other application materials to see what you said in other instances when you were asked to talk about yourself.
3. What is the structure of the CASPer test?
The CASPer test is one component of the larger situational judgement test that also comprises and which are not the same as the CASPer test. However, not all also require the other parts of the Altus Suite, so if you only have to do the CASPer exam, it consists of two parts. The first section is the video response section, where you will be presented with two text-based scenarios and 4 video-based scenarios to respond to via a recorded video response. The second section is a typed-response section. You’ll be presented with 3 text-based scenarios and 5 video-based scenarios, and asked to write a typed response to accompanying questions.
4. How to prepare for the CASPer test?
5. What are some other CASPer personal questions that I can prepare for?
There are many types of varieties of personal questions that CASPer can ask, but they typically involve revealing some autobiographical information about your background, your motivations for becoming a doctor and what you have accomplished to achieve that goal. But they may also talk about negative aspects of your personality or character that you need to explain as part of your overall growth and how you have changed to address these faults.
6. What can I read up on before my CASPer exam?
You can look over your own personal essays or medical school secondary essays as a way to know what to talk about, but you should also recall important events in your life that will help you answer these questions. If you refer to your own personal experiences then your answers will come off as genuine and authentic.
7. Do CASPer personal questions have right or wrong answers?
Yes and no. Officially, there are no right or wrong answers to all CASPer questions. However, the fact that your answers are scored suggests otherwise. While other question categories may have more tangible right or wrong answers, personal questions give you more space to talk about yourself, but you should do it in a way that demonstrates the qualities CASPer is designed to evaluate, such as maturity, growth, resilience, problem-solving, professionalism, and ethics.
8. Why do medical schools ask CASPer personal questions?
Medical school are interested in who you are as a person and CASPer personal questions are one more way for them to get to know you beyond your transcripts, GPA and medical school letters of recommendation.