The 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.  

Disclaimer: BeMo does not recommend, endorse nor affiliate with Altus or Duet and vice versa. To take Duet, contact Altus directly. The following including our opinion about Duet and its preparation. 


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What Is the Duet and How Does It Work? 

The Duet is one of the three 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, and the Snapshot your communication skills, 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.  

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 profile that will be used for comparing whether the applicants to this program fit the program’s needs, wants, and priorities. 

Once you schedule your CASPer test date, you as an applicant will be required to complete the same assessment. To do this, 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. 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’re some examples of the kind of characteristics you could run into:

Mission & Culture

Culture of diversity, integrity, and respect

  • Program emphasizes strong moral character, empathy, and respect, with attention to cultural awareness and sensitivity, so as to empower a measurably diverse student, faculty and patient population

VS

Scientific innovation

  • Program seeks to advance medical research and develop technologies that enrich our understanding of human diseases and how to treat them. 

Teaching & Learning

Student-centered teaching

  • Program faculty employ teaching strategies that give students more autonomy over what is learned, how it is learned, and the pace of their learning. Students can provide feedback regarding the efficacy of teaching methods.

VS

Early clinical exposure

  • Program enriches student learning by incorporating clinical practice early in the curriculum (i.e., before year 3 of training)

Program Features

Research opportunities

  • Program faculty actively involve students in science and clinical research. Students are encouraged to engage in research as a part of their ongoing learning enrichment

VS

Promotion of wellness in the student body

  • Program promotes mental and physical health amongst students through accessible in-person and online resources such as exercise facilities, wellness centers, workshops, and counselling.

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
  • Reaching & Learning vs Mission & Culture

To get you ready for the Duet, check out an example of what your list of comparisons might look like:

  1. Culture of diversity, integrity, and respect OR Altruism & patient-centered care
  2. Culture of diversity, integrity, and respect OR Scientific innovation
  3. Culture of diversity, integrity, and respect OR Education and accessibility
  4. Altruism & patient-centered care OR Scientific innovation
  5. Altruism & patient-centered care OR Education and accessibility
  6. Scientific innovation OR Education and accessibility
  7. Approachability of faculty OR Student-centered teaching
  8. Approachability of faculty OR Interdisciplinary learning
  9. Approachability of faculty OR Early clinical exposure
  10. Student-centered teaching OR Interdisciplinary learning
  11. Student-centered teaching OR Early clinical exposure
  12. Interdisciplinary learning OR Early clinical exposure
  13. Research opportunities OR Community outreach opportunities
  14. Research opportunities OR Promotion of wellness in the student body
  15. Research opportunities OR Access to advanced medical technology
  16. Community outreach opportunities OR Promotion of wellness in the student body
  17. Community outreach opportunities OR Access to advanced medical technology
  18. Access to advanced medical technology OR Promotion of wellness in the student body
  19. Mission & Culture OR Teaching & Learning
  20. Teaching & Learning OR Program Features
  21. 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 and the Snapshot help 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.  

Just like with your CASPer score, your Duet fit score will not be disclosed to you. The fit scores will be available only to your chosen programs. 

What Can You Do to Prepare? 

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. 

Are you preparing for your CASPer test? Check out our tips:

Research the Schools of Your Choice Long Before You Sit Down to Fill Out the Duet 

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 AMCASTMDSASAACOMAS, or OMSAS, 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 Perelman School of Medicine:  

“Our mission is to advance knowledge and improve health through research, patient care, and the education of trainees in an inclusive culture that embraces diversity, fosters innovation, stimulates critical thinking, supports lifelong learning, and sustains our legacy of excellence.” 

By reading their mission, you will learn that UPenn medical school values research, scholarship, and diversity. 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 experience working in a multicultural environment which you can discuss in your diversity secondary essay? 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! 

So how is this related to the Duet? Essentially, your research into the schools will also help you prepare to rank highly the values that your programs of choice prioritize. 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.  

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 helpful, they can often 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: 

If you were looking to apply to Perelman School of Medicine, 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, like most Ivy League medical schools, Perelman School of Medicine values research. This chart further supports this claim by demonstrating that 99% of Perelman’s most recent matriculants had research and lab experience. 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: 

“The mission of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences is to educate, train, and comprehensively prepare uniformed services health professionals, scientists, and leaders to support the Military and Public Health Systems, the National Security and National Defense Strategies of the United States, and the readiness of our Uniformed Services.” 

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. By examining the chart below, you will get a better idea of how you should rank your priorities in the Duet: 

As you can see, the USUHS does not put as much value into research as Perelman, but it’s still an important experience they would like to see in their applicants. Additionally, USUHS puts a lot more value into paid clinical experience than Perelman. And of course, they welcome more applicants with military experience. While Perelman also accepts students with military background, that percentile is much lower. 

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.  

When and How Should You Complete the Duet? 

The Duet can be completed any time after you log in to your Altus Suite account and schedule your CASPer test date and no later than 10 days after completing the CASPer test. The Duet assessment will take no more than 15 minutes to complete. 

While your CASPer test must be completed on a specific date during your scheduled time slot, your Snapshot and Duet can be completed at a time most convenient for you. You can record your interview and complete the Duet even before you take your CASPer test, but a lot will depend on your CASPer preparation plans and whether you have had a chance to thoroughly practice with common medical school interview questions that you may face during the Snapshot. Remember, the Snapshot will mostly utilize personal questions like “Tell me about yourself”, “What’s is your greatest accomplishment?”, “What is your greatest weakness?”, and so on.  

As you already learned from this article, your preparations for the Duet will begin long before you sit down to complete it. This means that you will have done your research while you were researching which schools you want to attend and apply to. Before you sit down to fill out your Duet, all you will need to do is pull up the log where you wrote down the professional objectives and applicant traits valued by your chosen schools. Review them carefully and keep the document open as you start filling out the Duet. Emphasize the qualities and characteristics you wrote down in your log to ensure that your evaluation results in a high fit score.

FAQs 

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 three levels: the CASPer test, the CASPer Snapshot interview, 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.  

To your success, 

Your friends at BeMo 

BeMo Academic Consulting

Source:

AAMC Medical School Admissions Requirements

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