Shocking McMaster Medical School Admissions Statistics & Proven Strategies to Prepare for the CASPer Test
How is the CASPer test structured?
Now that we have described the CASPer test and the rationale for its use, it is time to describe the structure or format of the test.The CASPer test is comprised of 12 text-based and video-based scenarios. These real life scenarios may or may not be medically related. Some of the scenarios are simply personal type questions such as, “Describe a time when you had to over come an obstacle,” or “have you ever been in conflict with a superior or authority figure? How did you resolve this conflict?” The remainder of the scenarios will include cases of conflict of interest, ethical dilemmas, alternative medicine, global health issues, conflict resolution, etc. Each scenario is followed up by 2 or 3 questions, which you will have a total of 5 minutes to answer. The answers to each of these questions will have to be within 1024 characters. This is a strict character limit and you cannot write any more than this character limit when it comes to your CASPer test. Lastly, keep in mind that half way through the CASPer test, there will be a 15 minute break. We recommend that you have a pen and paper handy as you go through your CASPer, in order to be able to make notes as you read or watch the various scenarios. Recall, once a scenario or video is over, you cannot go back to re-read or re-watch the scenario. Thus, it will become important to take notes as you go along.
McMaster’s Medical School Admissions Success Rate
Before we begin examining some sample questions, let’s take a second to review McMaster’s admissions statistics from the previous admission cycle in order to learn why it is so crucial to ace the CASPer test. During the previous application cycle, there were nearly 5000 applicants to the McMaster’s Michael DeGroote medical school. Only 203 of these applicants gained acceptance to the program. That was a mere 4.1% success rate. What we also know from the admissions statistics is that a lot of students with excellent verbal reasoning and GPA scores did NOT gain admission. Furthermore, an examination of the statistics reveals that more that 30% of accepted students had average or below average GPA scores! More interestingly than that is the fact that almost 50% of accepted students had average or below average MCAT scores! Thus, the moral of the story is this: regardless of how well you do on your MCAT and how high your GPA score may be, without a competitive CASPer score you will not be invited for an interview. Put differently, even if you have a below average GPA and MCAT scores you can still gain admission into McMaster IF AND ONLY IF you ACE your CASPer test.
Admissions Statistics & Why You MUST Ace the CASPer Test
So, here you can see the actual statistical figures that were published by McMaster medical school from their previous application cycle. As we discussed a few seconds ago, you can clearly see that 60 out of the 203 students admitted had a GPA of 3.7 or less, and 95 out of 203 accepted students had a verbal reasoning score of 10 or less. Thus, it is clear that CASPer plays a major role in the admissions process at McMaster. Recall that, CASPer is a virtual multiple mini interview and thus, it helps narrow down the pool of applicants that are eventually invited to the actual MMI.
How to Prepare for The CASPer Test
Now, before we begin reviewing a CASPer sample scenario, let’s quickly identify some myths and facts about how to best prepare for this very important test.
Myth#1: There are no right or wrong answers. This is actually stated on the admissions website at McMaster. Although there are no right or wrong answers when it comes to the various scenarios you encounter on the CASPer test, there are however appropriate and inappropriate answers that you can provide. If this was not the case, then a lot more individuals with fantastic GPA and MCAT scores would be admitted to McMaster. But of course we now know that is not the case.
Myth#2: You can’t really prepare in advance for this test because no one really knows what will be on it. Well if that was the case, then you wouldn’t be able to prepare for the MCAT or any of your exams during your undergraduate years. Just like any other tests, there are a number of things you can do in order to prepare for this test. And we will discuss those things in more detail as we go through this webinar. So now let’s talk about some facts.
Fact#1: CASPer test prep is like riding a bike! Practice is key! Perhaps you have heard of the saying “practice makes perfect.” Well this is not true and it is not what we mean by practice. In actuality, practice makes permanent, and only PERFECT practice makes perfect. So, if you continue to practice the WRONG way, then you will permanently perform the task in the incorrect manner, no matter what that task may be. This leads us to our next fact!
Fact#2: The best way to practice is using realistic simulations. Just like preparing for the MCAT, the CASPer test requires you to perform numerous simulations in order to ensure you are absolutely prepared on your actual test date.
Fact#3: Sample questions and simulations used for preparation purposes are ineffective and useless without proper professional feedback from an expert. Unless someone can identify your strengths and weakness and give you appropriate feedback on your performance, you will not be able to improve your performance. This is true whether you are an athlete, a student, or a medical candidate about to perform an online test such as CASPer. Professional guidance and feedback will be important in helping you formulate appropriate responses. And this webinar is one such tool.
Fact#4: Simply reading books/guides without performing realistic simulations and receiving expert feedback is an ineffective method to prepare for CASPer.
Fact#5: You MUST, and I repeat, you MUST have a strategy and a plan of action when encountering CASPer scenarios. We will discuss what a good strategy would be when encountering CASPer scenarios later on in this webinar.
Fact#6: Getting yourself familiarized with professional ethics and specifically, Canadian Medial ethics. Although CASPer is designed to test qualities and characteristics that should have been developed within you over time based on your life experiences, being aware of ideas important in professional ethics and medical ethics does not hurt.
Some excellent resources are the CanMEDS framework, MedlinePlus, and books such as the Textbook on Professional Ethics and Human values, Meaningful work: Rethinking professional ethics, Reason and Professional Ethics, and lastly Doing Right: A practical Guide to Ethics for Medical Trainees and Physicians by Philip C Hebert.
So now that we have clarified some facts from myths and have identified some practical ways to prepare for the CASPer test, it is time to move on and tackle a CASPer sample question. Prior to actually seeing our example, let’s talk about how you should approach any CASPer scenario or question. In other words, let’s talk about the STRATEGY or TACTIC that you will use when dealing with a CASPer scenario.
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