What’s the deal with situational judgment tests (SJTs)? Why are they used? What is their purpose? And is it true that they help identify the most fitting applicants for jobs and professional and academic programs?
In this article, we explore these and many more questions that will help you understand the logic behind SJTs as well as their shortcomings. We bust some common misconceptions about these tests, and, most importantly, we show how students can prepare for tests like CASPer and AAMC PREview.
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Which Professional Programs Use Situational Judgment Tests in Admissions?
- Medical schools in the US
- Medical schools in Canada
- Medical residency programs in US and Canada (ERAS and CaRMS)
- Dental schools in the US
- Dental schools in Canada
- Pharmacy schools in the US
- Pharmacy schools in Canada
- Vet schools
- Physician assistant programs in the US
- Physician assistant programs in Canada
- Some medical schools in the UK
- Some medical schools in Australia and New Zealand
Why Situational Judgment Tests Are Used in Admissions
For decades, professional programs all over the world have worked on figuring out how to select the best possible candidates from among thousands of applications. Along with frameworks like the CanMEDS roles and the AAMC’s core competencies, as well as interview questions like “why do you want to be a doctor?” and “why do you want to be a pharmacist?”, admissions committees needed something new to detect the right candidates.
While it may seem at first glance that having strong academic acumen, like a high GPA, a high GRE score, or a strong MCAT score, and relevant extracurricular and work experience should make a candidate the perfect fit for their chosen field, this is not always the case. Having strong knowledge of biology does not necessarily make you a successful doctor, having 10 years of dog-walking experience does not lead to success in the veterinary field, and in-depth knowledge of your preferred subject will not always make your students love you as a teacher. So, how can we determine whether a person will be a good fit for their chosen profession? How can we assess their personality and character? If statistics and experiences do not tell all, how do we find out if the people we admit will become successful and happy in their profession?
Enter situational judgment tests. These tests do not evaluate your knowledge or professional readiness – they claim to evaluate non-cognitive professional skills, such as your disposition, personal characteristics, qualities, and even values.
For a while, SJTs like the CASPer test and the multiple mini-interview (MMI) became a staple in admissions processes for prestigious and incredibly competitive fields, such as medicine, dentistry, physical therapy, social work, education, and more. In fact, they were so popular that certain professional fields started to develop their own versions of these tests, such as the AAMC PREview, formerly known as the AAMC SJT. These assessments promised to showcase candidates’ character and suitability, so they became quite popular with admissions boards in a variety of fields. But there was another important admissions improvement that SJTs promised:
At the time of the rise of SJTs to prominence, professionals realized that bias is a strong obstacle in the development and flourishment of their industries. Hence, they needed new admissions tools to fight the prejudices present in higher education. SJTs promised to help in this pursuit by providing assessments that claimed to evaluate the “inherent” character of candidates, without questioning their socioeconomic background, race, gender, religion, and so on. You can understand the logic here, of course. It is true that SJTs never directly question these attributes. In fact, they never question the candidate directly about their suitability or background. But does this mean that they do not contribute to the existing bias in education? Let’s find out.
What to learn more about SJTs?
Why Situational Judgment Tests are Questionable
Over the years, SJTs have not exactly proven to bring significant improvements to the admissions process. Many of the issues that they set out to resolve remained. But what exactly led to this? What is the problem with the SJTs?
Problem #1: The creators and administrators claim that these tests are "uncoachable"
The creators of these situational judgment tests claim that nobody can prepare for them. This is an appealing feature for admissions committees, since it is thought if students can't prepare for an evaluation, they will present their honest, genuine values and personal qualities for the test. Therefore, any red flags will be quickly revealed, and any gems can be easily picked out of the applicant pile. In other words, students wouldn't be able to "cheat" on situational judgment tests by providing answers they think admin committees want to hear.
Yet the results of situational judgment tests can heavily influence whether students are accepted or not, so it is important to score well. This leaves many students wondering how to prepare for CASPer? How to prepare for the AAMC PREview? How do you tackle MMI questions?
Despite the "uncoachability" claim, we at BeMo have repeatedly shown that there is a significant positive coaching effect on CASPer test performance and that tests like CASPer and the MMI are highly coachable. In our experience, students can significantly improve their performance on SJTs like these with the proper preparation and coaching.
First, let's look at some data. Our first graph shows the increase in students' SJT and interviews score after our medical school admissions consultants had some coaching sessions with them; these coaching sessions include CASPer test prep sessions, MMI prep sessions and mock medical school interviews. The improvement in students' performance after these sessions is significant:
In this next graph, we see the effect BeMo's coaching had on our students’ CASPer scores . We can see the improvement students showed after going through several rounds of CASPer simulations with BeMo consultants:
Finally, take a look at the level of improvement our students demonstrated after BeMo’s MMI coaching.
Problem #2: Admins claim that there is no right or wrong answer, but this is untrue.
The claim for SJTs is that there is no right or wrong answer. Again, this claim is untrue because, while there are many possible answers to a scenario or question, answers are still rated or scored on a scale, meaning some answers are more "correct" than others. We know how the CASPer test is scored, how the AAMC PREview exam is scored and how the MMI is evaluated, so the claim that there is no correct answer is categorically false.
Here are some strategies for taking the AAMC PREview!
Problem #3: SJTs claim to assess applicants' “inherent” traits and character.
As we mentioned above, SJTs admins claim these tests can't be prepped for. They also claim to assess "inherent" traits and values, since supposedly they evaluate respondent's spontaneous, "honest" answers. These claims, together with the claim that SJTs have no right or wrong answer, create a troubling picture.
If SJTs, and therefore admins who use them as evaluation tools, believe they are assessing candidates' "inherent" traits, it means some candidates are naturally better suited to be professionals, that candidates cannot learn the necessary skills or learn improve their performance. You must therefore possess these skills from birth or through the "right" upbringing and if you don't, you won't be able to become a successful professional in your chosen field.
This contributes to our next problem with SJTs, that they do not eliminate bias and can actually contribute to the problem of a lack of diversity in professional programs. Because if you don't come from the predetermined "right" background or upbringing, you aren't a good fit and will be eliminated from the applicant pool.
Problem #4: SJTs do not eliminate existing bias
So, it seems that the prejudices and biases SJTs were meant to eliminate are perpetrated by them instead. Again, looking at the data, recent studies have shown that SJTs have not broken down socioeconomic barriers present in medical school admissions for medical schools that use MMI and medical schools that require CASPer.
Over 17% of applicants who were accepted to medical school using the MMI came from families with an annual income of over $200,000. Compare this to the medical schools who did NOT use the MMI in the admissions process – the number is of applicants from high-income families is only 14.16%. This tells us that the use of the MMI does not lower socioeconomic disparities in accepted applicants to medical school. In fact, it increases those disparities! There were more students from low-income and middle-income families accepted to medical schools who did NOT use the MMI or other situational judgment tests!
The data for the CASPer test tells the same story. As we can see in the graph below, medical schools that used CASPer in their admissions admitted a much higher proportion of students from high-income households than medical schools that do not require CASPer. Just like the MMI, the use of the CASPer SJT does not demonstrate any positive effect on eliminating bias In admissions or breaking down socioeconomic barriers. In fact, the use of SJTs like CASPer and MMI seem to have the opposite effect.
Problem #5: SJTs do not predict future performance or potential
Even though SJTs seem to further propagate bias and prejudice in admissions practices, we may still wonder, “maybe there is evidence that shows that SJTs correctly predict which candidates are a good fit? Maybe there is proof that they pick candidates that have great future performance?”. However, no recognized study has shown this to be true.
There has been only one small study conducted on this topic by one of the creators of SJTs like the CASPer and MMI. The study shows a very small correlation (r = 0.3–0.5, to be exact) between success on SJTs used in admissions and medical licensing examinations.
However, we should consider the following:
- The correlation is so small as to be insignificant.
- The study was conducted using a very small sample -- not exactly a pattern.
- The study shows a correlation between success on two different test types. Medical licensing examinations like USMLE, OSCE, and MCCQE are all very coachable! A high score on a licensing exam does not adequately predict a student's future job performance. They simply demonstrate that a student tests well.
Problem #6: STJs are not accurate evaluations of students
The behavior and qualities that SJTs claim to identify and evaluate are highly coachable. In other words, anyone can do well on the test if they have proper preparation and coaching. This means students may not actually possess the ideal behavior and qualities SJTs are screening for--they just know how to prepare for a situational judgment test and how to ace it. So, SJTs are really not the best tools admissions committees can use to determine who is the best applicant. SJTs have no value when it comes to picking applicants. What's the use, then, of still using SJTs?
The good news is, as an applicant, you CAN prepare for situational judgment tests like CASPer and MMI. More importantly, you NEED to learn how to prepare for them because they are still commonly used in admissions practices for many professional programs, and the results do impact your admissions chances. SJTs like the CASPer and MMI are used in the final stages of admissions to weed through the applicant pool. In some cases, the results of your CASPer test are used to determine whether you get an interview or not, and the outcome of your interview can secure you a spot in a program if the admissions committee has a good impression of you.
Preparing for the AAMC PREview SJT? Watch this video:
How to Prepare for Situational Judgment Tests
How can you prepare for situational judgment tests? What traits and skills should you hone? We will guide you through all the necessary steps AND share some sample SJTs scenarios, questions, and expert analysis so that you can start prepping for your test right away!
And while the information and tips we provide below are failproof, and you can certainly use them to practice on your own, we strongly suggest that you work with a professional, such as a medical school admissions consultant, to assess whether your performance is improving. Whether we like it or not, SJTs are still used by a variety of programs, so it’s best to use professional feedback to see how your prep is going.
As we already discussed, SJTs test non-cognitive skills, such as professional behavior, decision making, communication skills, and problem-solving. The trick is to recall that the setting for SJT scenarios can be either professional and private (or both), but you must apply the same principles for all.
BeMo has been able to identify and compile a list of 21 possible themes in SJT questions:
- Conflict of interest
- Ethical/moral dilemma
- Professional boundaries, obligations, and ethics
- Scope of practice
- Scope and current social events awareness
- Personal questions
- Autonomy support
- Informed consent
- Evidence-based practice
- Rural vs city practice
- Legal awareness
- Alternative solutions
- Non-judgmental approach
- Conflict resolution
- Global issues related to the profession
- Cultural sensitivity
SJT Question Categories
Knowing the general approach is the first step, but what about all the MMI follow-up questions or CASPer questions that you may face in an SJT? How can you prepare for a million different scenarios and questions you might have to face in your test? Here’s the secret: there are important approaches that you can implement to ace any SJT scenario or question type! The key is to know which categories of questions are typically included on these tests and to have a concrete answer strategy for each question category. This means that even though nobody knows the exact questions you are going to get on your test, you will have an approach for answering any questions that may come your way.
The 21 SJT themes listed above typically fall into 3 major question categories:
Remember, several themes can be covered by a single scenario, so be aware of what kind of conflict you are trying to solve. You should also know that a CASPer scenario, for example, can include two or even three question categories! For instance, after you are given the scenario, the follow-up questions may include a scenario question (what would you do in this situation?), a policy question (what do you think about a certain policy or law), and a personal question (have you ever had a similar thing happen to you?). It is rare but possible to see all three question categories in one of the 15 CASPer scenarios. The same goes for MMI policy questions and MMI personal questions, too.
To know how to provide an answer to questions from each category, you must have specific strategies. Having answer strategies for each question category guarantees that when you read any given prompt and =the follow-up questions, you will know how to structure your answer accordingly.
Check out these CASPer sample scenario passages:
How can you tackle the policy and personal questions so often used in SJTs? Follow this simple strategy below:
It is important to know that although many SJT situations and MMI ethical questions are challenging, you should always try to actively engage with the problem. Doing nothing in the situation with your boss is not going to get you a high score on the test. You must at least show initiative by gathering the necessary information. If you simply ignore the altercation or write “I am not going to do anything because it's none of my business,” you will surely do poorly on your test.
Follow-up SJT questions from the policy category are typically included to assess your awareness of the local and global issues facing your profession and 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: scope and current social events awareness, rural vs city practice, ethical/moral dilemma, etc. Follow this general structure to answer SJT policy questions:
To prepare for questions in the policy category, you should become familiar with current events, hot topic social and political issues, and challenges facing your professional field in your town, state, province, or country. You can start by visiting the websites of your provincial/state and federal/national professional associations to read about the latest policies and news. You can learn about local and global issues by reading and watching the news and visiting the websites of global institutions. To practice answering policy questions, you can write down a list of the most important and interesting policies you encounter, note their pros and cons, and try to formulate your own informed opinion. Practice with this strategy and know how to implement it in answering different policy questions you might face in the real test.
Here are some MMI policy station examples to help you get started:
Many SJT questions will ask you to talk about times when you had to deal with similar issues that are presented in the scenario. They are meant to assess how you react in certain situations. The question may deal with professional boundaries, ethical/moral dilemmas, conflict resolution, and other issues. Your answer should demonstrate to the evaluator that you know how to handle yourself in a situation.
When you answer MMI personal questions remember these steps:
- Provide a very brief context about the situation you are writing about.
- Write one or two sentences demonstrating specific actions, behaviors, or tasks you performed to deal with the situation. What did you do to fix the problem? How did you overcome a challenge? Use concrete examples.
- Write one sentence about what you learned from dealing with this situation.
Other MMI Question Categories
The question categories we outline below can potentially come up during your MMI interview. Though they are less common than the question categories we outlined above, they also require some preparation. Rule #1 – use the same techniques we outlined above when faced with a scenario, policy, or personal question in one of the stations we outline below. Your strategy does not change, just the approach to the question. However, you should know what to expect in such stations, so let's dive in:
MMI acting questions are exactly as they sound. You will need to act out a scenario or a situation that will test your reactions to real-life dilemmas. At these stations, you will be given a prompt that describes a certain situation, and once you enter the room (physically or virtually), you will be asked to begin acting as if the situation is really happening.
Make sure that you understand the prompt and stay attuned to the cues and emotional responses of the actors in the room with you. You may be faced with scenarios in which someone becomes angry, loud, and impatient. In these situations, keep your cool and come up with decisions that would professionally resolve the conflict at hand. Remember our approach to scenarios? Stay non-judgmental and objective, even if you are uncomfortable. Your words and actions must demonstrate that you are staying non-critical. Make sure your words, tone, and body language are appropriate for the situation you’re facing. Always put yourself in the other person’s shoes to truly understand what they are going through and what kind of reaction is appropriate.
Acting questions also test your ability to be tactful and socially aware, as scenarios you face can involve questions relating to public outbursts, domestic abuse, child neglect, and other types of negative social interactions. Though they are unpredictable, you must remember to stay collected and gather as much information as possible to find the best solution for the problem you are facing. Whether it is a disgruntled patient or a friend who is being physically abused by her boyfriend, you should demonstrate empathy, gather information, and act, if necessary.
These types of questions are meant to assess your ability to problem-solve, strategize, and collaborate with others. MMI collaborative stations may include drawing assignments, building assignments, or other task-based instruction. They may also include a debate.
For a drawing task, you are typically asked to relate to another person using some form of media. For example, you may be asked to relate a drawing or a shape through verbal instructions to another person who has to replicate it on a piece of paper. Your performance will reveal whether you approach problems in an organized, logical manner and whether you possess strong communication skills. In these kinds of stations, make sure the interviewer or the other applicant understands what is going to happen in the next 4 to 8 minutes; that is, explain that they will need to follow your instructions to replicate the drawing before you. Ask if they have a pen and paper and explain what the drawing looks like. You can usually implement the Cartesian coordinates (XY system) to orient the person who is drawing.
You may be faced with other collaborative questions in your MMI interview. These may include solving a problem or creating a plan with another applicant, teaching one another something, arguing opposing sides of an issue, acting out a scenario, or answering individual questions while sitting next to one another. The key to succeeding in a collaborative interview station is to remember to collaborate with the other applicants so that you all succeed, rather than competing to outshine them in front of the interviewer. The interview will note your ability to work in a team and put the needs of the team before your own interests. Often, collaborative stations will not score you based on your personal performance but rather, on the performance of the group as a whole.
Want to know more about MMI collaboration stations? Watch this!
Some programs use 10- to 20-minute writing stations to further assess candidates' communication skills in an MMI interview or as part of an interview-day assessment, such as the PA school interview essay. The prompts for writing questions typically fall into the three main categories we already discussed: scenario, policy, and personal. This means that instead of verbalizing your answer, you will be writing it down using the same answer strategies we outlined above. MMI writing stations may also sometimes present you with a quote and ask you to respond or analyze, but you can use the personal question answer strategy to tackle those.
Your answer must be a coherent narrative. Before you write your first word, think of the structure of your answer and its key points. For example, if it is a policy question, summarize the policy and the issue it is meant to address, then list some advantages and disadvantages of the policy and conclude by stating your opinion and providing an alternative solution if you disagree with the policy at hand. Implementing the same strategies we’ve outlined will keep your written essay organized and to the point. Leave yourself some time to reread and edit your essay for any grammatical mistakes. Although your grammar might not directly affect your score, a well-written essay will ultimately score higher than a disorganized, error-ridden essay.
10 More Tips for Acing Your SJT
Here are 10 more tips to help you ace any SJT, such as CASPer or MMI!
#1 Give yourself enough time to prepare.
We often hear from our students “how long does it take to prepare for CASPer?” or “how long does it take to prepare for the MMI?” No two students are the same. Some will be ready after 3 simulations, while others may take 6 or 8. What’s important to realize is that some behaviors take time to develop. It takes a few coaching sessions to polish your communication skills, interview behavior, and even your greetings and goodbyes. So, we would suggest giving yourself at least 6 weeks to get ready.
#2 Pay attention to the question’s scenario.
When you are faced with an SJT question, pay attention. We know you must be nervous, whether you are just in front of your computer screen or in a room with an interviewer, but you must pay attention to understand who the vulnerable party is, what kind of conflict you are facing, and so on.
#3 Take time to consider your answer.
“How can I answer such difficult questions in such a short amount of time??!!” – that’s one of the most common complaints among students. Remember, your answer does not need to be long. If you stick to the structures we outlined, you should be able to give a quality answer in the time provided. Do not rush into answering. First, remember what structure you are using, and only then try to articulate your answer. A concise and clear answer will definitely win you points!
#4 Check your spelling and grammar.
While evaluators are trained not to care about your grammar and syntax, a poorly written answer in CASPer or an MMI writing station will not gain you any advantages. A clean, error-free answer will show that you are organized and possess great communication skills. If you make a few errors, do not lose sleep over it, but try to leave some time at the end of each station to read through your answers.
#5 Identify the most pressing issue.
Being able to identify the most pressing issue will help you with answering any question, whether it’s situational, policy, or personal. If you know what the biggest concern behind a question is, you will not only be able to provide a solution to the scenario, but also review a policy objectively with the vulnerable party in mind; the same will be true for any personal questions. Understanding the main issue and those most affected will certainly help you tackle any question correctly.
#6 Don’t make assumptions.
Do not make any decisions until you ask questions, talk to those involved in the situation, and understand where everyone is coming from. Any assumptions will only result in a lower score.
#7 Identify who is involved in the scenario.
While the most vulnerable party is the most important consideration, you cannot dismiss the rest of the participants in the scenario. Do consider their side in your decision making, ask them questions, and get their side of the story.
#8 Have a strategy for each question type.
This is the number one prep strategy we advise you to practice with. No matter what question you get, you must have an answer strategy. It is impossible to predict the questions, so the best way to prepare is to have solid tactics to cover every base.
#9 Don’t rush.
While we strongly advise you to answer all three follow-up questions in the CASPer test, some might find it difficult to answer all three questions in the first section of the test. Do not sacrifice quality. Even if you answer only 2 questions but touch on all the important themes, you will have a good chance of scoring high. Just to reiterate: while you should try to answer all three, don’t use mediocre answers to fill out the three questions.
#10 Don’t be distracted by red herrings.
Often, we will get stuck on minute details that have nothing to do with the ethical scenario at hand. The purpose of including these details in an SJT scenario is precisely to lead you astray from the non-judgmental way of looking at things. For example, you may be faced with an angry person, an inappropriate person, or someone who is from a lower socioeconomic background – disregard this when making your decision. You are to treat everyone equally. Do not make the mistake of putting too much weight on details that should not have any effect on your decision.
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Sample SJT Scenarios and Expert Answers!
Scenario Question Example
You are a truck driver. After your shift, you go to the local bar where all the drivers hang out. When you get there, you see a colleague. As you say hello, your colleague gets a call from your supervisor who oversees assigning routes. Your colleague has a conversation with your supervisor and agrees to a route. Your colleague, who has a few empty beer bottles and shot glasses in front of him, orders another shot and then runs out to get to his assigned route.
- What should you do in this situation?
- What would you do if you were the supervisor and informed of what was observed?
- What policy would you implement to reduce the frequency of drinking and driving?
Expert response #1
I will remain calm and objective. Before I make any rash decisions, I must gather more information about this situation. I do not know all the details. I will ask my colleague if the route he agreed to is scheduled for today. If it is not scheduled for today, and he is simply going over to work to sign up and do the paperwork to confirm the route, I will advise him to wait until tomorrow to sign up, as he has had some drinks and it’s unprofessional to show up to work after drinking, even if it’s a little.
If it is scheduled for today, then I will try to find out whether my colleague has consumed an amount that would prevent him from driving – I should not assume that all the beer cans and shot glasses are his. I might ask the bartender whether all the bottles are my colleague’s. If so, I will confront my co-worker and ask him to reject the route because he would be endangering his life and the life of others. If he had the one shot I saw him take, then I would ask him to go home and take a short break and a nap before he goes because this will be the responsible thing to do, even if he has had a very small amount of alcohol. It is my opinion that people should not drive under the influence, no matter how little alcohol they have consumed.
Expert response #2
As a supervisor, I must take this very seriously, but I also cannot jump to conclusions without learning more about the situation.
If the route was scheduled for today, I would reprimand the drinking driver for taking on the route after he was drinking, even if it was just a little. It’s none of my business how my co-workers relax after work, but they should not be driving if they have been drinking. If this is the first time such an occurrence has happened, I would advise my colleague to sign up for a drinking and driving seminar or a safety course so that he can understand the repercussions of his poor decision to drive under the influence. I would monitor his behavior afterward to see if this ever occurs again. If this has been a problem before, I would consider firing the driver and setting him up with a program to help with his alcohol abuse.
If the route was not scheduled for today, but my colleague comes to work drunk to sign up for a route, I will let the driver know that showing up to work intoxicated, even if it’s to sign up for a route, is not professional and is not acceptable. I will reprimand him for unprofessional behavior – but only if he shows up to work under influence. If he does not appear at work that day, I will not interfere, as it is none of my business what my colleagues do outside of work, as long as they do not hurt themselves or others.
Expert response #3
Approximately 32 people die in drinking and driving-related crashes every day in the US. These are staggering numbers! I think a good policy for battling and preventing drinking and driving is to start informing people of its dangers from a young age. School-based instructional programs and other educational courses should explicitly express that drinking and driving are simply unacceptable. We need to show people the repercussions of such decisions.
I believe that only treatment and educational programs can help people who abuse alcohol and drive. I think detecting and treating a person is a more effective policy than sobriety checkpoints, which enforce the law, but do not solve the root of the problem.
Policy Question Example
You are a teacher on your break in the teachers’ lounge. One of your colleagues rushes in and begins telling everyone about a new policy being introduced at the schools in the region. This new policy is geared toward preventing childhood obesity. As part of this policy, students will be assessed based on their physical fitness and diet. They will also be monitored throughout the year and reassessed periodically. To ensure a good diet, all the students’ bags will also be searched when they come to school to ensure they are not packing unhealthy snacks.
- What are the potential benefits of such a policy?
- What are the potential downfalls of such a policy?
- If this policy was rejected by government officials, what alternative policy would you recommend to battle childhood obesity?
Expert response #1
Obesity is a worldwide problem. According to the World Health Organization, over 650 million adults in the world were obese in 2016. Obesity is preventable, so tackling this problem from childhood is a great idea. One of the pros of this policy is that it focuses on the prevention of obesity in children. I find that monitoring children's health using physical fitness and a good diet in school cafeterias is a good approach. By promoting physical activity and sports, schools promote a healthy lifestyle that can become a life-long habit, which is a wonderful long-term benefit of this policy.
Expert response #2
While promoting healthy eating and fitness is a great approach, we cannot tyrannically impose a diet. I think that invading students’ privacy by searching their backpacks is the wrong approach. While we can do what we can as a school to propagate healthy living and eating, we cannot monitor students at home or dictate what they eat and what their parents buy. We can only offer them the option of healthy living and make sure they understand all the benefits, but we cannot take away their property and treat them as if they have done something illegal by eating an unhealthy snack.
Expert response #3
I still think education from a young age is important, so I would try to promote fitness in our school, even if it was not an official policy in the region. I would start sports teams and try to teach children about the benefits of healthy eating.
However, what we can do at school is a lot more limited than what a child’s family can do. This is why I would also promote a policy that would provide all families, including low-income and disadvantaged families, access to healthy food. Often, people simply cannot afford healthy food for their families, so they end up buying processed food, which is a lot cheaper. We need a policy that would benefit all families and allow them to lead a healthy lifestyle, regardless of their economic situation.
Personal Question Example
The field of [insert your profession] consists of inter-professional collaboration, teamwork, and lifelong learning.
- Describe a time when you worked as part of a highly diverse team.
- Why is lifelong learning important for a professional in your field?
- 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?
Expert response #1
For three years, I volunteered as a reading tutor for children aged 8 to 12 at the Toronto Public Library. Many of my tutees were children of recent immigrants, so their parents could not always help them with reading and other homework assignments. Not only did I meet children from a wide variety of backgrounds, but I also got to work with a small team of volunteers and coordinators. We had a wonderfully culturally diverse team.
While there were initial communication obstacles with some of the students and their parents due to a language barrier, I developed effective and friendly communication with all my pupils and their families by attending a training seminar held at the University of Toronto. It was specifically aimed at young educators who work with diverse populations. Since Toronto is one of the most multicultural cities in the world, these seminars became a staple in the educational community. My take-aways from the seminar, as well as patience, open-mindedness, and respectful communication, became the key to a successful relationship with my students. I will continue to implement these skills and knowledge in my career as an educator.
Expert response #2
We are always limited by our settings and our environment. We cannot see over our horizons unless we remain open-minded and open to learning – otherwise, we cannot develop as people or professionals. The experience of working at the Toronto Public Library as a tutor exposed me to worlds I have never experienced and may never visit in person. But every single child, every single parent, and every single volunteer had a huge impact on my worldview and my knowledge. The skills I learned over the course of 3 years, such as communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and attention to detail, made me a better educator. Only by constantly improving myself as a professional can I be a role model for my students, now and in the future.
Expert response #3
I would try to gather as much information as possible about the issue before I take any serious actions. If I was sure that my colleague was acting unethically at work and if it was endangering the health and well-being of my colleagues or those under our care, I would report them. If their unethical actions were not affecting their work environment (maybe they are acting unethically at home, for example), then I would not report them to a professional disciplinary hearing.
1. What is a situational judgment test?
SJTs are aptitude tests that claim to test candidates’ suitability for a variety of professional fields, such as medicine, education, social work, and so on.
2. What are the pros and cons of SJTs?
While SJTs claim to improve the admissions process, there have been no real indications that they have had a positive effect. For example, they do not seem to improve the representation of diverse socioeconomic backgrounds in medicine. Additionally, there have been some studies that suggest that certain SJTs rate females higher than males.
3. What are some examples of SJTs?
Currently, the most popular SJTs among admissions for professional programs are CASPer and MMI. Some institutions have created their own SJTs, such as the AAMC PREview.
4. Is it true that you cannot prepare for an SJT?
No, the skills and qualities these tests evaluate are highly coachable.
5. How can I prepare for an SJT?
You must have a solid strategy for every possible question type you may face. If you have an answer strategy, you will be able to structure a concise and clear response to any question. We strongly recommend using mock sessions and simulations to practice and get feedback from a professional to improve your performance.
6. Can you fail a situational judgment test?
While there is no pass or fail in a situational judgment test, it is certainly possible to receive low scores based on your responses or performance.
7. How do you get a high score on an SJT?
Understanding how situational judgment tests work, what kind of questions you can expect, and honing answer strategies for these kinds of tests can help you score higher and perform better on an SJT such as CASPer or MMI.
8. Are situational judgment tests mandatory for admissions?
No, not all professional programs require applicants to take a situational judgment test or attend an MMI interview.
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