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Did I Just Kill My Application?!


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Just finished CASPer and I can't help but feeling that I did rather poorly on it. I'm unsure if I actually answered the questions that were posed and adequately supported my answers with reasonable arguments. I also felt like there were a lot of typing errors, including the the gross rearrangement of letters in a way that borders on dyslexic and likely renders the words unintelligible... 

 

Anyone have a remotely similar experience in the past but ended up succeeding to the interview stage? Or do peoples' perceived CASPer performance usually correlate with their success at securing an interview? 

 

I've got above average stats for Verbal and GPA, if that has any bearing....

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How far above average your stats are can have a bearing, and also whether your IP or OOP. However, I'm going to say something that you're probably not going to want to hear.

 

Until we get to the point of interview invites, there is no way of knowing how you did compared to anyone else, and so there is no reason to give this further thought. Any thought you put into this is taking away from other things you could be doing, so I strongly suggest you put this out of your mind for now. There is nothing you can do either way, so worrying about it is pointless.

 

There is generally very little correlation (at least from what I've seen, and I think research has been done on this as well) on how perceived performance compares to actual performance, so I would take any similar experiences (both positive and negative) with a grain of salt. People are different, and what one person feels was a terrible job may be someone else's best attempt, so self-reported feelings are essentially worthless unless you know more about the person.

 

If you're looking for stories from others that will cheer you up though, I have no doubt that there are some. Just be aware that those are usually outliers, rather then the norm.

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Hey! I thought the same thing after completing my Casper last year, but I ended up getting an interview. I thought my chances of getting into Mac were nil right after I completed that awful test (it's just not my style - no matter how hard I prepare, my brain can't think fast enough and I'm awfully prone to writer's block, especially finding the right words to explain an idea that is in my head...). I felt the same way again this year! I have no clue whether I will get an interview again, but like the poster above mentioned, there is no use stressing, as there's really no way to tell how you did until you get that email in January. Until then, take care and focus on other important things! 

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Hey! I thought the same thing after completing my Casper last year, but I ended up getting an interview. I thought my chances of getting into Mac were nil right after I completed that awful test (it's just not my style - no matter how hard I prepare, my brain can't think fast enough and I'm awfully prone to writer's block, especially finding the right words to explain an idea that is in my head...). I felt the same way again this year! I have no clue whether I will get an interview again, but like the poster above mentioned, there is no use stressing, as there's really no way to tell how you did until you get that email in January. Until then, take care and focus on other important things!

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Hey! I thought the same thing after completing my Casper last year, but I ended up getting an interview. I thought my chances of getting into Mac were nil right after I completed that awful test (it's just not my style - no matter how hard I prepare, my brain can't think fast enough and I'm awfully prone to writer's block, especially finding the right words to explain an idea that is in my head...). I felt the same way again this year! I have no clue whether I will get an interview again, but like the poster above mentioned, there is no use stressing, as there's really no way to tell how you did until you get that email in January. Until then, take care and focus on other important things!

 

Yeah, I guess I was just freaking out/venting at the time. Lol, thanks for sounding the voice of reason. 

I guess for now...il faut la patience!

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If it makes you feel better, for the second question on the personal questions section I was in the middle of telling a story when the time ran out. I literally had just quoted someone and was about to explain the significance (it'd be very difficult to infer what its significance was from what I'd written before it) and it just cut off. Very sopranos finale if you know what I mean. I still cringe at the thought of it, doesn't get much worse than that haha

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If it makes you feel better, for the second question on the personal questions section I was in the middle of telling a story when the time ran out. I literally had just quoted someone and was about to explain the significance (it'd be very difficult to infer what its significance was from what I'd written before it) and it just cut off. Very sopranos finale if you know what I mean. I still cringe at the thought of it, doesn't get much worse than that haha

It's such a bullshit test. There isn't enough time to explain shit properly. 

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Isn't that the Casper test's purpose ?

 

without enough time, how well you can answer it ?

 

(group your thought and type quickly)

Well...somewhat. I mean I understand testing to make sure you can think on your feet really quickly and come up with an answer, but if you're trying to balance viewpoints and support an argument, that takes some time to type. A well-thought out argument will likely take longer to explain than a crappy one. 

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Isn't that the Casper test's purpose ?

 

without enough time, how well you can answer it ?

 

(group your thought and type quickly)

Yeah except you'd never have to make knee jerk reactions like that in real life, let alone in medicine. Also don't ask me how to achieve world peace and give me 15 seconds to answer it, this isn't the miss USA competition

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Agreed with the above posts. After all, MMI is for the same purpose isn't it? CASPer is too subjective imo, not even considering who is marking them. Yes, it does have a good correlation with future success (so does MMI, and any other personality tests) but many potentially good students never get considered because of CASPer. 

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Agreed with the above posts. After all, MMI is for the same purpose isn't it? CASPer is too subjective imo, not even considering who is marking them. Yes, it does have a good correlation with future success (so does MMI, and any other personality tests) but many potentially good students never get considered because of CASPer. 

MMI is different. You have 8 minutes, which is plenty of time to verbally respond to a question, compared to 5 minutes to type a response. 

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That's why Casper only weighted for 32% before interview. If you can cut it through, after MMI,

Casper weight nothing. I personally preferred McMaster's selection process, it's so clear, open and fair.

 

I wouldn't call 32% nothing. I think it weights a lot. In my opinion, for instance, a successful and fruitful masters degree proves a lot more about the applicant (which weights 1%) than a 90 minute online test for which you cant prep for nor you know how it's going to be scored etc. I personally think UofT has the best (i.e. very holistic )selection process but that's just my opinion..

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Sorry, 32% is NOT nothing like you said.

 

I said, after MMI, Casper weight nothing.

 

Also after MMI, PhD and master's or any degree weight nothing.

And 10 years working experience as a teacher or a nurse weight nothing.

 

I agree with everything you said above, specially the last 2 sentences - that's why I'm not a big fan of McMaster's selection process.

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I agree with everything you said above, specially the last 2 sentences - that's why I'm not a big fan of McMaster's selection process.

The problem is that most people won't get through the casper to the MMI because it's 32%. 

 

I would argue that Macmaster has one of the most random processes. No one knows how these casper responses are graded and it's weighed too much for something so subjective. 

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Most people won't get through Casper to MMI is NOT a problem, it's the purpose.

 

With 5,000+ applicants, how to select a few hundred BEST applicants for interview?

 

- weight more on PhD, master's and second degree ?

Most MD admissions give 0 or less than 5% on this, because higher or more degree can't make better doctor.

 

- ABS, ECs, reference letters, CV, essays ?

Most MD admissions use this method called holistic, but I called it black box process.

Exactly no one know these items graded by how or who or weight, and all are subjective.

 

Casper is easy, open, clear, fair and effective way to select better candidates to train to be a doctor.

 

Any ideas? Please share.

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Most people won't get through Casper to MMI is NOT a problem, it's the purpose.

 

With 5,000+ applicants, how to select a few hundred BEST applicants for interview?

 

- weight more on PhD, master's and second degree ?

Most MD admissions give 0 or less than 5% on this, because higher or more degree can't make better doctor.

 

- ABS, ECs, reference letters, CV, essays ?

Most MD admissions use this method called holistic, but I called it black box process.

 

Casper is easy, open, clear, fair and effective way to select better candidates to train to be a doctor.

 

Any ideas? Please share.

Casper is as much of a black box as ABS,ECs, reference letters, CV, essays. It's not any more objective. However, the latter is still more holistic in my opinion. 

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Casper is as much of a black box as ABS,ECs, reference letters, CV, essays. It's not any more objective. However, the latter is still more holistic in my opinion. 

 

Once again I agree with thsc.

 

Your academic performance and ABS are all done/maintained over many years and give your application a character. I think they should weight a lot more than a test like CASPer and even to some degree the MCAT. I think it's fair to say that the more money you are willing to spend to prepare for these tests, the higher your chances of getting a good mark. Consider someone who hasn't done much clinical work, never interacted with any patients, never shadowed a physician, and haven't done any research and now this person spends a thousand bucks purchasing 12 mock Casper tests, sits down with McMaster students, practices timing, spends an entire month making flashcards with every personal scenario, etc etc. This person will have a higher than average chance of doing well on this exam. Now can you say this person is actually "better" than the ones who score lower? Same can be said with the MCAT to some degree (consider someone who can't afford to buy the AAMC exams or have 20 prep books and a tutor). 

 

And the subjectivity issue that has already been brought up; who marks these? what are they looking for? what does traffic light have to do with medicine? Now if you are considering integrity, ethics, communication skills, then that's what the interviews are for? 

 

Want2beMD, you also mentioned the number of applicants and finding a way to filter some out. Well, any thing would do. For instance, how about making research experience a requirement? What about clinical experience? How about adding a panel interview after the MMI to filter the rest?

 

I do agree that part of the problem is that so many students are applying (the success rate is what now? 5%?) and they don't really care if they miss out some potentially excellent applicants - they will always have enough to fill up their classes. That's why a lot of, in my opinion, great students, end up applying more than once, and end up studying in the states, and sometimes top universities.

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Most people won't get through Casper to MMI is NOT a problem, it's the purpose.

 

With 5,000+ applicants, how to select a few hundred BEST applicants for interview?

 

- weight more on PhD, master's and second degree ?

Most MD admissions give 0 or less than 5% on this, because higher or more degree can't make better doctor.

 

- ABS, ECs, reference letters, CV, essays ?

Most MD admissions use this method called holistic, but I called it black box process.

Exactly no one know these items graded by how or who or weight, and all are subjective.

 

Casper is easy, open, clear, fair and effective way to select better candidates to train to be a doctor.

 

Any ideas? Please share.

 

Just playing devil's advocate, but the use of the CASPer test because of it's online nature and the fact there were so many technological glitches may also mean that applicants who live in areas with better internet access, those who did not experience technical glitches and those who may have prepared would do better. So while I do think it may be effective for narrowing down the applicants I'm not sure it could be described as easy or open. Also unlike the MMI where the candidates get the same questions, aren't the questions varied for the CASPer? So when it comes to the grading of the answers, that may be just as if not more subjective than the components you already listed.

 

I think CASPer is an interesting method to gauge how someone formulates an answer and thinks. But I also think that the process may exclude many individuals who have the capability and personality traits that would be beneficial in medicine simply because they do not know how to take the test and they do not know what is being asked for in the questions.

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A couple of things to consider:

 

1. There are a lot of assumptions about CASPER being made here in criticizing it. Are we certain that there are different scenarios between tests?  

2. CASPer is a validated tool. There is research to suggest that inter-rater reliability (the difference in marking of questions everyone seems to think is so extreme) is actually pretty consistent. With ANY assessment there will be subjective components. CASPer involves 10-12 different people seeing your thinking process as opposed to just 1-2 people (or a statistical program ranking top applicants) reviewing your applicant like most medical school assessments are made at this stage of the game (pre-interview). 
3. I'll throw in my own assumption: It's been said that they drop 2 scenarios to account for technological glitches. That's 17% of the test being dropped to account for "stress", "not being familiar with a topic", and "technical problems". I think that is fairly generous. Also note that McMaster tracks and collects data on tech problems - if it was a significantly prevalent problem the test would have likely been phased out. 
4. A lot of people have mentioned how valuable the ABS is. While there is benefit to having a breathe and depth of experiences I would argue that it is the lessons learned and skills developed from these experiences that are more important for developing competences relevant to medicine. While long-term commitments do demonstrate a certain level of skill, a list of experiences does not give adcoms insight into what you really learned and how you grew from the experience. What you write in your ABS is just one side of the picture - your perceived experience and perception of the skills you developed that some people even pay money to consulting companies to help cater. CASPer lets you use your previous experience to critically think about new problems under stress. 
5. From the forums and anecdotal stories it is clear that while typing speed may help with CASPer scores to some degree, students who do not seem to type much but can succinctly summarize the problem and offer meaningful thoughts around their emotions/argument do get interviews. Sure, there is a subjective component of luck, but remember that CASPer has been shown to have a good level of inter-rater reliability. 

6. There is no evidence to suggest that practicing for CASPer (other than practicing timing) has any real correlation with performance. 

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A couple of things to consider:

 

1. There are a lot of assumptions about CASPER being made here in criticizing it. Are we certain that there are different scenarios between tests?  

2. CASPer is a validated tool. There is research to suggest that inter-rater reliability (the difference in marking of questions everyone seems to think is so extreme) is actually pretty consistent. With ANY assessment there will be subjective components. CASPer involves 10-12 different people seeing your thinking process as opposed to just 1-2 people (or a statistical program ranking top applicants) reviewing your applicant like most medical school assessments are made at this stage of the game (pre-interview). 

3. I'll throw in my own assumption: It's been said that they drop 2 scenarios to account for technological glitches. That's 17% of the test being dropped to account for "stress", "not being familiar with a topic", and "technical problems". I think that is fairly generous. Also note that McMaster tracks and collects data on tech problems - if it was a significantly prevalent problem the test would have likely been phased out. 

4. A lot of people have mentioned how valuable the ABS is. While there is benefit to having a breathe and depth of experiences I would argue that it is the lessons learned and skills developed from these experiences that are more important for developing competences relevant to medicine. While long-term commitments do demonstrate a certain level of skill, a list of experiences does not give adcoms insight into what you really learned and how you grew from the experience. What you write in your ABS is just one side of the picture - your perceived experience and perception of the skills you developed that some people even pay money to consulting companies to help cater. CASPer lets you use your previous experience to critically think about new problems under stress. 

5. From the forums and anecdotal stories it is clear that while typing speed may help with CASPer scores to some degree, students who do not seem to type much but can succinctly summarize the problem and offer meaningful thoughts around their emotions/argument do get interviews. Sure, there is a subjective component of luck, but remember that CASPer has been shown to have a good level of inter-rater reliability. 

6. There is no evidence to suggest that practicing for CASPer (other than practicing timing) has any real correlation with performance. 

 

I do agree with you in that we can't jump to any conclusions - after all we are just sharing our personal opinions here and have no facts to share.

 

However, I assure you that if CASPer was such an excellent and validated tool, more universities would have adopted it, similar to the MMI. CASPer is definitely not as flawless as the MMI, and as you made it sound like. 

 

Regarding your #4, do you really think all applicants can show the skills they gained throughout these years by typing an answer in 1 minute? 

 

No matter what, being a fast typer helps (yes, not a requirement, but you can't say it doesn't help) If it takes me 10 seconds to type what takes you 30 seconds, then I have 20 more seconds to think?

 

And as a side note, when you say there is no evidence to suggest practicing for CASPer has any real correlation with performance, do you mean this has been looked into and no evidence was found? How can you expect validity and evidence regarding something that is being secretly done. Just like the MCAT, do you think doing 20 full lengths wouldn't help you? 

 

I think MCAT + interview would do enough to applicants that there is no need for any schools to display their creativity.

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