On Campus

So long med school essays

McMaster switches to web-based 'test' for choosing applicants

McMaster University says it has found a more reliable way to predict how well a med school applicant will perform in med school. Instead of the traditional autobiographical essay submission that most med schools application across North America still require, McMaster is implementing a new recruitment tool called “CASPer,” a Computer-based Assessment for Sampling Personal characteristics.

All applicants are required to complete the computer-based test, which is divided into 12 five-minute long sections. Eight of the sections include video clips that present applicants with “situational challenges,” and the other four involve “self-descriptive questions.”

The 2010/2011 application cycle was the first to use this new system. Although applicants were also required to submit an autobiographical sketch, they were only used as a “back-up plan” in the event that some sort of problem occurred.

McMaster states on its website that this web-based evaluation of an applicant’s interpersonal skills and decision-making is “significantly more reliable” compared to the autobiographical submissions.

A demo of the system and sample video of what to expect from the on-line evaluation is available here.

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