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Med School Admissions: Situational Judgement Tests Explained

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Lauren DiProspero

Written by Lauren DiProsperoon October 20th, 2022

I began my undergraduate admissions career at Stanford University where I helped coordinate diversity events and outreach. This ignited a passion for higher education which led me to Columbia University where, after earning my masters, I began recruiting and reviewing the applications of students applying to Columbia College from all around the country including the northeast, mid-west, Texas and California. I also reviewed the applications of international students from countries across Asia as well as Canada and Mexico. During my time at Columbia, I was Director of Admissions at Columbia’s College of Physicians and Surgeons where I oversaw the entire medical school admissions process, including recruitment, application review, interview days, and admitted student events. From there I became the Director of Enrollment Management at the University of San Francisco where I oversaw a team that supported both undergraduate and graduate admissions. In that role I recruited in Southern California and reviewed applications from multiple domestic territories for the undergraduate admissions team. Most recently, I was the senior director at Stanford Medicine, where I again oversaw the entire medical school admissions process.
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by Lauren DiProspero, former admissions officer at Columbia University As you have gathered from my many posts, applying to medical school is a major undertaking. There is the work before the application that includes completing required coursework, exploring clinical experiences, spending time in a research lab, and, of course, taking the MCAT. Once you get to the application, it becomes a writing intensive process that includes the AMCAS application and secondary applications for each individual medical school. Once you hit submit, you are done and just waiting to see if you get an interview, right? Nope! Or rather, it depends on the medical school. In recent years, some medical schools have added a situational judgement test as another way to get to know applicants. Both CASPer and AAMC PREview are standardized tests which provide scenarios that are designed to learn what decision the applicant would make, and why they would make that decision. CASPer is administered by a private company and AAMC PREview is administered the Association of American of Medical Colleges (AAMC). By design, you cannot prepare for these exams like you might for the MCAT. Instead, you should focus on understanding the test format and seeking out sample questions on the exam’s website. By understanding the format, you will feel more confident and be better prepared to answer the questions. And now for the ultimate question: How do medical schools use the results in their admissions process? It is a clear choice on the part of the medical school to recommend or require these exams. That means they hold value in their review process. The exact value within their evaluation process can vary from school to school. It is worth visiting the school’s admissions website to see if they share how they use the exam in their review process. Ultimately, it is another tool they feel helps them understand you as an applicant before they decide if they are going to invite you for an interview. It is crucial to sign up and complete these tests early. As you research medical schools, take note of their requirements, and sign up for any situational judgment tests by the end of spring.

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