Secondaries and Additional Assessments for Medical School Applications

Congratulations on submitting your application to medical school!  Now that your primary application has been verified, the medical schools that you have selected will be sending you secondaries.  Many of the schools will also request that you complete additional situational judgement tests to complete your application.  Here is some general information to give you an overview of what to expect:

Secondary Essay Questions

Secondaries are sets of additional questions that medical school requires of applicants and helps them to gain more information that the school needs to know about the applicant for their program. These questions can be categories into adversity, diversity/inclusion, and research.
The OITE pre-med advising team recommends that you:

  • Treat each question with the same level of importance as your primary application
  • Respond to all questions (do not leave any blanks)
  • Respond in a timely manner (two-week turnaround) from the time you receive them
  • Read each prompt carefully and tailor your response to each school

Additional Tests

Many medical schools (approximately 50 MD and DO) also request that applicants complete additional on-line situational judgement tests that assess your people skills, judgement, and how you may behave in situations that you may encounter in medical school.  You may be asked to complete one or several of them.

The CASPer is test where you type your responses to several video scenarios assessing your personal and professional attributes like empathy communication, teamwork etc.  The process is estimated to take 60 minutes.

The Snapshot is a one-way videotaped interview that gives schools an assessment of your verbal and non-verbal communication skills.  You will respond to three questions, have 30 seconds to prepare your answer, and two minutes to answer.  The entire process is estimated to take 10 minutes.

­The Duet is an untimed test in which schools can assess your fit with the values those of the medical schools. The entire process is estimated to take 15 minutes.

The AAMC Situation Judgement Test, developed by the AAMC, helps schools assess your preparation to learn about professionalism in medical school. Currently five schools request it.  It asks the examinees to respond to hypothetical scenarios that evaluate the effectiveness of behavioral responses situations that could occur in medical school. They relate to the AAMC’s eight competencies of entering medical students that include: service orientation, social skills, cultural competence, teamwork, oral communication, ethical responsibility, reliability/dependability, and resilience/adaptability.

For more specific tips and suggestions, please take some time to watch OITE’s webinar, General Information about Secondary Applications to Medical School.

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