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Secondary Applications and the CASPer Test

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Completing the unique secondary applications which are required for every MD/PhD program is an arduous task. With an average of several pages of required essays for each school, MD/PhD applicants may have to write upward of 100 pages of essays. However, with ample time devoted to outlining and prewriting these essays, along with appropriate recycling of material, the secondary applications can be successfully conquered. This chapter aims to delineate an effective approach to tackling this portion of the application process to greatly reduce the amount of work and stress involved. Several frequently asked secondary essay prompts are discussed in detail along with common mistakes applicants make when selecting topics for these essays. This includes topics such as diversity, challenges faced, interest in specific programs, and reasons for pursuing the combined degree program. Lastly, this chapter devotes a section to discussing the CASPer exam, including its structure, its purpose for admissions committees, and how to prepare for the exam.


  • Secondary applications
  • Medical school applications
  • MD/PhD applications
  • Secondary essay strategies
  • Challenge essay
  • Diversity essay
  • Optional essay
  • CASPer
  • Supplemental essays

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  1. Change to Pass/Fail Score Reporting for Step 1. In: Invitational Conference on USMLE Scoring. United States Medical Licensing Examination. 2020. Accessed 11 June 2020.

  2. How to Prepare for the CASPer Test to get into Medical School. Shemmassian Academic Consulting. 2020.,you%20distribute%20your%20results%20to. Accessed 11 June 2020.

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Sussman, J., Setayesh, J., Venapally, A. (2021). Secondary Applications and the CASPer Test. In: The Complete MD/PhD Applicant Guide. Springer, Cham.

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  • Print ISBN: 978-3-030-55624-2

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-030-55625-9

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