How to Use the AAMC Residency Explorer Tool

9 min


AAMC residency explorer


Applying to residency? Feeling anxious about what programs to apply to? The AAMC Residency Explorer tool can help!


You read right– to help MD, DO, and IMG applicants make better-informed decisions about which residency program to apply to, the AAMC has partnered with 8 national boards and associations that play critical roles in medical education to develop a useful tool for all residency applicants: Residency Explorer. It just recently launched on June 26th and is available (and free!) for students to use! Here’s what you need to know:


What is Residency Explorer?

  • Residency explorer is a personalized web tool that allows students to compare various statistics and information amongst residency programs. It also allows students to gauge their own competitiveness and compatibility by giving them a clear picture of how they compare–in experiences and exam scores–to applicants who had matched previously to these programs.
  • It also allows students to compare residency programs side by side


Who is supposed to use the Residency Explorer Tool?

  • It is designed for rising fourth-year medical students and applicants for the 2021 ERAS® and Match® season


How does Residency Explorer work?

    • Students create a personalized profile that includes the information that they will be putting on their residency application: exam scores, peer-reviewed publications, volunteer work, and research experiences. 
    • Once the profile is made, students can directly compare their own statistics with currently and previous matched residents (2016-2020) at these programs. We know, it sounds too good to be true!
  • FYI: most students will actually already have log-in credentials. To begin using the Residency Explorer Tool, students can sign in using their AAMC username and password. If you do not have an AAMC account, an account can be created.


Can this tool give me information about individual residency programs?

Yes! Beyond data about matching criteria, the Residency Tool provides information for each residency program. This includes a snapshot of its characteristics, including:

    • how many people applied and what percentage were offered an interview. These application trends are included for several years (2017, 2018, 2019, 2020)
    • Percentage of matched applicants (in a particular program as well as in the specialty overall) with membership in Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA), Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS), and Sigma Sigma Phi (SSP)
    • the program’s self-reported USMLE or COMLEX-USA exam score ranges or minimum requirements
    • salary and benefits information
    • average hours per week a first-year resident works
    • Average hours per week that year 1 residents are expected to regularly attend lectures
    • the demographic makeup of the residents, including race/ethnicity, sex, medical student type (US MD graduates, US DO graduates, Non-US citizen international medical graduates, US citizen international medical graduates)
    • Ability to moonlight
    • Resident career plans, including the percentage of graduating applicants that pursue: practice full-time, continue training in another residency or fellowship program, obtain full- or part-time academic position, other career intentions or plans
  • And much more!!


Can I compare the data for residency programs side-by-side?

  • Yes! Students can select multiple programs within a specialty and the tool will generate a spreadsheet that students can download that will show side-by-side comparisons on the various metrics.


How many specialties can I explore at one time?

  • Students can choose to explore amongst 23 specialities. Each specialtity can be looked at one at a time. 


Which specialties are available to explore?

  • Anesthesiology, Child Neurology, Dermatology, Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, Internal Medicine – Catergorical Track, Internal Medicine – Preliminary Track, Internal Medicine/Pediatrics, Interventional Radiology – Integrated, Neurological Surgery, Neurology, Obsterics and Gynecology, Orthopaedic Surgery, Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Pathology – Anatomic and Clinical, Pediatrics, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Plastic Surgery – Integrated, Psychiatry, Radiation Oncology, Radiology- Diagnostic, Surgery-General – Categorical Track, Surgery – General, Preliminary Track, Thoracic Surgery – Integrated, Transitional Year


Why should I be using the Residency Explorer Tool during this upcoming application cycle?

  • Up until this point, many students have expressed that they do not feel confident about how many programs to apply to and what their “reach” vs. “safety” programs were. The information provided to students regarding residency programs was often fractured, unreliable, and biased. Now, with the Residency Tool, students can take some of the “guesswork” out of the application cycle and make their decisions about what programs to apply to based on concrete, reliable data.
  • By using a more targeted approach to applying, students can save time, money, and administrative hassle by limiting the number of programs to which they apply.
  • That being said, the Residency Explorer does not advise you where to apply or predict where you may match to a residency program. It is intended to help students develop a list of programs fo further investigation.


Where does the Residency Explorer get their information?

  • The information about residency programs is based on original-source, verified data. Specifically, the AAMC partnered with eighth national boards and associations including:
    • AACOM – American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine
    • ACGME – Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education
    • AMA – American Medical Association
    • ECFMG – Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates
    • FSMB – Federation of State Medical Boards
    • NRMP – The National Resident Matching Program
    • NBME – National Board of Medical Examiners
    • NBOME – National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners

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About the Author

Alexandra R., MD

After completing her coursework a semester early in December of 2013, Alexandra Rzepecki officially graduated with the University of Michigan Class of 2014 with Summa…

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