Home » How to Use the AAMC Residency Explorer Tool

How to Use the AAMC Residency Explorer Tool

13 min


A residency applicant at their interview.


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 asses their compatibility. This is done by providing them with a clear picture of past accepted residents, and how they compare. Applicants can compare in terms of experiences and exam scores, etc.
  • It also allows students to compare residency programs side by side



Who is AAMC Residency Explorer Tool For?


It was 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 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 AAMC 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. This includes 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 AAMC Residency Explorer tool will generate a spreadsheet. Applicants can download that spreadsheet which will show side-by-side comparisons on the various metrics.



How many specialties can I explore at one time?


Students can choose to explore 23 specialties. And applicants can view the specialties 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 AAMC 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 AAMC Residency Explorer does not advise you on where to apply or predict where you may match to a residency program. It can help students develop a list of programs for 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 eight 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


How can the Residency Explorer tool help me?


The AAMC Residency Explorer tool is a one-stop resource that hosts all the relevant information pooled from varied verified sources, making all of it available at your fingertips so you can make an informed and confident decision on the right residency program to apply to. But it goes much beyond being just an information powerhouse.

It’s a personalized web tool with which you can compare not only different residency programs within each specialty but also how you compare with other students who matched with those programs in the last four years. It’s incredible how it completely eliminates the guesswork from the whole process.

Evaluating the suitability of different programs by comparing their values, opportunities, patient populations, and other metrics makes it exceptionally easy to find the right fit. The increased compatibility helps narrow your search so you’re not applying to hundreds of programs but a few right ones. Above all, as you save on the time, money, and administrative hassle of applying to too many programs, you simultaneously increase your chances of success too.



How easy is the AAMC Residency Explorer to use?


The Residency Explorer tool thoughtfully eases your search for the right program. Once students and applicants log into the tool using their AAMC credentials, they can immediately create a profile with the information they’ll likely be putting on their applications. Once the scores, peer-reviewed publications, volunteer work, and research experiences have all been entered, it’s time to explore the program options.

Select a specialty and put in filters for the targeted geographical span – you can even customize your search, down to the acceptable distance from your zip code, and boom! The search results are displayed.

Select a specific program to see how you compare to the other candidates who matched with it in recent years. For each program, it also shows a snapshot of the different characteristics including the number of applications, number interviewed, its minimum eligibility requirements, and other crucial information.

For a single snapshot of the big picture, select multiple programs and the AAMC Residency Explorer will provide a spreadsheet with side-by-side comparisons of the programs on various metrics.



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