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Wednesday, January 3rd 2007

Residency Competitiveness: Intro

Two years away and I’m already getting advice about how competitive residencies are.

And try as you might to focus on the classroom, with Step 1 approaching, it is difficult thing to ignore. And so, I thought I’d take a look at the comparative competitiveness of various specialty training.

You hear often, certainly when you first step into medical school, to just do you best and let the pieces fall into place as you get closer to application. Despite that it turns out grading the competitiveness of specialties is a popular past time. From internet message boards (or here or here) to Chairmen and mentors and classmates.

At least that has been my observation.

Going along you sometimes get conflicting advice and information on this topic. Other times, perhaps the advice isn’t conflicting, but it is very general in nature. For instance, “Well, let’s see, you need to do really well to get into Derm and Radiology…”

Those two are more competitive than say Medicine, but to put them on the same level is to draw very broad lines of demarcation.

Sifting through who to trust can be difficult if you’re interested in a competitive specialty.

Now let me make it clear, I hope this post isn’t taken too much as a resource. Try not to see this as anything but a contribution to the “debate.”

Basically this is entertainment. Knowing a specialty’s comparative competitiveness probably does little to actually help you match into that specialty.

With that disclaimer laid out, it turns out that this is a very good time to be putting this piece together. For the first time the NRMP has released hard data to the general medical student population on average Step 1 scores, % AOA, and the like for various specialties. This is something the early match has been doing for years.

The series will be hosted by the cast of Anchorman.

“The Residency Match Was Founded Invented By The Persians In The 5th Century…”

I’ve broken the residencies into broad categories and the schedule of when the posts will appear is below:

“The Balls” (Very Very Competitive) – Saturday, January 6th
“Whammy!” (Very Competitive) – Friday, January 5th
“Made With Real Bits of Panther” (Competitive) – Thursday, January 4th
“Loud Noises!” (Less Competitive) – Wednesday, January 3rd

The final list:

1. Plastic Surgery (Integrated)
2. Dermatology


3. Otolaryngology
T-4. Orthopedic Surgery
T-4. Urology
6. Neurosurgery
7. Radiation Oncology
8. Radiology


9. Ophthalmology
10. General Surgery
11. Pathology
12. Emergency Medicine
13. Anesthesiology


14. Medicine
15. Pediatrics
16. Ob/Gyn
T-17. Psychiatry
T-17. Neurology
19. Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
20. Family Medicine

For other information on specialties (and choosing one), check out:

[So You Want To Be A Surgeon?]
[Pathway Evaluation Program]
[Medical Specialty Aptitude Test]