Assessing: Your Competitiveness

This exercise will help you give a rough estimate of how programs assess applications to decide how to offer interviews. It is not meant to make you feel bad about parts of your medical school experience; rather, it is designed to help you be objective about where you are in the applicant pool, so you can make informed choices about what programs to apply to and how long your rank list should be. This information is based on the 2010 NRMP Program Director Survey and is an average of the family medicine residencies that replied. It does not represent any individual program, nor does it represent every program, but it does offer a reasonable self-assessment you can do of your credentials.
NOT included on this worksheet are two vital pieces of your application. The personal statement is the most frequently used by programs to decide whom to interview with 76% of programs using it. Letter of recommendation is the fourth most frequently used with 70% of programs using them to screen applicants for interviews. This highlights the importance of your personal statement and your letters of recommendation. Also not included are two freebies you get just from having attended UW – going to an allopathic medical school that is also highly regarded.
NOT EVERYONE USES STEP 1 and 2 SCORES TO DECIDE WHOM TO INTERVIEW AND RANK. However, for those that do, this information can help you assess your competitiveness. FAILING STEP 2 IS MORE CONCERNING THAN FAILING STEP 1!

The other scoring guidelines are not based on any specific data but instead are a way of placing you in general categories. This allows you to identify strengths that you can play up and weaknesses that you should address in your application and interviews. There are many gradations between these large categories. For example, you may decide you belong somewhere between “amazing” and “adequate” for some areas.

National Residency Matching Program (2010). Results of the 2010 NRMP Program Director Survey. Retrieved from
National Resident Matching Program and Association of American Medical Colleges. (2011). Family Medicine. Charting Outcomes in the Match: Characteristics of Applicants Who Matched to their Preferred Specialty in the 2011 Main Residency Match, Fourth Edition. Retrieved from