Frequently Asked Questions

- What does AOA actually do?

Actually, most of us did not understand the role of AOA until we were elected, which is why we decided to make this website. AOA recognizes students, residents, and faculty at Downstate that have shown excellence in academic performance, teaching, patient care, or research. An annual dinner is held in March to honor new members. In addition, AOA holds several events each year, including a panel discussion about how to prepare for the USMLE Step 1, a week-long series of discussions with faculty to discuss how and why they chose their specialty, and a talk with recently matched fourth years about what to expect during the residency application process. We are also open to suggestions for new events and resources that Downstate students think would be useful!

- Tell me more about the USMLE Step 1 Panel.

This event usually takes place when MS2s are starting to plan out their Step 1 study schedules. A panel of MS3s and MS4s offer their advice and answer questions about how to budget time, which resources to buy, when to take the exam, and other useful information.

- What about the Faculty Specialty Forum?

Faculty, residents, attendings, program directors, and others give presentations about what drew them to their specialty and offer advice to students about what steps to take in the near-term to prepare for residency.  Multiple time slots are scheduled so that students who are interested in more than one specialty can be present at several sessions.

- What is the Student-to-Student Residency Forum?

This is an event hosted by AOA in early April with newly matched MS4s offering advice and answering questions for rising seniors about what to expect about residency applications, interview season, and the Match.

- What do I need to do to get in?

​Please see page entitled Criteria For Selection, most recently updated in March 2019

- Will I be elected in time to list AOA on my residency application?

Yes. If you are elected to AOA in senior year, you will have plenty of time to register and "make it official" before applications are due.

- Who can I talk to about AOA?

Check out the Contact section of our website if you want to get in touch with an AOA member.

Alternatively, you can e-mail us at