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.


- When do AOA elections take place?

Elections to AOA at Downstate are held twice: junior members are selected in March of their third year, while senior members are elected in early September of their fourth year.


- What do I need to do to get in?

Criteria to be Eligible

  • Must be in the top 25% of the class clinically (8 required clerkship grades)
  • Must have a minimum of two Honor grades in clerkships which have NBME shelf examinations.
  • Excellent Medical Knowledge and Patient Care numerical grades in Units 1 through 6

Exclusion criteria

  • Identified Deficiency (ID) grades in any of the 6 competencies.
  • USMLE Step 1 score lower than the National average
  • Strong negative comments in clinical evaluations that clearly place the student out of AOA.
  • A disciplinary/behavioral record that, by the majority of the electing committee, places the candidate out of consideration.

AOA faculty committee will elect ~32 student members that from a pool of candidates that meet the above criteria.


- 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 downstateaoa@gmail.com.