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Neurology Residency Questions

What advice would you give about getting letters of recommendation in your specialty?

Ask the neurology staff member who directly observed your work to write a letter of recommendation. It’s ok to make sure they are able to write a strong letter before committing – maybe ask for feedback first. Be sure to supply the letter writer with all the information they need to complete the letter – your CV, names and addresses, and your specialty interests and goals for your future. ERAS applications open 9/15 so be sure to give your letter writers at least a month to complete letter.

What is the value of doing audition rotations in your specialty?

Doing a rotation is the best way to get to know a program, its staff and residents.  It is also the best way for the program to get to know you. Make it clear very early that you’re interested in applying to Neurology residency programs including the program you’re visiting. Be sure to be yourself, work hard with an enthusiastic attitude and ask lots of clinical and practical questions about the staff and program. Talk to the residents whenever possible.

To what extent does research, publications, or presentations affect one’s ability to match in your specialty?

It depends on the program. Some academic neurology residency programs have very high expectations for prior research but most look for a balanced resume with good test scores and letters as well medical school transcript. Most Neurology residency programs are looking for clinical experience/exposure as well as research exposure/experience. Try not to be too narrow in focus when applying to residency.

Is a Step 2CK score needed before you will invite someone for an interview?

Yes for the most part.

What does the perfect applicant look like in your specialty?

A person with excellent academic performance including Step 1 and 2 scores, medical school and undergraduate transcript (without interruptions) whose personal statement and experience demonstrate a sustained enthusiasm and aptitude for clinical neurology. Letters of recommendation indicate a strong work ethic, with clinical and communication skills at or above the expected level for training. No impediments to starting and completing training or personal behaviors that demonstrate anything less than the highest ethical standards.

Does having a below average Step 1 score doom you in your specialty?

No, but would be helpful to have a much higher Step 2 score and other very strong attributes to consider an interview during which this will be discussed.

Would you ever take someone with a Step 2CS failure?

Probably not without extenuating circumstances and other very strong attributes.

Does a student need to Honor in your specialty in order to match?

No, but Honors or other indications of aptitude are helpful.

The students have significant elective time during their 2nd and 3rd year for career exploration.

What electives would you recommend to a student who knows they are interested in your specialty?

Neurology, Neuroradiology, Neurosurgery, Psychiatry.

What electives would you recommend to a student who is undecided but considering your specialty?

A clinical neurology elective should be very helpful.

Is there anything else I haven’t asked that you feel an applicant to your specialty ought to know?

Neurology is a specialty that requires one to communicate very effectively, commit to lifelong learning and resilience. Neurology is THE best field!

Length of Training: 4 year

Mean USMLE Step 1 score = 231
Mean USMLE Step 2 CK score = 242

Programs: 133

Match: NRMP Main Residency Match

Mean number of programs applied to: 30.5

Prequisites: Preliminary year in general internal medicine

Program Interview Invites (%): Completions (%):
Before Oct. 1 31 1
October 48 17
November 11 37
December 9 31
January 1 14

Average hours worked per week: 50.8

Sources: NRMP; AAMC
Updated: 01-2019