medical education; graduate medical education; internship and residency; medical school transcripts; licensing exam; grading systems


Anesthesiology | Interprofessional Education | Medical Education | Medical Sciences



With recent changes made to move USMLE Step 1 and COMLEX Level 1 scores to Pass/Fail, it becomes necessary to find other metrics to evaluate residency candidates. One conserved metric included in all residency applications is medical school transcripts. This study aims to highlight the highly varied transcript reporting in a new era of holistic applicant review.


Medical school transcripts were extracted from the Electronic Residency Application Service applications to our anesthesiology residency program for the 2021-2022 application cycle. All personally identifiable information was removed. Results were categorized and tallied by 2 independent reviewers. Overall, we assessed transcript information from 156 allopathic and osteopathic medical schools. Transcript data were separated into 9 different categories.


The most common grading system for allopathic medical schools was Pass/Fail. The most common grading system for osteopathic medical schools was Pass/Fail and Letter Grades. There were several medical schools that had unique grading systems and many of those did not provide a grading key for interpretation. Less than half of the allopathic and osteopathic schools offered Honors or High Pass in their grading systems, often with little information provided as to how these grades were earned.


The information provided on medical school transcripts is extremely variable. Although many schools reported grades as Pass/Fail, there was no majority or consistent presentation among the transcripts. Much of the information provided on transcripts required interpretation by its reviewer and made the process of holistic applicant review more difficult.