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The Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE) is a required component of the residency application. The Office of Student Affairs (OSA) completes an MSPE for each student in their final year of study following national standards set by the AAMC MSPE Task Force. The MSPE is a summary statement of evaluation intended to provide residency programs with an honest and objective summary of a student’s salient experiences, attributes, and academic performance. The MSPE is neither a letter of recommendation nor a self-evaluation. Information directed toward specialty of choice is NOT included in the MSPE. Serious academic difficulties or professionalism concerns must be addressed in the MSPE. Students who are elected to AOA or GHHS will automatically have this notation included in the MSPE.

MSPE Writing

The MSPE is written by an OSA Dean.  An MSPE writer will be suggested for each student based on specialty choice, however, students may select the MSPE writer of their choice. The Associate Dean for Student Affairs will review and sign all MSPEs.

MSPE Writers:

MSPE Timeline

MSPE writing begins after the clerkship year. Each student will have an opportunity to meet 1:1 in an advisory session with an OSA Dean, during which time the MSPE will be discussed. 

A draft of the MSPE will be made available to each student at least one week prior to uploading to the residency application system (e.g., ERAS, SF Match, etc…).  Students may submit changes to OSA to correct factual errors, punctuation, etc. Questions or concerns about narrative sections should be addressed directly with the student’s MSPE writer. Any changes in the content of the clerkship and clinical rotation evaluations must come directly from the clerkship/course directors. Students are encouraged to review evaluations as they come in and contact directors as soon as possible to discuss issues with evaluation content. The School Grade and Evaluation Inquiry and Appeal policy states that grade or evaluation inquiry or appeal must be made within 30 days of the receipt of the evaluation.

After the initial upload, students may request one additional upload of the MSPE to the residency application system during the match cycle. Every attempt is made to include all clinical rotations available at the time of residency application into the MSPE for the original upload. The MSPE is updated with new courses/evaluations through graduation. Students who have crucial evaluation(s) that did not make it into the original MSPE but added later may submit a written (email) request to OSA ( to request a re-upload.

Sample MSPE

MSPE Description

The MSPE includes the following 6 sections:

1. Identifying Information

Includes student name, school and location.

2. Noteworthy Characteristics and Significant Challenges

Noteworthy characteristics include a maximum of 3 characteristics in a bulleted list highlighting the most salient noteworthy characteristics of the student, each described in 2 sentences or less.

Information about any significant challenges or hardships encountered in the students during medical school may be described in a fourth bullet, also in 2 sentences or less.

The noteworthy characteristics are drafted by the student for final inclusion in the MSPE at the discretion of the MSPE writer. Tips for drafting noteworthy characteristics are included below.

3. Academic History

Includes the student timeline of medical school including whether there were extensions, leaves, gaps or breaks in the curriculum, participation in a combined degree program, required remediation, or adverse actions.

4. Academic Progress

This section includes a summary statement of professional and academic performance in both the pre-clerkship and clerkship phases. Clerkships (and other clinical rotations) are listed in chronological order and include a breakdown of the grading rubric as well as the grade received and summative comments, in full and unedited, as they appear in clerkship and clinical course evaluations.

5. Summary

A summative statement includes the student’s comparative performance relative to peers.

6. Medical School Information/Appendix

Contains supplementary material that is not an essential part of the text itself, but which may be helpful in providing a more comprehensive understanding of the information.

*The MSPE does not included protected health information or any information regarding accommodations  

Tips for Drafting Noteworthy Characteristics

Noteworthy characteristics will be drafted by the student and submitted to OSA for inclusion in the MSPE. Identification of noteworthy characteristics may be done in consultation with a mentor and/or the student’s MSPE writer.

This section includes information intended to help a residency program selection committee to review applicants holistically to achieve a residency class that brings a diverse set of background experiences, characteristics, and perspectives. Students can provide a maximum of three characteristics highlighting their most salient noteworthy characteristics.

Noteworthy Characteristic should: 

  • Be presented as a bulleted list
  • Be written in the third-person voice
  • Be succinct.  Each characteristic should be described in 2 sentences or less; word count is 35-40 words per bullet
  • Special characters (e.g., bold, italics, figures) should not be included

Consider a focus of unique characteristics that highlight areas that may not be addressed in other elements of the application such as the transcript, CV, or personal statement. Avoid re-writing your CV. Examples include:

  • Hobbies (that may or may not align with your medical interests)
  • Prior work experience which may have influenced your career
  • Challenges overcome
  • Leadership or mentoring roles
  • Institutional leadership roles
  • Research achievements (grant/award or scholarship distinction)

Some examples of Noteworthy Characteristics are shown below:

Example 1

  • Kelsey worked with Healthy Choices Baltimore, a program to educate Baltimore City elementary students on anatomy, physiology, and healthy eating. Kelsey was instrumental in designing a new curriculum and expanding the program to additional Baltimore City schools.
  • Kelsey conducted research on the effectiveness of the pulse oximetry newborn screen for critical congenital heart disease in an underserved population. This original research project resulted in presentations at two separate national conferences, one publication, and two additional manuscript submissions.
  • Kelsey is a soprano in the Hippocratic Notes, the student run a-Capella group. She has performed in the hospital for patients and staff, at Match Day, White Coat and Graduation ceremonies.

Example 2

  • Henry was raised by a single father. Despite financial hardships, he distinguished himself in academics and athletics, was the first in his family to go to college and received a full scholarship.
  • Henry was the Treasurer and then President of the Emergency Medicine Interest Group. He facilitated a collaboration with local EMTs which led to a new interdisciplinary educational opportunity.
  • Henry earned an MPH prior to medical school publishing a thesis on the link between obesity and reading levels in inner city students. This education and experience informed and enriched many of his clinical experiences in medical school.

Example 3

  • Silpa enjoys National Public Radio, especially programs such as Morning Edition and Hidden Brain. She has participated in a local radio podcast on WYPR on medical student life.
  • Silpa was the class representative for the Student National Medical Association. She spearheaded a youth enrichment project in a local Baltimore City high school STEM camp.
  • As part of the education committee for the Eva Dodge House Advisory system, Silpa arranged, promoted and coordinated faculty-to-student round table and panel opportunities over her two-year tenure.

Example 4

  • Sam was a student teacher in the Prematriculation Summer Program where Sam mentored and supported selected students through a predefined curriculum. Sam received the student teacher award two years in a row.
  • Sam is an avid reader. As part of the Humanism elective, Sam introduced multiple short stories and essays focusing on social justice and patient advocacy for group discussion.
  • Sam received the Certificate of Outstanding Achievement in Research for Sam’s research accomplishments studying the use of peri-operative glucocorticoids on transsphenoidal surgery outcomes.

Significant Challenges/Hardships

Information about any significant challenges or hardships encountered by the student during medical school may be included as a fourth bullet item. These generally include significant hardships or extenuating circumstances which may have had a negative effect on academic performance. This language is meant to be an explanation and provide context; it is not meant to be an excuse.

Significant hardships should be discussed with the MSPE writer for inclusion. Examples of situations students have elected to write about in the past are:

  • Jane passed her USMLE Step 1 examination two months after the death of her mother in a motor vehicle accident.
  • John had an acute medical problem during the last few weeks of Functional Systems, and this likely affected his ability to perform at his best on the last exam.