Securing a residency program is an essential aspect of your medical journey and this can only be possible by ‘a match’. Although you have heard of the match before, there are quite a lot of questions that need to be answered. What is it all about? How exactly does it work? If you’re also seeking an answer to these questions, then this article awaits you! So read further and make yourself aware of the much anticipated day in every medical folk’s life.

The term ‘match’ is generally used to describe the NRMP (National Resident Match Program), the system which is responsible for placing medical graduates into a residency program in the United States. Moreover, the process of acquiring a spot in one of these positions is very crucial as this is what will lead you to acquiring a medical license to practice in the US without any supervision.


The NRMP match process commences along with your journey towards the post-graduation. You need to apply for ERAS before you apply to NRMP. The ERAS and NRMP are the two organizations that administer the entire US residency process.ERAS is the system where you will have to submit your documents for the NRMP match process. There isn’t any specific number of residency applications which you at least have to submit or any limit which you can’t exceed. However, a fair amount of research from your side would be good to figure out where you should start from. You may find information regarding the average number of residency applications submitted by a candidate from the Association of American Medical Colleges (or AAMC). As per the data provided by AAMC, usually the most competitive residencies observe an average of around 70 applications per applicant. Yet you can apply for more in case you planning to explore the various specialties.

After you have submitted your applications, the residency programs determines in the first stage itself the candidates who are worthy for an interview. This filtration is largely based on the student’s academic performances, CV together with the USMLE scores. The selected candidates then attend the interview where they learn the insights of their desired programs and make a decision as to which program fits them best. In the end, you will be required to make an NRMP rank list of the residency programs and put them in that order. This gives the interview panel a glimpse of your understanding as you would not include certain programs in the list and the only reason would be that you think you would be really miserable at it.

The entire NRMP match process is done by the computer algorithm. The algorithm makes pair of the candidates and program by way of aligning the rank-wise order. The NRMP match results are declared on Monday of the NRMP match week (Again, the NRMP is very much uniform). The NRMP match result reaches the student through E-mail and there can any of the 4 outcomes. The first two outcomes are the obvious results, either matched or unmatched. The other two outcomes are for only those who have applied to advanced programs which require a preliminary year. So either you have matched for a preliminary position or an advanced position, but not both. And Friday of the match week is when you will get to know whether you have successfully secured a residency program or not.


Below are some steps which you can make use of, while applying for a NRMP residency match that could help you in increasing your odds in successfully landing into a residency program of your choice. So make sure you keep the following tactics in mind as you go through the various stages of the NRMP residency match such as documentation, submission of application, NRMP rank list, etc.

  • While preparing for the NRMP residency match, you will have to take care of a lot of things. So make sure you time your preparations. You should give yourself enough time to prepare a genuine personal statement and CV as well. Also, get into contact with your seniors to seek advice to avoid the common errors in documents as this is something you just can’t neglect. Timing your schedules for taking the UMSLE Step 2 (CS&CK) and attending interviews is also a must because all this would be happening during your final year of clinical rotations. But never ever make the mistake of skipping an interview to save time since you never know what destiny brings forth to you.
  • As far as your ranking order is concerned, you should be quite rigorous while preparing it. For instance, if you have 10 interviews, then your list must contain at least 10 programs in your list. Catch here is that you shouldn’t be ranking any program you think you are miserable at, as then there would be chances that you get selected in that particular program. NRMP Residency match statistics of past years suggest that those who got a spot in the NRMP Residency programs ranked more programs that those who didn’t got a spot. Conclusion- preparing an overwhelming list would be a wise move.
  • Last but not the least. The purpose of NRMP match is to pair the candidates with their most desirable program possible. So one must make the NRMP rank list with utmost honesty. You can seek help from your senior folks to look over your choices in case you are feeling stuck at any point. But do remember to not alter your listing on the basis of where you think you have more chances of getting a match.


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