Match Strategy

****  Want to know what residency directors ****

****  are looking for in US Grads?  Criteria  ****

The key to Matching is to make yourself the best candidate that you can!

Scores:  Obviously are a big deal. Great scores, open doors!  You only have one chance... so ROCK the exams.  260 baby! 

US clinical experience:  Critical for making connections, getting letters, and impressing the right people.  Sometimes it's all about who you know! 

Visa Status:  Hard to change so start researching the programs that give the H1 visa.  They are the most competitive programs so get yourself into those hospitals and show them your skills.

Gaps:  Again hard to control so make sure to use that time to productively if possible.  Be ready to explain on the interview.

Letters of Recommendation:  You want 3 good ones.  US preferably with at least one from the specialty that you are applying to!   Residency directors and chairmen are the best.

Personal statement:  Students stress the most about this... and the program directors put the least weight on it.  Show it to as many good english speakers as you can.  Don't copy from someone else... they can find out.  Cut out the BS and use concrete examples. One page, 4 paragraphs at most! 

Research:  Important for competitive specialties such as Derm, Plastics, Neurosurg, etc.  Most important... is who you meet and impress during your time there.

Application:  Don't wait till the last minute!  

Interviews:  You only get one chance to make a good impression.  Make sure to read my interview tips!

Good Hunting!  I'll be rooting for you!

 Dr. Barone


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Category: Match

Key Dates for the 2018 Main Residency Match


SEP 15 2017    Application Submission Begins!

  • Match Registration opens at 12:00 p.m. ET for Application Submission
  • It's best to have all your scores back (Step 1, 2CK, 2CS) and your application ready to submit on or as close to this day as possible.
  • The later you submit your application the less interview spots may be left. 
  • Here are the dates you need to take your step 2  CK and CS exams by to have the scores back in time: CS and CK dates for Match Day 2018    and for the following year's match: CS and CK dates for Match Day 2019


FEB 21 2018    Rank Order List (ROL) Deadline:

  • Time to make your decision and rank the programs you want in the order you want them.
  • ROLs must be certified by 9:00 p.m. ET
  • Rank List Advice



MAR 12 2018    Match Status Notification!

  • You find out if you matched!    
  • But you wont know where you matched till Match Day!
  • Message sent by email at 11:00 AM ET stating if you matched or if you are eligible for SOAP.



MAR 16 2018    Match Day!

  • You finally find out where you matched! 
  • Match results sent by email and posted in the R3 system at 1:00 p.m. ET.
  • Your next step is to party like the rockstar you are! 

Category: Match

Types of Programs Available in the Match

Ever wonder what's the difference between a preliminary and categorical residency?  Find out now... Here's an explanation of the types of residency program types that are available in the match!

Your goal is to get complete training in the specialty of your choice.  So make sure to apply to programs that offer the complete training such as:

  • Categorical (C)
  • Primary Care Categorical (M)
  • Advanced (A) combined with a supplemental Preliminary (P)


A Transitional or Preliminary program can also be ranked but that is your last resort.  While this can be a way to get into the system, get experience, and make connections.... at the end of the program you will have to do the match again to get your Advanced training to complete your residency!  Ugh!

Category: Match


Here are the Pass rates for all three steps for last year:

Read more: USMLE PASS Rate

Category: Match

New Requirement for EM for the 2018 Match :  The Standardized Video Interview


Since you're the "selfie"-generation and like recording yourself on your cellphone a new requirement has been added for the Emergency Medicine Application for residency... the Standardized Video Interview!


Please note that while this is being piloted with Emergency Medicine Programs, I would not be surprised if it is used for all residency programs in the near future!!!



What is the Standardized Video Interview?

  • It is an on-line, six question interview that you can record from any internet-connected computer, tablet, or smart phone.

  • The questions are presented as text prompts. There will be 30 seconds to read and think about the question and then there will be up to 3 minutes for the applicants response which is recorded. You can take an untimed break between questions.

  • Unfortunately you can't rewatch or rerecord your video responses.  

  • The interviews will be scored and are the videos and scores are made available to the EM programs.

  • The scores of the interview will be reported to you on September 15th.



What will the Standardized Video Interview questions be about?

There will be Six (6) questions are designed to assess knowledge of two ACGME competencies:

  • Knowledge of professional behaviors (professionalism)

  • Interpersonal and communication skills.

There will be a combination of 2 types of questions:

  • Behavioral questions: which ask the applicant to describe personal prior experiences to demonstrate their knowledge!

  • Situational questions: which ask applicants to apply their knowledge to hypothetical cases!



Where can I find examples of these questions?

For examples of the types of questions look at :

page 8 of this PDF: The AAMC Standardized Video Interview: Essentials for the ERAS 2018 Season



How should I prepare for Standardized Video Interview?

The same way you would prepare for the in-person interview. Here are some tips for preparing for this on-line interview: Preparing for the AAMC Standardized Video Interview 



When does the Standardized Video Interview have to be completed by?

The good news is that since there is no live interviewer.... you can record it anytime and anywhere you want.  I would certainly recommend finding a professional background... seeing your unkept room in the background might not leave a great impression.  Also make sure it's in a private place where you wont be interrupted by phone calls, screaming kids, hungry spouses, curious pets, etc.

The bad news is the video interviews must be completed by July 31, 2017 11:59 PM ET!!!!  So get cracking on it!!!!



Does this replace the in-person interview?

Absolutely not!!! This is not a replacement for the in-person interview! It's just an extra tool for the program director to evaluate you!



Where can I get more information about the Standardized Video Interview?


Category: Match

Most Popular Specialties for IMGs in the 2017 Match


And what about the most difficult.....

Category: Match

Most Popular Specialies for DO students in the 2017 Allopathic Match

Category: Match

Here's two neat little guides which give a basic overview of the Match process:

Strolling through the Match 2017-2018

Roadmap to Residency:

From Application to the Match and Beyond



Category: Match

Average Yearly Salary of a Resident

Yes!  You worked so hard to match and you got your residency spot!!! Congratulations!!! 

Here's what you've working so hard to get... the average yearly salary for residents:

Read more: Average Yearly Salary of a Resident

Category: Match

Probability of Matching based on USMLE Scores and Attempts

Here's some interesting data about the probability of an IMG matching in their preferred specialty based on their USMLE score!

Read more: Probability of Matching based on USMLE Scores

Category: Match

Probability of Matching based on the number of USMLE Attempts

Here's some interesting data about the probability of an IMG matching in their preferred specialty based on the number of exam attempts!

Read more: Probability of Matching based on the number of USMLE Attempts

Category: Match

2014 Match Results

I Like this Trend!!!


In which specialties did IMG's Match?

Which are the most competitive specialties for IMG applicants?

What are you going to do to make sure that you are one of the matched?


Category: Match

Summary of Findings:


> Everyone has a Shot!

Residency programs don't base their interview decisions solely on USMLE step 1 scores.   Students with weaker Step 1 scores actually submitted fewer applications per interview received compared to students with solid or marginal scores.   Residency program interest in students is multifactorial and depends on more then just scores.


> Don't miss an opportunity to market yourself!

IMG's who didn't attend all interviews missed important opportunities to match.


> If you Dance (interview), you have a chance!

Non-matching applicants didn't rank all the programs they interviewed at.   A small number IMG's would have matched if they had ranked programs that ranked them.  So if you would be willing to do a residency at the instituation, you should rank all the programs that you have an interview with.


> If you like it put a rank on it!

Non-matching applicants didn't rank all the programs they would be willing to attend.


Mistakes that non-matching applicants were more likely to make:

  1. Failed to rank all the programs they would be willing to attend.

  2. Failed to rank a mix of competitive and less competitive programs.

  3. Ranked programs that didn't interview them.  Applicants will not match at programs that they have not had an interview.

  4. Ranked programs based on their likelihood of matching rather then preference.


Here's what you should do to be successful:  Rank List Advice

Source: “Understanding the Interview and Ranking Behaviors of Unmatched International Medical Students and Graduates in the 2013 Main Residency Match” Journal of Graduate Medical Education, December 2015; 610-615

Category: Match

Successful IMG Traits

Here are some findings from the latest NRMP/ECFMG Bulletin:




Category: Match

Residency Application Advice from Dr. Conrad Fischer

Medical Residency : Secrets of Success Series. Hosted by Dr. Frank Noto.


Conrad Fischer's Advice to Medical Students

CFI01:   How should I choose a medical specialty?

CFI02:  How important are the USMLE scores?

CFI03:  How hard is it to get High USMLE scores?

CFI04:  Which USMLE step is the most important?

CFI05:  How important is VISA status for obtaining a medical residency?

CFI06:  When should I submit my application for residency?

CFI07:  What other application tips can you offer?

CFI08:  Letters of Recommendation (LOR)

CFI09:  What else can I do to improve my chances of matching?

CFI10:  Should I PreMatch or go thru the Match?

CFI11:  What about the SOAP?

CFI12:  What do you look for in an applicant?

CFI13:  What are application RED FLAGS?

CFI14:  Does taking time off to study for the USMLE hurt my application?

CFI15:  How do I write the best Personal Statement?

CFI16:  How do programs select candidates for interviews?

CFI17:  The Interview and Final Thoughts

Click "Read more" to view the videos:

Watch the Videos Here: Conrad Fischer Interviews

Category: Match

Residency Director Series

Here are the answers to key questions about matching from three current Residency Directors:

RD1 = What traits do you look for in a resident?

RD2 = What initial criteria do you use in evaluating applications?

RD3 = What about students with multiple attempts at the steps?

RD4 = What about applying with a missing score?

RD5 = How about applying to multiple specialties?

RD6 = How will the rising number of US grads affect IMG's chances of matching?

RD7 = How can IMG's increase their chances of matching?

RD8 = What counts as US clinical experience (USCE)?

RD9 = What are some application RED FLAGS?

RD10 = Does it matter how long it takes to take the Step exams?

RD11 = What are letter of recommendation RED FLAGS?

RD12 = How important is clinical research?

RD13 = How important is it for IMG's to have US clinical experience?

RD14 = How important is it to go into the match early?

RD15 = What do you look for on the interview?

RD16 = What kind of questions should I expect on the interview?

RD17 = What about "Thank You" letters?

RD18 = What about "Second Looks"?

RD19 = How do you Rank applicants?

RD20 = How important is the interaction with residents, nurses, and staff on the interview?

RD21 = What advice do you have for Unmatched applicants?

Read more: Residency Director Series

Category: Match

Dear Program Director

With the way that this years match has been going, it's time to take things into our own hands and make them an offer they can't refuse! 

Read more: An Offer They Cant Refuse

Category: Match

2013 Match Results



Source: Results and Data 2013 Main Residency Match - NRMP


Category: Match

Visiting Electives for IMGs and US Students

The hardest thing is getting in the hospital.  If you are still in medical school, that's the best time to do an "audition elective"!  Remember, you want to impress the heck out of them and rub the right elbows! 

Here's a few links to visiting rotations.  These are primarily for students IMG or US who are still in medical school but some will take IMGs who have already graduated. So check each one out and stay hoepful. 

Cedar-Sinai Medical Center, CA

UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, CA

USC Keck School of Medicine, CA

Mayo Clinic, MN

University of Miami SOM / Jackson Memorial, FL

Johns Hopkins SOM, MD

Cornell University Weill Medical Collage , NY

Mount Sinai SOM, NY

University of Texas Medical School at Houston, TX

University of Pittsburgh SOM, PA

Duke University SOM, NC

Case Western Reserve SOM, OH


Good luck Hunting!


Category: Match

Here's more reasons that you must Rock your Step exams:

Results of the 2010 NRMP Program Director Survey

Read more: Motivation from the NRMP

Category: Match

Here are the Top selection criteria as stated by Residency Directors:

Read more: Resident Selection Criteria #2

Category: Match
FREIDA Online – Residency Program Search
This is a great resource to find out about residency and fellowship programs.  In the left hand column, click on “Residency Fellowship Training Program Search”.  You can search by specialty and by location in the country.


Category: Match

Residency/Fellowship Vacancies Listing

If you are searching for a residency or fellowship then you might want to check out this page from time to time.  When a resident leaves a program that spot needs to be filled.  Why not with you!!!!  Unfortunately, the majority of listings will be for upper level residents and fellows. But you never know!

Open position List


Category: Match

How to Practice Medicine in California from a Non-Approved Medical School

QUESTION:  Can you practice medicine in the state of California if your medical school is not approved by the Medical Board of California?

Read more: Practicing in California

Category: Match

Postgraduate Training Authorization Letter (PTAL)

If your an IMG who is interested in doing a residency in California ....  you MUST obtain the Postgraduate Training Authorization Letter (PTAL) also known as a "California Letter"

Here is what you need to get it done:


Read more: California Letter (PTAL)

Category: Match

Can I practice in California without doing a residency?

This is a question that I get frequently!  Here is an interesting way for IMG’s who are well established in their own country to practice in California at a medical school?

Read more: California Faculty Permit

Category: Match

This is the lastest data available!

Category: Match

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