Advice for the National Resident Matching Program (Part II: Tips)

In the previous post, we talked about the importance of the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) and the algorithm that determines resident placements. In this post, we’ll discuss some of the best strategies to assist medical school graduates in succeeding in the Match.

Do your research: Although it goes without saying for many dedicated medical students, it is extremely important to learn as much as you can about potential residency programs in the United States. Each program has its own specialties, procedures, and personnel, which can have a profound impact on the medical residency experience. Similarly, you can maximize your efficiency and chances of success by identifying those programs to which you are most likely to earn admission.

Prepare for interviews: After you submit your applications, residency programs may decide to invite you in for an interview. The interview is your last chance to make a good impression on residency program directors, so it is important to be well prepared. Learn as much as you can about the history and operations of the program, as it will demonstrate a willingness to take initiative and go the extra mile. Emphasize the significance of your accomplishments without boasting and describe your resume in terms of its applicability to the position at hand.

Carefully consider your rank order list: The Match algorithm relies on rank order lists submitted by applicants and residency programs. Take into account all types of factors when deciding which programs to include. Although several applicants have attempted to “game” the system in the past, it is best to submit an accurate list with your true preferences represented. If you do not wish to attend a particular residency program, do not include it on your list. However, it is important to include all residency programs that you would attend if accepted. Keep in mind that the inclusion of additional residency programs has no bearing on the likelihood of gaining acceptance to programs higher on the list.

Be prepared for the Scramble: On Tuesday afternoon of Match week, unmatched applicants have the opportunity to contact residency programs with vacant spots and attempt to secure a position. Although the majority of students receive a match the first time around, it is nevertheless important to be prepared for the possibility of having to participate in the Scramble. Waste no time in contacting residency programs, as positions are likely to fill up quickly.

To learn more about the National Resident Matching Program, visit the website at


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