Monday, 25 April 2011

Number of interviews and chances of match

Surfing the NRMP website i came across a very useful piece of data that merits an independent article. Today we will talk about the lengths of the rank order list and how it influences the chances of match. Many applicants have doubts as to if they have 5,9,10,15 interviews, how will they fare on the match? For answers read on

ROL keeps Getting Longer
Looking at the data from the last 10 years, we see a striking trend. The Blue series is the average number programs on the rank order list (ROL) from matched applicants. You can see that the ROL is growing longer as the years go by and the predicted length of an ROL for applicant who will match is going to be 10 or even 11 in 2011-2012.

Failing Criteria Same, Matching Criteria Harder
What is surprising is that even though the average length of the ROL  of applicants who match has gone up, the length of ROL of unmatched applicants is still hovering around 4 (red series). This tells me it does not take much to fail in a residency match but its taking considerably more as the years go by to be a successful match. This data is from all applicants, and shows that for a candidate to match, they have to secure more and more interviews. So buckle up folks and get down to making your resumes impressive. Better the resume - the more interview and thus more programs on your ROL.

Also read about, how many applicants are you competing with for that one spot.


  1. maybe it is because the last few years more applicants are applying to various specialties, that is since the total no. of places they apply are increasing, hence the total number of interviews should increase, however if you look at the no. of interviews in each specialty it might show a much clearer picture

  2. thanks! yeah, i have been meaning to work on the specialty specific data for a while, perhaps it is time to revisit it.

  3. hi admin.....I am a graduate of feb 2007....img...scores 98,99, pass, 94............. 2 months observership.....applying this year.....

    looking at the criteria of various programs..... just want to know how they count years from graduation?
    does i fall within five years limit?

    how much my date of graduation will affect me?

  4. they usually count the years starting the year of graduation to the year of application. As far as i know dont let that deter you from application. I myself was an old grad 6 years out from graduation, if your CV is good, then YOG will not be a big factor in interviews. your step 1 and 2 scores are good and your step 3 is great. 2 months of obs is also an advantage. you should have a good chance of landing some interview with your profile.

  5. thanx...for the reply... i really appreciate that.... just one more question.....i need a detailed answer from you on dat...infact yours expert view.........i am writing my full profile

    feb 2007
    2 months observership in IM

    currently doing research in HIV/AIDS in a university hospital based hopeful of getting 2 months research letter.

    prviously home country 6 months internship in internal med, 6 months surgery, 6 months pediatrics and 2 years work experience as medical officer ( general practioner) in home country.

    thinking of applying for internal med as main match....and pathology and family medicine as a back up in some of low tier programs.... bcoz this is my last chance of applying so very much desperate..i need to get settlement some where...cannot spend more time in usa without matching.

    what do u suggest am i playing right?

    ny input will be highly appreciated as i am an img without much guidance....doing every thing by using various blogs and websites

  6. your year of grad is not too old and score are decent too. you have good experience with 2 months USCE. you should focus on FM and IM as the main ones. path is tough, as lot of AMGs and carib grad want to do path - good lifestyle. so focus on FM programs and IM programs. did you get any interviews? on paper you look like a candidate who has a fair chance of matching, may be your interview were not great? you need to do some work in that regard.

  7. Hi , i am fresh graduate ,YOG 2010, my scores are step1 99/233 , step2 ck 99/246 , step2 cs passed 1st attempt .
    i Have 2 months electives (USCE) in 2010.
    My query is i completed my internship in sep,2010 and since then i have just been preparing for my steps ,so there is 10-11 months void aftr sep 2010 till today in which i have not mentioned any work experience on my resume ...HOW MUCH CAN THAT HURT MY CHANCES OF GETTIN AN interview call .

    thank you,

  8. Hi Arun, It is difficult to say how professor and programs are going to react your gaps in CV. 10 months may sound a lot but in big scheme of things it may not be that much of a gap. you can say that you were seeking clinical experience opportunities at the same time studying for the exams. Dont let it extend into years though. How much it is going to hurt your chances, I cant say. but you have to keep busy and look like you dont have gaps in CV

  9. I got 256,252, CS 1st attempt, 214..1 mo USCE, 1 case report published.grad of 2009got 7 invites, outa which 2 went totally prematched so ROL contains 5 progs.where do I stand

  10. your profile looks pretty solid. I think you have a good chance of matching provided you were successful in creating a good impression with the interviewers! good luck!!

  11. hi,
    this is a very tough time for me and for many out there waiting for the match result..i just want to know my chances of getting matched in your opinion. My credentials are 235/240/CS pass (first attempt) 4 months of observership/ 2 U.S LORs/ 2008 graduate/need visa..i got three interviews . kindly reply.

    1. Hello Kwaheed, with 3 interviews the situation is a little tough. per NRMP stats the chance of matching goes up with every interview in the contiguous rank order list. increasing to 70-80% with 10 to 12 interviews. But remember stats do not take into account luck and your fate and all it takes is one place to match in a 100%

  12. Hi Droidor,

    I'm 4th year medical student so I have 2 more years until graduation. At the moment I'm working on prospective cohort study in Rheumatology Department (total period of 5 months) but not sure if it will be published as I didn't find many significant results (the question is: Do I need to include this in my CV). To be honest Theumarology is not my cup of tea ( neurosurgery is) so will this not be useful for me when I apply.
    I added in my CV that:
    I did 2 internships (neurosurgery in my 1st year and Gatroeneterology in my 3rd) in the Middle East. I did 2 honors programs, and organized a symposium about organ donation. Taken online course in Global Pathology. I did 6 weeks in Tropical Medicine course. Speak 3 languages (English, Arabic and Dutch) each supported by certificates.

    To be honest, I don't know if these things are or aren't supposed to be mentioned in a CV. Are there things that I can do to increase my chance. I'm thinking to publish but if I can't I will try to do a case report (that is if I can find a supervisor or a mentor). I have 2 years lift so do you have any advice for me to do for my CV though I still didn't do any of the USMLE steps yet.

    Thanks for this great post (already book marked this page and liked your facebook :) Keep it up)

    1. If you did it you should add it. You CV is a list of accomplishment so even if the research is in rheumatology - it shows that you have a little experience in research.

      Internships, honor programs and tropical medicine may be mentioned under education
      I would also add the organ donation symposium - shows leadership skills
      languages spoken - very last (not essential but does not hurt)
      Ideally your best chance of matching is when you have great scores. All factors set aside, USMLE scores are still the most influential factors for IMG. Focus on that in parallel - good idea to involve in a small/short study or work on case report (try to submit to journals that are indexed in medline)


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