Monday 9 January 2012

16 things to know about SOAP for the NRMP match

2012 is here. As the new year rolls along, there is again renewed hope and interest in the match process. A few changes are in order for 2012

Implementation of supplemental offer and acceptance (SOAP) program
1. Involves a time out period after match results are declared (to allow for both programs and applicants to prepare).
2. New use for the Rank order list as the program and applicant preferences are released simultaneously.
3. In a normal match, applicant list takes precedence. In SOAP, program list takes preference. The goal is not to fill the unmatched positions.
4. ERAS is the point of contact unlike scramble where once the list of unfilled placed was released, the applicants could phone, fax or email to programs.
5. Almost like a reverse scramble - programs take initiative to offer positions to applicants in the preference list.
6. Scramble was called just that for a reason, the process is hectic, unorganized, inconsistent, unruly and erratic. SOAP aims to be a very organized post match process to fill unfilled positions with NRMP being in charge.
7. Only ECFMG certified IMGs would have access to unfilled programs list.
8. Applicants are not allowed to contact programs individually after the list is released but only via ERAS
9. Non-match participating programs can still use the prior methods to fill in seats. For a list of programs that do not participate in the NRMP match, click here.
10. Friday before the match week - all applicants will be notified, regardless of the match status, whether they are eligible for SOAP or not. This is important point, don't panic if you get this email - it is being sent to all.
11. Monday of the match week - did I match? Results are declared and list of unfilled   positions is posted, ERAS transits to SOAP mode. Unfilled programs start calling (telephone interviews).
12. Tuesday of the match week - more interviews scheduled. Programs begin compiling a preference list (applicant list)
13. Wednesday of the match week - Programs close the 'preference list' - list locked. Electronic offers begin with R3 system to applicants.
14. Thursday of the match week - offers via R3 continue to be made and accepted by the chosen applicants. Offers made regularly in batches at 9 am, 12 pm and 3 pm. Last offers between three and 5 pm.
15. Friday of the match week - offers continue. One pm applicant results. where did I match? declared.
16. Monday after match week - match out come for all programs and match results for all applicants complete.
This was a summary of information that was obtained from the handout section. Other information was obtained from NRMP and online resources. Few more resources
How many applicants are you competing with for that one spot? 
How Step 1 score affects interview invitations 
Number of interviews and chances of match
How many positions can you apply for in SOAP?
Between Monday at 12:00 noon EDT and Wednesday at 12:00 noon EDT, you can submit 30 applications to unfilled programs. Between Wednesday at 12:00 noon and Thursday at 12:00 noon, you can submit 10 applications to unfilled programs. Between Thursday at 12:00 noon and Friday at 12:00 noon, you can submit 5 applications to unfilled programs.


  1. hi!
    I have been following this site and it is wonderful! Thanks! Btw, I have a small query, I am an IMG appearing for the match this year, creds are 226/228/cs 1 /step 3 (pass-recent)grad 2010,6 wks obsie in univ jus 1 interview,..dont know the result! and am planning to start for next year....started work at home town, also thinking of MRCP part 1 in May, and some externship in July! what iss your honest opinion? Pls let me know asap. will ddo me so much good! Thanks!:)

  2. hi! i think I replied to your query in the email. Good luck!

  3. I am an img. step 1 score 206, step 2 score 224, cs passed all first attempt.observership in private clinic for 6 months.3 years hands on cliclinal experaince at my home country. just got 1 interview call fro prematch program which do not participate in NRMP. which was acuatuly requested by my fren to the program coordinator. dint get any interview calls from my scores or clinical experiance. was very very sad.
    I was wondering if SOAP will help me. please give me a genuine advice.I M wondering if spending $100 again will be worth it. since i didnt register myself in NRMP due to my almost no call.
    My email id is
    thank u for ur time ans great advice from such a wonderful blog.

  4. hi love.dale, your scores are being an impediment to your chances even though you have clinical experience in US. Also your USCE seems to be private clinic based, you should try to get an exposure in university/community hospital setting. The chances that you will have success in SOAP are slim - the reason being that, again candidates will be screened out based on scores, YoG etc but even more so because of there will be no time for detailed analysis of the applicant. I dont want to discourage you but there are few things you can do to improve your chances and you should focus on those. Good luck!

  5. Hello- I just came across our blog, its very informative- thank you! I have a quick question- I am an IMG; YoG 2010; 193/191/CS pass; ECFMG certified; 96 weeks of US clinical experience; >1 year of clinical research with publications and presentations at national scientific meetings - I applied this year to the match (IM positions) and had 0 IVs. I am now preparing for the SOAP- what do you think my chances are getting a position in IM or any other field? Thanks, R

    1. Hello R,
      The one big impediment to your application are your scores. Seems like you have very good other aspects like USCE (96 weeks), and more than a year of clinical research with publications. Honestly, your chances in SOAP are still dependent to a large extent on scores (which the programs are going to use to screen applicants), the best bet in your case will be to network and make connections that will go beyond your scores and grant you interviews.

  6. hi , im an IMG with scores 235/225/cs passed all first attempt.YOG july 2009. din get any interviews..wat r my chances to be matched in SOAP??

    1. chances to match in SOAP for IMg are not very good (based on last years performance and general chatter over usmle forums). while you try for soap this year, better to start thinking of strategies for next year and/or alternatives.

  7. Hi
    I am in a clinical fellowship program right now which ends on July 7th 2013, Am I soap eligible?

    1. SOAP is not a second match. you can be eligible for SOAP only if you have applied for the current match cycle "main residency match 2013" and did not match. If you are not eligible for main match then you are by default not eligible for SOAP.

  8. Hi , I'm an IMG with scores 195 2nd attempt /205 1st attempt/CS passed 3rd attempt.YOG 1993. 6 yr of USCE in the University, 22 publications in US, Residency Training in my home country from 1993-1997 , applied to 83 progs in FM, 2 IVs, what r my chances to be matched in SOAP??

    1. In general, SOAP chances are not better than main match for an applicant. SOAP more so designed to offer programs which went unmatched to fill in the slots not to offer a second chance for applicants who do not match. So while you can still have a little hope on the SOAP process, it may be also pragmatic to consider alternatives ie reapplication or other career option

  9. Hello , I really need your urgent advice regarding this matter, what's your advice regarding payed IMG matching websites which offer a service to contact program directors directly by emails on the behalf of the applicant before the eras opens asking their opinion regarding their application and profile . is it safe or harming the applicant ?

  10. hi,
    i finished anesthesiology residency from india in 2012. my step1 score is 255. step2 266. i scheduled cs exam on jan 5th 2015. no USCE. i applied for ERAS 2015. i have not received a single interview. i wud like to know the reason. is it because of late scheduling of cs exam and no USCE . suggest me if iam eligible for SOAP. or do i need to apply for next year.
    appreciate ur suggestions


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