Monday 19 March 2012

20 steps to boost residency match chances

The buzz regarding September 15 for the current year has started and rightly so. For those who are planning to apply this year.

  1. Plan your time
  2. Coordinate with your medical schools and colleges so that your paper work is done on time
  3. Spend a lot of time, I mean a lot, on your personal statement. You are speaking to an audience, make an impression.
  4. Brush up on your correspondence skills, 80% of correspondence is written by email, learn to write impressive emails with appropriate subject headings and striking content
  5. Be organized, use a filing system (in person) and on computer to sort and store important documents (scanned or original)
  6. Be sure to upload your documents to ERAS on time and that your packet is complete by September 15.
  7. If there are any deficiencies in getting ECFMG certified, go ahead and take care of them
  8. Most programs will need Step 1 and Step 2 CK scores before application. Incomplete applications that do not satisfy criteria tremendously reduce chances of getting an interview.
  9. Choose which approach you are going to take - Shotgun™ or Sniper™ and stick with it.
  10. Shotgun strategy is applying all over in multiple specialties without restriction, while sniper strategy is to focus on one subject and hammer out the applications finely tuned to that specialty. You could be specific to the extent of applying to few chosen states but this may reduce your chances of interview.
  11. Make a careful selection of programs - if you are indiscriminate in applying (you can increase your chances but expenses will also mount), if you are too critical in choosing places (you may not get interviews) find a balance in either strategies.
  12. Brush up your interview skills, if you have an accent - work on it to improve it. A phenomenal impression in an interview can often overcome an inadequate resume
  13. Keep your resume up to date. If you find there are gaps in your CV, explain them in your personal statement.
  14. Keep your CV evolving; a static CV is not impressive. As a norm, you should add one new accomplishment to your CV every 6 months.
  15. If you are an new graduate - fresh out of medical school, look for few volunteer or quasi research/research experiences to add to CV
  16. If you are an old graduate but have been in clinical practice - make sure you justify why you want to change careers in your personal statement
  17. If you are an old graduate and have not been active clinically - do everything it takes to get US clinical experience.
  18. Policies have changed in 2011, with ‘all or none’ phenomenon for programs – either all seats are through NRMP or not. Prematches – out of match offers for positions will go down but still exist and one can get residency outside of match system.
  19. Keep a positive attitude.
  20. Network, network and more network. Find connections and folks to put in a word for you.  Candidates who have someone vouch for them have a far greater chance than those without connections. IF you cannot get connections – make them. If you think you do not need connections – you had better have triple 99 (250+) and a stellar resume.
These are some very important steps that you should pay full attention to before applying for medical residency in US.


  1. Thanks for the wonderful post. Really very helpful. When you say triple 99 (in item #20). How do you corelate to the new 3 digit score. I have seen many website that has a table of conversion but dont know which to follow coz everything is different. I have also seen people talking about low 99(230's), mid 99(240's) high 99(250's). Please kindly elaborate.

    Thanks again for the post

    1. Hi! thanks for your input, when I mean triple 99 0 meant scores of 250+. you are right scores even low 240s or high 230 could be 99 but I was referring to scores more than 250.

  2. Thanks a lot dude.. this is really helpful..

    1. you are most welcome! all the best for the application. Let me know how things go for you!

  3. thanks you so much for all your help

  4. according to u which approach is good? shotgun or snipper? for applicant with 210/230/CS/3m USCE. interested in IM

    1. for an avg applicant, a shotgun approach is better. as many programs in one specialty as possible to 'hit' most programs with matching requirements. for applicants with excellent CV and stellar credentials a targeted approach may be more high yield

  5. I'm a US citizen and an IMG. My husband holds a spouse visa and he's an IMG too. We'll be done with our Step 1 and 2CK tests in April-May 2017. But We wont have our CS scores ready before 15th Sept 2017 because we want to take CS in Aug-Sept. Should we go for 2018 match or should we wait? There are no visa issues and we can get maybe 2 LORs too ?! Please reply


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