Steps to a Successful Residency Match
Step 1: Explore the Specialty
Before you pursue a career in internal medicine, it's important to be well informed about the specialty. We've put together a great collection of articles and resources which are essential reading for the aspiring internal medicine physician. These articles will give you a better idea of the pros and cons of a career in the field, trends in the specialty, and hot topic issues for trainees.
Step 2: Review Internal Medicine Match Data
U.S medical school seniors are readily able to match into internal medicine. In the 2018 NRMP Match, only 1.8% of U.S. seniors who applied to the field went unmatched. However, top-tier university programs are quite competitive.
Osteopathic applicants may match into allopathic or osteopathic internal medicine residency programs. There are approximately 100 osteopathic residency programs.
In 2018, approximately 2,828 international medical graduates matched into the specialty. However, many fail to match. In the 2018 Match, 43% of U.S. IMGs and 42.3% of non-U.S. IMGs went unmatched (IMGs are considered independent applicants).
Step 3: Understand Residency Selection Criteria
"In the 2015-2016 application season, we received 1,833 applications for our 12 positions and filled through ERAS," writes the Department of Medicine at the University of Tennessee.
To maximize your chances of matching with your first-choice residency program in internal medicine, you must become well informed as early as possible. In particular, you need to know the criteria residency programs use to select residents.
We recommend beginning with the following resources:
Step 4: Develop Your Strategy For Success
As competition for positions in the internal medicine residency match intensifies, it's more important than ever to have in place the "right" strategy for success. To develop the optimal strategy, use our book, The Successful Match. It's been designated recommended or required reading by the Association of American Medical Colleges, American Medical Women's Association, and numerous allopathic and osteopathic medical schools. AMSA wrote the book "provides the medical student reader with detailed preparation for the matching process." For more powerful information, sign up for our weekly update below.
Step 6: Apply For Scholarships & Awards
Winning medical school scholarships and awards can provide a major boost to your residency application, and set you apart from your peers. Awards can be placed in the application, MSPE (Dean's Letter), letters of recommendation, and CV. We have found that interviewers often ask about awards during residency interviews. Read more
Step 7: Assess Your USMLE Step 1 Score or COMLEX 1 Score
The USMLE or COMLEX is an important factor in the internal medicine residency selection process. In 2018, the mean USMLE Step 1 and COMLEX 1 score among matched students were 233 and 554, respectively. Among unmatched U.S. seniors and osteopathic students, the mean scores were 207 and 465, respectively. Read more
Step 8: Strive For Success During Clerkships
Grades in required or core clerkships are very important to internal medicine residency programs. In a NRMP survey of internal medicine residency programs, 73% cited "grades in required clerkships" as a factor in selecting applicants to interview. Internal medicine rotations are also of obvious importance to international medical graduates seeking positions in the field. Read more
Step 9: Prepare A Powerful Residency Application
In my experience working with applicants, errors are common in the ERAS Application. Although spelling and grammatical errors are frequently seen, equally common and dangerous are the less well appreciated errors. Read more
Step 11: Deliver An Impressive Interview Performance
An invitation to interview is exciting news, and confirmation that you're considered a competitive candidate for a residency position. However, your work is not done, and you need to be diligent in your interview preparation to maximize your chances of success. Read more
What if I didn't match?
If you were unsuccessful during your initial match cycle, you'll need to sit down with your dean or advisor to review your match strategy. In planning your reapplication, each of the steps above becomes even more important.
For those who seek additional expert assistance, we can provide that. Dr. Desai has had significant experience in helping re-applicants match successfully.
This is provided via a Strategy for Success Session. Dr. Desai will perform a comprehensive review of your credentials, assess your strengths and weaknesses, and provide you with a specific plan to implement tailored to your unique situation.