NRMP Publishes Reports on Applicants Successful in Matching to Preferred Medical Specialties

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Three versions of Charting Outcomes in the Match provide detailed information on United States and international medical school students and graduates.

The Match: National Resident Matching Program
A high USMLE or COMLEX-USA score does not guarantee Match success, nor does a low score bar applicants from their preferred specialty.

The National Resident Matching Program (NRMP®) has published Charting Outcomes in the Match for the 2016 Main Residency Match®. The reports document how applicant qualifications affect the Match success of U.S. allopathic medical school seniors, students/graduates of U.S. osteopathic medical schools, and U.S. and non-U.S. citizen students/graduates of international medical schools (IMGs). Each report presents a comprehensive analysis of the relationship between applicant characteristics and matching to a preferred specialty.

Although NRMP has previously published reports examining the Match success of U.S. allopathic medical school senior students and students/graduates of international medical schools, this is the first time NRMP has produced a report about osteopathic medical school applicants.

“We are delighted to be able to provide information that will help applicants obtain residency positions in their desired area of practice,” said NRMP President and CEO Mona M. Signer. “Producing three separate reports with detailed information about each applicant group should help them be successful in the Match.”

In Charting Outcomes in the Match, the Match result for each applicant is analyzed against the applicant’s characteristics including United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE®) scores or Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX-USA®) scores and the numbers of publications, academic degrees, and research, volunteer, and work experiences. Match success is defined as a match to the applicant’s first-ranked program, or preferred specialty. Lack of success can mean the applicant matched to another specialty or did not match at all.

Although there is a strong relationship between higher test scores and Match success, the reports show that program directors consider other qualifications in evaluating applicants. “We advise applicants to realistically assess their competitiveness and the competitiveness of their specialty of choice, to rank programs in order of true preference, to consider a mix of highly competitive and less competitive programs, and to list all qualifications on their applications,” said Ms. Signer. “A high USMLE or COMLEX-USA score does not guarantee Match success, nor does a low score bar applicants from their preferred specialty.”

The reports show that successful Match applicants are more likely to:

  • Rank more programs within their preferred specialty
  • Have higher USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK scores in the case of allopathic applicants and IMGs or higher COMLEX-USA Level 1 and Level 2-CE scores in the case of osteopathic applicants
  • Be members of Alpha Omega Alpha, the national medical honor society, if they are U.S. allopathic medical school students
  • Be U.S. citizens if they are IMGs

About NRMP
The National Resident Matching Program® (NRMP®) is a private, non-profit organization established in 1952 at the request of medical students to provide an orderly and fair mechanism for matching the preferences of applicants for U.S. medical residency positions with the preferences of residency program directors. In addition to the annual Main Residency Match® for more than 42,000 registrants, the NRMP conducts Fellowship Matches for more than 60 subspecialties through its Specialties Matching Service® (SMS®).

About The Match Process
Applicants submit to the NRMP their rank order lists of preferred programs, and program directors rank applicants in order of preference for training applicants. The NRMP uses a computerized mathematical algorithm to match applicants with programs using the preferences expressed on their ranked lists. Research on the NRMP algorithm was a basis for awarding The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel in 2012.

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Diane Greenhalgh
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