How you prepare for the Post-Match SOAP can make all the difference during Match Week. Residency candidates can take the following steps to increase their chances of success during the Post-Match.

Step 1: Eligibility

  • Make sure you are eligible:

    • Register for NRMP® by the Rank Order List Deadline at 9 p.m. (EST) on Feb. 21, 2018
    • Be able to enter a program July 1st
      • USMGs - Your medical school must clear your graduation qualifications

      • IMGs - You must have your USMLE® Step 1, Step 2 CK and Step 2 CS scores completed and reported by the week before The Match®

Step 2: Study Post-Match Data and Trends

  • Review the data from previous Post-Match SOAPs and start considering which specialities you will be potentially applying to:

    • For example, preliminary General Surgery and preliminary Internal Medicine both had many available positions while Pediatrics and Neurology did not
    • Post-Match SOAP Statistics made easy

Step 3: Know your NRMP® Policies

  • Review the important policies on NRMP®. Some policies that affect residency candidates include:

    • Applicants may not initiate contact with programs during SOAP. All communication must come from the programs themselves.
    • All SOAP applications must go through ERAS® to SOAP participating programs-- do not apply to programs outside of SOAP until after SOAP concludes at 11 a.m. (EST) the Thursday of Match Week.
    • Do not share the SOAP Unfilled Programs List with any SOAP ineligible candidates
    • Offers may not be extended or accepted outside of SOAP

Step 4: Supporting Documents

  • Review, update, and/or add to your applications materials:

    • Letters of Recommendation (LoRs) - If you didn’t receive many interviews, there may have been a problem with your LoRs. Consider getting fresh LoRs, preferably from US clinical experience -- make sure they are specialty specific to the specialties you may be applying to in the Post-Match.
    • Personal Statement - If your Personal Statement was generic, or you did not receive professional assistance, your Personal Statement could have cost you some interviews. Similar to LoRs, make sure your Personal Statement is fresh, unique, and specialty specific.
    • Contact Information - Make sure your contact information is up-to-date and reliable.
      • Phone - Ensure your phone number is open and your voicemail is set up

      • Email - Verify that your email address is professional and check it often

Step 5: Be Ready to Research

  • Start preparing to pick the right programs when the Unfilled Programs List is released:

    • Remember, you will only be allowed 45 applications total, each program you choose to apply to should be a strong choice based on your credentials and a program’s minimum application requirements. Even during SOAP, programs will still have requirements, do not waste your applications.
    • You will only have 4 hours to research and pick programs.
    • Use Electronic Residency during the Post-Match to instantly find out if you qualify for a program’s requirements within the first SOAP hour.

Additional Steps to Prepare:

    • Prepare to spend the week near your computer
      1. Request off from work
      2. Ask friends or family to help with outside responsibilities
      3. Take care of anything that might get in the way such as laundry, work, or grocery shopping
    • Rehearse for phone or Skype interviews
      1. Ask a friend, family member, or colleague to practice with you
      2. Get comfortable in front of a webcam (Remember: look into the camera to appear as though you are looking into the eyes of the interviewer)
      3. Have Skype downloaded
      4. Have a clear, clean, and quiet area set aside
      5. Have an interview outfit picked out
    • Learn as much as you can about the Post-Match SOAP. The more you know, the easier the process will be for you.