Just like a colorful Easter basket, the USMLE is chock-full of surprises these days. In addition to making Step 1 pass/fail as of January, 2022, the...
Residency Match Day 2023: What You Need to Know About The Match Rate and More
Match Day 2024 is right around the corner. Curious what the match rate was from Match Day 2023. Find out more.
Residency applications are in (or nearly in), so it’s a good time to think about Match Day. Did your heart rate just go up a couple dozen BPM? No worries, you’ve still got plenty of time. But as you head into interview season, we thought it might be helpful to reflect on some notable results from the last Match Day, in March 2023.
The full NRMP data and analysis can be found here. But before we dive in for the highlights, a couple glossary notes so we’re all speaking the same language:
- A US [MD/DO] Senior is a 4th year student graduating from a US medical school less than a year before the match (this might be thought of as the “traditional” pathway)
- Other main applicant groups include US [MD/DO] Grads (those who graduated in years prior to the match) and IMGs—graduates of international medical schools (both US and non-US citizens)
Match Day in 2023 was a big year—just under 43,000 applicants submitted a rank list, which represents an all-time high. In total, about 81% of those applicants matched to a PGY-1 position this year, up a percentage point from last year (woohoo!).
In part that increase occurred because more positions were offered in 2023 than ever: 40,375 (which does include some PGY-2 spots). There were about 1100 more PGY-1 positions this year than in 2022, and roughly half of that growth came from FM, IM, and Psych.
Despite the increased match rate, the chances of candidates matching at the top of their rank list dipped slightly. For US seniors, both MD and DO, just under half matched to their first choice and about 75% matched in their top 3. For MD applicants, these numbers both fell by about a percent from 2022; for DOs, the decrease was slightly greater.
What about individual specialties? The number of EM positions continues to grow (to over 3000 spots this year), but applicants have not matched this growth. Only ~80% of EM slots filled this year, compared to over 90% in 2022 and over 99% in 2021. While this might be mixed news for the specialty overall, it’s good news for committed EM applicants.
Medicine and pediatric specialties (IM, FM, Peds) continue to be a secure choice as well, offering a record-high number of positions with high fill rates. All of these specialties (EM, IM, FM, Peds) also offer strong opportunities for non-US-senior candidates (e.g. IMGs and prior grads).
And lastly, the SOAP (The Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program). About 2700 positions were left unfilled after the initial match, and over 90% of those were filled by the SOAP.
So what should you take from all this? Well, remember that you have a great chance (3 in 4 for US seniors) to match in your top 3 ranked positions—but that you’ll get great training and have excellent colleagues wherever you match. Also, although it may be stressful and disappointing, the SOAP still offers a great chance of matching. Above all, remember that your value as a person and a physician isn’t measured by where you match or what specialty you choose. As Match Day 2024 gets close, know you’re gonna be a great doctor—we’re rooting for you!