Match Week is scheduled for March 15-19, 2021, and IMGs need to be aware of some important interim deadlines between January and March. IMGPrep is pleased to present “Match Week and the Second Chance (SOAP) Program: An Information Guide for IMGs” that is specifically designed to help International Medical School Graduates (IMGs) to prepare for the National Residency Match Program’s annual Match Week proceedings. The guide is downloadable from the IMGPrep website and is a free resource. It contains concise information to help you know what to do both before and during Match Week in order to maximize your chances for a positive outcome.
Match Week and the Second Chance (SOAP) Program: An Information Guide for IMGs
The guide features a timeline for key dates between now and the beginning of Match Week. It also provides a step-by-step guide for how to prepare in advance. Thirdly, it includes a day-by-day synopsis of the events taking place that week, and it concludes with actions you can take during Match Week to make the most of the experience.
For those who are not familiar with the process, Match Week is the opportunity to find residency placement through either the Main Residency Match or via the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP). By now, you should be gearing up to prepare your Rank Order Listing (ROL) that you will need to certify and submit by no later than March 3rd. Submission of that set of preferences to NRMP’s R3 system is aimed at helping you match up with a suitable residency program on the first day of the Match. If it doesn’t, then NRMP has the SOAP program in place to serve as a “second chance” for both candidates and programs.
IMGs can expect a few differences in the 2021 Match Week from previous years. For the first time, the NRMP will offer an extra time block – for a total of four rounds – due to the increased number of unfulfilled slots in previous years. Another change affecting IMGs has to do with the certification of USMLE test results, particularly the Step 2 CS exam, which was canceled by USMLE this year due to Covid-19. See the IMGPrep Articles on ECFMG Certification and the Five Pathways for more details. Also, be sure to check with ECFMG about how to ensure that all of your test results are certified in time for Match Week – this is a key requirement for being eligible to participate.
Meanwhile, below are answers to some commonly asked questions that applicants have about the upcoming events in March 2021.
Match Week (and SOAP) FAQ:
How can IMGs become eligible to participate in Match Week?
You must have an ERAS account and an NRMP account to participate. IMGs must be certified as eligible through ECFMG. They also must make sure that their USMLE test scores are certified by ECFMG prior to Match Week. Please see the NRMP website for their description of eligibility requirements. More information is also contained in the IMGPrep Guide.
What are the key deadlines leading up to Match Week?
By now, most applicants for residency have been engaging in interviews and are determining their list of preferred programs (Rank Order Listings). To get ready for the upcoming Match Week, it is important to be aware of the following important dates (more details are provided in the IMGPrep guide):
January 31st – Deadline for Match Registration at nrmp.org (registration fee is $85)
February 1st – Rank Order List process begins
March 3rd – Applicants Submit Rank Order List Certification to NRMP’s R3 system
March 3rd – Late Registration Deadline at nrmp.org (late registrants incur an additional late fee of $50)
March 8th – One week prior to the start of Match Week, applicants must make sure their test scores are certified by ECFMG and available on ERAS.
If I did not have any interviews or did not submit a Rank Order List, can I still participate in Match Week?
In effect, yes. Although you must submit a Rank Order List to take part in the Main Residency Match on the first day, there is no requirement that you submit a Rank Order List in order to participate in SOAP.
When will I know the results of the Main Residency Match and what if I don’t match?
The Main Residency Match results will be announced at 11 am on the first day of Match Week. Starting at noon that same day, those candidates who did not get fully matched can submit applications for unfulfilled slots from a provided “Unfulfilled List.” Subsequently, programs make offers in a series of “rounds” that take place during that week. The objective of SOAP is that any candidate or program that did not get fully matched up by the initial phase has additional chances to find suitable placements.
Are there extra fees to participate in the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program?
No. If you are already registered for Match Week, you do not have to pay any additional fees to participate in the subsequent Match Week activities that include SOAP.
What can I do to prepare for Match Week?
The steps below are a summary of those outlined in more detail in the IMGPrep Guide:
What is the schedule of events for Match Week and how can I participate?
Candidates for residency will participate in Match Week online through the NRMP R3 system. To participate in SOAP, you will need an ERAS account and an NRMP account. The following is a brief summary of the schedule; more details are available in the IMGPrep Guide (all times are US Eastern Time (ET).
Friday, 3/19/21 – MATCH DAY!
What support can I expect from IMGPrep in this process?
IMGPrep helps clients in a variety of ways. One resource is the IMGPrep Customized Program Lists. On the first day of Match Week, when selecting programs as part of SOAP, candidates may find it helpful to use these lists as a reference in helping them with research. [more]. IMGPrep is not allowed to contact programs on behalf of candidates during Match Week. Candidates make their selections, submit them through ERAS, and wait for programs to initiate contact. Refer to the new IMGPrep Guide for IMGs on Match Week and SOAP for more information and resources to help you prepare and to make the most of your participation in the week’s activities.
IMGPrep is a leading educational consulting firm dedicated to assisting IMGs in reaching their goals, dreams, and potential. Check out our other Articles and learn more about IMGPrep services at www.IMGPrep.com.
IMGprep is not associated with the NRMP® or the MATCH®