Mark Your Calendars: What to Expect for Match Week 2021 and SOAP - IMGPrep

Mark Your Calendars: What to Expect for Match Week 2021 and SOAP

January 19, 2021

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.
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 (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 (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:.

  • Make sure you are registered at and have paid the match application fee by January 31st to avoid the late fee.
  • Update your personal contact information across all platforms, especially in NRMP 3, ERAS, and ECFMG
  • Submit any paperwork needed, including the Match Participation Agreement, the Rank Order Listings, and the certification of USMLE test scores by the required deadlines.
  • Consider whether you need to refresh any documents in your MyERAS application profile so that they reflect the latest information about you and your experience
  • Organize your schedule and make a commitment to be available that week.
  • Organize your notes and your IMGPrep Program Lists© to be able as references during the match period.

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).

Monday, 3/15/21

  • 11 am – the results of the Main Residency Match are made available. Candidates will learn whether they were fully matched, partially matched, or unmatched. A List of Unfulfilled Programs will also be made available.
  • 11 am – 12 pm – Time for unmatched candidates to review the Unfulfilled List and choose up to 45 programs.
  • 12 pm – Candidates may apply for up to 45 programs through ERAS
  • 3 pm – ERAS begins to release those applications to the program directors and staff who begin reviewing them

Tuesday, 3/16/21

  • All-day is dedicated to programs reviewing incoming applications. Programs may follow up with candidates to request interviews so candidates should be reachable by email, NRMP account,, or ERAS account. Candidates are not allowed to contact programs either directly or via someone else.

Wednesday, 3/17/21

  • 12 pm – 2 pm – SOAP Round 1 – Programs make offers. Candidates may receive multiple offers. They may choose to Accept or Deny. Any unanswered offers expire at the end of the round. Accepted offers are binding according to the Match Participation Agreement.
  • 3 pm – 5 pm – SOAP Round 2

Thursday, 3/18/21

  • 9 am – 11 am – SOAP Round 3
  • 12 pm – 2 pm – SOAP Round 4
  • 3 pm – SOAP concludes. Any remaining unfulfilled programs are made available in a list on the NRMP R3 system.

Friday, 3/19/21 – MATCH DAY!

  • 12 pm – Final Match Results are made available to candidates and programs

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.

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IMGprep is not associated with the NRMP® or the MATCH®