As an IMG Residency Match candidate, it is imperative that you have a fundamental understanding of the Residency Match process, and we will talk here about statistics and how to improve an application. According to the ECFMG, for the 16th consecutive year, the number of first-year (PGY-1) residency positions offered through the Match increased to 30,232 of an increase of 1,383 (4.8%) compared to 2017. Overall number of IMGs participating in the Match declined by 211 compared to 2017 and the percentage of IMGs that matched increased. The success rate in obtaining first-year residency positions was 56.5%, up from 53.3% in the previous year. A close look at the statistics is quite promising with an increase in successful matches. The match rates for 2018 have been the highest seen in over twenty-five years.
|IMGs – not US citizens|
at the time of graduation
|IMGs – US citizens|
|Matched||Not Matched||Matched||Not Matched|
|All specialties||Step 1||234||221||222||212|
|% of PhD||=||<|
|Internal Medicine||Step 1||236||222||225||210|
|% of PhD||=||<|
|Family Medicine||Step 1||220||212||211||207|
|% of PhD||≈||<|
However, Residency Match is very competitive and residency programs set their own specific application requirements. These requirements include scores, visa status, year of graduation, medical experience. And medical experience includes a requirement for US clinical experience. For applicants that matched, the USMLE written exam scores averaged 11.5 points higher than those who didn’t. And it is 3 points less then it was in 2016. It can mean that other things but scores become more important. Also, IMG applicants who were not US citizens at the time of graduation need 10 points more in average to be matched. Do the programs not wish to pay extra money for the visa or do these applicants just have a lack of US clinical experience? There is no direct answer available in statistics, but, at the same time, US citizens graduated abroad with PhD degree have no advantage and it can be an indirect indication that US clinical experience before or just after graduation is very important, because non US PhD IMGs have no such difference.
Some of things cannot change, such as test scores or year of graduation. However, an applicant can still significantly improve their residency application. This can be done by combining US clinical experience, research, and in many cases volunteer work.
For example, a four-week hands-on clinical externship rotation will provide important experience. It also provides a letter of recommendation from a US teaching and attending physician. Not all letters of recommendation carry the same weight. For a letter of recommendation to make an impact, the attending physician must assess the applicant accurately. This takes experience. As a result, IMGPrep recommends that all externship preceptors be experts in their field, and maintain teaching affiliations. The more qualified the preceptor, the more weight the letter of recommendation will carry.
Our experience make it clear that U.S. clinical experience is a minimum requirement for successful application. At IMGPrep we provide hands-on rotations coupled with personalized, one-on-one advising. Our team can significantly improve residency applications and enhance competitiveness in the Match.
Examples of some of IMGPrep’s six-week Internal Medicine rotations:
We have rotations available in almost every specialty.