Let’s Talk About Specialties Part 1

So, next year the match will be here before we know it and I know the SF match and other early match systems come out in January, so I thought it would be a good time to talk about medical specialties! I know a lot of pre-meds and other med peeps may see different posts about the match, so I thought I would help you out by talking about the different specialties and giving a general overview of how you get to them! I know a lot of things were over my head in terms of specialty talk because I was just so new to everything I was hearing, but now another year has passed and I know way more than before.

Some Terms to be Familiar With:

USMLE – United States Medical Licensing Exam (this is also known as the STEP exam, there are three “steps” to becoming a fully licensed physician in the US, Step 1 is taken after year 2 in medical school, Step 2 is taken during year 4 in medical school, and step 3 is taken after the first year of residency)

Match Day – this day, usually the third Friday in March, is when medical students in the US find out where they will be training in their specialty for the next 3-7 years

NRMP – National Resident Matching Program, this is the system, kind of like the Common App for college except for medical school, that medical students submit their applications to various residency programs

SF Match – San Francisco Match, is an early matching system used specifically for Ophthalmology, this system matches in the second week of January

SOAP – Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program, this is known as the scramble,  and biggest fear for most medical students, a student uses the SOAP if they find out on the Monday before match day that they did not match into their preferred specialty

Couples Match – a couple can choose to match together using the NRMP in which they will coordinate their rank lists together in order to ensure the best match for both parties

Rank List – “ROL or rank order list”, the list that students will rank their preferred programs after interviewing at those institutions

Okay, so this post ended up being a little longer than I thought, and I try to keep all and posts short and sweet, so I’ll continue to discuss more about specialties specifically in my next post!

As always, thanks for reading! Please leave any questions or comments, if you have them!


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