Emergency Medicine is one of 8 specialities that had 100% fill in the 2012 match. Of the 1,668 positions available, all of them filled. This means you couldn’t scramble into a position if you didn’t match. This doesn’t mean it’s impossible to get a position in an EM residency, but you got to play it smart. Let’s look at the numbers.
Of US Seniors ranking only Emergency Medicine in their rank list, 5% didn’t match. Of those that had a backup specialty, 12.6% didn’t match.
This table summarizes a lot of the data we are about to look at. The average Step I score for someone matching in EM is 223. For step II it is 234. The average number of programs someone ranked is 10.8.
How many places should I rank?
The way to look at this chart is the bottom shows how many places a student ranked, the blue line represents US Seniors (ignore the green one). The more places you rank, the more likely you are to match (obviously) People ranking 16 or more programs all matched.
Dr. Steven Bowman, program director at Cook County, emphasizes that “the key fact is that once you get 12 or 13 programs on your rank list there is no statistical advantage to ranking more programs. More is only better up to a point.” Ranking more programs may work to everyone’s disadvantages as the large number of applicants programs get overwhelm their process. Top candidates get all the offers while good candidates get buried deeper in the pile. “If you are AOA, got honors on all your EM clerkships with great letters, and rocked USMLE, you don’t need to apply to 40 programs. If you didn’t so so well in med school, below average USMLE then maybe 40 may be your number.” Talk to your advisor.
Dr. Bowman was gracious enough to share his slides from a talk he gives to prospective students.
How good do my Step I scores have to be?
This graph shows probability of matching against USMLE Step I scores. So you can see, that even with a score of 200, you have an 80% chance of matching SOMEWHERE. Maybe not where you want, but somewhere.
How good do my Step II scores have to be?
For Step II, they don’t have a similar probability graph but a chart. Still you can see the same information here. If your Step II score is between 181-190, you have more of a chance of not matching than matching. Between 191-200, you have a 66% chance of matching. Obviously the higher your score, the more likely you will match.
If you want the full data, you can look at the Emergency Medicine relevant data at this link.