The Questions about the Post-Match SOAP you were Afraid to Ask

The Questions about the Post-Match SOAP you were Afraid to Ask

While the Post-Match SOAP may be an only last few whirlwind days, to learn enough to understand the SOAP process and prepare to potentially participate can take a lot longer. Residency candidates have a lot of questions about the Post-Match SOAP. Below are answers to some of the biggest Post-Match questions.

When should I start thinking about the Post-Match?

Although the Post-Match SOAP does not occur until Match Week in the second week of March, if you think the Post-Match might be in your future, it’s wise to start at least thinking about the Post-Match when Rank Order List creation begins in mid-January. This will give you plenty of time to learn and prepare.

I did not get any interviews during the Main Residency Match Season, can I participate in the Post-Match?

Yes. The good news for residency candidates without interviews is that you can be eligible for the Post-Match without having had any interviews or entering a Rank Order List.

But, I did not apply to any residency programs? Can I still participate in the Post-Match SOAP?

Yes. However, since you did not pay the $99 fee for the first 10 programs during the main residency match season, you will need to pay that for SOAP.

Do I need to be ECFMG Certified in order to be eligible for the Post-Match SOAP?

Technically, no. While you do not have to be fully ECFMG certified (for example, if you are waiting to graduate from your medical school the following June), you DO have to have your USMLE Step 1, USMLE Step 2 CK, and USMLE Step 2 CS verified by ECFMG by the week before The Match.

What DO I need to be eligible for the Post-Match?

Here is a short checklist for everything you will need to have in place in order to participate in the Post-Match SOAP. (NOTE: This is a checklist for International Medical Graduates, US medical graduates will want to check with their medical schools for their SOAP eligibility).

  • USMLE Step 1, USMLE Step 2 CK, and USMLE Step 2 CS completed and verified by the week before The Match.
  • Registration with NRMP by the Rank Order List Deadline.
    • This is mandatory. If you do not register by NRMP before the ROL Deadline, you will not be eligible for the Post-Match SOAP (or the Main Residency Match).
  • An account with ERAS. You are only allowed to apply to SOAP participating programs through ERAS and will need to have an ERAS account established.
  • A complete ERAS Application.

Does the Post-Match cost anything to apply?

No, as long as you applied to at least one programs during the Main Residency Match season, there are no additional ERAS application fees to apply to programs during the Post-Match.

If I Match into an advanced (PGY-2) position, can I SOAP into a preliminary position?

Yes. If you Match into an advanced position, you can absolutely use SOAP to try and secure a preliminary position to complete before you would enter your advanced program. Fortunately, the specialties with the most unfilled positions are often General Surgery (preliminary) and Internal Medicine (preliminary).

What specialties should I prepare for?

The popular theory is that you should throw applications at General Surgery because it is generally the specialty with the most amount of unfilled positions. However, you should also focus your applications on specialties you have experience in and/or supporting documents for such as specialty-specific Letters or Recommendation and Personal Statement. If all of your experience and documents are for Pediatrics and Family Medicine, General Surgery programs will not be very interested in your application.

How many applications am I allowed to send?

SOAP candidates are allowed to send a total of 45 applications. You may not apply to any more than 45 nor can you pay for any more applications. Since you only get 45, you should be prepared to research the programs on the List of Unfilled Programs quickly to make sure you are choosing programs you qualify for.

May contact programs to let them know I applied?

No. During the Post-Match SOAP, it is against NRMP policy to initiate contact with residency programs. This also applies to anyone acting on your behalf. Residency programs must be the one to open a conversation.

Are interviews held during the Post-Match?

Most programs will hold either a brief phone interview or a video interview with the applicants they are interested in.

Honestly, what are my chances? Do residency applicants actually get positions in SOAP?

Just remember, the Post-Match SOAP would not exist if no one was obtaining positions from the SOAP process. However, realistically, due to the number of applicants and the number of positions, it can be difficult to get a SOAP position. Candidates can increase their chances by being properly prepared and absolutely ready to participate with confidence.

This article only covers some of the most popular SOAP questions, if you have any further questions, you are welcome to reach out to Electronic Residency by sending an email to or calling (858) 299-2003 ext. 1.

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