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 happen quickly, understanding how the process works and being prepared to participate takes time. 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?

The Post-Match SOAP does not occur until Match Week (the second week of March). Nonetheless, if you think you might participate, it’s wise to start thinking about the Post-Match by mid-February. This will give you plenty of time to learn and prepare. Visit Electronic Residency to learn everything about the SOAP, including this year’s timeline.

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 NRMP $99 fee for the first 10 programs during the main residency Match season, you will need to pay that fee for SOAP.

Do I need to be ECFMG Certified 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 and Step 2 CK completed, as well as the OET. Your Pathway must also be verified by the ROL deadline. 

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

Here is a checklist of everything you need 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 and Step 2 CK completed and verified by the Rank Order List Deadline.
  • OET completed and Pathway approved by the Rank Order List Deadline.
  • Registration with NRMP by the Rank Order List deadline.
    • This is mandatory. If you do not register with the 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 can only apply to SOAP-participating programs through ERAS. 
  • A complete ERAS Application. This includes your CV, Letters of Recommendation, and Personal Statement(s).

Does it cost anything to apply to the Post-Match?

No, as long as you applied to at least one program 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 to secure a preliminary position to complete before you 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 apply to General Surgery and Internal Medicine because they are generally the specialties with the highest amount of unfilled positions. However, it makes more sense to focus your applications on specialties you have experience in and/or supporting documents for such as specialty-specific Letters or Recommendation and Personal Statements. If all 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 programs. 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. Electronic Residency is an excellent tool to help you with this.

May I 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.

Do programs interview applicants during the Post-Match SOAP?

Yes. Most programs will hold either a brief phone interview or a video interview with the applicants of interest. 

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 large number of applicants and small number of positions, it can be difficult to get a SOAP position. Increase your 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.