Pre-Match Purgatory #illumedati #medtwitter #TheMatch #NRMP

Hey everyone, it’s Medicine Mondays again. Today I’m going to talk about “Pre-Match Purgatory”.

Pre-Match Purgatory

Pre-Match Purgatory

It’s February 3rd, 2020.

According to the NRMP Match Timeline, Rank Order Lists last date to certify is February 26, 2020. Then Match Day is March 20, 2020.

By now, pretty much all the interviews and flying around everywhere should have come to an end. There may be a few last minute “2nd looks” or perhaps a late interview for your home program. However, the vast majority of interviews should be done by now.

So… now what?

This time is what I like to call Pre-Match Purgatory. You’ve pretty much done everything you can do in order to match. Now you’re left to just your own thoughts for the next 3 weeks to try to put together your Rank Order List. As medical students, we tend to obsess over these small details more than we should. Then, we tend to miss the big picture. I’ve been there, so I know.

So, in order to combat that, I want to remind everyone about my prior posts which can help you through this time. It’s probably a good idea to take a look at these posts:

Then, if you feel motivated to see what lies ahead, you can check out these posts:

Preparing to start residency:

Not in Medicine Mondays, but related: Mr. Smith and Dr. Jones

Anything else?

Yes, at this point, it is most important to have a certified Rank Order List before the deadline. In general, ERAS usually crashes right before the deadline happens. Make sure you have your best rank order list done and certified before that time.

Much like I advise people about tests… don’t change your answer unless you’ve absolutely sure you made a mistake. It should be an epiphany kind of moment where you’re like, OH WOW I FORGOT ABOUT THAT. In the same vain, don’t change your rank list unless you remember some new information and have an epiphany.

Also, I think an inordinate amount of time is spent on trying to decide between your 1st and 2nd choice. The truth of the matter is that your 9th and 10th choices are probably equally as important. Not everyone gets their first or second choice. This is especially true if you’re applying for an extremely competitive specialty.

Lastly, while it may seem this time period drags on, this time period of before the match is one of the times your life will be “on pause” during your medical career. After the match you have a whole new set of things to deal with like how to move cross-country, find an apartment, buy a car (or not), and just learn to adjust to a new place.

Internship happens fast. The days are long, but the year is short.

Residency will blaze by as well. The days are long, but the years are short.

You’ll be an attending sooner than you think.

It’s hard to understand, but enjoy this small moment in time where you have some semblance of freedom to do what you want during your 4th year of medical school.


Pre-Match Purgatory feels like you’re stuck… but it’s not so bad.

It’s one of the few times when your medical career is “on pause”.

Certify your rank order list way before the deadline.

Don’t make changes unless you have an epiphany.

Your 9th and 10th choices deserve at least as much deliberation as your 1st and 2nd choices.

Medicine Mondays Sensei


Agree? Disagree? Questions, Comments and Suggestions are welcome.

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