Acceptance Factors for Matching into Internal Medicine Residency (2024)

What You Need to Match into an Internal Medicine Residency Program

Residency application season is coming! Today we’re looking at what you need to successfully match into an Internal Medicine Residency Program! What is a good Step 2 score for internal medicine? How many programs should you rank? Read on to find out everything you need to know about matching into an Internal Medicine residency in 2024!

The NRMP surveyed Program Directors to identify factors influencing candidate selection for residency interviews and rankings. The results were compiled into an interactive table tool. Thisis extremely helpful in gauging where your application packet stands compared to the applicant pool, and whether adding additional components, like anotherletter of recommendation (LOR) in the specialty, could give you a leg up as programs review your application.

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The interactive table tool can be found here. We recommend taking a look at the specialty you’ll be applying to before submitting your ERAS packet. Given the recent changes in the 2024 residency application process, we have also included more recent data collected from the NRMP Main Match Results 2023. As well as the AAMC ERAS Statistics for 2022 and 2023.

Selection Criteria for an Internal Medicine Residency Interview

Selection Criteria for an Interview

For Internal Medicine, Step 2 is most important. In the 2020 NRMP director’s survey, Step 2 scores ranked as the top criterion for selecting interview candidates, even preceding the transition of Step 1 to a pass/fail format. Program directors want to see that you are able to keep up academically in a large field. Make sure to address failed exam attempts, as they can raise concerns about your application. The personal statement appears to be the least important factor in obtaining an interview for Internal Medicine. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t spend time crafting a compelling personal statement. Given its lower impact, prioritizing Step 2 preparation is recommended over dedicating extensive time to the personal statement.

Acceptance Factors for Matching into Internal Medicine Residency (1)

Step 2 Scores According to 2022 NRMP Charting Results:

Acceptance Factors for Matching into Internal Medicine Residency (2)

What is a Good Step 2 Score for Internal Medicine Residency?

  • 221-230 seems to be the minimum threshold at which programs will grant interviews
  • Scores below 220 generally will place you in an unfavorable position to receive an interview
  • 235+ is a good Step 2 score for internal medicine and willplace you in a favorable position for an interview.

Step 2CK – Timing of Taking the Exam

Previously, having a strong Step 2 score for internal medicine upon application review was advantageous, though not obligatory. However, with the absence of Step 1 scores for program filtering, Step 2 scores are now prioritized. It’s crucial to schedule your Step 2 exam strategically to ensure your scores are available when programs begin reviewing applications. While it’s possible to add scores later, delaying may result in missing out on initial interview offers.

Step 1 Failure

Failing Step 1 is a BIG deal in ANY specialty, although Internal Medicine is more forgiving than many specialties. According to the 2020 directors’ survey, 18% of Internal Medicine programs will NOT consider you if you’ve failed Step 1 (compared to 28% in EM, 36% in Anesthesiology, and at the end of the spectrum of none in Family Med). Additionally, for Internal Medicine failing USMLE Step 2 will lose you an interview in around 20% of programs. So, if you’ve failed an exam, you are not automatically excluded from interviews, but you should try to ascertain which programs prioritize non-failure of exams (which you can sometimes find on their websites).

Acceptance Factors for Matching into Internal Medicine Residency (3)

Types of Applicants Considered:

International Grads (U.S. and non-U.S.) have a good shot at matching into Internal Medicine:

According to the NRMP main 2023 match results data, during the 2023 match cycle, 41% of all Internal Medicine positions filled were by IMGs. Still, we recommend doing your homework to determine which programs may be more likely to consider IMGs, and preferentially contact and rank these programs. And, as above, save yourself some serious application fees by taking these programs off of your lists. Consider looking at Residency Explorer, or looking for the programs’ current residents on their website. If you see no, or few IMGs on their current roster, they may be less IMG friendly. Still, if a program is your top choice, it may still be a good idea to give it a try.

Osteopathic graduates are widely interviewed and ranked in Internal Medicine programs:

In the 2020 survey, 75% of programs regularly interview and rank DO applicants, a high proportion compared to other residencies. Only around 2% of programs will never interview or rank a DO applicant. Additionally, according to NRMP data, DO grads and seniors made up 19% of all Internal Medicine positions filled in the 2023 match cycle, and only 3.1% of DO seniors who listed Internal Medicine as their only choice went unmatched.

Internal Medicine Residency Interviews

Interview widely

If you get an interview invitation, you are fairly likely to end up on the rank list if you interview. We recommend ranking at least 12 programs, so once you receive 12 interview invitations, you can feel okay with starting to prioritize and cancel as more come in.

Acceptance Factors for Matching into Internal Medicine Residency (4)

Expect to receive interview invitations in October and November

Internal Medicine is more front-loaded on interview invitations than some other programs. The vast majority of interview offers will be sent by early November. Following this, expect a gradual flow of interview invitations from cancellations, extending into January. If you have not heard from a program you are very interested in by the second week of November, we recommend reaching out to their program coordinator and director telling them how interested you are in their program, and why (be as specific as you can!).If you do not have at least 10 interviews at this point, we recommend sending out some letters of interest to up to 5 of your top programs.

Expect to interview Late-October to Late-December

Around two-thirds of all interviews are conducted in November and December, with some programs still interviewing even in January. For further discussion on how to prep for your interview, see our blog post on how to crush your residency interview, and our recorded session on virtual interviews.

What is Less Important for Internal Medicine When Compared to Other Specialties?

  • Personal statements aren’t as important in Internal Medicine as in other specialties. This isn’t to say that they aren’t important at all, just that your MSPE and Step 2 score will be the focus of most internal medicine programs. However, your personal statement should not have any red flags in it that would preclude you from an interview; reach out to us at EMP to ask any questions about this!
  • With the exception of your internal medicine clerkship grade, clerkship grades are also not as important for Internal Medicine residency. Many medical students are applying into Internal Medicine residency programs, and these PDs know that at some medical schools, there are a limited number of “honors” that clerkship directors can give out. That being said, PDs will want to see decent comments from all clerkships, and a good performance in your internal medicine clerkship.

Summary for Internal Medicine Applicants

  • You should aim for a Step 2 score of 235+for Internal Medicine, with230 being a minimum.
  • IMGs and DO candidates may have a better shot in Internal Medicine residency than many other programs.
  • Expect interview invites between October and early November. If you have not heard from a program you are very interested in by the second week of November, you should definitely reach out to the program to let them you how interested you are (and why!).

Good Luck!

If you need further or specialized assistance understanding which residency specialties you are best suited to apply to, you can contact usor visit our residency advisingpage to learn more about how Elite Medical Prep residency advising services.

Acceptance Factors for Matching into Internal Medicine Residency (2024)


What are the odds of matching internal medicine residency? ›

Residency Match Statistics: NRMP Match Data Rates By Residency Specialty
Match Rates By Residency Specialty
SpecialtyPositionsMatch Rate
Internal Medicine (Categorical)8,51298.2%
Family Medicine4,10797.2%
19 more rows

What factors determine residency match? ›

That said, here are some of the top factors cited by residency program directors when selecting applicants to interview:
Apr 11, 2024

How to be a competitive internal medicine residency applicant? ›

The specific criteria program directors seek will vary among institutions, but residencies typically look for the following in a candidate.
  1. Strong USMLE Scores. ...
  2. Solid grades. ...
  3. Excellent letters of recommendation. ...
  4. A positive Medical Student Performance Evaluation. ...
  5. A thoughtful personal statement. ...
  6. Relevant skills and experience.
Jul 19, 2022

What qualities do you need for internal medicine residency? ›

You know skills needed for a career in internal medicine include:
  • Strong medical knowledge.
  • Clinical skills.
  • Effective communication.
  • Critical thinking and problem-solving.
  • Empathy and compassion.
  • Patient-centered care.
  • Teamwork.
  • Time management.
Oct 19, 2023

What is the hardest residency to match in? ›

The hardest specialties to match into are those with stringent selection criteria and fewer residency slots. These include competitive fields like Orthopedic Surgery and Ophthalmology, where the demand for positions significantly exceeds the supply.

How many programs to rank to match internal medicine? ›

When it comes to creating your NRMP rank order list, try to include at least 12 programs and rank them based on your preferences. Keep in mind that if you are an international medical graduate, you may need to apply to twice as many programs as non-IMG applicants to have the same chance of interviewing and matching.

How do I increase my chances of a residency match? ›

Strengthening Your Residency Application

Additionally, participating in extracurricular activities, research, and community service can set you apart from other candidates. Crafting a compelling personal statement that highlights your passion for your chosen specialty and your unique attributes is crucial.

What is the least competitive medical residency? ›

Some of the least competitive residencies are:
  • Family Medicine.
  • Internal Medicine.
  • Psychiatry.
  • Emergency Medicine.
  • Pathology.
May 6, 2024

How common is it to not match into residency? ›

What Are Your Chances of Matching for Residency? In 2023, 93.3% of applicants matched to a residency, according to the NRMP's 2023 Main Residency Match Report.

How do I ace internal medicine residency interview? ›

It is best to outline what you want to talk about prior to writing it. Because the admissions committees read hundreds of personal statements, consider what residency programs want to see in their students. Think of your experiences and how they have contributed to the qualities that would make you a great physician.

What is the toughest aspect of internal medicine residency? ›

The inpatient ward is the most challenging part of an Internal Medicine residency. This is where medical residents manage a broad spectrum of diseases and medical conditions.

How many interviews are good for internal medicine residency? ›

You want to go on at least 8-10 interviews. You can consider canceling some interviews if you have more than 8-10 scheduled. We recommend that you discuss this with your DOM advisor. Try to give programs as much lead time as possible so someone else can have the interview spot.

What is the highest salary for internal medicine residency? ›

While ZipRecruiter is seeing salaries as high as $296,072 and as low as $97,704, the majority of Internal Medicine Residency salaries currently range between $118,400 (25th percentile) to $246,700 (75th percentile) with top earners (90th percentile) making $275,346 annually in California.

How difficult is it to get into internal medicine residency? ›

Are Internal Medicine residency programs competitive? Fortunately no—IM residencies are among the least competitive programs, and are quite accessible to DO students as well, although to a lesser extent than those in Family Medicine.

What skills do you need for internal medicine residency? ›

The most important skills for a residency in internal medicine resume and required skills for a residency in internal medicine to have include:
  • Patients.
  • Primary Care.
  • Pediatrics.
  • Gastroenterology.
  • Geriatrics.
  • Patient Care.
  • Emergency Medicine.
  • Critical Care.

What is the internal medicine match rate in 2024? ›

Top Medical Specialties for Matched IMGs

In 2024, the medical specialties with the highest percentage of first-year positions filled by IMGs are as follows: Internal Medicine – 43% Pathology – 37.4% Family Medicine – 31.8%

What percent of doctors don t match into residency? ›

Around five percent of US allopathic medical school graduates do not match anywhere. If you receive notification on the Monday of Match Week that you didn't end up matching, however, you're not completely out of options.

How intense is internal medicine residency? ›

Internal medicine residency is a challenging but rewarding path if you're interested in adult patient care but still want a diverse range of career options. The training is rigorous, but the knowledge and experience you gain will lay a strong foundation for your future in medicine.

What are the odds of matching top 3 residency? ›

Last year, nearly half of students from allopathic and osteopathic medical schools matched at the top choice on their rank-order list, and about three-quarters matched to one of their top three choices, according to data from the National Resident Matching Program. But what about the other one-quarter of applicants?

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