Home » How to Match into OB/GYN Residency

How to Match into OB/GYN Residency

10 min


An OB/Gyn resident holding a floating representation of a uterus.


What You Need to Match into an Obstetrics & Gynecology Residency Program


Let’s talk Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/GYN) Residency! The NRMP conducted a survey to determine what factors Program Directors consider when deciding which candidates to interview and rank for their residency program. The results were compiled into a “at a glance” tool, which is extremely helpful in gauging where your application packet stands compared to the applicant pool, and whether adding additional components, like a letter of recommendation (LOR) in the specialty, could give you a leg up as programs review your application.

The interactive tableau tool can be found here, and we recommend taking a look at the specialty you’ll be applying to before submitting your ERAS packet: https://public.tableau.com/profile/national.resident.matching.program#!/vizhome/PDSurvey_0/Desktoptablet


For Obstetrics and Gynecology residency specifically, major components of the survey you should pay attention to include: 

  • Selection Criteria for an Interview Step 1 score is a MAJOR factor, while having an appropriate LOR in the specialty and decent Dean’s Letter are also highly recommended.



  • Step 1 and Step 2 Scores:

  • Step 1 – Score


      • 240+ looks like a very solid score in OB/GYN, with the median being 230.
      • Range programs do NOT typically offer interviews: 200-220 seems to be the minimum threshold we would recommend for having a good chance at enough interviews. If you’re below 200-220 range, we suggest having a back-up specialty you could consider.
      • Range programs DO typically offer interviews: 230+ seems to be the range at which you can feel comfortable in being offered interviews by a decent number of programs. If you’re in the 240+ range, you can likely be selective about where you apply.
      • If you failed USMLE Step 1 follow these steps.


  • Step 2CK – Score


      • 230-235 seems to be the minimum threshold at which programs will grant interviews
      • Scores below 220 generally will place you in a unfavorable position to receive an interview 


  • Step 2CK – Timing of Taking the Exam

  • Nearly 75% of programs required at least passing CK, and we expect this number to grow even more. You should consider taking Step 2CK before you submit ERAS.


  • Failing Step 1 may  be a show stopper


    • Failing Step 1 is a BIG deal in ANY specialty, and this is also true in Obstetrics and Gynecology. 34% of OB/GYN programs will NOT consider you if you’ve failed Step 1, and 51% will NOT consider you if you’ve failed Step 2. So, if you’ve failed an exam, you can still apply, but you should apply to a BIGGER number of programs. 

  • Types of Applicants Considered:

    • International Grads (U.S. and non-U.S.) may have a chance to match into OB/GYN: There are some programs that consider interviewing or ranking IMGs (U.S. and non-U.S.) on a routine basis. 12% will routinely rank U.S. IMGs and 4% will routinely rank non-U.S. IMGs. 623-28% will never consider a U.S. IMG for an interview or rank, and 46-49% will never consider a non-U.S. IMG. We recommend doing your homework to determine which programs may be more likely to consider IMGs.
    • Osteopathic graduates have a decent chance to match into OB/GYN: 45% of programs will routinely interview and rank DO applicants. Less than 9% of programs will never interview or rank a DO applicant. With the remaining 45-48% that seldomly consider DO applicants, it is very important to do your research to identify these programs so that you can best increase your chances of matching.

  • Interviewees Get Ranked!: If you get an interview invitation, you are very likely to end up on the rank list if you interview. We recommend ranking at least 8-10 programs, so once you receive 10 interview invitations, you can feel okay with starting to prioritize and cancel as more come in given you are likely to get ranked.
  • Expect to receive interview invitations in October: 60% of the interview invitations will be sent out during October, and almost 20% will be sent out in November and December. Expect to hear from Obstetrics & Gynecology programs shortly after you submit your ERAS.
  • Expect to interview in November/December: 15% of interviews will occur in October, and the rest will occur in November and December. This means that you will need to be practicing shortly after submitting ERAS and after you start accepting interview invites. For further discussion on how to prep for your interview, see our blog post on how to Crush your Residency Interview: https://elitemedicalprep.com/preparing-for-your-residency-interview/


After you’ve browsed your specialty, take a look at a few other specialties and note what’s NOT important for Obstetrics and Gynecology:

  • Dedication to the field isn’t particularly important in OB/GYN
  • Rotation in your department isn’t particularly important for OB/GYN
  • AOA membership isn’t as important in OB/GYN as in other specialties



Summary for OB/GYN Residency Applications:


  • A solid Obstetrics and Gynecology application would include a 230+ on Step 1, 235+ on Step 2, a LOR from 1-3 OB/GYN doctors, and a solid Dean’s letter.
  • OB/GYN is slightly more IMG friendly than some other competitive specialties. You should definitely do your research to identify programs with active IMG residents and establish proper connections if you have to match as an IMG.
  • If you’ve failed an exam, you can still apply in OB/GYN, but you should apply broadly and consider applying for a back-up specialty.
  • Expect Interviews in November-December. Reach out to programs you have high interest in if you haven’t heard from them by the beginning of November. Once you have about 10 interview invitations, you can consider being a bit more selective about which ones you actually take (but not before).



Good Luck! ☺ 


Wondering about your chances of matching into other specialties for residency? Check out our analysis of the NRMP directors survey “at a glance” tool for areas including anesthesianeurology, family medicine, transitional year, psychiatry, emergency medicine, and more under the Residency Applications category of our blog! If you need further or specialized assistance understanding which residency specialties you are best suited to apply to, you can contact us or visit our residency advising page to learn more about how Elite Medical Prep residency advising services.


Need additional
help with an exam?

Elite tutors are qualified, professional, and 100% online.

Schedule a Consult

About the Author

Alexandra R., MD

Alexandra earned her Neuroscience degree from the University of Michigan, graduating with Summa Cum Laude recognition in 2014. She continued her education at the University…

Read More