Evaluation of Predictors for Successful Residency Match in General Surgery

Yoshiko Iwai, Nicholas R. Lenze, Chad M. Becnel, Angela P. Mihalic, Karyn B. Stitzenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To determine predictive factors for a successful residency match among general surgery applicants from 2018 to 2021. DESIGN: A retrospective cross-sectional study of general surgery applicants who matched and went unmatched in match years 2018 to 2021. Applicant characteristics, geographic connections to a program, and away rotations were compared among matched and unmatched applicants. SETTING: Data were sourced from the Texas Seeking Transparency in Applications to Residency initiative for general surgery applicants. PARTICIPANTS: All fourth-year medical students applying in the 2018 to 2021 cycles at participating U.S. medical schools were eligible to respond to the Texas Seeking Transparency in Applications to Residency survey. This study included a total of 1,425 general surgery applicants. RESULTS: Of 1,425 general surgery applicants, 88% matched and 12% went unmatched. Significant predictors for a successful match included Step 1 Score ≥237 (odds ratio (OR) 1.59 [95% CI 1.15-2.19]; p = 0.005); Step 2 CK Score ≥252 (OR 1.88 [95% CI 1.36-2.60]; p < 0.001); ≥3 Honored Clerkships (OR 1.84 [95% CI 1.33-2.53]; p < 0.001); Honors in General Surgery Clerkship (OR 1.73 [95% CI 1.33-2.53]; p = 0.001); AOA membership (OR 2.14 [95% CI 1.34-3.42]; p = 0.001); ≥4 abstracts, posters, or publications (OR 1.66 [95% CI 1.20-2.30]; p=0.002); and ≥1 peer-reviewed publications (OR 1.52 [95% CI 1.09-2.12]; p = 0.014). On average, matched applicants completed more away rotations than unmatched applicants (p = 0.004). Overall, 36% of matched applicants reported a geographic connection to the program where they matched. CONCLUSIONS: We found that Step 2 CK score, research productivity, honored clerkships, AOA status, and away rotations are significant predictors for successfully matching into general surgery residency. Medical schools can encourage students to prepare a holistic application incorporating variables quantified in this study in preparation for the Step 1 reporting change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)579-586
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2022


  • general surgery
  • match
  • medical education
  • residency
  • surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Education


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