General surgery and race against time

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Junior Member
15+ Year Member
Jul 12, 2002
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Hi.I am an international medical graduate.I scored an 87 in step 1 and will be taking step 2 in november this year.I wanna make it to the 2003 match and wanna get a position in any general surgery residency.
Hypothetically speaking if I get an 87 in step 2 aswell then do you think I have a chance of getting in general surgery any where in America.
Scince being an international medical graduate I must only apply through ERAS.I just dont know how to fill in the choices of residency programmes in my application.SHall I chose just surgery programmes or is it always safer to chose some less competitive residencies too like pathology and anesthesia.I dont wanna lose the money I am paying for ERAS and end up withput getting any thing.How many residency programmes are advisable to be chosen?Where to get the list of all the residency programmes?How soon should I apply?
One most important question.Do I have to make all my choices of residency programmes at one time or can I keep on adding later?Can I change the choices and replace for example a surgery residency programme with a family medicine residency programme?
I will greatly appreciate if some one could awnser all my questions.


Senior Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Oct 31, 2001
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There's a lot of questions here but I'll attempt to answer some of them.

Can you get a spot in surgery? Yes
Can you get a categorical spot? Very possibly

There are ~400 preliminary surgery positions that go unfilled each year so these positions are relatively easy to get. You could always match a prelim spot and then attempt to obtain a PGY-2 spot the next year.

There are ~40 Categorical spots that go unfilled in the match (at least for the last 2 years). You could possibly obtain one of these spots.

Anesthesia is getting more competitive so don't hope and pray for that to fall back on.

The way the match works, you can apply for every specialty (that participates in the match) as well as to as many programs you would like (although it can get expensive rather quickly). So you could apply to family medicine, pathology, and surgery all at the same time but it's very difficult and expensive to arrange all of these interviews.

There are deadlines as to when you need to have applied to all of the positions that you desire (usually by mid-November or so but different for every program). But you can add on programs until those deadlines are reached. I would recommend that you apply early to the programs that you want as I believe that an early application helps you get interviews.

You can get the list of residency programs from the AMA/FREIDA website here: http://www.ama-assn.org/apps/vm?2997

I can't give you a number of residency programs but I would guess for an IMG to apply to ~30 categorical spots as well as some preliminary spots. That's just a guess though.

You should apply NOW. Late June through August are early applications and ideal, IMHO.

I would recommend that you spend some time on the Residency Match website. There are many answers there.