Spotlight Interview: Matching in OB/GYN


An OB/GYN Resident’s Perspective:  From an interview with an obstetrics and gynecology resident at Banner Good Samaritan Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona.

Part of an interview series entitled, “Specialty Spotlights“, which asks medical students’ most burning questions to physicians of every specialty.  See what doctors from every specialty had to say about why they chose their specialty and how to match in their residency.


  • How competitive is the OB/GYN match?

The overall competitiveness of OB/GYN is about average. The average board score for Step 1 is usually in the low to mid 220s. There are many more female applicants than male applicants right now.


  •  What must a student do to match well in OB/GYN?

Audition rotations in programs you are interested in can be very helpful but you have to impress people during the rotation. It is very easy to do a rotation and just coast through it.  They are called audition rotations for a reason.  Do well on Step 1, show improvement on Step 2 if needed and get letters of recommendation from people who really know you, not just big names


  • What are residencies looking for in an OB/GYN applicant?
Programs are looking for someone who is motivated, works hard and helps those around them.  Intelligence is obviously important but strong work ethic goes much farther.


  • What should students look for in an OB/GYN residency?

Look for a program where the residents are happy.  Well trained and well taken-care-of residents are happy residents and it is obvious on interview day which residents are happy.  It is important to note not just what the residents tell you but how they say it.  Every one of them will say they are happy and pleased with the program but it is easy to see those that are truly happy.

Editor’s Note: I remember a number of resident’s giving me similar advice throughout medical school. I must admit, I was skeptical. Anyone can fake it during an interview day, right? How can I learn in residents are happy during an 8 hour interview? The reason everyone will keep telling you to pay attention to this is because it is ABSOLUTELY tangible if the residents are happy or not. If you are paying attention, there is no way they can fool you. Happy residents are excited to see each other, they speak to their attendings when they see them and have ongoing friendships with them, they have lives outside of work, they don’t have to think long about why they love their program, they are quick to explain what features of their program set it apart. You may not think this is a big deal now, but I assure you that the temperament of a residency program will make or break the next 3-7 years of your life.


  • Do you have any advice on the application, letters of recommendation, personal statements, or how to rank programs?

Get letters from doctors who know you well, not just big names. As a fact, personal statements are cheesy but try to minimize cliché terms. Rank programs on gut feel taking all things into consideration.


  • What do you wish you knew before application/interview season?  

I prepared well. Just read as much as you can about the match and be prepared to ask questions during your interviews.


  • What other advice do you have for students applying to OB/GYN residency?

Do what you enjoy, you’ll be training in this specialty and working in it for the next 35 years so make sure you like what you do and the type of people you’ll be working with.


Editor's Note: Applying for residency or preparing for your interviews? I highly recommend First Aid for the Match, The Successful Match: 200 Rules to Succeed in the Residency Match, and The Residency Interview: How To Make the Best Possible Impression .


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