Algorithm & Rankings

Algorithm & Rankings

How the Algorithm Works

  • How does the Match algorithm work?

    The matching algorithm uses the applicant Rank Order Lists, the program Rank Order Lists, and the number of available positions at each track to find the best possible outcome for each participant.

    The algorithm starts with an attempt to place an applicant into the track that is most preferred on the applicant's list. Each applicant's Rank Order List is traversed "downwards", from most preferred track to least preferred, until the first track is reached at which the applicant can be tentatively matched, or until the applicant's list of choices is exhausted. Each track accepts applicants "upwards" on its Rank Order List, continually removing less preferred matches in favor of more preferred applicants, until the track is matched to the most preferred applicants who wish to be matched to the track.

Ranking Strategy

  • What is the best strategy for ranking?

    In order to get your best possible result, you should rank your choices in order of your true preferences. Rank all tracks at the programs to which you applied that would be acceptable to you, and for which you are eligible. Do not rank any track that you would not want to be matched to under any circumstances.

    The algorithm is specifically designed to give each participant their best result if they rank their choices in order of true preference. Using any other strategy may cause you to get a worse result for yourself. For example, if you decide to order your preferences by how likely you think it will be to get into a program, you may not get the best result.

Submit Rankings

  • How do I submit and certify my Rank Order List?

    Applicants must submit and certify their Rank Order List online in the NMS Match System by the Rank Order List deadline. The Rankings User Guide includes information on how to:

    • Add a track to your Rank Order List
    • Delete a track from your Rank Order List
    • Reorder a track on your Rank Order List
    • Certify your Rank Order List
    • Print your Rank Order List
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  • Can I rank a program where I didn't apply or receive an interview?

    Yes, although it is highly unlikely that you will match to that program. Programs typically review applications, interview, and evaluate applicants to determine who they are willing to accept into the program. If you did not apply or interview with a program, it is unlikely the program is considering you for a position. If you are not ranked by a program, you cannot match to that program.

  • What should I do if the track I want to rank is withdrawn?

    You should leave the withdrawn track ranked on your list. If you leave the track on your list and the track's participation status in the Match becomes Active before the Rank Order List deadline, that ranking will be used in the Match. If the track remains withdrawn, that ranking will not be used in the Match, and your list will be processed as if you had not ranked the withdrawn track.

  • I can't find the track I want to rank in the NMS Match System.

    Only tracks that are registered for the Match may be included on your Rank Order List. Consult the List of Participating Programs to ensure the track you want to rank is being offered in the Match.

    If the track is not included in the List of Participating Programs, contact the Program Director directly to clarify the track's status in the Match.

    Within the NMS Match System, tracks can be searched by Code Number, name of program, location, track description, Program Director name, or track Code Number as they appear in the List of Participating Programs.

  • Can I view my Rank Order List after the deadline?

    Yes. You will be able to view your Rank Order List for the Match until 4 days after the release of the Match results. However, you will not be able to change any information or certify a Rank Order List in the NMS Match System after the Rank Order List deadline.

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