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 program to find the best possible outcome for each participant.

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

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. Your most preferred program should be rank #1, your next most preferred program should be rank #2, and so on. Rank all programs where you applied that would be acceptable. Do not rank any program 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. To enter ranks into your Rank Order List for the Match, log into the NMS Match System and select the Rankings option from the menu, or select Edit in the Rankings section of the Dashboard.

    The Rankings User Guide includes information on how to:

    • Add a program to your Rank Order List
    • Delete a program from your Rank Order List
    • Reorder a program 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 to 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 program I want to rank is withdrawn?

    You should leave the withdrawn program ranked on your list.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 If the program remains withdrawn, that ranking will not be used in the matching process, and your list will be processed as if you had not ranked the withdrawn program.

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

    Only programs that are registered for the MedPhys Match may be included on your Rank Order List. Consult the List of Participating Programs to ensure the program you want to rank is registered for the MedPhys Match.

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

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

  • Can I change my rankings after certifying my list?

    Yes. Even if you have already certified your Rank Order List you can return at any time to make changes until the Rank Order List deadline.

    If you make changes to a list after it is certified, the list will become uncertified and you will have to re-certify the list before the Rank Order List deadline in order for it to be used in the MedPhys Match.

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

    Yes. You will be able to view and print your Rank Order List for 4 days after the release of the MedPhys 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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