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OB/GYN Residency Questions

What advice would you give about getting letters of recommendation in your specialty?

Shoot for three quality letters. Ask people who know you the best and can write you a unique LOR. At least two of them should be from an OB/GYN. Most programs will want at least one of these letters from the Chairmen of OB/GYN (currently Dr. Bates in Central TX). Take time to get to know the person that will be writing you a letter. Ask to meet him/her for advice, try to get clinical time with them and prove your worth.

What is the value of doing audition rotations in your specialty?

It depends. I have seen many applicants that decreased their chances at a program because they did a rotation. This is a time to check out a program and meet the people you might be working with, but you MUST take it seriously and work extremely hard! All students have the intention to work hard, but many fall short. Remember, you are working in a new system, with new people. Much of your effort will be used figuring out the routine and it may not be viewed as “hard working.” If you are undecided on a big/medium/small program, then you should do a rotation at different types of programs to see which one fits you. If your Step 1 score is not as high as you would like, then an audition can help you. The following advice is just my opinion, you may want to poll others in our department…if your Step 1 score is near or above 235 then you should get plenty of interviews and proving yourself for a rotation would be a gamble. If you really want to check out a program, then go for it.  After interviews are done, you may decide to spend a few days at a program you really liked.

To what extent does research, publications, or presentations affect one’s ability to match in your specialty?

Depends on the program. We all want to see that some effort was done. You should have a few items of research your application. There are many research oriented programs that want to see a lot of research. It is certainly less important than your medical school performance and step scores. If you have research or presentations, make sure that you are prepared to talk about it on interview day. This is a red flag if you are unable to articulate the project or know little about it.

Is a Step 2CK score needed before you will invite someone for an interview?

Everyone we interview had a Step 2CK score. It is especially helpful if your step 1 score was lower than desired.  You should have Step 2CK done. Not having this done can project that you are lazy or you are trying to hide something.

What does the perfect applicant look like in your specialty?

You will get interviews if you performed well on Step 1. You look even better if your academic performance is in the top half. An interesting personal statement can make a candidate more appealing, so make sure you are getting feedback regarding your statement. Interview day is very important. Make sure that you are practicing mock interviews. If there is a dinner the evening before interview day, you should absolutely go. It shows a lack of interest if you do not attend the dinners. It will also help you loosen up for the interview day. If you have a significant other, encourage him/her to attend the dinners with you if possible.  You will show up the next morning and see more familiar faces. Be able to link your situation to the program that you are interviewing. You need to articulate your interest in the particular area of the country, city and know the details of the program. Be yourself (but not arrogant), we want residents that are normal people. Don’t be ashamed of the small jobs you had growing up. For example, if you did manual labor or worked your way through college, this shows that you are goal driven…the little things are sometimes more interesting and provide details about you as a person. It’s great that you worked at the county indigent clinic, and you should be proud of this, but every other candidate also did this. You may feel comfortable with one or two residents from a program on interview day (you will also notice them reaching out to you). Make sure that you meet and spend time with as many of the residents as possible and step out of your comfort zone.

Does having a below average Step 1 score doom you in your specialty?

It certainly can. If that is your situation, you need to be smart about the programs you are applying to. You need to do an away rotation at a program or two that you would qualify for. You need to have a back-up plan. You need to talk with your advisor before you get too far along in the application process.

Would you ever take someone with a Step 2CS failure?


Does a student need to Honor in your specialty in order to match?


The students have significant elective time during their 2 nd and 3 rd year for career exploration.

What electives would you recommend to a student who knows they are interested in your specialty?

If you are going to do an away rotation, pick an elective at your home place first. This will sharpen your skills.

What electives would you recommend to a student who is undecided but considering your specialty?

The type of elective doesn’t really matter. If you had a choice, probably something related to obstetrics versus one of the subspecialties.


Chris Birkholz MD, MBA
Clerkship Director
Assistant Professor

Obstetrics/Gynecology Residency Data

Length of Training: 4 years

Mean USMLE Step 1 score = 230
Mean USMLE Step 2 CK score = 247

Mean number of programs applied to: 52.6

Programs: 242

Match: NRMP Main Residency Match

Program Interview Invites (%): Completions (%):
Before Oct. 1 20 0
October 60 15
November 13 42
December 5 36
January 2 6

Average hours worked per week: 58


Sources: NRMP; AAMC
Updated: 01-2019