What does it take to match into the specialty and program of your choice? This question is hotly debated and surveys of medical students and program directors find sharp divisions on the topic. In a recent survey of students, the authors concluded that "there are significant differences between program directors' and medical students' perceptions of which factors are important in the residency selection process" (Brandenburg 2005). In advising students over the years, we have come to realize that misperceptions abound, with students frequently overestimating or underestimating certain residency selection criteria. These misperceptions may result in a failure to match or lead to a match with a less desirable residency program. From our own experiences as students, and in the process of counseling students, we know how difficult, anxiety-provoking, and mysterious the residency selection process is. In this book, we answer the question of what it takes to match successfully. We provide specific evidence-based advice to maximize your chances of a successful match. Who actually chooses the residents? We review the data on the decision makers. What do these decision makers care about? We review the data on the criteria that matter to them. How can you convince them that you would be the right resident for their program? We provide concrete, practical recommendations based on this data. At every step of the process, our recommendations are meant to maximize the impact of your application. Utilizing a unique combination of evidence-based advice and an insiders' perspective, this book will help you achieve your ultimate goal: The Successful Match.