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At Prepry, we're committed to empowering sonography professionals across all specialties with the most comprehensive and up-to-date educational resources. Whether you're preparing for the ARDMS fetal echocardiography registry, diving into abdomen ultrasound registry practice exams, or aiming to master the intricacies of vascular ultrasound through a review course, our platform is designed to support your journey to certification and beyond.

Our extensive suite of offerings includes practice exams and review courses for a wide range of specialties, including fetal echocardiography, adult echocardiography (adult echo), breast ultrasound, OB/GYN ultrasound, and more. With Prepry, you can confidently prepare for your ARDMS registry exams, including the SPI, Abdomen, Breast, OB/GYN, Pediatric, and Vascular Ultrasound exams, leveraging our expertly crafted practice questions and in-depth registry review materials.

For those seeking to enhance their knowledge in specific areas, our review courses cover everything from abdominal and breast ultrasound to the critical principles of ultrasound physics. Our resources are tailored to help you excel in both your ARDMS exams and your career, offering everything from vascular ultrasound registry practice exams to breast sonography review courses.

Beyond registry preparation, Prepry is your partner in continuing medical education, providing a range of courses and resources to earn CME credits in areas such as abdominal ultrasound, vascular ultrasound, echocardiography, and breast ultrasound. Our goal is to not only help you get certified in ultrasound but to support your ongoing professional development and certification maintenance in this rapidly evolving field.

Explore our platform today and discover how Prepry can enhance your study for ultrasound registry exams, offer comprehensive ultrasound education, and support your pursuit of excellence in diagnostic medical sonography.

The Ultimate Guide to Passing the ARDMS SPI Exam: Tips and Techniques

Updated: Feb 6

You did it! You've graduated from sonography school and are one step closer to becoming a registered sonographer. Now, there’s just one small hurdle to overcome before you can officially become a registered sonographer with ARDMS credentials (RDMS, RDCS, RVT, and RMSKS) passing the ARDMS SPI Exam. You've studied hard in sonography school and you know your stuff, but that doesn't mean you can't learn some tips and tricks to help pass the ARDMS SPI exam on your first try. We've put together our top seven tips for passing the ARDMS SPI exam for the first time.

ultrasound or sonography student studying for the SPI exam

1. Understand the ARDMS SPI Exam Format

The ARDMS SPI examination consists of 110 questions, which must be answered within a time limit of 2 hours. You will be given a score that falls somewhere between 300 and 700. To pass, you must score 555 or greater. 

The ARDMS (American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography) uses a scaled scoring system to ensure fairness in comparing test scores across different versions of the exam. This means that a person's score is based not only on the number of questions they answer correctly, but also on the relative difficulty of the specific version of the exam they take. The ARDMS recognizes that different versions of the exam may vary slightly in difficulty level. To ensure fairness in comparing test scores across these different versions, the ARDMS uses a scaled scoring system that takes into account the relative difficulty of each version of the exam.

For example, if person A took a version of the exam that was more difficult than the version person B took, then person A's score will be adjusted upward accordingly. This means that if person A scored 63% on a more difficult version of the exam in 2017, and person B scored 93% on an easier version of the exam in 2016, person B's scaled score would be higher than person A's. By using a scaled scoring system, the ARDMS ensures that all test takers are judged fairly and equitably, regardless of which version of the exam they take. This system provides a more accurate representation of a test taker's knowledge and skills, and helps maintain the certification process's integrity.

Understanding the SPI Exam's Five Domains: A Guide to the Content Structure

ARDMS aids applicants by providing a structured outline for the SPI exam, known as the SPI content outline. This outline serves as a guide to the exam's structure.

The SPI exam is categorized into five distinct domains, each representing a specific portion of the exam:

  1. Conducting Ultrasound Examinations (23% - about 25 questions): This domain focuses on the practical aspects of performing ultrasound exams, including core physics concepts like parameters and attenuation.

  2. Handling Ultrasound Transducers (7% - about 8 questions): This section delves into the selection and functioning of ultrasound transducers, moving away from outdated technologies and focusing on current practices.

  3. Enhancing Sonographic Images (26% - about 29 questions): Renamed to emphasize the application of physics in improving ultrasound imaging.

  4. Applying Doppler Principles (34% - about 37 questions): A crucial domain requiring an in-depth understanding of Doppler concepts, reflecting its increased question percentage.

  5. Ensuring Clinical Safety and Quality Assurance (10% - about 11 questions): Focuses on maintaining safety and quality standards in clinical settings.

2. Tailor Your Approach to Match Your Learning Style.

We all have slightly different learning styles, and understanding yours is crucial for effective studying. At Prepry, we recognize that one size does not fit all when it comes to learning. Here are some tailored study approaches based on different learning styles:

  1. Active Learner: If you consider yourself an active learner, you thrive on hands-on engagement. Prepry offers a great solution for active learners through our multiple-choice question format. This interactive approach allows you to actively engage with the material, test your knowledge, and reinforce your understanding.

  2. Audiovisual Learner: For those who learn best through audio and visual cues, our video-on-demand courses are designed with you in mind. These courses provide a dynamic and immersive learning experience, combining visual elements with expert explanations. Dive into our video content to absorb information effectively.

  3. Social Learner: If you find that you learn better by discussing concepts and ideas, consider finding a tutor or forming a study group. Interaction and discussion can be powerful tools for reinforcing your understanding. Collaborate with peers to talk through complex topics and gain insights from different perspectives.

  4. Traditional Learner: Traditional learners often prefer more conventional study methods, such as studying from class notes and textbooks. At Prepry, we recommend a multifaceted approach that includes studying from your textbooks. Combine this with our video review courses for a comprehensive understanding. Additionally, our practice questions are invaluable for traditional learners, as repetition and practice are key to mastery.

Embrace a Multifaceted Approach

While recognizing your primary learning style is essential, we encourage all learners to adopt a multifaceted study approach. To excel in your studies, consider combining various methods:

  • Textbook Study: Dive deep into your textbooks to build a solid foundation.

  • Video Review Courses: Enrich your understanding with our video courses.

  • Interactive Practice: Challenge yourself with our extensive question bank. To truly excel, practice is essential. Answering a variety of questions helps reinforce your knowledge and boost your confidence.

Remember, there's no one-size-fits-all approach to learning. By tailoring your study strategy to your learning style and embracing multiple methods, you can maximize your learning potential and achieve your academic goals.

At Prepry, we're here to support your unique learning journey. Explore our resources, engage with our materials, and tailor your study approach to what works best for you. Success is within reach when you study smart and adapt to your individual strengths.

3. Use Prepry ARDMS SPI Exam Study Plans

Commit to the preparation that the test deserves. Go into studying with a plan, here is an example:

  • Plan days to study. Set a schedule including which days of the week you will study, which days you will take off, and which you will use to take practice exams.

  • Make a goal before each study session. Maybe it’s to do x amount of practice questions, or master x specific content topic, but be intentional.

Studying without a plan is a waste of your time and won’t ultimately help you pass the ARDMS SPI Exam. It’s not about the hours you put in, it’s about how you use them.

This is one exam you can absolutely not cram for – the ARDMS SPI Exam is a holistic test model that aims to test knowledge gained over the course of years, not days.

3. Prepry's ARDMS SPI Registry Review Course

Your study plan should include Prepry’s SPI Exam Review Course, meticulously crafted and presented by Jenna N. Laquerre, BS, R.T. (R), RDMS (AB, OB/GYN, PS, BR), RVT, offers an extensive review series tailored for candidates preparing for the Sonography Principles & Instrumentation (SPI) exam, as well as Physics for CCI Exams. This course thoroughly covers vital ultrasound physics and instrumentation topics, emphasizing clarity and in-depth understanding. \n\nDesigned to enhance memory retention for the SPI exam and practical application in clinical environments, the course features detailed explanations and concise key summaries. It is an exceptional tool for beginners and those seeking a comprehensive refresher. As an indispensable resource, it empowers aspiring ultrasound professionals to excel in certification exams.

7. SPI Practice Test

Excelling in exams requires a grasp of the subject matter and a strategic approach to studying. Prepry's innovative application offers a robust solution, incorporating a vast question bank and cutting-edge spaced repetition technology tailored for effective learning and exam success.

  • The Power of Practice: 800+ Diverse Questions

    • Quantity and Quality: Prepry's app hosts over 810 questions, ensuring comprehensive coverage of exam topics.

    • Diverse Content: The questions are a mix of actual exam-style queries and crucial facts, catering to a range of learning needs.

    • Tailored Learning: This diversity enables users to encounter different types of questions, simulating the varied formats they might face in actual exams.

  • Spaced Repetition: A Scientific Approach to Learning

    • Memory Retention: Spaced repetition is scientifically proven to enhance long-term memory retention.

    • Adaptive Learning: The app's algorithm adjusts the frequency of question repetition based on user performance, ensuring learners focus more on challenging areas.

    • Consistent Review: This technique ensures regular revisiting of material, which is crucial for consolidating knowledge and understanding.

curve of forgetting for spaced repitition

  • Comprehensive Exam Preparation

    • End-to-End Coverage: By engaging with all 810 questions, users are exposed to the breadth and depth of the subject matter.

    • Confidence Building: Regular practice builds familiarity and confidence, key components of exam success.

    • Knowledge Application: The app's approach encourages deep understanding and application of concepts, which is vital for higher-order thinking skills required in exams.

  • The Advantage of Prepry's Approach

    • Efficient Learning: Combining a large question bank and spaced repetition makes for an efficient learning experience.

    • Personalized Study: The app adapts to individual learning styles, making it a personalized tool for exam preparation.

    • Results-Oriented: The focus on retention and understanding aims to translate into better exam performance.

9. Don't Self-Evaluate During the ARDMS SPI Exam

You shouldn't self-evaluate during tests; instead, concentrate on the questions at hand. You should answer every question. With 110 questions in 2 hours, this exam is all about endurance. Don't Focus on "What If" Questions. Many students who don't pass the SPI exam focus on "what if" questions, such as "if I don't pass, what am I going to do?" Concentrate on studying, and stop worrying about what you will do if you fail. You will pass the exam if you put in the time. You will feel confident that you are prepared and that you have grasped crucial ideas with the help of Prepry. Don't Give Up. If you don't pass the exam on your first try, don't give up. This exam is about endurance and confidence, and if you don't pass the first time, you can always pass the second time. Just study a little harder the second time, and don't give up.

10. Find Ways to Manage Your Test Stress

Although it's perfectly normal to feel nervous before a test, some students suffer from debilitating test anxiety. Symptoms such as a fast heartbeat, headache, or nausea may accompany racing thoughts, inability to concentrate, or feelings of dread. No matter if it's the ARDMS SPI Exam or the abdomen exam, test anxiety can derail weeks and months of hard work. Test anxiety is a real thing, but you made it through ultrasound school, Prepry can help you feel confident that you are prepared, and have mastered key concepts. Even if you don’t typically have test anxiety, there is a chance that you will be nervous just from the pressure of such an important test.

There are a couple of key ways to keep stress at a minimum.

  • Be prepared. If you feel confident that you’ve prepped thoroughly, you’ll feel more confident walking into the test. Need help reviewing tough concepts or question types? Prepry can provide that extra boost you need to feel cool and collected.

  • First, prepare for the exam seriously, but don’t make studying your life. It’s important to still keep a balance in the weeks and months leading up to the exam.

  • Allot time in your days for exercise, proper sleep, and whatever you do for fun! By keeping a balance, your mind won’t build up the test moment to anything bigger than it actually is.

  • Get a good night’s sleep. It's never a good idea to cram. Pulling an all-nighter can only make your nerves worse. A good night's sleep (8 hours) is more useful than cramming until dawn.

  • Focus on calm breathing and positive thoughts. This method can slow down your heart and racing mind, so it's a good idea to practice it at home. By concentrating on breathing and thinking, one can biometrically alter one's anxious feelings.

11. Prepare for Exam Day

  • Be sure to sleep well the week before the exam.

  • Arrive early to the testing center, prepared with necessary documents for testing.

  • Put gas in your car the night before.

  • Don't study or cram the day before you take the SPI.

  • Take the morning before the test to calm your mind. Focus on something that helps you stay grounded – cooking a nice breakfast, listening to music, going on a run, whatever works for you.

  • Set multiple reliable alarms.

  • If you tend to get cold, bring layers of clothing. In order to feel comfortable and prepared for the exam, you should control your environment as much as possible.

  • Consider your usual preference for testing time when scheduling your exam. Those who prefer the morning should take the test early in the day. Schedule your exam for the afternoon if you like lazy mornings and sleeping in.

12. Believe in Yourself

Most importantly, believe in yourself. You deserve to pass, and you have already proven your potential as a sonographer by graduating from sonography school. You are on your exciting and new journey to being a Registered Sonographer – so congratulations!



How many questions are on the SPI exam?

There are 110 multiple-choice questions on the exam.

How long is the SPI exam?

The exam is timed at 2 hours.

What is a passing score on the SPI exam?

To pass the SPI exam, you must achieve a scaled score of 555.

What is the SPI exam pass rate?

The pass rate for the SPI exam is 60%, according to ARDMS data from a 2021 report.

How much does the SPI exam cost?

The cost of the exam is $225.

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