Tips to passing the SPI exam

Posts about Tips to passing the SPI exam written by aktyson01

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This week was one of the most stressful weeks of my student career. I had to make time to do all of my homework, clean my house, and study for the dreaded SPI exam. The students studying ultrasound will be more familiar with this exam, but for those who aren’t, the SPI exam stands for Sonography Principles and Instrumentation. It is an exam all potential sonographers must take in order for them to become registered. The exam covers all physics principles related to Sonography, ultrasound equipment, and patient care.

The SPI exam is one of the first board registry exams a sonographer must take in order to become registered by the ARDMS, or the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers. It costs two hundred dollars for each attempt. Each version of the SPI exam is one hundred and twenty questions, but it is weighted so the scores will be totaled out of seven hundred. You need five hundred and fifty-five points out of seven hundred to pass. The exam itself is on a computer and the questions are in multiple choice format. Each question has four options to choose from. My biggest fear was taking the exam, failing, and then not having the money and having to wait to take the exam for a second time. If you are a student studying for the SPI exam and wondering how to prepare for the exam, then this is for you. If you are a reader who already passed the SPI board exam, then I would like to know what your particular experience was with the exam.

I took the SPI exam at the Pearson Testing Center in Lansing, Michigan. The testing center was easy to find and a quiet and safe environment. The check-in process for the exam was somewhat intimidating because you had to turn all of your pockets inside out, get your hand scanned, and also bring two forms of identification just to make sure you were the correct person and you were not trying to cheat. If you feel stressed during check-in, just remember to take a deep breath in and understand that the testing center is just following their protocol to protect the integrity of their testing site. Once you enter the testing room, you are seated and you may start the tutorial on how to work all of the testing features. This takes fifteen minutes and it just shows you how to mark questions in case you want to go back and answer it. After the tutorial ends, you are ready to begin your exam. Be sure to stay as calm as you can and write down notes on the whiteboard they give you. It really does help.

I am also sure that if you are like me, you are at a lost as to what is the most effective when it comes to studying certain topics. Based on my exam experience, I used my Edelman physics book and the physics disc from the Davies Company. I would recommend re-reading the physics book and making sure you understand your proportions and relationships between different variables. Understand your physic equations and the different types of resolutions that deal with Sonography. On the Davies disc, look through the Hemodynamics and Doppler chapters and make sure you understand how changing certain controls will help improve a picture. Know your Doppler angles and how they affect the spectral waveform you obtain and how the angles affect your image. If you can understand the basic concepts of ultrasound physics, then I am certain you will do fine as you will have the ability to apply your knowledge to the different concepts presented during the SPI exam.

I would not recommend procrastinating and studying last minute or studying right before your exam. It will definitely lower your confidence in the subject and make you overthink questions on the exam that are supposed to be simple and straightforward. Eat a healthy breakfast the morning of your exam and avoid food that would upset your stomach and make your brain overstimulated. I passed with a ninety-three percent, that’s six hundred and fifty-two out of seven hundred, and it was thanks to my studying the Edelman’s Physic Principles book and the Davies disc, my friends’ and family’s encouragement, and my testing center. At the end of your exam, you will be given an immediate print-out of your results. Remember, if you do fail, you are not the first and you won’t be the last. If you fail, see where you need improvement and study more in those areas, but also study the other areas as well. The questions on the SPI are randomized and there are different versions of the test, so you never know what you will get on your particular exam. Be ready to meet the challenge, study hard, stay as calm as you can, and remember to just try the best you can!

Good luck everyone and congratulations to those who already passed!

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