When people talk about the diagnostic medical sonography exam, they are usually referring to the Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonography (RDMS) exam given by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). This professional organization offers registration and certification in the field of diagnostic medical sonography. They actually do not administer just one certification/registration exam but rather several that deal with different specialties in the sonography field. The RDMS exams are given in 5 basic specialization areas: abdomen, breast, fetal echocardiography, neurosonology, and obstetrics and gynecology. In addition there are exams for a slightly different title – Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer (RDCS) that cover the areas of adult, fetal, and pediatric echocardiography. Finally, there are two exams in vascular sonography called the Registered Vascular Technologist (RVT) exam and the Registered Physician in Vascular Interpretation (RPVI) exam that covers cardiovascular uses of diagnostic medical sonography and confers this title.
There is a generalized prerequisite exam called the Sonography Principles and Instrumentation (SPI) examination that a student must take before taking one of the RDMS specialty exams or the RVT exam.
The ARDMS provides a number of useful study materials that an individual can access in preparing for these exams. These can be found on their website. These include:
The website provides content outlines for each exam. These are very useful as overall study guides. They go over the specific subject areas that the exams will cover. You really can’t go wrong with these – make sure you get a good grasp of each topic that will be covered on the exam and you can be sure that you will do well.
Another very useful resource offered by the ARDMS is the opportunity to take practice examinations. These examinations are 30 questions long. The user must pay a $25 dollar fee for each practice exam they take. They are then taken online in a timed format. The student has to complete the exam once it has started and cannot return to it later.
The ARDMS gives a few sample questions on its website (free of charge) so that a student can get a sense of the way questions are structured and their difficulty level. They are multiple choice questions with 4 answer options. On a practice test an individual will, of course, also see how the questions are structured, but if someone does not want to pay the $25 this will at least give them some idea of what to expect.
Tips for a successful testing experience are also offered on the ARDMS site. They include such advice as: getting enough sleep before the exam, having a good grasp of where the testing center is so as to arrive on time, traveling light, and bringing two forms of ID.
By far the best place to start in your preparation for the ARDMS exams is on the website. If you feel you need more preparation you can then access commercially available study manuals and so forth. But the website has fairly comprehensive exam preparation resources and can get you fairly well prepared on its own.