The Abdomen (AB) specialty examination is administered by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) to certify the continuing competency of ultrasound professionals.
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Exam takers must successfully pass both the AB exam and the Sonography Principles & Instrumentation (SPI) exam to earn their RDMS credential. Examinees are given three hours to complete the AB exam, which consists of 170 multiple-choice questions covering the major organs and systems of the abdomen.
The Abdomen specialty examination questions are divided into percentage-weighted topics based on knowledge of anatomy, ultrasound techniques, laboratory values, indications and symptoms, diseases and processes, masses and cysts, infections, abnormalities, and transplants.
The specific organs and systems the exam covers, in order of importance in overall test percentage, are:
- the liver (16-24%)
- kidneys and urinary tract (16-24%)
- gallbladder and biliary tree (10-18%)
- abdominal vascular (7-15%)
- pancreas (6-14%)
- scrotum (3-7%)
- retroperitoneum (3-7%)
- spleen (1-5%)
- gastrointestinal tract (1-5%)
- abdominal wall, superficial and muscular structures (1-5%)
- neck (1-3%)
- prostate (1-2%)
In addition, 1-2% weight is also given to knowledge of instrumentation and invasive procedures.
There are numerous online resources for preparing to take the Abdomen specialty examination for the RDMS credential, including practice tests, content outlines, study guides, and sample questions based on the actual test. Printed study guides with sample exams and test-taking strategies are also available from several publishers.
To take the Abdomen specialty examination, candidates must complete the application forms, register with the ARDMS, and pay any exam or renewal fees. To earn a credential, candidates must also pass the Sonography Principles & Instrumentation (SPI) exam within five years of passing the specialty exam. The two exams can be taken in any order. Candidates who are not first-time applicants are subject to different rules and requirements.
To apply, examinees must submit qualifying documentation, including proof of formal education; verification of clinical experience; transcripts and licenses; and letters from a supervising physician, technologist, or program director. The ARDMS provides comprehensive guidelines for the application process, including step-by-step outlines and checklists for how to apply for, register for, schedule, and take both the AB specialty and SPI exams.
Once a candidate has taken the Abdomen specialty exam, he or she will receive test results in the form of a point value from 300 to 700; a result of 555 or above is a passing score. Candidates who do not pass the exam must wait a minimum of 72 hours before re-applying.
Other ARDMS Tests
- Adult Echocardiography (AE) Specialty Examination
- ARDMS Test Breakdown
- Breast (BR) Specialty Examination
- Fetal Echocardiography (FE) Specialty Examination for RDCS
- Fetal Echocardiography (FE) Specialty Examination for RDMS
- Neurosonology (NE) Specialty Examination
- Obstetrics and Gynecology (OBGYN) Specialty Examination
- Pediatric Echocardiography (PE) Specialty Examination
- Vascular Technology (VT) Specialty Examination
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by Enoch Morrison | Last Updated: January 9, 2019