The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) administers the Fetal Echocardiography (FE) specialty examination to certify medical ultrasound professionals as Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographers (RDCS).
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The FE exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions covering the anatomy, physiology, and sonographic techniques of the fetal heart. The Fetal Echocardiography specialty exam is graded on a percentage scale, with some topics given a greater percentage in the overall score than others.
Topics are based on knowledge of fetal heart development, normal and abnormal anatomy, and standard evaluation views and techniques.
The test topics, with percentage importance, are:
- structural heart anomalies (35-55%)
- standard sonographic views (10-20%)
- incidence of congenital heart disease (5-10%)
- dysrhythmias (5-10%)
- normal fetal heart physiology (4-8%)
- embryology, indications, acquired pathology (1-5%)
- timing of the fetal echocardiographic exam (1-5%)
There is also a “miscellaneous” category worth 1-5% of the overall score, which includes hydrops fetalis, extracardiac anomalies, and syndromes.
Examinees are given three hours to complete the test. Exam takers must successfully pass both the FE exam and the Sonography Principles & Instrumentation (SPI) exam to earn their RDCS credential. The two exams can be taken in any order, but both must be passed within five years of one another.
To qualify to take the Fetal Echocardiography and SPI exams, candidates must submit proof of education; verification of clinical experience; transcripts and licenses; and letters from a supervising physician, technologist, or program director. The ARDMS provides extensive, step-by-step guidelines for the application process, including checklists to ensure that the application and supporting materials are complete.
Once the application is approved and test candidates have paid any exam fees, they can schedule a date to sit the exam at a local test center. Following the exam, test takers will have immediate online access to their results in the form of a point value; the lowest score is 300, and the highest possible value is 700. A result of 555 or above is a passing grade. Candidates who do not pass the exam must wait a minimum of 72 hours to re-apply and 60 days to take the exam again.
Fetal Echocardiography specialty exam candidates can take advantage of many online test preparation resources, including practice exams, sample questions, content outlines, and study guides. Several print-based publishers also offer study manuals that teach effective test-taking strategies and offer tips on enhancing retention and recall.
Other ARDMS Tests
- Abdomen (AB) Specialty Examination
- Adult Echocardiography (AE) Specialty Examination
- ARDMS Test Breakdown
- Breast (BR) Specialty Examination
- 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