The Neurosonology (NE) Specialty Examination

The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) administers the Neurosonology (NE) specialty examination to certify the continuing competency of ultrasound professionals.

The NE exam consists of 170 multiple-choice questions covering the anatomy, physiology, and sonographic evaluation techniques of the head and brain. Examinees are given three hours to complete the test. Exam takers must successfully pass both the Neurosonology specialty and Sonography Principles & Instrumentation (SPI) exams within five years of one another to earn their RDMS credential. The two exams can be taken in any order.

The Neurosonology specialty exam is graded on a percentage scale, with some topics given greater weight in the overall score than others. Questions are based on applied knowledge of anatomy, physiology, pathology, differential diagnosis, instrumentation, and evaluation techniques. The test topics, in order of percentage importance, are:

  • recognition of pathology and differential diagnosis (40-50%)
  • anatomy and physiology (30-40%)
  • technique in neurosonography (10-20%)
  • physics and instrumentation (1-5%)
  • medical care of the neonate during scanning (1-3%)

NE 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 with strategies for test taking.

Applying to take the Neurosonology specialty examination is a multistep process. To qualify to sit the exam, candidates must submit to the ARDMS proof of education; verification of clinical experience; transcripts and licenses; and letters from a supervising physician, technologist, or program director.

Once their application is approved, examinees must pay exam or renewal fees, and sign up to take the exam at a local test center. The ARDMS provides comprehensive guidelines for the application, registration, and scheduling process, including checklists to ensure that each step is completed appropriately.

After completing the Neurosonology specialty exam, examinees will have immediate online access to their test results. The test is scored on a scale from 300 to 700; a score of 555 or above is a passing grade. Candidates who do not pass the exam must wait a minimum of 72 hours to reapply and 60 days to retest.

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