ARDMS – Abdomen Specialty Examination

To become a Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS) with certification in the abdominal specialty, candidates must have appropriate medical education and clinical experience, and pass both the Sonography Principles & Instrumentation (SPI) exam and the Abdomen (AB) specialty exam administered by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS). The two exams can be taken in any order, but both must be successfully completed within five years of one another.

The Abdomen specialty exam is a three-hour, 170-question multiple-choice test that covers the major organs and systems of the abdomen. The exam is evaluated and assigned a numerical point value from 300 to 700; a result of 555 or above is a passing score.

ARDMS Practice Questions

Candidates must prove their eligibility to take the Abdomen specialty exam by completing the ARDMS application forms and submitting qualifying documentation. This includes proof of formal education, verification of clinical experience, transcripts, licenses, and letters from a supervising physician, technologist, or program director. Applicants who are renewing or recertifying, or who are not first-time applicants, are subject to different requirements. 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 an application has been approved by the ARDMS, candidates must register for the Abdomen specialty exam at a local test center, and pay any exam or renewal fees. Exam results are available online immediately following the test. Candidates who do not pass the exam must wait a minimum of 72 hours before reapplying and 60 days before retaking the test.

The Abdomen specialty exam tests knowledge of specific organs and systems, with a higher percentage emphasis placed on some topics over others. The topics and overall test percentages are:

  • 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%)
  • and 1-2% each for instrumentation and invasive procedures

Test questions focus on applied knowledge of anatomy, ultrasound techniques, laboratory values, indications and symptoms, diseases and processes, masses and cysts, infections, abnormalities, and transplants.

There are numerous online resources and printed materials available for preparing to take the Abdomen specialty examination for the RDMS credential, including practice tests, content outlines, study guides, sample questions, and tips on test-taking strategies.


Last Updated: November 9, 2023