Six Tips to Passing the SPI Exam

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The Sonography Principles and Instrumentation exam is one of the most important exams in the field of sonography. It is an exam you must pass before earning other important credentials in the field of sonography. I, therefore, strive to give you all the help you need to succeed. In this article, I will present a few well-tested tips that have helped individuals ace the SPI exam in the past. They include: 

1. Study the SPI exam’s content outline

The first thing is that your studying must be well-guided. The SPI exam has a defined content outline; you should follow and focus on this. Don’t just study randomly. Instead, methodically pick every domain of the content outline and adequately study it. You can assign a fixed time to study each domain and then have a general time just before the exam to revise all that you have noted on each domain. There are five major domains in the content outline. You can access the content outline here.

2. Take practice tests 

This is one trick that everybody that has ever passed the SPI exam will tell you is essential. Practice tests give you a feel of the exam and what to expect. Furthermore, they help you measure how prepared you are and what areas you are lacking in your studies. 

The ARDMS – the body that conducts the SPI exam – has practice tests that help you prepare for the exam. Furthermore, we also have practice tests that you can take to measure how ready you are for the exam. In case you were wondering, you can take multiple practice tests. Taking multiple tests at different times helps you progressively measure your readiness for the exam. Therefore, you can take a set of tests after your first round of studying and another set when the exam is quite close. 

3. Know yourself and your study pattern 

We do not all learn the same way. There are those of us that assimilate best in the morning, and there are those that are night crawlers. Some are great at reading texts; others learn best with images, sounds, and videos. To optimally study for your SPI exam, you must be aware of the study pattern that works for you and fully maximize it. If you are a video person, get on YouTube and download videos that simplify the concepts. If you are a person that needs images, then try and create images that help you remember concepts. In all, prepare in the way that works best for you. 

4. Find ways to manage stress

We can tell you this for free: preparing for the SPI exam can be stressful. However, you must manage this stress properly to be at your best when you sit for the exams. Here are some handy tips that have helped hundreds of candidates manage stress:

  • In the months leading up to the exam, ensure that you maintain a healthy balance between living and studying. Don’t burn out by just studying without proper sleep, food, and rest. One way to do this is to have a study plan. Your study plan can contain days of intense study and days that you spend resting and revising.
  • Do leisure activities that help your mind relax. It is not just your body that needs rest; let your mind have periods of respite too. 
  • Ensure that you sleep well the night before the exam. We know you want to review everything, but don’t do it at the expense of resting before the exam. Sound sleep ensures that your mind and memory are at their sharpest, and you want them that way on the exam date. Try to round up all revisions before that night or do them in the morning when you wake up. 

5. Know your units 

This is an incredible hack for multiple-choice questions. Knowing your units ensures that you can eliminate some answers simply because they are in the wrong units. That alone may help you pick the correct answer where you are not 100% sure of it. 

6. Learn time management 

You don’t have all the time in the world to answer the questions – you only have 2 hours. If you do not know an answer, don’t spend all the time figuring it out. Keep moving and aim to be done before the actual time allotted. Doing this allows you to review your answers and return to questions you were unsure of. 

Frequently Asked Questions About the SPI Exam 

What is the format for the SPI exam? 

The SPI exam lasts for 2 hours and it consists of approximately 110 multiple-choice questions and a three-minute survey. All questions are from the exam’s content outline. You can find all the answers you need about the SPI exam format here

How long does it take to prepare for the SPI exam? 

The truth is that it depends on you. Some people will need a lot of time to study, and some will need less time. However, we recommend that you start your preparations about two months before the date of your exams because of the volume of the content outline. 

What is the grading system for the SPI Exam?

Primarily, the result you get on your SPI exam is PASS or FAIL. Furthermore, you will also receive a score on a scale of 300 to 700. You must have a score above 555 to pass.

What happens if I fail the SPI exams?

You can retake the exam after 60 days, although you can reapply after three days. This means that failing at the first go is not the world’s end. You can go again after 60 days. 


The SPI exam is a vital exam for sonography professionals. To be truthful, the exams are no child’s play, but if you pay attention to the tips listed above, you are in a prime position to ace the exams. Good luck!