The RPSGT Exam, formally known as the Registered Polysomnographic Technologist Exam, is a comprehensive and challenging assessment for men and women looking to enter this rewarding and fast-paced field of health care. The test is developed by the Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists in consultation with an expert team of test administrators.
The exam consists of 200 multiple-choice questions, 50 of which are pretest items that do not count toward the final score. Pretest questions, which will be impossible to identify, are used to develop future versions of the exam. The RPSGT Exam has five domains:
- In the pre-study procedures domain (15 percent of the exam), questions address tasks that include selecting equipment and montage, collecting and reviewing paperwork, applying sensors, and educating patients.
- The study performance domain (25 percent) requires knowledge of equipment calibration, documentation during testing, identification and response to data issues, and identification and response to patient needs.
- The RPSGT Exam section on therapeutic intervention (25 percent) covers assessing the need for treatment and intervention, titrating PAP and oxygen, and troubleshooting.
- In the post-study procedures domain (10 percent), the candidate will need to know how to remove, clean, and disinfect sensors and interfaces; perform patient discharge procedures; and summarize and store data.
- The scoring and data analysis section of the exam (25 percent) requires knowledge of staging sleep and arousal, scoring respiratory events, scoring movements, scoring cardiac, identifying waveform variations and artifacts, generating reports, and archiving data.
The official RPSGT Exam score report includes both the raw and scaled score. The raw score (the number of questions answered correctly) is placed on a scale, ranging from 200 to 500, using a formula that takes into account the relative difficulty of the exam version. The minimum passing score is 350.
RPSGT Test Practice Questions
1. Which of the following is characteristic of sleep during the second trimester of pregnancy?
a. Total sleep time (TST) decreases to pre-pregnancy levels
b. Slow-wave sleep (SWS) decreases
c. REM sleep decreases
d. Shortness of breath decreases
2. The amount of blood that is pumped through the ventricles is known as
a. cardiac output
b. pulmonary vascular resistance
c. stroke volume
d. cardiac index
3. Twitching movements of the fingers, toes, and mouth that may occur during stage W, non-REM, and REM sleep are known as
b. excessive fragmentary myoclonus(EFM)
c. REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD)
d. rhythmic movement disorder(RMD)
4. What is the purpose of the American Sleep Apnea Association’s A.W.A.K.E. program?
a. To provide specialized training to future sleep technologists
b. To provide education, guidance, and ongoing support for sleep apnea
c. To diagnose sleep apnea
d. To fit sleep apnea patients with continuous positive airway pressure masks
5. The cEMG provides information on all of the following EXCEPT
b. teeth grinding
c. electrical activity within the brain
d. muscle tone of the chin muscles
1. A: The correct answer is that total sleep time (TST) decreases to pre-pregnancy levels. Slow-wave sleep (SWS) is normal during the second trimester of pregnancy. REM sleep decreases during the third, not the second, trimester of pregnancy. Shortness of breath increases, not decreases, during the second trimester of pregnancy.
2. A: The correct answer is cardiac output. Cardiac output, which is usually calculated in liters per minute, is the amount of blood that is pumped through the ventricles. Normal cardiac output is about 5 L/min for an adult at rest. Pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR) is the resistance in the pulmonary arteries and arterioles against which the right ventricle has to pump during contraction. PVR is the mean pressure in the pulmonary vascular bed divided by the blood flow. Stroke volume (SV) is the amount of blood pumped through the left ventricle with each contraction, minus any blood that remains inside the ventricle at the end of systole. Normal SV values are 60–70 mL. Cardiac index (CI) is the cardiac output divided by the body surface area (BSA).
3. B: The correct answer is excessive fragmentary myoclonus (EFM). Scoring requires that the activity continue for at least 20 minutes of non-REM sleep, with at least five EMG potentials per minute. EFM appears to be benign. The duration of an activity burst is usually 150 ms or less, but it may be greater than 150 ms if twitching is obvious. By contrast, bruxism is the grinding of the teeth. In REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD), some transient muscle activity (usually involving the muscles of the hands, feet, or mouth) often occurs during REM sleep. In addition, some large muscle activity may occur, but does not involve muscle activity across joints. Rhythmic movement disorder (RMD) is common in infants beginning at approximately six months of age and continuing until two to three years of age; it is rare after age five unless a patient has a central nervous system injury. It often includes rocking, head rolling, or head banging. Some children may also have leg banging and body rolling. Most often, RMD occurs either during stage W, when the patient is very drowsy, or during stage 1 non-REM sleep. The rhythmic movements may be accompanied by humming.
4. B: The purpose of the American Sleep Apnea Association’s A.W.A.K.E. program is to educate people about sleep apnea, in order to enable them to manage their health and to provide guidance and ongoing support. It is a program comprised of self-help groups. Groups are advised to be sponsored by a sleep professional (although this is not a requirement). A coordinator leads the meetings, and guest speakers are often invited to speak on topics of interest to the group. ASAA provides suggested meeting topics, and groups meet from monthly to quarterly. In addition, ASAA provides educational material (e.g., newsletters, reports, or videos). A.W.A.K.E. does not provide specialized training to future sleep technologists, diagnose sleep apnea, or fit sleep apnea patients with continuous positive airway pressure masks.
5. C: The cEMG is the chin electromyogram. By recording the muscle tone of the chin muscles, it helps the observer to identify REM sleep (during which there is a reduced muscle tone). The cEMG provides information about snoring, which causes artifacts on cEMG. In addition, it provides information on teeth grinding, which causes muscular movement. It is the EEG (not the cEMG) that provides information on the electrical activity within the brain. Through the use of scalp electrodes, the EEG measures electrical brain activity in order to rule out seizure disorders and to determine sleep-wake state characteristics.