Sonography Principles and Instrumentation (SPI) Examination

The Sonography Principles and Instrumentation (SPI) Examination is part of the battery of tests required for men and women who want to enter this rewarding and exciting field of health care. Administered by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography, the test consists of 120 multiple-choice questions that must be completed within two hours. Candidates for certification in sonography will take this exam in conjunction with an exam in their area of specialization.

The SPI examination covers material in six content domains:

  1. The patient care, safety, and communication domain (5 percent) covers properties of ultrasound waves; interactions of sound with tissue; power, intensity, and amplitude; and units of measurement.
  2. Questions in the section on physics principles (20 percent) address properties of ultrasound waves; interactions of sound with tissue; power, intensity, and amplitude; and units of measurement.
  3. Ultrasound transducers (20 percent) reviews transducer construction and characteristics, types of transducers, spatial resolution, and transducer selection
  4. The pulse-echo instrumentation domain (30 percent) of the SPI Examination reviews display modes and their formation, the transmission of ultrasound, beam former, post-processing of ultrasound signals, pulse-echo imaging artifacts, tissue harmonic imaging, real-time ultrasound instrumentation, and recording and storage devices.
  5. The section on Doppler instrumentation and hemodynamics (20 percent) includes questions regarding acquisition of a color flow image, acquisition of a Doppler spectral image, measurements from the spectral waveform, and hemodynamics.
  6. The quality assurance and quality control of equipment domain (5 percent) covers preventive maintenance, malfunctions, and performance testing with phantoms.


The SPI Examination questions are in a multiple-choice format, with four potential answers for each question. Some answer choices may be partially correct; it is the test takers job to select the best answer.

The SPI examination is administered via computer in testing centers around the country.

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