Musculoskeletal Sonography (MSK)

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The Musculoskeletal Sonography (MSK) examination tests basic musculoskeletal knowledge and skills required in making reliable diagnosis and performing invasive procedures in musculoskeletal-related conditions. By earning the RMSK sonography credential, physicians gain a critical edge in promoting themselves as preeiminent practitioners in musculoskeletal sonography.

To earn the Musculoskeletal Sonography (RMSK) credential, exclusively for Physicians, you must pass the MSK examination. ​


 MSK Examination Overview

​The MSK examination assesses the knowledge, skills and abilities in the areas of muscles, joints, tendons ligaments and soft tissues of the body.


As a windowed examination, scores for the MSK examination will be available approximate 60 days after the close of the administration. For more information, review the “Scoring” tab.

Every three years we conduct a MSK Job Task Analysis (JTA) and update the MSK examination to reflect the frequency and importance of MSK tasks being performed by Sonography Professionals.


View the 2011 MSK JTA Results.

 Question Format & Duration

​The MSK examination is four hours and contains 200 multiple-choice questions. In order to earn the RMSK credential, the MSK examination must be taken and passed.


Note: The MSK examination is only offered during select periods of the year. Refer to the “Schedule” tab for upcoming dates.


​ARDMS functions under policies intended to demonstrate impartiality, high ethical standards and validity of its certification assessments. ARDMS does not restrict Applicants, Candidates or becoming a Registrant based on limiting conditions, such as membership of an association or professional society of any organization. ARDMS will not unfairly impede or inhibit access to its certification to Applicants, Candidates or Registrants who meet our stated policies regarding qualification requirements, renewal requirements and/or passing ARDMS’ psychometrically sound certification assessments.  


 MSK Prerequisites

​To sit for the MSK examination and earn the RMSK credential, you must meet the eligibility requirements of the MSK prerequisite that best meets your education and clinical experience.


View the MSK Prerequisite Chart.

 Application Document Requirements

​When applying for the MSK examination, if your prerequisite selection requires documentation of clinical experience, please note that application letter(s) must include:


     • Government issued ID
     • Active MD, DO, or DPM medical license

 Patient Log

 Document Requirements

​The necessary supporting documentation for the MSK examination must be received within 21 days of submitting your online application. You will be asked to complete the attestation form during the online application process.


Please note: We do not retain application documentation received prior to receipt and payment of the online application. Any documentation received prior to the completed online application will be discarded.


 Application Process

​The MSK examination is only offered during select periods of the year. Refer to the “Schedule” tab for upcoming dates.

Once you are ready to apply for an ARDMS examination, follow the steps below:

  1. Log in to MY ARDMS and choose the RMSK online application option.
  2. Complete the online application form and submit payment. If you are a first-time Applicant, you are required to choose a prerequisite under which to apply.
  3. Gather the required supporting documentation.
  4. Submit your supporting documentation for receipt within 21 days of applying online. Review of your application can take up to five business days from receipt of documentation in the office.

Once we have reviewed your information, we will email you with either an Examination Confirmation Letter (ECL) or a request for additional documentation. When you receive the ECL, you may contact Pearson VUE to schedule an examination appointment during your eligibility period. The eligibility period will be available on your ECL or you may click here to view the current MSK examination administration dates. 

If you are found ineligible to take the examination, your application will be partially refunded (less the $100 USD processing fee per examination) and your documentation will be mailed back to you.

 MSK Examination Fees

​The MSK examination fee is $600, which includes a $100 USD non-refundable processing fee.

If you take an ARDMS examination at an international test center (outside the U.S., Canada and Mexico), you will be charged an additional non-refundable $100 USD fee when you schedule your examination. This fee is subject to change without notice.

 Examination Confirmation Letter

​If you are found eligible to take an examination, we will email you an Examination Confirmation Letter (ECL) within one to two days of application approval and you will be able to schedule your appointment at that time. The ECL will also be posted to your MY ARDMS  account and will include your eligibility period to schedule and take your examination.


​You will be considered a Re-applicant for the MSK examination if you have previously been approved to sit for the MSK-physician examination.


To sit for the MSK-phyisican examination as a Re-applicant, submit the application and payment. Your application will automatically be approved. 

 Americans with Disabilities Act

​If you need special accommodations, please select "Yes” for “Special Accommodations” in the application and submit the following along with your completed application:

     • An original copy of a letter dated within the past five years and typed on official
       letterhead from a qualified physician or health care provider who specializes in the
       disability. This letter must document the disability and its severity, describe the
       applicant's limitation due to the disability and state exactly what accommodations are
       recommended. The letter must contain an original signature and the physician's or
       provider’s credentials.
     • An original copy of a comprehensive medical evaluation/report of the diagnosed
       disability from the physician or health care provider, dated within the past five years.
     • A completed ADA Special Accommodations Questionnaire, which must be submitted each
       time you apply for an examination.

For more information, visit Americans with Disabilities Act.


 Schedule an Examination

​The MSK examination is only offered during select periods of the year. See schedule below.


Application Dates for MSK ExaminationMSK Examination Administration Dates
​January 21, 2015 – March 24, 2015​April 21 - May 21, 2015
​July 22 - September 22, 2015​October 20 - November 19, 2015

Once your MSK application has been approved, an Examination Confirmation Letter (ECL) will be emailed to you to schedule an examination with Pearson VUE – ARDMS’ official testing vendor. The ECL will include your eligibility period based on the set administration dates and you are encouraged to schedule promptly to ensure availability.

If you have not done so already, visit Pearson VUE to:

     • Create a Pearson VUE account
     • Search for seat availability
     • Locate a test center
     • Schedule an examination
     • Contact Pearson VUE Customer Service

If you are taking the examination at an international test center (outside the U.S., Canada and Mexico), a $100 USD non-refundable fee and Value Added Tax (VAT) will be charged by Pearson VUE. All international scheduling fees and associated VAT will be charged at the time the examination is scheduled. The fees and associated VAT are subject to change without notice, and they are non-refundable.

 Reschedule an Examination

​To reschedule the date and time of your examination during your eligibility period, you must contact Pearson VUE (1-877-258-9220) at least 96 hours prior to the scheduled examination date and time.

Please note: This is a windowed examination. By canceling or rescheduling your examination, you will need to check the windowed schedule under “Schedule an Examination.”

 Cancel an Examination

​To cancel an examination appointment, you must contact Pearson VUE (1-877-258-9220) and cancel the scheduled appointment no later than 96 hours prior to the scheduled examination appointment time. You will receive a cancellation email from Pearson VUE.

To request a partial refund, you must wait 24 hours after canceling the appointment with Pearson VUE and then submit a cancellation/partial refund request no later than 96 hours prior to the last date of the eligibility period.

To submit this request:

  1. Log in to your MY ARDMS account
  2. Select "Exam Cancellation" from the "Exam Information" menu
  3. Complete and submit the form

We will refund your examination fee, less the $100 USD processing fee per examination, unless we receive your request too late, you never schedule your examination or you do not keep your scheduled examination appointment. Then, the entire examination and processing fees are forfeited.

Please note: This is a windowed examination. By canceling, rescheduling or extending your examination, you will need to check the windowed schedule under “Schedule an Examination.”

 Admission to Test Centers

​When you arrive at a test center, be prepared to:

     • Check in with a Test Center Administrator
     • Present one valid photo identification (ID); see the Test Center Identification

     • Provide a digital signature
     • Have your palm vein scanned
     • Take a test-day photograph

Note: The only thing that you can bring into the testing room is you. The test centers have lockers you can use to store personal belongings. Study materials as well as food and drink are prohibited in the test center. No visitors, guests, pets or children are allowed.

Important: Review ARDMS’ Examination Admission Compliance policies to ensure you are not refused admission at the test center and do not conduct unauthorized examination behavior.

Test centers will provide white boards for notes during the examination upon request.
If you need special accommodations, please select "Yes” for “Special Accommodations” in the application when you apply.


 ‭(Hidden)‬ About the MSK Practice Examination

​Taking a practice examination is a great way to prepare for your actual examination. We offer a MSK Practice Examination that simulates the computer interface used in the actual test center environment. The MSK practice examination review is comprised of 30 sample questions and is 30 minutes long.

After you complete a practice examination, you will be emailed a report that shows the number of questions you answered correctly. While the report is an indication of your knowledge, the practice tests results should not be used to predict how well you will perform on the actual examination at the test center.

 ‭(Hidden)‬ Register for an MSK Practice Examination

​Each practice examination costs $25 USD and requires payment via PayPal. If you do not have a PayPal account, you will be prompted to create one upon check out.

Visit Exam Studio’s Exam Store to register for a Musculoskeletal Sonography (MSK) Practice Examination and view the computer system requirements. Please direct questions or problems with the practice examination to Exam Studio by sending an e-mail to or call 1 (703) 434-3583.

You will need to fill out a registration form to get your username and password before you begin your practice examination. Before your session begins, you will be prompted to review the examination tutorial, which you may pause and start at any time. Once your session beings, you have 30 minutes to complete the practice examination.

Register for an MSK practice examination.

 Review the MSK Content Outline

​The MSK examination contains 200 questions that cover the following content areas. All percentages are an approximate distribution of the questions across the content areas.

MSK Content Outline (PDF - Printable Version)

General Sonographic Anatomy [26%]
General Sonographic Pathology [23%]
Ultrasound-guided INterventional Procedures [18%]
Integration of data [7%]
Physics and Instrumentation [26%]

In the Anatomic Area Representation below, the percentages represent the number of questions dedicated to each subdomain (Shoulder, Elbow, etc.) across the entire examination, but not necessarily under each domain.  That will vary.  For example, the 16% of questions devoted to the Shoulder across the exam may be dispersed at different percentages under each domain.

Shoulder [16%]
Elbow [8%]
Wrist and Hand [15%]
Hip [8%]
Knee [8%]
Ankle and Foot [15%]
Soft Tissue [5%]
General [25%]

Please note: All percentages are approximate.

Your score report will display and include performance feedback for these content areas.

 Review Our Tips for Examination Day Success

​After all of your diligent preparation and hours spent studying, here are a few valuable tips to help make your examination day a success:

     • Double check that you know where the test center is before examination day and give
       yourself plenty of time to get there. Remember, you MUST arrive and register at least 30
       minutes before the examination begins.
     • Get a good night's sleep before you take your examination. Being well rested and relaxed
       when you take your examination will help you concentrate.
     • Bring one form of current and valid identification that complies with the test center     
       identification requirements
     • Travel light. The only thing you can bring into the testing room is you. You can store your
       personal belongings — your car keys, watch, smartphone, purse, backpack, etc. — in
       lockers at the test center. The following items are not allowed in test centers: study
       materials, food, drink, visitors/guests, pets and children.
     • Request a white board if you plan to jot down notes during the examination. Test centers
       are using white boards (rather than paper) in an effort to "go green."

Good luck!

 Use study materials

​Even though we offer practice examinations and sample questions, we do not offer study materials for our examinations – but our sister organizations do. You can find materials at:

     • Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography
     • American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine
     • Society for Vascular Ultrasound
     • American Society of Echocardiography

 Learn about Advanced Item Type Preparation Questions

​The MSK examination features Advanced Item Types (AIT) questions, which assess and measure your practical sonography skills. They include hotspot questions in which you will receive questions about individual images. You will use the cursor to mark the correct answer directly on the image.

Watch ARDMS Presents: How to Answer a Hotspot Question.


 How is the MSK examination scored?

​The MSK examination evaluates the knowledge and skills you must demonstrate. The primary test result is a PASS or FAIL decision. In addition, you will receive a scaled score, ranging from 300 to 700. A scaled score of 555 is required to pass all ARDMS examinations.

The scaled score is not a percentage of correct answers, nor is it built on a "curve" where a certain percentage of scores would pass and a certain percentage would fail. To learn more, visit Notification of Results and Scoring.

 How do I get my MSK Score Report?

​Examination results and a full score report will be posted approximately two months (60 days) after the close of the examination window. Your examination results will then be posted to your secure MY ARDMS within a week after the 60 day period. The results of your examination are limited to the following:

     • Pass*
     • Fail
     • Cancelled – Candidate cancelled scheduled examination appointment time.
     • Absent – Candidate arrived late for a scheduled appointment, did not show up for a
       scheduled appointment or was denied at check-in due to a violation of a stated ARDMS
     • Expired – Candidate did not schedule or take the examination within the assigned
       eligibility period.

*Pass status is not indicative of earning the specialty/credential. To obtain a Status Verification letter please log into your MY ARDMS Account.

Candidates receiving a confirmed passing score on the MSK examination will be awarded a certification, effective the date the score is released. For more information, read Scoring Methods.

Candidates who do not pass are invited to re-apply.

 School Report

​When submitting your ARDMS application, you consent to us releasing your examination results to your educational program.

Program Directors can receive a School Report for current programs and programs completed in the past three years. To learn more, visit School Reports.

 Score Verification

​You can request a score verification for a $35 USD fee, payable by check, money order or credit card. Score verification ensures that the computer counted the correct and incorrect answers appropriately, but it does not review the questions and answers.

You must submit the completed Exam Score Verification Form within 30 days of having taken the examination in question. The Exam Score Verification Form will be returned if incomplete, unsigned or unpaid.

When deciding whether to have your score verified, please consider that ARDMS examinations are scored electronically with a high degree of accuracy, and it is unlikely that verification will alter your original score.


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​ARDMS examinations are constructed to assess the knowledge and skills involved in tasks performed by sonographers, vascular technologists and physicians.


Here you can see an average of the MSK examination pass rates for the past two years.


First-time takers: 92%
Overall: 90%


First-time takers: 97%
Overall: 97%