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Ultrasound Student Assessment (USA) Program

USA Program Overview

The Description
The Ultrasound Student Assessment (USA) Program is a true aptitude test. An aptitude test is defined as a tool to assess if a person has the specific skills necessary to perform in a particular field. The USA program resulted from a more than ten year longitudinal study to solve the high attrition rates that often exist in ultrasound programs. The purpose of the USA program is to help determine if a candidate is more or less likely to be successful in ultrasound. In essence, accepting candidates for ultrasound programs who are not well suited is costly both for the school and for the student. Of course, no test is or can be perfect, so the test results are intended not to provide a pure cut point, but rather information that, taken together with other student data, helps an ultrasound program make a more informed decision.

The Difference
Most students are familiar with achievement-based tests, for which studying improves performance. Studying for a true aptitude test is not possible. Why is it not possible to study for this exam? This program primarily assesses topics that are not “taught” such as your hand-eye coordination, your ability to remain focused, your ability to see patterns in data, and reasoning. Unlike tests on mathematical formulas or mathematical conversions, you simply cannot study for the content of this test.

The Decision
So relax and do the best you can. Try not to think of this test only from the perspective of you “getting into a program” but rather from the perspective of whether it makes sense for you to commit your future to the field of ultrasound.

USA Exam Information

Number of Items:
The exam consists of between 65 and 70 questions. The number of the question and the remaining number of questions is indicated in the upper right hand corner of the test window.

Time Allotted:
This exam is not intended to be time intensive. There is no time limit for the exam. Most students complete the exam in approximately 2.5 hours – but some complete the exam more quickly, and some utilize more time. Remember that question types will vary through the exam, and that not all questions will require the same amount of time to complete.

Information Section before Exam Starts:
A series of informational questions is asked before the actual exam begins. These questions are intended to gather information about you as a student, but more importantly, to make sure that the test is configured appropriately for you (such as which hand you prefer to use to control your mouse). Additionally, you will be asked for your high school (and college if applicable) Grade Point Average (GPA) and class rank. You should look this up before the exam date. If your school did not publish a GPA of a rank, you can enter Not Applicable (NA).

Required Setup for Proctored Exams:
For proctored exams you should make sure of the following well before the exam start time:
  • A computer with a screen resolution minimum of 1100 by 860
  • Power to your computer or laptop (running from battery is not recommended)
  • Reliable internet connection
  • A well-functioning mouse and a mouse pad (not a laptop trackpad or other mouse substitute)
  • A functioning video camera
  • A quiet room in which to take the test

Some Rules for a Proctored Exam:
A list of the rules will be given at the time of the exam. Below is a partial list of the rules so that you can be prepared:
  • You are not allowed to speak to anyone during the exam (with the exception of the exam proctor).
  • You are not allowed to leave the computer or take any breaks during the exam. Be sure to use the bathroom before the exam starts.
  • You are not allowed to open any computer applications or browser windows except the proctoring window and the actual exam window throughout the entirety of the exam.
  • You are not allowed to use your phone, the internet, or any other electronic device during your exam.
  • Once you complete a question and move on to the next question, you will not be able to return that the previous question.
  • You are allowed to drink during the exam (water is highly recommended).
  • You are allowed to use a pencil or pen and up to three pages of clean scrap paper during the exam. You will need to number each side of the paper and show the proctor the pages before the exam starts. At the conclusion, you must destroy the pages while the proctor is watching.
  • Attempting to screen capture any pages of the test will be detected and lead to an immediate failure and a direct indication on your score report.