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SRFSC Member Information

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Testing

The United States Figure Skating Association (USFSA) specifies a testing system that qualifies skaters to compete at various levels. Tests are a requirement for competition; skaters pass certain tests to be eligible for particular events. (This helps to sustain a fair level of competition among skaters in a group.)

However, the testing system may also be used by skaters who do not compete, as a means of measuring personal progress. The tests consist of required elements that a skater must perform before a panel of judges. In testing, skaters' skills are judged against a clearly outlined standard, rather than against the performance of other skaters. Because of this, skaters find passing a test to be a positive confirmation of the skills they have attained, and most skaters feel real satisfaction as they progress to more and more advanced test levels.

A skater must be a member of the Santa Rosa Figure Skating Club or some other USFSA club in order to take these tests. Our Club has a test chair who is responsible for setting up and running test sessions. Depending on the test level, skaters perform in front of a single USFSA judge (for lower tests) or a panel of three USFSA judges. Judges mark each test as either "pass" or "retry." For a test to pass, the single lower-test judge, or two judges out of the panel of three, must mark the test as passing. If the majority of the judges mark the test as a retry, the skater may take the test again after twenty-eight days. Most tests will be taken during Club ice time to allow the skater to perform the test alone on the ice. However, lower-level tests may be skated during a freestyle session or along with one to two other testers during Club ice.

A skater's pro (coach) will suggest when the skater is ready to test and will give him or her an application form. The application form must be completed and returned with the appropriate fees to the test chair by the required deadline. The following is a brief summary of testing information; however, the USFSA Rulebook (updated annually) should be consulted for the most accurate and current information on tests.

TEST CATEGORIES

Moves in the Field
Moves in the field require footwork in patterns around the ice surface that involve turns and edges used in figures, freestyle, pairs, and ice dance. These tests are performed in silence, rather than to music. The first level, the Pre-Preliminary test, is followed by Preliminary, Pre-Juvenile, Juvenile, Intermediate, Novice, Junior, and Senior/Gold for a total of eight different test levels. (Adult moves in the field test levels are Pre-Bronze, Bronze, Silver, and Gold, although adults may additionally choose to participate in the eight standard tests.) Each test has several required moves in the field patterns that focus on power, edge quality, quickness, and/or extension. Once all patterns are performed, the judges may ask a skater to perform one of the patterns a second time (that is, if an error was made, but the remainder of the test was passing).

Freestyle
Freestyle elements such as jumps, spins, footwork, and connecting steps including moves in the field are required for freestyle tests. No music is used for the Pre-Preliminary level. Programs choreographed to music with specified elements are required for the following tests: Preliminary, Pre-Juvenile, Juvenile, Intermediate, Novice, Junior, and Senior/Gold. (Adult freestyle testing levels are Pre-Bronze, Bronze, Silver, and Gold, although adults may additionally choose to participate in the eight standard tests.) In order to qualify to take a freestyle test, the skater must first pass the moves in the field test at the corresponding level. A skater may be asked to demonstrate competency in up to two missed elements at the completion of a freestyle program. This decision will be made by the judge(s) only if the remainder of the test was passing.

Pairs
Pair skaters are judged for degree of unison as well as for completion of skating elements. Pair test levels are Preliminary, Juvenile, Intermediate, Novice, Junior, and Senior/Gold. All tests are performed to music, except the Preliminary test, for which music is optional. 

Ice Dancing
Ice dancing is the interpretation of flowing steps to music with a focus on rhythm, expression, and technique. Compulsory dances involve a specified pattern performed to pre-selected music, and free dance requires individualized choreography of specified elements to music chosen by the skater. The dances can be taken either Standard (with a partner) or Solo-Track (without a partner). The testing levels are Preliminary, Pre-Bronze, Bronze, Pre-Silver, Silver, Pre-Gold, Gold, and International. There are also Adult and Masters levels.

WHAT TO WEAR FOR TESTING
You should be neat and clean when taking any test. Skating apparel for tests should normally be modest, with simple, clean lines. Girls and women should wear skating dresses or skirts with unblemished tights. Boys and men should have pant pockets stitched so that they do not gape open. Wearing a competition outfit, if available, is often a good idea. The same outfit can be used for all varieties of tests. Boots should be polished or recently taped, and laces should be new or at least clean. Hair should be neat and off the face. Makeup should be kept to a minimum. You do not need to have a special or decorated outfit made for testing if you have a nice-looking practice outfit.

MISCELLANEOUS
As mentioned above, detailed rules for all tests are described in the official USFSA Rulebook, which is updated each year. If you want a copy of the Rulebook, you may order one from an officer of the SRFSC or order online at www.usfsa.org. The SRFSC gives each skater the appropriate USFSA patch after the completion of each test, and medals may be purchased from the test chair, in addition. The highest medal is a Gold Medal in each category; this is available when you pass your Senior/Gold freestyle test in each discipline.

TEST APPLICATION INFORMATION

1. To be officially scheduled for a test session, you must:
Complete the Test Application and submit it with the appropriate fee prior to the deadline to:

SRFSC Test Chair
1667 West Steele Lane
Santa Rosa, CA 95403

2. Important Note: Applications must be received by the deadline date. This allows the test chair enough time to schedule the judges needed for the levels being tested.

3. A tentative schedule of skaters testing will be posted in the Pros' Room approximately one week after the deadline. Those who have indicated interest in testing but have not submitted applications will be highlighted. Coaches will be requested to verify the skaters on the list and obtain any missing applications.

4. The test chairperson must be notified of any withdrawals from the test session at least seven days prior to the test date. NO REFUNDS OR CREDITS will be given after this time.

5. If the SRFSC is not your home club, you must attach a letter of permission from your home club test chairperson to your application.

6. The priority given to test applications is based upon a number of factors:

  1.  Receipt of completed application and payment.
  2.  Availability of judges: All judges are not the same; they must qualify to test specific levels. We request judges based on our testing-level requirements for a particular test session. Some tests require a panel of three judges of a specific level, and because other clubs use these same judges for tests and competitions, enough judges may or may not be available for a particular test session. It may take several weeks to determine who is and who is not available.
  3.  Ice time availability.
  4. "Higher level" skaters are given priority at specific times of the year, when they are preparing for a qualifying competition and must have testing completed by a deadline established by the USFSA. IF YOU HAVE SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES (e.g. you need to test in order to qualify for the Centrals competition), PLEASE NOTE THIS ON YOUR APPLICATION so the test chair can take your situation into consideration.
  5. SRFSC members will be given priority over non-Club members if there is not enough ice time available for all applicants on a particular test date.

7. The official skating schedule will be posted approximately three days prior to the test date.

8.  Refunds: As stated above, the test chair should be notified, preferably in writing, at least one week prior to the test date of any withdrawals. No refunds or credits will be given after that time unless a doctor's certificate accompanies the refund request. If the Club must reschedule a test session because of lack of ice time or unavailability of the required judges, we will transfer the applicant's fees to the next available test session.

ADDITIONAL TEST-RELATED INFORMATION
Skaters should arrive at the arena at least forty-five minutes to one hour prior to their test or assigned warm-up session, as occasionally the order of tests may need to be changed.

If a test is not passed, a skater must wait at least twenty-eight days before retaking the test. Skaters must reapply for the next available test session if they wish to participate in it. They will not be automatically entered on the next session.

Judges frequently include comments on individual test sheets that the skater, pro, and parents may find valuable. Please note that test results may be reviewed by the parent at rink side only. If test papers are removed from the rink side, the test will have to be retaken.

FOR DANCE TESTS ONLY
Skaters should arrange for a partner if they are not doing a "solo" dance.

Skaters should arrive at the beginning of the testing session for warm-up, so that each skater's music can be played and a run-through conducted with his or her partner.

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updated 10/20/2003