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
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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
6. The priority given to test applications
is based upon a number of factors:
- Receipt of completed application
- 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.
- Ice time availability.
- "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.
- 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
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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