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General Information About Figure Skating

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What is Testing?

The United States Figure Skating Association (USFSA) defines the testing system as the “backbone of figure skating” which allows a skater to progress through a logical sequence of steps in their competitive development. The tests create a national bench-marking structure for competitive, and later professional, purposes. All USFS sanctioned competitions group skaters according to the level of the highest test the skater has passed. This allows skaters of similar abilities to compete against each other. Generally, there are two types of testing in USFS: “Learn To Skate USA” or “Basic Skills” tests and “Judged” tests.

Learn to Skate (LTS) or Basic Skills Testing: Takes place within the LTS to basic skills program and is used to advance skaters from level to level. The tests typically take place in from of the skater’s instructors and is pretty informal. Passage through the Learn to Skate program is not required unless a skater wants to compete in a Basic Skills event or more entry-level competition.

Judged Testing: A much more formal test structure designed for skaters who have advanced past the basics. These tests are judged by USFS appointed judges at formal “test sessions”. The results are forwarded to USFS which keeps them as an official record of accomplishment for each skater. There are five skating test disciplines:

  • Moves in the Field

  • Free Skate

  • Pattern Ice Dance or Solo Pattern Ice Dance

  • Free Dance or Solo Free Dance

  • Pairs

In each discipline there are many levels of achievement. For more information, see the USFS Test Requirements or contact your primary coach. Please note: a skater’s age has no determination on their skating level, only the demonstration of their proficiency through the the tests. In addition, for competitive purposes there are some age requirements placed upon skaters at certain levels. See the USFS Competitive Qualification Requirements for more information.