To all my students, I apologize for not being able to make our last class of our Learn to Skate session next weekend and I'm also sorry that I missed this past weekend's class. I was away at my skating competition in Darien, CT and will be away again at the National History Bowl competition in Arlington, VA next weekend. I will certainly be thinking of you and sending my good luck wishes your way as you prepare and take your final skating test.
US Figure Skating offers two types of tests - Learn to Skate and Moves in the Field and Freestyle/Dance judged tests. Many of my introductory students are enrolled in the basic skills group classes and it’s the program where many new skaters start so the test to be taken will be the Learn to Skate basic skills test. These tests are conducted informally in front of the instructor during class time and there is no official US Figure Skating appointed judge panel. The test fees are included in your group instruction program costs. At the end of each seven-week session, skaters take an on-ice test and are evaluated on the skills required for that level and if the skater demonstrates mastery of the skills and requirements are all met then they will progress to the next advanced skill level. Taking these tests are also a good way to continually challenge your skills and abilities. Each skater will receive a certificate and badge to honor the student's achievement. I've provided a test day checklist of some important things to remember to help you and your child better prepare. I am confident that all my students will skate great and successfully pass their tests because you all have consistently been practicing hard and are well prepared for your test. You all have come a long way since stepping and gliding and learning to fall and should be so proud of your accomplishments.
Test Day Checklist
1) Arrive to class early so you're not rushed getting skates on and have plenty of time to stretch and get ready
2) Don't forget to bring your skates along with your soakers and guards
3) Stay warm and wear gloves and sweater/jacket
4) Wear appropriate skating clothes (pls see my 11/5 and 11/12 posts)
5) Bring water bottle because your mouth may get dry especially if nervous
6) Relax and stay confident...remind yourself you are well-prepared and will skate great!
Contrary to the Learn to Skate basic skills tests, the Moves in the Field and Freestyle/Dance judged tests are official structured tests referred to as the ‘backbone of US Figure Skating’. These tests are beyond the Learn to Skate basic skills tests and are the most important tests in figure skating because it is the national standard that skaters are measured against. In order to skate competitively, skaters must participate in the US Figure Skating test structure so they can compete in qualifying competitions. These official tests are conducted outside of the practice sessions at a special scheduled date and time and there are testing fees which must be paid to the skating club hosting the test session. There are 5 tracks of tests offered - Moves in the Field, Free Skate, Pattern Dance, Free Dance and Pairs (https://www.usfsa.org/content/AllAboutTests.pdf) . Each test you take will be recorded and saved in your permanent US Figure Skating records. A skater can not take a higher level test until he/she has passed all the preceding tests in that test category. The US Figure Skating test structure can be compared to my girl scout program where each girl advances through levels beginning as a Brownie all the way through Senior and ultimately strive to attain the Gold Award. In skating, there are 6-8 test levels and one strives to achieve and pass the Senior Moves in the Field/Free Skate and/or Gold dance levels. I have already attained my Senior Moves in the Field test, earning the title ‘US Figure Skating Gold Medalist’, and currently I am at the Novice Free Skate and Pre Gold Dance levels. My goal is to strive for triple gold medalist and I know this will not be easy and require much perseverance and dedication. Like all of you, I too, have to work hard and practice, practice, practice. Remember, it's 'perfect practice that makes perfect!' (12/17/17 post).