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Practical Exam FAQs

Who can take their Practical Exam?

The Practical exam is the final step in the process of gaining SVT accreditation as a clinical vascular scientist.

The following criteria must be met before applying to take the practical exam:

  • Must be an ordinary member of the SVT.
  • Be employed in the UK or Ireland to perform vascular diagnostic investigations.
  • Have a Science degree.
  • Have passed both theory exams within the last 5 years.
  • Have performed at least 600 scans in each of the first three core modalities and 200 ABPIs.
  • Have at least 3 years full time (or part time equivalent) diagnostic vascular scanning experience (in each modality).
  • Have carried out at least 25 scans from each of core modalities in the preceding 3 months prior to applying to sit the practical exam.
  • Must provide a reference from their current line manager, any previous line manager, internal examiner and a vascular surgeon.
  • Not have failed the practical exam in the last 6 months.

What happens during a Practical Exam?

The practical exam may be taken at any time of the year, is taken in the candidate’s place of work and is expected to last 3-5 hours. 

There will be two examiners (both current AVS).

  • one internal examiner appointed by the candidate (>1 year post-accreditation experience).
  • one external examiner appointed by the SVT (>3 years post-accreditation experience).

Two external examiners may be appointed if there is not a suitably qualified or experienced internal examiner.

How do I apply?

If you wish to apply for a practical exam please visit the apply for practical exam page

What happens if I fail?

There is no limit on the number of times a candidate may apply to resit the practical exam however it must be taken within 5 years of passing the theory exams and at least 6 months after a previously failed practical exam.

How do I prepare?

The best way to prepare for a practical exam is to get as much hands-on practice as you can so you feel confident on the day to perform the three scan modalities and deal with any issues/scan limitations that might arise on the day. It might be useful to review all the machine controls and their use, other imaging modalities that can be used for our vascular patients, and the advantages and disadvantages of these different modalities. Some find it particularly useful to perform mock assessments with their internal examiner in the lead up to sitting the practical exam to become familiar with the process.

What appointments should I book in?

You would need to book in 3 scans that will need to fit a set criteria:

1. Carotid & vertebral artery duplex scan:

  • The scan must be a diagnostic referral for a carotid/vertebral duplex investigation.

  • The patient must be >50yrs with appropriate carotid territory symptoms.

  • The patient must be a new referral with no previous carotid/vertebral duplex.

2. Lower limb arterial duplex scan:

  • The scan must be a diagnostic referral for a full-leg lower limb arterial duplex. If the referral is just for a limited duplex (e.g. femoro-popliteal duplex) then the referrers and patient’s approval must be sought to extend examination to full leg for purposes of the exam.

  • The patient must have suspected significant arterial disease. For the purposes of the examination this could include relevant symptoms with non-palpable pulses, monophasic signals on handheld Doppler, a resting ABPI ≤0.8 or a post-exercise ABPI of ≤0.6, which must be established prior to booking the patient for the exam.

  • The patient must be a new duplex referral with no previous lower limb arterial duplex.

3. Lower limb venous duplex patient:

  • The scan must be a diagnostic referral for a varicose vein duplex.

  • The patient must have significant visible varicosities.

  • The patient must be a new duplex referral with no previous lower limb venous duplex.

Top tip - it might be worth booking in two patients for each scan modality in case of DNA’s/last minute cancellations

How long should the appointments be?

It might be worth booking the appointments for much longer than you usually would (1 hour/1 hour and a half) to ensure you don’t rush and allows time for any questioning.

What if I’m nervous/anxious?

It is completely normal to feel nervous and anxious on the day. The internal and external examiners will allow for nerves, but just take a deep breath, take your time and just try and do what you usually do on a daily basis.

When will I hear if I have passed?

You should hear back from the practical exam team within 2 weeks following your exam. If there are any delays, you will be made aware of these.

What happens if I wish to challenge the outcome?

If you don’t agree with the outcome, it is possible to challenge this. You will need to contact the practical exam team via with your reason for this and these will be taken to the education committee meeting to be discussed.


If you have any queries regarding the practical exam, please contact