Learn about Ice Skating Tests: A low down for Newbies

Once skaters of any age have graduated from the British Ice Skating SkateUK pathway, it’s time to take a first step on the National Test ladder. You may have questions, so our experts are here to get you answers about Ice Skating Tests!

New types of Ice Skating Tests

British Ice Skating has introduced competitive tests. In these Ice Skating Tests, Skaters can compete with their routine and then claim a test pass retrospectively if they get enough points for a test score in Open competition.

Traditional Ice Skating Tests

For many, many years Ice Skating Tests were conducted with just one skater on the ice at a time under the scrutiny of registered Judges.

While skaters can choose the new competitive format or the traditional test format for their routines, there’s only one type of Traditional format Ice Skating Test that is unavoidable for all disciplines. Skills. The basic skating skills that build to make all important linking moves in a skating routine.

If you are getting good enough at your Skills, no doubt your Coach will have talked to you about Ice Skating Tests and rehearsed you thoroughly on your exercises. They will likely have given you some information about how Ice Skating Test days are run. Here’s some things you may know already, and some things you may not.

How Tests are Organised in the UK

You’re ready! – Once your skills are “test ready” and consistent, your Coach will suggest you apply to take your test. To apply for an Ice Skating Test you will need:

  • Your Completed SkateUK Passport
  • Membership of British Ice Skating
  • A Test Application Form Signed by your Coach & uploaded to British Ice Skating members online portal
  • Your Test Fee

When your Regional Ice Skating Test Organiser has enough skaters needing tests, a test day will be arranged. So once your application is in its time to add extra focus on your rehearsal.

More about Ice Skating Tests: Test Day

On test day, the ice rink will be closed for ordinary skating until all the tests are completed. You will be organised into warm up groups in ascending levels of skill. Beginners first and more advanced tests later.

Unlike competitions, skaters are not judged against one another, but against a standard of skill quality which the judges have been trained to assess. You will get to rehearse one last time in your warm up to prepare and then it’s time to wait your turn. Skaters run through their test skills for the judge or judges (2 judges for higher level tests). When it is your turn you will be on the ice alone to skate through your test.

About Ice Skating Test Day: Etiquette

Shh! – Keep your voice down when waiting for your warm up/turn. The quiet atmosphere is to allow the testing skater to concentrate and also the judges. 

Forbidden! – No photos or videos of the tests in action, yours or anyone else’s (BIS regulation)

Be early – be ready to skate at least 30 minutes before your scheduled time and keep an eye on how the test order is progressing. Re-skates can slow test schedules down, but a few quick, clean passes can soon make that time up again. The Test Organiser will post the skating order (often on a wall) at the rink. It helps if you know some of the skaters, but if in doubt, ask where the schedule is up to.

Not everyone knows this about Ice Skating Tests

Once your test begins talking to your coach (or anyone else) is not allowed until your test is over unless you get a re-skate. For example, if you forget the order of your Skills you would have to speak to the judge and they would prompt you to remind you what comes next.

What is a re-skate?

If you have completed your skills and your points need a little nudge to get you enough to pass, the judge can ask you to skate a skill again and do it better. The judge will tell you which skill they want to see again and the improvement they hope you will deliver in your re-skate.

If you get a re-skate – you will have a chance to go over the correction with your coach before you try your skill again. It’s worth knowing that for Skills a judge can award up to 2 re-skates, but they have to be for different exercises. So for example, if your first re-skate didn’t go so well, the judge cannot allow you to re-skate the same exercise again.

How will I know if I pass my test?

Shake on it! – It is customary in UK upon a skater passing their test for the judge(s) to shake the skater by the hand. This is in part to signal to the spectators that you’ve passed. You’ll usually get a modest round of applause from spectators when they see the magic hand shake. Occasionally the judge may be enthused about a technical point and want to give you some feedback and forget to shake your hand. That’s mostly just confusing for the audience.

You will also receive a slip of paper telling you the points you scored and whether you passed or need to try again another day.

Look sharp: Best drip for Test Day

Dress tidy. There used to be very conservative expectations for ice skating test attire; plain black skating dress for girls/ladies and black skating trousers and top for boys/gents and zero decoration. These days bright colours and bling aren’t frowned upon, but the body outline must be clean with well fitted sleeves/top/trousers. This is to reflect that you are taking part in a sport activity where body lines are important. It’s a good idea to make sure hair is tidy too.

Chilly Atmosphere: not just the temperature

Do you hear anything?

Get ready to hear a pin drop – During your Skills or Elements test be ready for the extreme quiet. While some background music is now allowed, this is a new development and Judges still prefer to hear the skaters.

You’ll hear your blade noises more than ever before! It’s a good idea to have skated on a “quiet” session before the big day if your rink usually has loud music playing. That way a quieter rink won’t be too unsettling and you can even work with your coach on getting blade noise down, especially those pesky toe pick scrapes!

The quiet can also extend to while you’re skating a Free Programme, as spectators will feel obliged to maintain the hushed atmosphere. If you’re used to getting applause for your jumps/spins, this phenomenon can feel odd. But don’t worry, people aren’t being rude and ignoring you, everything is fine.

Re-skate Psychology – think positive to nail your test.

If you’ve been awarded a re-skate, you are close to a passing score. The judge wants to give you a chance to nail your correction. See it for what it is, an opportunity to pass!

Ice Skating Test Judges aren’t scary; they are volunteers!

Judges are experts who volunteer. They know a great deal (super-understatement) about ice skating and have given their time to come to the test session. They will have had an early start just like you and their commitment deserves respect. You and they have something in common, you both love Ice Skating. Surely that makes them a little less scary.

What if I fail my Ice Skating Test?

A hug can help if we experience disappointment on test day

Got a “Re-Take”? Try again – it’s not the end of the world. If by the end of your test the judge feels there are some skills that you need to be better at before you pass, they have a good reason. Many skills in ice skating are built on the foundation of other skills. Some elements in ice skating can even be dangerous to try before we have learned enough control or consistent technique. It could also just have been nerves that kept you from skating your best. Even that is a sign that you may need a bit more time with those skills to feel completely on your “A” game when the pressure is on.

Good Luck if you’re taking a test soon!

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