|25. U.S.F.S.A. Preliminary Test
At this point you can, if you are so inclined, take the official United States Figure Skating Association preliminary test. You have all the technique necessary. Even if you don't live where accredited judges are available, it is well, as I said earlier, to get friends with sufficient knowledge to give you a judging onceover. In a sport as exacting as this, to meet a definite standard at the start is a real help.
The test consists of the four rolls, the waltz eight, and the outside and inside forward figure eights. It is not difficult to pass. Judges do not demand perfectly controlled edges at this stage of skating, but they will expect you to look as if you know what it's all about—that is, starts on the correct edge, no toe pushes, an approximation of accurate pattern, and in the three eights a definite ability to come back to the same starting point each time. On the waltz eight the three turns must not be scraped or jumped, a certain amount of symmetry is expected, and each stroke must come reasonably close to lasting the same amount of time and covering the same amount of ice. Skate ten rolls on each edge and three eight circles on each foot and each edge. The waltz pattern is repeated three times to each side. The repetition diagrams should trace the original one with moderate accuracy.
In judging the preliminary tests no marks are assigned to the rolls. The judges merely write "pass" or "fail" according to the accuracy of these steps. If a roll is judged a failure the test automatically stops right there; if all the rolls pass the eights come next.
Each eight is assigned a mark from 1 to 6. The mark 1 designates a very badly skated eight, 2 equals faulty, 3 means passing, 4 equals good, 5 is excellent, and 6 perfect (hence, 6 is seldom if ever given). One-tenth marks in decimal points can and should be used to designate further intermediary values, for instance: 2.8, 3.5, 4.2, etc.
Each school figure has also acquired a factor of difficulty over the years. The factor ranges from 1 for the most elementary figures to 5 for the most difficult figures in the Gold Medal category. The mark assigned a figure in a test must be multiplied by the factor for that particular figure. As the factor for the preliminary test figures is obviously 1, merely add the total of marks given the three eights. If they total 10.2, you pass, provided no figure gets below 3.0.
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