Objectives To analyze how well untrained examiners - without experience in the use of International Ovarian Tumor Analysis (IOTA) terminology or simple ultrasound-based rules (simple rules) - are able to apply IOTA terminology and simple rules and to assess the level of agreement between non-experts and an expert. Methods This prospective multicenter cohort study enrolled women with ovarian masses. Ultrasound was performed by non-expert examiners and an expert. Ultrasound features were recorded using IOTA nomenclature, and used for classifying the mass by simple rules. Interobserver agreement was evaluated with Fleiss' kappa and percentage agreement between observers. Results 50 consecutive women were included. We observed 46 discrepancies in the description of ovarian masses when non-experts utilized IOTA terminology. Tumor type was misclassified often (n = 22), resulting in poor interobserver agreement between the non-experts and the expert (kappa = 0.39, 95 %-CI 0.244 - 0.529, percentage of agreement = 52.0 %). Misinterpretation of simple rules by non-experts was observed 57 times, resulting in an erroneous diagnosis in 15 patients (30 %). The agreement for classifying the mass as benign, malignant or inconclusive by simple rules was only moderate between the non-experts and the expert (kappa = 0.50, 95 %-CI 0.300 - 0.704, percentage of agreement = 70.0 %). The level of agreement for all 10 simple rules features varied greatly (kappa index range: -0.08 - 0.74, percentage of agreement 66 - 94 %). Conclusion Although simple rules are useful to distinguish benign from malignant adnexal masses, they are not that simple for untrained examiners. Training with both IOTA terminology and simple rules is necessary before simple rules can be introduced into guidelines and daily clinical practice.