So I did it. I passed the RD exam.
You're probably too stressed to hear about my happiness, so I'll jump right into the whole process.
My route is likely a little different than yours, because I completed my dietetic internship during my undergrad at The University of Alabama in the Coordinated Program of Dietetics. After I graduated with my BS in early May, I waited nervously for the paperwork to clear through CDR. Pearson emailed me about 2-3 weeks after graduation saying I was authorized to take the RD exam. Exciting, but also terrifying.
I recommend scheduling your exam as soon as possible, because the testing centers book up quickly. It's not just future dietitians taking exams - there are nurses, teachers, etc. all in the same room taking the biggest tests of their lives. I was in the San Francisco area for the summer and the centers were pretty full, so I booked my exam date later than I planned - the first week of July.
After I paid for the exam, reality set in. Now I actually had to study.
Here's what I used:
MY thoughts on Jean Inman's Review:
This is the main resource I used to study for the exam. It's extremely expensive, so if you can buy it off an older friend or mentor, I'd definitely recommend that. I justified my purchase by telling myself it would be cheaper to invest one time, instead of taking the $200 exam over and over if I failed. My strategy was to listen to the recorded lectures while reading the binder.
Warning: Her voice is hard to listen to. To the point where you'll start to hate yourself for choosing this career path. (Maybe that's just me, but I really don't think so.)
I tried to tackle Inman a domain at a time. Sometimes half of a domain per day if I was struggling to focus. I started out making flashcards of topics I did not know, but it was super time-consuming to do that while listening to the lectures. I ended up making notes in the binder of details that weren't written and starred the bullet points when she said, "Note" (which happens often). After I reviewed everything, I started taking the practice exams 145 questions at a time to get ready for the real thing. I honestly did poorly on the practice exams (as in 65% was good), but enjoyed them as a break from the lectures.
The takeaway: Would recommend to a friend
- The recorded lectures made me feel like I was being productive when I was lacking motivation
- Tons of information and lots of practice questions
- Not detailed (and yet, too detailed?? you'll understand if you buy it)
- The practice exams didn't explain the answers
- The recorded lectures were painful
Tip: when checking out on the website, there are two options: one for her in-person course and one for the binder/lecture. The the binder/lecture option looks like this at checkout:
My Thoughts on the Pocket Prep App:
I loved this app. It cost $15, but it was worth it for me for a few reasons:
- It tracks your progress and shows you what topics need the most work.
- You can custom build exams based on what you need to work on.
- The questions were very different from Inman, so I felt like I was learning more.
- It makes it easy to test on-the-go.
- After a while, I got used to the questions and started memorizing the answers instead of fully understanding the concepts.
- App can be slow/crash at times
The Takeaway: Not completely necessary, but would recommend to spice up the study process
My Thoughts on the RD Exam Practice Question Book:
It was draining (mentally and monetarily) to keep spending money on study materials, so I bought the cheaper Kindle version of this book and downloaded it on my Mac. My classmates who passed the exam before me recommended it, so I knew it'd be worth it.
The Takeaway: would totally recommend to a friend
- The book explains the answers, which is really helpful for developing your test-taking strategy for the exam.
- Contains unique questions from the Inman Review and Pocket Prep App, which helped me feel more prepared
- I'm more of a paper book person, but honestly didn't have any cons based on the price
my study strategy (a summary):
- Reviewed the domains while listening to the lecture
- Wrote down things I didn't know and questions/answers that I missed on practice exams
- Took breaks (as in 3 days off if I needed it) - your mind needs to rest and refresh
- Focused extra hard on topics that I didn't feel confident about in the days leading up to the exam
the actual test
I took my test in the heart of San Francisco, so I walked there from BART (got lost, it's fine). I actually got to Pearson early and they don't allow studying in the building, so I opted to take the test early instead of panicking for another 45 minutes. It's pretty high security - they'll pat you down, check your ID, lock up your belongings, and scan your fingers a few times.
My test shut off at 125 questions exactly, and I was convinced that I failed. So much for the test confidence I usually have. You'll take a short survey from CDR that feels so evil and long, and then you'll see your results on the computer. At my test center, I had to raise my hand and be escorted out by a Pearson employee. You'll get a printed version of your results when you leave as well. I was in total shock after passing and walked/skipped for an hour around the city calling everyone I love to tell them the news.
You can do this.
Contact me with any questions, if you just need a hype speech, or if you just want to rant about the process. I got you.
Jordan Mitchell, RD is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.