What is your Pass Rate?
When interested in purchasing the Visual Veggies Software study guide programs, students and college faculty regularly ask us one common question: What is your pass rate? This may appear to be a very easy question to answer, but in reality, it’s a lot more complex. There are many variables necessary to account for, which I will discuss below.
But first, to save you some time reading through the article, when you really only want to know our pass rate, here you go. As of September 4, 2019, our pass rate is 85.4%.
Did you already take your exam? If so, please help us with our data by completing the following short survey: Post-Exam Survey
How does this compare to the national average?
The Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) and Pearson Vue post results twice a year (first half of the year and second half of the year). According to the 1/1/19 to 6/30/19 data, the overall first time national pass rate for the:
- RD Exam is 70.0%
- DTR Exam is 66.1%
The links below will take you to the CDR website to review the current statistics. The percentages above are the cumulative first time pass rates. You can drill down further within the documents to see the rates per student pathway and number of attempts.
Variables affecting a study guide company’s actual pass rate
As mentioned earlier, there are many variables which will affect a study guide’s pass rate. Below is a discussion of some top of mind variables:
- Did all students report their pass/fail statistics? While this one is very important for a true pass rate, it simply isn’t feasible. It would be next to impossible to hear back from each and every student. Think about any time you used a product and the manufacturer requested your opinion. How many times do you actually partake in providing feedback? Response rates are close to 10% or lower.
- Did the student use multiple study guides? Quite often, the answer is “yes”. The majority students taking the RD Exam or DTR Exam will use at least two study guides. So which one was most helpful?
- Did the student take their exam once with another study guide, failed the exam, then used another study guide and passed? If so, does this count as a first-time pass for the second company? Yes, but it’s not the student’s overall first-time pass on the exam, so this should not be counted in the pass rate.
- How long did the student use the study guide? We have students who purchase the software and then take their exams within a week or two. This is not an adequate amount of time.
For a true pass rate, this needs to be obtained in a controlled setting where only the one study guide is being utilized for preparation, the company needs to hear back from each and every user, and ample amount of time is necessary for studying. See how difficult it is to get a true pass rate?
What to ask study guide companies who boast a pass rate
When shopping around for the right study guide for you, and you see the company is listing their pass rate, ask them the following questions:
- Is this based on students’ first test attempts, or have they taken the test more than once?
- Do students only use your study guide when reporting your pass rate, or do they use a combination of study guides?
- How many total users do you have, and how many of them do you hear back from after taking their exams?
- How did you come up with your pass rate?
Final thoughts on pass rate
At the time of writing this post, Visual Veggies Software has been around for almost 15 years, since January 2005. We’ve tried multiple advertisement methods, such as print ads, social media ads, and promotions. Each of these methods were a waste with a poor return on investment. It was only recently in 2017 when we started advertising on Google as a search ad, and this was just to try something different. Where I am going with this point is that we hardly advertise. The monthly Google ad word budget is quite low and runs out quickly. Over 90% of our business comes from word-of-mouth advertising. Students use the software. They like it and pass their exams. They tell their friends and students, who then become customers.
Previously, we’ve been asking students if they would like to be contacted after their exams to see how things went. Students need to opt into this feature when setting up their profile within the software. We send hundreds of emails to students following their exams and would ask them to reply to our questions in the email. This may not have captured all the data we were interested in since students would most often say “I passed” and provide little additional detail. More recently, we developed the Post-Exam Survey, which will better help us report more accurate statistics. If you’ve already taken your exam and have used the software, please take a moment to complete the short survey. Your responses will help us greatly.
Let me end this article with the notion that I dislike pass rate statistics. I feel they are not reflective of the actual usefulness of the product. Plus, when asked the simple question, there are usually no follow up questions to learn more about the pass rate. It’s a simple, “what is your pass rate?”, followed by “thank you, that is all”. But, all in all, students and college faculty do want to know a study guide’s pass rate, so to conform with the very common request, we will be keeping a closer watch on pass/fail statistics and reporting them more regularly on this page.