Introducing RD Exam Study Suite & DTR Exam Study Suite!
Over the past 3 months, we’ve taken the original Practice Exam software and completely revised, updated, improved, and bulked it up! The RD Practice Exam program is now part of the RD Exam Study Suite, and the DTR Practice Exam program is now part of the DTR Exam Study Suite. This is a major update to the software with so many changes and improvements!
I like to call this update a “student request” update, since many of the new and improved features were suggested by you, the students who’ve used the Practice Exam program. Throughout the past few years, I’ve received many feature suggestions from students on how to improve the current Practice Exam. These suggestions do not go unheard. They get written down and placed by my computer as potential software updates.
Before you ask…
I am adding this mention at the top of the article, so it does not get lost below all of the features.
Q: I have the RD Practice Exam version 6 or the DTR Practice Exam version 4. Do I need to purchase the new Study Suite program?
A: Maybe. Up until March 31, 2017, you can upgrade your version 6 RD software to the new version 7 or your version 4 DTR to the new version 5 for free. After this date, those who want to upgrade to the Study Suite version will need to purchase a new license. The offer to upgrade for free is for 6 months from the date of the initial launch of Study Suite which was in October 2016.
Need help on how to update your program? Watch this short video: How to Update Your Visual Veggies Software Application
Now let’s dig into the updates!
The New & Improved Features in the Study Suite Series
- Updated for 2017: The software is now in line with the 2017 CDR testing guidelines
- New look: New Home Screen with a fresh new look and panels for easy navigation: At the time of the Study Suite’s initial launch, the panels include:
- Practice Exams: The practice exams from the original Practice Exam software where the question sets are broken up between the different main domains as well as their subcategories, Full and Short Random tests, Redemption questions to retake questions answered incorrectly, plus more new features outlined below
- Whiteboard Video Tutorials: A new feature to watch short videos on various calculations and other topics
- My Exam Readiness Plant Status: More will be discussed on this panel below
- View Your Progress: Similar feature from the original Practice Exam software, except a much improved Strengths and Weaknesses chart plus new charts to show more data. The Practice Test Analysis tab (formerly Progress Tracker) also has some new and improved features!
- Try Out Demo Software of our Other Titles: Free trial of the Hanging with Nutrition app and RD Now Flash Cards app
- Manage Update Subscriptions: New to the Study Suite series is the use of update subscriptions. With a new purchase of the Study Suite, you will receive 3 months of free updates. The software may still be used indefinitely after the update subscription expires, but you will not be able to receive any future updates until a new update subscription is purchased. For those users who purchased the software as the Practice Exam (version 6 of the RD Practice Exam and version 4 of the DTR Practice Exam), they may upgrade their software for free to the new Study Suite, but will receive no future software updates unless an update subscription package is purchased. This differs from our past policy on upgrades to the next major version where students had to purchase the new program even if they just purchased the previous version the day before the launch of the new major version
- Brand new app icon
- New Exam Readiness Plant: This is a feature I have been imagining for the software for several years. The Exam Readiness Plant is used as a metaphor to illustrate the student’s progress through the software. The Study Suite program will store various bits of data as the student progresses through. As these tasks are met, the plant will grow. The idea is that the Exam Readiness Plant offers the suggestion to the student when they are ready to sit for their registration exam. Of course, only the student knows when he or she is ready to take the actual exam, so the plant should not be used as a definitive determining factor, only as a metaphorical suggestion. The best part is that even for those students upgrading from the Practice Exam software, many of the bits of data will transfer over, so you don’t have to start from square one when you’ve already put in much time and effort into the software!
- New Whiteboard Video Tutorials: Another new and exciting feature for the software! This one was actually suggested by my wife, and I must say, it is a very worthwhile addition to the new Study Suite! At the time of launch, there are almost 20 videos in the RD Exam Study Suite, and over a dozen videos in the DTR Exam Study Suite. The videos will cover several calculations and other topics to cover for the registration exams. More videos will be coming with future updates to the software
- Select an exam date: Can now choose your exam date and view a countdown to your exam
- Question database update: Question database now has 6 possible answers for each question. The purpose of this feature is to make answering the question more difficult by throwing in more possible answers. Don’t worry, you’ll still only see 4 choices in your practice exams. The software will now choose 4 of the 6 answers at random to display. This reduces the chance of seeing the same test twice
- Randomized answers: Student Suggestion! Answers are now randomized. As suggested by students over the years, the purpose of this feature is to try and minimize the student from memorizing the correct answer placement. This also reduces the chance of seeing the same test twice
- I want to take a short pause for a moment to examine the last two feature updates. Let’s pretend we have a set of 25 questions. These will be the same 25 questions that have 6 potential answers, which the program will randomly choose 4 to display, and also these 4 answers will be randomized. Plus, from a feature several versions ago, the order of the questions will be randomized
- So with these 3 features combined, the odds in seeing the exact same test (same order of questions, same 4 answers present, and same order of the 4 answers) is 1 in 1,861,345,246,499,200,547,262,824,448
- That’s a number I couldn’t comprehend, so I had to look it up, and this can also be stated as 1 million quintrillion
- To illustrate this another way, let’s look at the odds of winning the PowerBall lottery (1 in 292,201,338)
- This all means that you are more likely to win the PowerBall lottery 6,370,077,766,376,280,064 times (or 6 million trillion times) before you will see the exact same order of questions, plus the exact same 4 answers, plus the exact same order of answers, and that’s just in one set of 25 questions! I actually built a small program to do these calculations 🙂
- Ok, back to the features!
- Cessation of seeing repeated questions: Student Suggestion! Full and Short Random Tests now ask only questions that have not been seen in these tests. A student suggestion I absolutely agree with. Previous to the new Study Suite, when a student would take the Full or Short Random test, the software would pull from the question database a random selection of questions in the amount from each domain they would expect to see in the actual exam. That’s a mouthful, so allow me to explain it this way.
- Taking the RD Exam Study Suite for example. For a student who answers the maximum number of questions in her exam, the breakdown would look like this: 25% in Domain 1 (36 questions), 40% in Domain 2 (58 questions), 21% in Domain 3 (30 questions), and 14% in Domain 4 (21 questions)
- In the former Practice Exam software, the student would take the Full Random Test, and the number of questions in each domain would be pulled in and asked. Then when she completes the test and goes back in for another round, all questions would be fair game, so she could essentially see a repeating question that she was asked in a previous Full Random Test
- Now in the new Study Suite software, once a question has been asked in the Full or Short Random Test, it will be eliminated from the question pool, and the next time she takes the test, she will see a new set of questions from each domain!
- A few notes about this feature:
- 1) At this time, this feature only works with the Pretest and Full and Short Random Tests. In a future update, we may expand this feature to at least include the main domains also
- 2) The odds of seeing a repeating question are not quite as great as the scenario above with the randomized answers. This is because the question database is limited to almost 900 questions. Once the program sees there are not enough questions in the remaining question pool for a domain, the pool will refresh. Mathematically speaking, a student would need to take the Full Random Test 5 times to completion before seeing a repeating question, or take the Short Random Test about 15 times before seeing a repeating question
- Follow-up test notification: If the Pretest was taken, the student will receive a notification to take the Full Random Test two weeks after completing the Pretest to see how he or she improved. The Pretest is a great way to start studying. The Pretest builds a baseline for the student. The idea is that the Pretest will be the first test taken without too much prior studying and practicing. Typically Pretest scores may be on the lower end, and this is expected. As a student covers more material in the program, her knowledge should increase, and she should test out this improved knowledge by repeating a similar test to see if there is any improvement. This feature does not apply to those upgrading to the new Study Suite from the Practice Exam software, unless the student uses the Delete All Stats feature in the Settings menu
- Build a Custom Test: Student Suggestion! Students can now build a custom test! Another suggestion I find very worthwhile having. Maybe as a student, you just want to change up the pace and create your own custom test. Or perhaps an instructor may assign her students to answer 100 questions in Domain 2 and submit their results to her. Now you can! Students may now choose the main domains they would like to be tested on, and then choose number of questions in each domain for their test. At the time of launch, only the main domains may be selected, and not any of the subcategories
- Unfinished tests: Student Suggestion! Students can now finish a test at a later time! Who really has the time to complete all practice tests in the time permitted? Some of these tests can be quite lengthy, especially when the student chooses to answer all of the questions in a test set. In the new Unfinished Tests section of the Choose Test Screen, students will now find all tests they have not completed! As a student is working through a practice test, they may either click the Quit and Save button to save their current progress in the test, or simply close out the test window. Either way, the program will save your place of where you left off!
- New test analyses and recommendations after taking a test: For those of you who have been using the Practice Exam software, you know very well that when you reach the end of a test, you receive a message stating “You’re at the end of the test! Your score is XX%. Click Progress to review your test.” Not too much going on there. In the new Study Suite, the student will receive a crazy-bulked up test analysis and recommendations on how to improve his or her score! Now included:
- A summary of the test taken
- A comparison (worded and illustrated as a bar graph) of how this test compares to other similar tests taken (example how this Short Random Test compares to all Short Random Tests taken), as well as a comparison of how this test compares to the student’s progress in all domains
- Time management: A nice pie chart illustrates the percentage of time used in the test to the amount of time left. This is valuable to see if the student is rushing through the exams too quickly
- Finally, a nice long list of recommendations on how the software feels the student can improve in future tests
- Keystroke type an answer: Student Suggestion! Can now type “a”, “b”, “c”, or “d” to choose your answer. This feature may not work on Mac
- New questions added/updated: Over 70 new and updated questions
- New and improved charts: The Domain Analysis tab now shows the following charts, which are now animated!
- Updated Strengths and Weaknesses chart: See how well the student is doing in each domain
- New chart added for a comparison of Total Questions Correct and Total Questions Answered per domain
- New chart added showing the distribution of All Questions Answered per domain: Used to illustrate if the student is spending too much time in one domain versus the others. Ideally, this chart should be relatively equivalent in each domain
- New chart added showing the distribution of All Questions Answered Correctly per domain
- Improved review of tests: Student Suggestion! Students can now review all questions answered in a test or just the ones answered incorrectly! Previously, the software only showed the student questions he or she answered incorrectly. As we’ve heard from some students over the years, sometimes they may select an answer as a guess, and it happened to be correct, but they would still like to review those questions. We agree, and now you have it!
- Resize windows: Student Suggestion! Students can now resize most windows in the software. This may not sound like much of a update worth mentioning, but I feel it is. Depending on the computer display settings, sometimes the software windows may appear to be quite small. With this new feature, not only will the screens expand, but also the wording, images and other controls on the screen will grow with respect to the new screen size
- Question quality improvement: The software will now keep track of the reference number and a notation if the student answered the question correctly or not. Our plan is to update the software more frequently, and part of the updates will be to reassess the questions to see if they need to be updated to become more or less challenging for students. This data is sent to our server and absolutely no identifiers (name, email address, etc) will be collected. This is solely to help us improve the question database for you, the student. This feature can be opted out of from the Settings window
- Reinstallation: If needing to reinstall the software, the program should pull in the student’s registration data automatically if reinstalling onto the same computer. This only applies to new installs of the software, and not to those updating from a previous version
- Code cleanup: Cleaned up the code in many areas so the software will run more efficiently
Have more questions or a suggestion?
Please feel free to email Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 570-814-6665. Please note, this is an east coast time based business