We have a special guest post brought to you by a past Visual Veggies Software user, now registered dietitian, Tamsin Jordan, MS, RD!
Tips for Passing the RD Exam
Tamsin Jordan, MS, RD
If you are reading this, chances are you have completed your degree and your dietetic internship – congratulations! Only one more hurdle stands in your way to becoming a Registered Dietitian. The dreaded RD exam. Nothing will replace hard work, but planning ahead and having a strategy for your study approach will save you time and increase your chance of success.
Depending on your internship, you may be required to start reviewing study materials a few months before the end of your program. If not, I would strongly suggest ordering the study materials (see below for more details) as early as possible. Even if you don’t start actively reviewing until you’ve finished your program, it is still useful to skim through the different sections in advance. Everyone studies at their own pace, but I would recommend spending at least one week reviewing each domain (there are four) and then an additional week or two completing practice exams.
Use a variety of study methods
There are a lot of study materials out there. They generally come in paper, audio or online/ app formats. Using different study methods can help to relieve the monotony and provide different ways of thinking about the material.
The Jean Inman study guide comes in a paper and audio form. If you spend a lot of time in the car, I highly recommend listening to the audio on your daily commute. The content of the study materials doesn’t seem to change that much so chances are that it would be fine to buy an older version but make sure you check with your DI Director.
The RD Exam Study Suite by Visual Veggies Software is another great tool. It comes in a digital form through that mimics the actual exam experience. The software provides additional practice questions per domain and full simulation timed exams. You can also review white board tutorials and play fun study games.
Set up a study group
Many students find it difficult to start studying after completing their internship rotations. Talk to the other interns in your cohort and form a small study group. Speaking from personal experience, I found that forming a study group forced me to commit to reviewing the material on a weekly basis and made sure that I stayed on track. Studying in a group also allows you to quiz each other and talk about the topics in more depth which really helped during the exam.
Resist over studying
It can be tempting to take as many practice exams as possible and try to memorize the material. There are some formulas and lab values that you should commit to memory, however the most important thing is to understand the concepts which you can then apply to the questions. I found many of the exam questions to be subjective/ judgement based in general, which prompted me to reflect on my experience during the internship and volunteering. Take regular breaks in between study sessions to consolidate the knowledge and go over previous study questions to understand why you did not choose the correct answer.
Finally – pick an exam date and stick to it! Setting a deadline will force you to stay on track.
Tamsin Jordan is a Registered Dietitian, wellness expert and mom living in NYC.
She provides one to one nutritional counseling to people of all ages, with a specialty in women’s health, bariatrics, diabetes and digestive health. She writes about nutrition and wellness topics on her blog: www.tamsinjordan.com You can also find her on Instagram: @nutritionbytamsin