On November 19th 2014, I became an RD!!! When studying for RD exams, I would often google to find if people had shared their thoughts on preparing for the exam. I did come across a few blogs and they were definitely helpful. But I would also come across a forum which has negative thoughts on the exam, people failing it a few times, and that made me nervous (Strictly, stay away from those forums). At that time, I had told myself that when I pass the RD exam, I too shall share my experience to help fellow #RD2be’s! Here is how I studied for the exam.
1. After I passed my dietetic internsip, I took a 2-3 week break to unwind myself ( I could afford to do that as I did not have any job offers). In the meanwhile, I bought Jean Inmans manual for RD exam prep. First 2 weeks, I just went over the material to understand the different domains and the information it contains.
2. Then , I took an exam date which was 3 weeks away. This helps me take things seriously and focus. I then prepared a timetable and started studying seriously, around 6-8 hours a day. I gave 3 days to each domain (including listening to the CD and taking down notes). I would write the important stuff in my own words to assimilate the information, writing helps me remember better. I also made my own flashcards for information I would forget easily and studied the flashcards for an hour each day.
3. Once, I completed going through all the domains. I started revising the whole information, memorizing formulas and the ADA exchange list for diabetic meal planning.Next, I began solving the practice question from Jean Inman. They helped me a lot in terms of finding areas where I need to study more or have calculations I need to practice.
4. The last week, I spent going through the questions I got wrong, all calculations from Inamns manual as well as the question bank. There were quite a few calculations on my exam and knowing the formulas and exchange lists helped me answer them correctly. The information seemed a whole lot in the beginning but closer to the exam date, I started feeling prepared.
5. On the day of the exam, I was very nervous (inspite of the feeling of being prepared), if that is happening to you too, don’t worry its perfectly normal. My exam time was 5 pm in the evening. I woke up late that morning, enough sleep is essential for your brain to work and answer 125 questions in 2.5 hours. I ate an early lunch and then watched some TV to shift my focus from being nervous, anxious, scared to being relaxed. If you have studied well in advance, its good to relax on the day of the exam to calm your tensions, as when the exam begins you will be bombarded with questions after questions…
6. I reached the exam center an hour early, after thorough checking (10-15 mins) they logged me on to a computer for me to begin my test (even though it was not 5 pm). The first few screen had basic rules information and an agreement you have to click “I agree” for.
7. As soon as the first question appeared on the screen, my heart began racing. I told myself, I will be fine, I had studied enough. I took a couple deep breaths and began answering. After answering a couple questions, I started to feel settled, nervousness was gone, I started feeling positive and gave each question my best shot. The top -right corner of the screen shows time left and questions answered so far. I kept an eye for these 2 icons as it is very important to pace yourself well. Some questions would take few seconds for me to answer and some (calculations) took as long as 2 mins.
8. I would read each question twice, read all the answer options, eliminate the wrong answers and then focus on two options that were left, re-read them and select the best answer. Honestly, it was a hard exam, but not impossible for you to pass. The Jean Inman material was definitely helpful but it would be wrong for me to say that relying on the material alone is enough. It is not. You have to use all the knowledge you have accumulated for years, your internship experience and think critically to pass the exam.
9. As soon as I finished 125 questions, a survey regarding the exam center appeared on the screen. I instantly knew I had passed the exam even before the report printed out because if I hadn’t , my questions would have continued to a maximum of 145. After answering the survey, I had to submit my exam and end the exam session after which I was guided out of the exam center and report printed immediatey which said the below…
I was so excited and happy and proud of myself!!!! I had done it 🙂
10. After a couple days of passing the RD exam, I received “CDR orientation email with lots of instructions and details on maintaining the credentials”. Once you pass the exam, expect this email too 🙂
Feel free to ask me any RD exam related questions you may have! Remember to stay positive, have faith in yourself and give it your best shot. If you have come this far, you can definitely pass this exam.