Join Julie at RDelicious Kitchen as she shares the steps in order to become a Registered Dietitian and her journey to becoming a RD.
March is National Nutrition Month. Myself and other dietitians are blogging all month to celebrate. So far on RDelicious Kitchen, we have covered what the difference between a Registered Dietitian and a Nutritionist and Part One of becoming a Registered Dietitian.
Becoming a Registered Dietitian: Part One covered Steps 1 & 2 of becoming a Registered Dietitian, about college courses and the dietetic internship you must complete in order to be eligible to take the RD Exam. In case you missed it, stop there first.
Today is all about Step 3 – Study materials to help prepare you to pass the RD exam. While completing the dietetic internship you learn so much, you really need to study to be fully prepared to take the RD exam.
The exam is broken up into 4 domains: Food & Nutrition Sciences, Nutrition Care, Management of Food & Nutrition, and Foodservice Systems.
The exam is always taken at a test center that must follow the regulations of the exam. It is computerized and you are provided with a calculator and a mini white board to work out answers.
The questions are not in any specific order. The exam gives a minimum of 125 questions. Out of those 125 questions, 100 of them count toward the exam and 25 of them are testing for future RD exam questions. I personally, did not like knowing this. When I got to a particularly hard questions I second guessed if it was a real question or a question for future exam that wasn’t counting toward my exam.
Also, 125 exam questions is the minimum. You could get up to 145 exam questions. As you are taking the exam it is being monitored of the difficulty level. If the examinee receives more difficult questions throughout, fewer questions are needed to be answered correctly to pass the exam. Personally, I had all 145 questions.
The exam has a time limit set for 2.5 hours. You must answer each question to move on to the next one. The exam times out once the 2.5 hours are up.
The exam costs $200 dollars. If you happen to not pass the first time, you unfortunately have to wait 6 weeks to take the exam again.
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Before you take the exam, you have to fully prepare yourself. There are various study materials out there to utilize. I want to share the ones I have used and other resources that are available.
Jean Inman’s Study Guide
You could go to her two day seminar to go through all the material in full detail, or you can purchase the materials to study at home. While it’s a little pricy at $385, I believe it was 100% worth it and I valued this guide the most and felt like it prepared me the best.
The study materials include:
• Detailed, comprehensive Study Manual following CDR study guidelines, covering all Domains. We do all the research, so your time is spent studying, not searching for information!
• All lectures on CD. Listen as you study the Manual. Because most of what is discussed is printed for you in the Manual, note-taking will be minimized. Your time can be spent learning.
• Over 1000 sample test questions.
• Tips on how to study and how to take the computerized test.
• Individual support provided by mail, phone or e-mail. If you have questions after you have studied a section.
The study materials are very in depth covering the nitty-gritty details that will appear on the exam. I would listen to the CDs in the car or on my iPod and go for a walk. [Side note: An embarrassing moment happened when I just put my iPod on shuffle before teaching a spin class. On the the tracks from the study guide came on and was talking about anthocyanins and the gym go-ers were a tad confused. lol]
Get the experience you need to prepare yourself for the Registration Exam for Dietitians. The RD Practice Exam is a multiple-choice quiz application that closely resembles the actual RD Exam. The practice exams contain questions comparable to what is asked on the actual exam. All exam domains and their subcategories are included with many questions in each. The practice exams are timed tests to simulate the pressure of test-taking with limited time. Beyond the actual exam, the RD Practice Exam provides immediate feedback on whether the selected answer is correct or incorrect. Plus, a detailed description for each question explains more about the topic for a full learning experience.
I really loved Visual Veggies. It was great to have a structure like the how the RD exam would be – a timed series of questions. While Jean Inman’s practice questions had an answer key to the questions, I preferred Visual Veggies practice tests, because it had an explanation for each question you got incorrect.
What is also great, is that you can download the software to your computer, iPad, iPhone, or iPhone touch so you can easily study on the go!
The practice exams also give you a breakdown of how you did with the questions from each domain. This was a big help to see which areas I was strong in and other areas that I was weak in and needed to study more. The software can take an average of all of your exams taken to give you an overall average in each domain as well.
** Other study materials my fellow RD friends have used: materials from EatRight.org, RDstudy.com, RD Exam Secrets Study Guide. I have not personally used any of these. If you have used any of these before, please share what you liked/didn’t like about these study materials.
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Tips for studying and taking the exam:
1. Give yourself a timeline.
I scheduled my exam the second my paperwork went through for completing my dietetic internship. Knowing when I was taking the exam, I scheduled the days I would study and planned what domains I would cover each of those days.
2. Get out of the house.
Studying at home, I would often get distracted. I became Starbucks best customers during those weeks of studying. I would be more focused when I was studying elsewhere. Plus, the perk was a a treat to a latte.
Yes, you may have majority of the material memorized, but make sure you are able to apply the information to answer the exam questions. I personally felt the exam questions were great prep to apply the information studied.
4. Don’t overstudy.
Often times, overstudying can lead to second guessing the answers. Which brings to the next tip.
5. Be confident!
Be confident in your answers. What took me awhile to get used to, was that you had to answer the question to move forward to the next questions, and not able to go back to any questions. I would get super anxious about this, but remember you don’t have to get a perfect score. The questions I noticed I was taking a little too long on, I would try to eliminate as many wrong answers as I could and make an educated guess.
You just passed the RD exam. Congrats on becoming a Registered Dietitian. It is am amazing feeling after passing the exam. All the hard work feels like it has truly paid off!
Disclosure: I received permission by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for use of NNM logo. I was provided the Visual Veggies software for free. All thoughts and opinions are my own.