As 2016 wraps up I want to publish a post I've had on the back-burner for a while. This post is a little different from normal. It focuses on preparation for the final step in becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), the RDN Examination.
While studying for the exam it helped calm my nerves to read blog posts about study plans/tips for the RDN exam from those who passed the exam. I decided to share how I studied for the exam to help other RD2BE’s. I used Jean Inman’s Review Guide exclusively as my study guide and Krause’s Food and the Nutrition Care Textbook if there was anything I needed to read more about.
I have roughly broken down the method I followed into steps ….
Browse Study Outline
ONE: Open your study guide and browse through it. Get an idea of the information covered, what’s in each domain, and the test breakdown/format. Try and give yourself an idea of how comfortable you are with the material to see how long you should allow yourself to study.
Schedule the Exam
TWO: Schedule the exam! Nothing like an actual date permanently marked in your planner to put a little fire under you. I can’t stress this enough – if you are in this position and haven’t scheduled your exam, sign up as soon as you finish reading this post.
THREE: Start studying the domain you are LEAST familiar with. I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but you really don’t want to be running out of study time only to get to a section where you need to do a lot of outside reading on.
I did not make a detailed day-by-day schedule but rather progress points. I marked out what day I needed to complete each domain in order to finish all the material at least three days before the exam. If you like detailed schedules, make one. Part of this was because I was pregnant and somedays my brain could not handle studying as much as I wanted it to. By not having a detailed schedule it reduced my stress level.
Listen to the CD's
FOUR: Listen to the Inman CD’s. I used two different colored highlighters, one for things she talks about and the other for items she says “NOTE”. I only listened to 10-15 pages per sitting and would pause the CD’s if needed to write something down.
FIVE: Once you finish listening to a section, start reviewing the material more in depth. I dedicated an entire spiral to this and would write down things I needed to refresh on. I made flashcards – but only for the things that she specifically stated to NOTE (that I did not already know). If it was something I already knew by heart, I would write it in the spiral and put a pink star by it.
SIX: Finish one section at a time then set aside one whole day to review and study flashcards for that section. After going through the flashcards 2-3 times, then get started on the review questions. I would do ~15 questions at a time, on a white board. Check your answers, review any you missed and try to find out why! I kept track of what I missed in each domain that way I could see if I was weak in a certain area.
SEVEN: Go through remaining domains. Each day I tried to go through ALL of my flashcards at least once and do 15-30 practice questions to keep the other domains “fresh” in my mind.
EIGHT: I gave myself 3 days to only focus on practice questions and review anything I was missing. I added a few flashcards at this point of things I was missing. I also went through decks of flashcards and pulled the ones I was getting right 100% of the time. I went through each flashcard deck 7-10 times in total.
NINE: The day before the test, try to relax – stop studying at least 8 hours before going to bed and trust your training! You have been working for at least 5 years to be at this point! Have a nice dinner, get some sleep, wake up and have a nutritious breakfast. Give yourself plenty of time to get to the testing center so you aren’t stressed. Ask any procedural questions before the exam, it will make you less stressed.
I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to make it without water so I asked the proctors and they said just raise my hand if I needed an unscheduled break. Luckily, I didn’t need to but I felt relieved by knowing what would happen if I did need to.
Once I got the first 25 questions down I got relaxed and felt very comfortable and prepared. I did well on the exam and felt extremely prepared. I hope this helps someone studying for the exam. If you have any questions on studying for the exam feel free to comment below! Congratulations on making it this far in your journey to be a RDN!