In August 2021 I passed the RD exam - what a relief! There is so much work and studying that goes into becoming an RD. First you must complete a 4 year BS degree, get matched into a highly competitive internship (most programs take less than 10 interns per year), get accepted into a masters program, complete your 1200 hour rotations, then you can be eligible to take the exam. Oh yeah, and after all that did I mention how much you have to study for it?! I'll tell you about how I studied and how I passed on my first try!
First, you need to commit! You have to commit to making this goal happen and become serious about your studying and dedication to this material. The RD exam covers a REALLY broad range of topics from food-service equations, medical nutrition therapy, tube feeding calculations, food science and much more. The exam is broken down into 4 domains.
I started studying for my exam once I completed all of my internship rotations, I like to take things one step at time so I needed to be completely done with that before I started studying. Some people like to study during their internship up to a year before, but that was definitely NOT my style.
I finished my internship in May then took about 5 days off and went straight into studying, I committed to learning all of Domain 1 before my summer classes started a few weeks after that. I completed Domain 1 and then began my summer classes (THEY WERE REALLY HARD AND TIME CONSUMING) there was absolutely no way I could do all of my classwork, work part time AND study for the RD exam. I decided to take a quick break from studying for the RD exam while I was in my summer classes, I really needed to focus on these to get good grades. July comes around and my summer classes start to slow down and eventually take finals. I knew it was time to buckle down and get straight back into studying. This was a really tough mental game because I basically hadn't had a day off since my internship started back in August 2020. When I say you have to commit to it, this is what I mean. I had about 40 days in between my summer classes ending and my fall classes starting, so I went ALL IN and started to go hard studying for the RD exam.
The materials I used started with the Inman review - this is ridiculously large and very necessary. It's a comprehensive review of literally everything you have ever learned and MORE. It's really overwhelming so taking it one domain at a time really helped me. Setting your study schedule and your exam date are extremely important as well. I gave myself about a month to really go in on this stuff. For the Inman it is broken down into 4 domains. I started to go through the book and take notes on separate sheet of paper as I listened to the audio at the same time. I took notes and made graphics to help me remember the material. After I finished a domain I would go through the practice questions at the end, (Usually about 50 at a time) and grade myself. I kept doing this process until I completed the WHOLE inman book and all of the questions. (I know it's a lot) - but I was NOT about to take this expensive test twice - I had stuff to do!! I was feeling like I needed another resource to help me lock in the material. I bought a month subscription to pocket prep - I really liked this program because it was really different from the Inman questions AND it gives you explanations on the answer choices. (They also have an app so you could practice questions instead of scrolling insta on your phone). As I was making my daily drive to the library to study I listened to the RD exam podcast - Literally every single episode and some of them multiple times. I needed to understand the concepts to apply it to the questions. These 3 resources are the things that helped me the most. I was really nervous to take the exam but I knew I was prepared after a month of studying this material. My study schedule usually looked like this: Weekdays: 10am-4pm and I would take one day off on the weekend. The week leading up to the test I wasn't trying to learn any new information it was just simply review. 2 days before the test I stopped looking at the material completely. OVER STUDYING is a real thing. It was finally the day to take the test, I had manifested passing by saying it out loud and writing it down but obviously putting in ALL the work as well. It was time to go - I walked out of the testing center so HAPPY that I had finally passed!!
Everyone studies differently and requires their own schedules. I am just sharing mine to possibly help someone out there that is taking their exam in the future! If you have any more questions feel free to reach out to me over email or DM.