Studying for the RD Exam, What Worked For Me

Hello everyone! I know, it has been a while since I have posted anything, BUT with good reason. For the past 5 weeks I was studying for my Registration Exam for Dietitians… and guess what? I passed! This was an extremely exciting moment for me, and I have to say that the biggest thing that helped me as I studied was reading the blog of another dietitian who gave her advice, tips, and encouragement on passing this exam. Up until reading her blog I had heard so many things:

It’s so hard… I barely passed.

I would definitely study for at least a few months.

Make sure you know that study manual front to back before you walk in that room; you can never be too prepared.

I studied for 7-8 hours a day and still did not feel confident!

You need to memorize ALL charts in the study manual… just in case.

Sheesh… I could not get a word of encouragement if I tried. After reading through this dietitian’s blog, I had a wave of relief. Finally, someone with a different, fresh perspective.

Because this was where I got most of my encouragement and my push to actually schedule my exam, I thought I would pay it forward and offer up similar advice. This is what worked for me; everyone is different. You may completely disagree with my thoughts, but hey, what is one more opinion to read through? If your future goal is not to become a Registered Dietitian, this may not be that interesting to you!

How I studied for the RD Exam:

  1. I took a 3-day review course through Breeding&Associates before I graduated. If you are a “I need to hear it to remember it” type person, I would highly recommend a review course. It was nice for me to hear everything that I had leaned in the past few years over again, covering a wide spectrum of dietetic-related concepts and domains. It sparked things in my mind  that I knew I needed to go over in more detail or remembered the least from my college classes. It is grueling, don’t get me wrong, but definitely worth it! There are many review courses offered; I did not choose this course provider for any particular reason other than preference.
  2. I read through my entire study manual (which I received from my review course). Each day I decided to tackle 1 domain. Some domains that were a bit longer took me about 2 days to get through; MNT took me 3. As I read through each domain, I re-wrote the information from the book in my own words, focusing on content and combining bits of information together. As I wrote my notes, I would circle, underline, or write in different colored ink points that I though were particularly important or specific numbers, values, or concepts that I thought were crucial to remember.
  3. This step was VERY important for me. I took breaks. I would never sit in from of my book for longer than 3 hours at a time. In the beginning, when I was just getting started, I would only study for about 3-4 hours maximum each day. As my study time increased, I would always take a break every few hours and either go for a walk, go to the gym, call a friend or my mom, ANYTHING that would take my mind away from the content for a while and give me a little bit of relief. Honestly, I think I would have gone crazy if I did not do this. If you are the type of person that gets highly distracted and cannot come back to your work after you step away for a few minutes, I would not recommend doing this. This is what worked for me, and I definitely think it is important to give yourself some “you time” when studying or preparing for anything that puts a lot of stress on your body or mind.
  4. I shut out other classmates opinions. (Sorry to any of my girl friends who read this 🙂 ) I absolutely adore my friends from my college program; they have become some of my best friends. But, to me hearing their thoughts, opinions, how far along they were studying, or even if they had passed seemed to add more stress and pressure on to me. It is great to have the help and support of others, but know what works best for you. Ask for help from others if you need it, but if not, learn your stress triggers and avoid them at all costs!
  5. About 3 weeks into studying, I scheduled my exam for about a week and a half later. I knew that I wanted to take it relatively soon and having deadlines work well for me. It helped me see the light a little bit and know when the studying would come to an end!
  6. After I re-wrote all my notes, I re-read them and wrote down concepts that I was still having a hard time grasping, or wouldn’t exactly stick. I condensed big ideas.
  7. I read, re-read, and re-read everything that I had written down. I would go through my notes for each domain separately, and once I felt comfortable, I would take practice tests provided in the back of my study manual. Following the practice tests, I would take online tests for each domain that were also offered as a part of the review course package.
  8. A few days before the test, I took a practice exam online. This helped boost my confidence a bit because even though question wording was different, I was still able to test my knowledge and passed the practice exam.
  9. The day before the test, I put away my books and didn’t study. I actually went and got dinner with my boyfriend and just kind of relaxed. The morning of I made a good breakfast and had one last encouraging phone call with my mom before taking my exam!


Take a deep breath and have confidence in your abilities and your preparation. Do what works best for you and remember other people have been in your shoes. Good luck, and celebrate once you have passed your exam! All the hard work pays off 🙂

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