How to pass the RD exam.

So here is what everyone is dying to know… How did I pass the RD exam? I think I googled “How to pass the RD exam” at least 3x/day when I was studying for the RD exam and there were only a few blogs I came across that gave me any significant insight or information on the best way to study/prep for the exam. Seeing as I am now a Registered Dietitian, I feel like it is my duty to help others out that may be searching the same thing that I did in the google search bar.

1. How to become eligible to take the RD exam: Information obtained from Eligibility and Registry for RD exam


Academic Degree:

Minimum of a Baccalaureate degree granted by a U.S. regionally accredited college/university


All dietetic education programs accredited by ACEND must be in the U.S. or its territories. Supervised practice requirements stipulate completion of one of the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics accredited pathways:

  • Accredited Dietetic Internship Program
    Provides for the achievement of performance requirements for entry-level dietitians through a minimum of 1200 hours of supervised practice. The program follows completion of the Didactic Program in Dietetics and a Baccalaureate degree. Some programs may be completed part-time with supervised practice.
  • Accredited Coordinated Program
    Academic program in a U.S. regionally accredited college or university culminating in a minimum of a Baccalaureate degree. The program provides for the achievement of knowledge and performance requirements for entry-level dietitians through integration of didactic instruction with a minimum of 1200 hours of supervised practice.

*I completed four years of schooling at The University of Alabama with my major being:  Nutrition and Dietetics, I then applied for and was accepted into the Coordinate Program for Dietetics at the University of Alabama which I was able to complete within that 4 year time-span as well. Students who complete the Coordinated Program in Dietetics during their undergraduate careers graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree and are eligible to sit for the Registration Examination for Dietitians. I was able to do my course-work as well as my internship at the same time so that when I graduated I could immediately start focusing on passing the exam and starting my career.

2. Take the exam as soon as possible, don’t take a break!

*I began studying for the RD exam before I had even graduated, my senior year finals week was probably the least strenuous finals week of my entire college career. I was so used to having piles upon piles of studying that I went through the entire Breeding and Associates 2013 RD Study Exam Review in one week.  I took a total of three months of studying before I took the exam, I moved to Orlando, Fl during this time period and was hired on as “Registered Dietitian Eligible” at Florida Hospital Orlando. Some hospitals will hire you before you pass the exam but you are given a specified time period to pass the exam (mine was 90 days) or you will no longer have the job position. Since my job was on the line, you better believe I studied my butt off. I think working at the same time that I was studying really kept my mind refreshed on the materials daily, tying my studying into real life application was very beneficial for me.  I would recommend taking the exam as soon as possible after you have finished your internship or nutrition studies, there is so much information on the test that there is no way that you are going to know all of it but the more familiar you are with all the different categories of questions the better (food service, clinical, community nutrition, etc.).

3. Use a variety of study materials/tactics.

*Everyone’s brain has a different technique of learning or memorizing that works better for them than others. I would recommend studying in various different ways to make sure you optimize your learning capacity. I created flash cards, I made quizzes online at , I read through material, I re-wrote material over and over again to drill it into my head, and I studied with friends to discuss things out loud and bounce questions off of each other. The materials listed below are the study materials I used (but the current year 2015-2016) not the 2013-2014 versions that I used.

4. Give yourself a break.

I recommend giving yourself a full 24 hours of no studying prior to the exam, I was so burnt out on studying that I gave myself a full day of relaxation and did not let myself look at the material. Like I said before, there is NO WAY you can know every single question but if you are refreshed and not burnt out on studying you will have a good change of using deductive reasoning on the ones you don’t know. Also, don’t drink coffee before the exam. I was so jittery with a case of restless leg syndrome the entire exam. Take my advice and stick to water before the exam. Coffee did not help me focus, it did the exact opposite because I was so nervous.

5. Take your time.

Don’t rush the exam, read the questions thoroughly and take your time going through them. I finished with over 60 minutes left on my timer and most likely got a few questions wrong because I didn’t take enough time on them to fully understand the question. The RD exam has some tricky questions so like I said, read carefully.

6. What was on my exam? What types of questions?

Well now that I am two years past the RD exam I can’t remember as many questions but I do remember the ones I had the hardest time on: I was asked many questions about converting a small batch recipe into a bulk recipe (multiplying the ingredients, etc.), I was asked questions about different size scoops and how much they contain (example: a #4 scoop can hold 12 tablespoons), I had many tube-feeding  questions (how to calculate how much protein/kcals or how to determine how much the pt needs), I had BMI calculation questions and predictive equation questions, I had questions about micronutrient deficiencies as well as which diet restriction is needed for different diseases (heart failure, cystic fibrosis, etc.), and I remember having questions about different type of restaurant service (buffet, ala carte), and about what foods different religious cultures can or cannot have. That’s all i got! If I had been smarter I would have written down all the questions I could remember after the exam but I was just too excited to have passed it!

I hope this helps some future Dietitian! Good luck and trust your knowledge!

-Cinthia DeVoe, RD, LD, CNSC 99c631d0-0ddc-447b-a230-00d684f87123

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