How I Studied For [and Passed] the RD Exam

Hey there, friends!  Today, I’d like to share a few tips on how I studied for the Registered Dietitian Exam, as well as WHAT materials I used to study.  I was told that it was a record – I was the first in my internship class to take & pass the RD Exam so quickly!  So hopefully I can pass some good karma on to you as well, especially since I know that there are still a TON of you out there that are getting ready to take the exam soon.

Studying

My dietetic internship program required that we purchase the Jean Inman study guide with the CDs, so I obviously used that as one of my main study materials.  It can be purchased from Jean’s site, for $385.  You may also be lucky if your internship does not require you to purchase it brand new (ours did) – & find a used copy off of eBay.

The Jean Inman study guide

The Jean Inman study guide

I also heard great things about the “Hess & Hunt” guide, which is another study guide actually called “Review of Dietetics Manual for the Registered Dietitian Exam 2014-2015” by Mary Abbott Hess.  I purchased mine used off of eBay, but you can pick up a copy via the company’s website, here.  I believe it retails new for about $150.

This book is useful to me because it’s more detailed than the Inman guide in that it describes the WHY and is not simply a study outline.  It still has all of the domain breakdowns that the Inman guide has, but has more detail.  So, if you’re a detail person or wanting more info than just an outline, check this one out.

The "Hess & Hunt" study guide/outline

The “Hess & Hunt” study guide/outline

Another study material I purchased was access to the MedPreps online RD quizzes.  I got a month’s access for $30.  I thought this was helpful in practicing questions in an online format, which would give me a better feel for how the actual test would be.  I found it fairly helpful, though frustrating at times as some answers were doubled up, some were repetitive, & there were occasional typos.  Just keep all that in mind. 😉

I also signed up to get emailed a weekly question (for free) from Dietitian Exam.com.

Okay, so now that I’ve filled you in on the WHAT (materials) I studied, let’s get into the HOW.

Something that my internship tried out this year is that they provided us with a live webinar with Jean Inman!!  We actually got TWO separate days with her going through her guide, which was VERY helpful & awesome!!  I was able to highlight anything she said to note in the guide, which helps, but it also helped to have that repetition & to hear things again.  Mrs. Inman suggested that we schedule & plan time to study, which is exactly what I did!  I made a plan in my calendar to study about 10 pages in the Inman guide each night.  I read each page twice, & once I got the general concept, I moved on.

All of the item in red, below, are the pages & sections that I was studying.  I just moved through from front to back in order of the guide.  It took about 2 and a half weeks or so & I started it while I was still in my internship, which is partly why I could sit for the RD exam so soon after finishing.

My calendar & study plan

My calendar & study plan

Once I was through with studying my Inman guide, I focused more on the MedPreps online practice quizzes.  I had been doing them sporadically at night during my studying, but I put a bit more emphasis on them at this point.

I also browsed & paged through the Hess & Hunt study guide, but didn’t read it in a detailed manner.  I mainly focused on any concepts that were difficult to understand, as well as checking to see if there was any additional information I should put into memory.

Next, I went through & answered all of the study questions included in the back of the Jean Inman study guide (you get a packet of over 1000 questions & answers).  If I got a question wrong, I’d go back & do those again.

Lastly, I made several practice tests for myself.  I compiled questions from each domain in the question packet, mainly based on the amount/percentage seen from each domain on the exam.  I usually made my tests anywhere from 125 – 150 questions or so.  I timed myself, then calculated the percentage I got wrong & then went through & compiled all the wrong questions & re-tested myself on those once I had reviewed the correct answer.   I made myself about 9 practice exams in total, so I definitely felt pretty ready for the exam, especially when I was only getting a handful wrong & scoring around 90% on them.

Testing Day – On the day of my exam, I exercised to burn off any excess energy/nerves, ate a healthy breakfast, had a little coffee (not too much), & made sure NOT to study at all that day.  I focused on relaxing things & watching TV, or listening to music that made me feel happy.  I scheduled my exam in the afternoon because it was an hour & 15-minute drive to the site & they ask that you arrive a half hour early.  I chose 3pm, which was perfect traffic-wise to get there.  I arrived at my site an hour & a half before my test & just made sure I knew where I was going, then left & went down the street a bit to waste some time at Trader Joe’s & Target.  I then came back to my site & went in a half hour before my test, which worked out perfectly!  They were even able to take me for my exam about 20 mintues early.

Once you’re done – CELEBRATE!!!!

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Write RD on everything, you deserve it & have worked HARD for this!!  Remember, you’ve got this – you KNOW the info, you just need to pass. 😉

Best of luck!!!

I PASSED!!

Why, hello there friends!  Guess what I did today?  Here’s a hint… in involved stress, lots of studying, & anxiety.  Nope, wasn’t a new haircut (although that CAN be stressful)!  Guess again.  Ok, give up?  I took the RD exam this afternoon!!!  How do you think I did??  Here’s a little hint…

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I PASSED!!!!

So relieved!!!!

So relieved!!!!

It took me just under 2 hours to take this test… & I’m not gonna lie – it was tough!!!!  I honestly thought that by question 50 I wasn’t doing too hot, but tried to stay focused & kept doing my best… & by question 100 I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to pass.  Thankfully, I DID pass & the test automatically shut off right at the minimum question amount, 125.  That was scary!!!!  I’m pretty sure I got one of the most difficult exams since I was only given the very minimal amount of questions… I’ve read that if you have an easier exam you’ll have to answer possibly up to 145 questions to make it fair.  Yikes!  

I’m just so happy I passed & made it through with a bit of wiggle room as well!  I didn’t get the highest score, but not the lowest either!  Passing is all that matters with this test anyway!

After my test shut off & I finished my exit survey, my results then popped onto the screen.  I mistakenly first just saw an 18 from one of my category breakdowns & immediately, my stomach sank… I thought for sure I had failed!!  Luckily, it only took about a minute before I pulled it together & looked up into the upper left corner where it said “pass” and my score.  Phew!!!!   I think I recall saying “I passed” under my breath, lol (half in disbelief).  

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It’s not completely official until you see it in writing!! ;)

I just had to write the “RD” with my name for the first time… felt great!!!

Well, now it is on to the real world & searching for jobs!!  I don’t think passing has completely sunk in yet though… I’ve actually achieved my dream & goal of becoming an RD!!!  Yes!!!

Thank you SO much to my loving, amazingly supportive husband, Brian, for always sticking by me & being my biggest cheerleader!!  Thank you to my family, friends, & preceptors as well – you’ve all played a part in helping me make my dream come true!!

Have you ever taken an important life-altering test, only to at first think you didn’t pass?!
What’s the most stressful test you’ve taken?

The Intuitive Eating Life

Hi friends!  I hope you’re all doing well!  I’ve been busy studying & trying to adjust to life after my dietetic internship… & packing up to move out of our apartment at the end of the month (more on that in a future post).  Also, I’ve been working on myself & being kinder to me, as well as getting more in tune with my body & eating intuitively.

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I have to say, the intuitive eating is going well!  Life is definitely much BETTER!!  My husband, Brian, has commented that I seem to be much happier, which I’d second – I am!!  The dieting world SUCKS & constantly restricting food is NO WAY TO LIVE.  I’m so happy that I learned more about intuitive eating, body acceptance, & mindfulness.  I previously had no idea just how disordered some of my eating actually was.  It was a huge wake-up call interning in the ED clinic, which I’m thankful for.  I’ve learned SO much!!

One thing I’ve learned along this journey is that yes, it’s freeing to eat intuitively & get back to your natural instincts & body cues… but, it can also be a struggle at times.  We are not all genetically blessed to be tiny & look like America’s model-thin ideal of what a gorgeous woman (or man) should look like!  Constantly dieting & restricting to maintain a certain weight means that this is NOT the real weight we were meant to be at – or that our body wants us to be at.  Personally, I was so tired of fighting my body.  Ever since I lost the 50 pounds back in my mid 20’s, I’ve probably spent the majority of the past 10 years or so fighting my body & fighting to keep the weight off by counting calories or doing the Paleo diet, or keto.  For the most part, I’ve kept the majority of it off, but as I’m eating intuitively, some of the weight is slowly coming back on… not a lot, but enough that I notice & enough that I have to try & make peace with it.  I’d say that this honestly has to be the hardest part.  There are so many great articles out there on diet weight loss studies & how it’s science that makes people fail at diets, regaining the weight – NOT lack of willpower.  The body is smart.  Have you seen the six-year follow-up study done on the Biggest Loser contestants?  Here‘s an interesting article about it, check it out!

The other tough thing to adjust to is making peace with formerly “forbidden” & “bad” foods.  This has been a bit scary at times, but after a bit you get tired of these foods & they lose most of their power over you.  Then, you start to actually crave all of your old “healthy” favorites & the formerly restricted or outlawed foods lose a lot of their appeal – especially since you’re not banning them, you can actually have them whenever you want. I think looking at it all as “balance” is a healthy way to see it.  Totally a 180 from how I used to see foods… at one point I was the food police eyeing other people’s carts & meal choices, priding myself on my “healthy” choices, although that’s probably not even what I had REALLY wanted to eat.  Sad. No more!! 

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I didn’t listen to my body.  I told it how much fuel it was going to get each day by planning meals and counting calories.  Or, I’d deny it things that it craved, only strengthening those cravings & desires.  Then one day, they’d lead to a huge binge!  It was a vicious cycle.  It takes some time to get back in touch with my body after not listening to it for so long, but I’m starting to be able to tune into my hunger & fullness cues with practice.

Little did I realize that all of my past attempts at trying different diets to “be healthy” & ways of eating were mainly ways to restrict & force my body to stay at a lower weight than what it naturally wants.  I wish I would have known 10 years ago what I know now… I could have enjoyed life and food SO much more!!!  

What would you tell your younger self?
Are you an intuitive eater?

RD Journey Update: The waiting game.

Hello & happy Saturday!!  I hope your life has been more exciting than mine lately.  As most of you know, I finished my dietetic internship 2-weeks ago, yesterday.  What have I been up to?  Well, lots of studying and getting cozy with my Jean Inman exam study guide.

Boring… and frustrating.  I feel I’m ready to take the RD exam, but right now, I’m playing the waiting game.  I have to wait until I receive the email from CDR saying that I’m approved to test.  So, until I get that verification statement to test, I’ll just be going nuts over here.  lol  I swear, waiting is the WORST.  

I even had a dream about the RD exam the other night!  Crazy.  I’ve also become obsessed with constantly checking my email.  I’m hoping next week will be the week that it arrives!  Cross your fingers for me! 😉

New Insight

Hey there!  So… I’ve been a tad bit quiet on here lately, & there’s a reason.  I’ve been trying to sort myself out & have been absorbed in my own thoughts (as well as studying for the RD exam).  BUT, I think I’m finally ready to talk about some things I’ve learned in general – & about myself.  It’s kinda heavy, so you may want to grab a coffee & get comfy.

Ok, so where to start… doing my dietetic internship elective rotation at an eating disorder facility has been completely eye-opening for me.  I’m completely blown away & amazed at how many people are afraid of food & struggle with an unhealthy food relationship.

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I am not too proud to admit that I’m above struggling with a healthy relationship with food.  I’ve hinted at my struggles in the past – if you’ve read my ‘About Me’ section, you’ll know I was a member of the clean plate club and had the childhood nicknames of “Hoover” and the “Sugar Monster”.  Does that speak normal to you?  I’m not saying I have an ED or anything, & have never been diagnosed with an eating disorder.  What I AM saying is that I have a disordered eating pattern & have had a poor relationship with food in the past.

Observing the ED patients has really opened up my eyes to some of my past behaviors and thoughts about food – & my body.  A healthy relationship with food stems & is built from loving your body.  I don’t love my body – not completely yet.  I honestly can’t recall ever loving it, even when I lost all that weight way back when… I still struggled with my own image & saw a heavy girl in the mirror.  I hope to change that though.

I’ve tried SO many diets & workouts in the past to lose weight & then fight to keep the weight off.  I’ve done Atkins, calorie counting, paleo, primal, Whole 30, vegetarianism (for 1 year), keto… & you know what I realized?  These are all forms of restricting food.  Dieting.  I didn’t trust my body to keep weight off, so I restricted food whether it be by following this trendy “diet”, or altering what I ate, or eliminating a macronutrient.  I’m not saying I starved myself, but I probably counted calories religiously for the LONGEST amount of time – because it ‘kept me in check’ & made sure I didn’t overeat & gain weight.  I’d usually aim for anywhere from 1600-1750ish per day, which most likely was NOT enough for my body & not what my body wanted.  I’d most often end up going over in calories & then just feeling crappy about myself.  It was a vicious cycle.  It’s a cycle I’m breaking.  I’m getting off the diet train!! NO MORE dieting!!!

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I’ve mentioned previously, I’ve been reading some self-love books & working on loving myself & what my body is capable of & has done for me.  I’m working on being kind to myself.  I’m trying out meditating & being more mindful in general.  I’m also reading the book “Healthy at Every Size” & “Intuitive Eating“, which have both been very helpful.

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you probably have noticed my eating patterns have shifted.  I’m eating what my body is telling me it wants – trying to eat intuitively & mindfully.  I’m not putting foods off limits since that only creates more desire for them.  After a bit, these foods will no longer be appealing & I’ll gravitate back towards my much healthier ways.  I just need to make peace with these foods I’ve demonized for so long & to not eliminate any food groups because it’s supposedly healthier to not eat _____.  I’m not saying it’s not justified for some people – I still agree we’re all unique individuals.  Some of us also have allergies/intolerances/food preferences that we don’t like to eat certain things – & that’s ok!

Am I going to gain some weight?  Probably.  I’m pretty sure I have, but I’m not weighing myself.  It’s a learning curve & I need to get back in touch with my body & my own hunger & satiety cues.  They’ve been suppressed for so very long since I relied on a number of calories I had left to eat, or the time of day to tell me I should eat.  I wasn’t listening to the most important thing – my own body!!  I’m sure my body weight will even out to it’s preferred & set weight with time & as I learn to trust it.

Are you ready to ditch the diet mentality & to trust your own body?!  Can you relate?