How I Passed the Registered Dietitian Exam

I quickly mentioned in my last post that I have completed my dietetic internship and succeeded in passing my RD exam on the first attempt.  What a joy!

The RD exam was everything, yet nothing, I expected it to be.

I have to be honest.  I felt like I studied my brains out.  I’m certain that I’ve never studied so much for an exam in my entire life.

You might be wondering what exactly I did to prepare.  Or you might not be wondering.  I’m going to tell you regardless.  (You’re welcome.)

For about a month after my internship ended, I relaxed.  The thought of going straight from the internship into RD exam study mode was too much, so I just let myself chill and soak up the fact that I was no longer an intern.  Any “studying” that I did during that time could be described as a brief glazing over of material that always ended with me thinking, “Nope, not happening.  Not yet.”

I scheduled my exam about one month out.  The first week, I was probably studying a few hours everyday.  During the following three weeks, though, I basically turned studying into a full-time job.


Here are the tools I utilized:

Inman Study Guide (2013)

There’s a reason why the Inman review is so reputable.  I consider it the best tool I used for studying due to the fact that it was thorough, yet straight to the point, straight-forward, and well-organized.  The Inman Guide groups topics into domains as they are on the actual exam: Domain I: Principles of Dietetics, Domain II: Nutrition Care for Individuals and Groups, Domain III: Management of Food and Nutrition Programs and Services, and Domain IV: Foodservice Systems.  This guide also came with a HUGE packet of practice questions.

I relied heavily on this guide.  I should also mention that I purchased this guide on Ebay.  My guide came from someone who had attended an in-person review course, thus, I did not have the audio CDs.  What I did have, though, were highlighted areas and notes with advice and tips for the exam that came straight from Jean Inman herself, which I found quite useful.

Overall, I do believe I would have been well-prepared for the RD exam if I used the Inman guide as my sole source of information.

Breeding & Associates Flashcards

I obtained these Q/A cards in a Word document from a previous intern and created my own hand-written flashcards.  This was definitely a lot of work, and for me, it was minimally helpful.  I believe these should definitely be used as an adjunct to another resource.

Breeding & Associates Study Guide (2012)

This was another resource given to me from a former intern.  It was, in my opinion, extremely thorough – almost too much so.  It was split up into several sections: Management and Food Service Systems, Medical Nutrition Therapy, Normal Nutrition, Food Science, Community Nutrition Services, and Education and Resources.  There were practice questions dispersed throughout the guide, which I liked.  I used this as somewhat of a follow-up to the Inman guide, using it mainly for concepts I needed to spend additional time on.

My study method:

I started with the sections in which I felt weakest and continued from there.  The way I study for the most part is quite boring: I’ll read and re-read until my eyes feel like they will fall out.  As I read, I’ll make note of any concepts I feel I need spend additional time on.  In addition to reading and some writing, I had a couple study sessions with a fellow “RD to be” which I considered extremely helpful.  It’s really great to work through concepts out loud with someone else as opposed to having an internal dialogue with yourself when you may or may not already be brain-dead.

Of course, at this point in your journey, it’s probably safe to say that you know which studying methods suit you best.  Go with what works for you!


Opinions on the Exam:

Having studied such a large amount of information for a 125-145 question exam, I knew I wouldn’t be tested on every single thing I had learned.  That being said, SO MUCH of what I spent hours studying, deliberately memorizing, did not appear on my exam.  In spite of this, I do not regret the amount of time and effort I put into studying.  It’s impossible to predict which questions you will get, so it’s best to be well-prepared in all domains.


The RD exam is absolutely passable.  Try not to get too bogged down in nitty gritty details, but focus on having a solid understanding of general concepts.  Though it might be against every fiber in your nutrition-loving being, it’s okay to not know everything.  Be confident in your knowledge and test smart!

Don’t hesitate to leave me a comment or send me an email if you have any questions!

2 thoughts on “How I Passed the Registered Dietitian Exam

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