Last night my boss had a pool party/dinner at her house. I took zero pictures. If you can use your imagination, I made the wonderful Mama Pea’s cinnamon vinaigrette to top the greens mix that I also took along. It was well received. My dietitian and nurses are turning into pea lovers.
I got to thinking and realized that a year ago I was studying non-stop for my RD exam. I had books, papers, PowerPoints, color-coded flash cards, binders, etc sprawled out everywhere for
days weeks. My local Starbucks kept me fueled with non-fat vanilla lattes and paninis during the mornings and afternoons. I was taking online pre-tests and writing down new notes daily. I was careful not to bump into anything the days leading up to my test for the fear of information falling out of my head-yes, really. It takes a number on you.
Tips to prepare for the RD exam:
1. Set your test date. This will force you to be prepared. Choose a testing location that you feel comfortable driving to. Choose a time that works best for your internal clock. Also, make sure you know where the building is, what floor you should go to, and where you should park. I was sure where I could park and it switched my focus.
2. Don’t plan on studying much the day of the exam. It’s useless. Do start studying about 3 months out from when you think you’ll take the test. This will relieve anxiety.
3. Keep all notes from undergrad and your internship. Save your biochem, physiology, anatomy, food science notes and books. Save it all. You never know when you’ll need to reference something. Claim a study space at your house, library, coffee shop, etc.
4. Find your weakness. If you don’t, the RD exam will. Touche, it did for me. Once you miss a question on the RD exam, it’ll come around and give you more similar questions. Begin your studying with your strongest subject and finish with your weakest subject.
5. Know your formulas by heart. At my testing site, they were one step away from doing a pat down. Your memory and knowledge is your only hope, no notes. Write down formulas as soon as your test begins! They provided me with a marker board/paper and marker to use. I wrote down a few formulas right away to relieve some stress.
6. Practice calculating clinical needs/formulas with your numbers and maybe even a family member’s or friends. Real life practice will stick with you. Apply all the nutrition-related information to real life experiences.
7. Study with a partner or group if that helps you. If they are more distracting more than helpful, leave!
8. Talk to yourself. I’d always be chatting away nutrition facts/information as I was driving along. I remember driving up to Madison, WI to take my RD exam and I looked over at a corn field and thought, “You, corn, are missing the amino acid, tryptophan” (the RD exam was making me a little crazy).
9. Budget your time wisely. Set up a schedule of what you will study on what days and for how long. Remember to schedule breaks, too.
10. Think positive! Imagine yourself walking out of the testing site after you’ve passed!
I highly recommend Breeding and Associates exam prep. I bought their study binder and notecards as well as a 3 day review workshop. With the package that I bought, I had access to their online practice tests which were helpful. Check them out at www.rdexam.us.