This past Friday, I completed my dietetic internship! (35-weeks and many long drives later). Definitely a lot of pressure was lifted off of my shoulders, as I now only have 1 thing to focus on at this point—my RD exam. With many of the other interns finishing up at the same time, I have been noticing the same questions getting passed around: What are you using to study? How are you studying? Is product x better than product y? How long do I wait to take the exam? Based on other intern testimony (who have taken and passed the exam their 1st time) and the RDs throughout my internship, I have a good idea of how/what to study.
What are you using to study?
I have a copy of Inman’s Review of Dietetics ($385) with the 2014 CDs (compliments from another RD and intern in my rotations). Inmanis basically the go-to book for studying. It has everything you need in it and it is easy to follow. The CDs are great for listening in your car; however, be prepared for the voice you will soon despise. Inman also has a course for the RD exam (where she teaches for a weekend). I’ve heard mixed reactions on this. One RD said that it was a waste since she read from the book (but she is not a lecture-type learner). Another RD said that the course was great and worth going to (he was a lecture-type learner). I’d say if that is your style of learning and you don’t mind the price ($385), go for it.
I purchased, from another intern, the RD in a Flash Cards (over 630 index cards). If you are a notecard person, I definitely suggest this. They were great to grab a few and take with me during my internship when I had down time. I also got the opportunity to look throughHess and Hunt Review of Dietetics: Manual for the RD Exam ($100). It is very similar to Inman with a few extra charts and notes. I don’t think they have CDs, which could be a deal breaker for some.
How are you studying?
A few months before I finished my internship, I began making note cards from Inman. I find it easier to study by using notecards and rewriting my notes. By doing a little bit each night, I was able to transform the whole book into notecards by the end of my internship. For the disease states, I made charts listing the description and treatment/diet. I found this to be easier to study and reference while in my internship. Besides the notecards I made each night, I would try and read through some of my nutrition notes daily. It is kind of difficult to do while you are in your internship, so don’t stress too much on that. Also, you are learning so much from your rotation that you are “studying” as you go.
Now that I am finished, I made a study schedule for myself. Monday-Friday I study for 2 hours in the morning, hit the gym (to clear my head), and then block off 2 hours in the afternoon. I also set time to study on the weekend (2-4 hours depending on what is going on). I am not someone who can just sit for hours and hours, so I will take a 5-10 minute break during my study time. I’m finding this to be pretty manageable for me. Also, in making my schedule I noted which sections I would be studying each day/week. This kept me on task and prevented me from skipping anything.
How long do I wait to take the exam?
Generally, about 1-2 months is a good range for the RD exam. Based on the interns in my class who passed the exam, they took 1 month to study and passed the first time. You don’t want to go longer than 2 months because you don’t want to forget things you learned in the beginning of your internship.
Final Tips (Based from RDs in my rotations)
1. Don’t just focus on things you don’t know. Still focus on things you do know so you won’t forget those concepts.
2. Don’t spend too much time on one aspect. There is a lot to study from!
3. Don’t study the night before the exam.
4. Ask around and look online for past interns selling their materials.
5. You will feel like you are failing the entire time you take the exam. This is normal!
Hopefully, this helps you as you prepare for your exam!