How Long Should You Study For the RD Exam: Finding the Right Balance

How Long Should You Study For the RD Exam: Finding the Right Balance

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Are you wondering about how should you study for the RD exam? 

It’s normal to feel lost and confused when figuring out where to start studying for the RD exam. 

Don’t worry, RefreshExamS® is here to answer your questions and support you throughout the process.

One of the most common questions we get asked is how long I should study for the RD exam. 

So, what do we suggest? 

It all depends on how much time you have, your educational background, and so much more. 

We’ll explain everything you need to know in today’s blog, including an exam overview, how long to study, and how to prevent burnout.

Want to see how ready you are to take the exam? Take our online exam readiness assessment to determine your readiness in 5 KEY areas. 

RD Exam Overview

Before getting into how long to study and everything else, you need to have a good understanding of what the exam entails. 

The RD exam is a comprehensive exam that covers what you’ve been learning in school and your dietetic internship. 

It has 4 domains: 

  1. Principles of Dietetics (21%)
  2. Nutrition Care for Individuals and Groups (45%)
  3. Management of Food and Nutrition Programs and Services (21%)
  4. Foodservice Systems (13%)

Each domain is also broken down into 3-5 subcategories. 

The exam is at least 125 test questions, which must be answered in 2 ½ hours. You can  get up to 145 exam questions to pass.

You must take the exam at a Pearson testing center located all throughout the United States. 

Before you’re eligible to take the test, you must have completed your bachelor’s degree or master’s degree (starting in 2024), and dietetic internship.

How Long Should You Study For the RD Exam

As you may know, everyone has a different path to becoming an RDN. So, of course, your needs when studying for the exam aren’t going to look identical to those around you. 

Typically, we recommend studying for the RD exam for at least 3-4 months. 

Let’s explore some of the factors that might change that time frame.

  • Availability: This is probably the most critical factor. You need to consider your work schedule, whether you’re still in your internship, and any other commitments. 
  • Background Knowledge: You should consider your schooling and internship, and if you feel they prepared you well. 
  • Test-Taking Skills: If you struggle with tests, you might want to create extra time for studying to help boost your confidence for test day. 

Ultimately, the length of time you choose to study comes down to what you feel comfortable with. 

At RefreshExamS®, we recommend studying for three months to make sure you feel confident when it’s time to take your exam. 

Creating a Study Approach Unique to You

Once you’ve decided how long to study, you should consider creating a study approach to keep you on track. 

Again, this is going to be completely unique to your schedule and your specific needs. 

Here are some factors to consider including in your study plan: 

  • RD Exam Test Prep Materials: Choose a test prep company that will support you throughout the journey and provides comprehensive study materials. 
  • Time Block: Block out 2-4 hours per day to study for 3-4 months. This will depend on your schedule but don’t overdo it – remember  you’re in the final stretch of your path to an RDN and you don’t want to burn out. 
  • Domains: Make sure to study all of the domains and review the ones you are less comfortable with.
  • Practice Questions: Set a certain amount of questions that you’ll answer each time you study. 
  • Mock Exam: Create an exam-like environment, and take a timed mock exam just like you will on the real day. Do this at least once. 

If you’re interested in using our comprehensive study plan spreadsheet to guide you, you can receive a free copy with the purchase of my upcoming book, The KEY Strategy®-Unlock The Dietetics Exam & Pass (Without the Stress). 

How To Avoid Burnout While Studying for the RD Exam

Do you often skip out on self-care because you get caught up in the busy life of becoming a dietitian? 

We understand it’s not an easy path, but self-care is essential when studying for the RD exam.

Here are our tips for avoiding burnout while studying: 

  • Rest and Breaks: Take regular breaks to enhance productivity. Pick at least 1 day a week that’s an off day (we recommend Saturday or Sunday). Taking a full day of rest can be great for feeling refreshed and ready to take on the next week. 
  • Test Prep Company with Self-Care Built In: We recommend finding a test prep company that has stress relief built into their program. If you don’t have that accountability, it can be easy to skip and not prioritize. 
  • Mindfulness: Practice mindfulness and meditation to help reset your nervous system and stay focused throughout the day. 
    • There’s a full section in my latest book on meditation and self-care, make sure to check that out here!
  • Time: Allow yourself plenty of time to study for the exam so you don’t feel like you’re cramming.

Managing your stress and creating a realistic study plan will be a game changer for your success on the RD exam. 

It’s so hard to feel confident and prepared when your brain is scattered and you aren’t prioritizing mental health and emotional wellness!

Client Testimonials & Success Stories

Now, it’s time to choose your test prep company. RefreshExamS® is the firstever RD exam prep company, and we use The KEY Strategy® to help you pass without the stress. 

At RefreshExamS®, we pride ourselves on having exceptional services that individually help you succeed.

But don’t just take our word for it! Keep reading to see what our amazing clients have to say about their experience with us. 

“I just wanted to share the good news that I passed my exam!! I know wholeheartedly that your course and guidance were instrumental in helping me achieve a passing score. My confidence grew from the very first KEY strategies class because I was already approaching the questions correctly and differently than I ever did before.” –  Emily Kish, RDN

We teach in both Spanish and English! Here’s the story of how we helped one of our bilingual clients. 

Wondering how else RefreshExamS® is different? Visit our recent blog at this link.

What’s Next 

If you’re ready to start studying for the RD exam, it’s time to create a study plan and decide how long you will study for. If you haven’t already, it’s also time to choose a test prep company.

So, why settle for an average exam prep program where you might not get the results you need? Choose the trusted program, the first-ever RD exam preparation company – RefreshExamS®. 

If you’ve decided RefreshExamS® is the right option for you, let’s talk about how to get started. 

  1. Choose your program – The first step in working with RefreshExamS® is choosing what comprehensive program is the best for you. We can help you decide if you’re not sure! 
    1. Take our “Which Program is Right For Me” quiz to figure out which program is the best fit for you.
  2. Take an exam readiness assessment – After you’ve chosen a program you’re interested in, fill out our online exam readiness assessment to determine your readiness in 5 KEY areas. Our team will receive your results and be happy to chat with you about programs. We will make sure the program you choose is right for you! 
  3. Be Part of The  Passing Percentage®! – Let us help you! You can pass this exam and become a Registered DietitianNutritionist. 

Get in touch with any questions you have about our program options. We will personally answer them! 

Ditch the confusion and pass with confidence

Be Part of the Passing Percentage!® At RefreshExamS®, we've been helping dietitians-to-be prepare for the registration exam for over six years. There's not a mistake we haven't seen!

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