The Power of RD Exam Pass Rates

RefreshExams The Power of RD Exam Pass Rates

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How do you know if you can trust a pass rate?

Pass rates have a powerful effect by peaking the interest of students deciding which tutoring resources to enroll in to support their exam preparation. With the RD exam approaching and the stress of passing this important test on the rise, a company’s pass rates are one of the most critical things you’ll probably be assessing when choosing a registered dietitian examination tutoring company to meet your needs.

The majority of students conduct their own research to identify the program that will best fit their needs before signing any paperwork or investing in services. When the company has statistics posted, then this is bonus points! The pass rates of test takers make the greatest impact, especially for those who have taken the exam one or more times and did not receive their desired outcome of passing. This percentage holds a ton of weight and greatly influences students’ decisions at the end of the day because they want to be part of the passing percentage too!

If you’re like most, you will only commit to investing in the program that will help you achieve your goal fastest. That’s where pass rates guide decision making. The reality is, If someone perceives a pass rate as impactful, they are likely to enroll with the company. On the other hand, if they are not impressed, then the company will not be chosen. It’s a competitive world out there!

However, how do you know if you can trust a pass rate? Use these key notes as a guide to determining if the pass rate is reliable. Let’s dive deeper into what would be a realistic and reliable pass rate for test takers and what you want to be mindful of when you encounter pass rate stats. Whether you’re a first time or a repeat test taker, this is relevant to you!

RefreshExams how to research RD Exam pass ratesThe First Step: Do Your Research

Review existing pass rate data on the Commission on Dietetic Regristration’s (CDR) website. The statistics observe the breakdown of those who pass the exam each year. Locate the group of test takers that best represents you and take note of how those test takers did. With hundreds of students taking the exam each year, you’re highly likely to follow the same odds as other students. This makes the trends reliable.


One of the most important research concepts in studies (and on the RD exam) is reliability. Reliability is about producing consistent results. CDR’s pass rate percentages are relatively consistent with first time test takers passing the exam in the 60s and upper 70s and repeat test takers passing in the 30s. Now, observe the pass rate posted on a tutoring company’s website. Does the rate sound almost too good to be true? If so, it may be. You will want to critically think about if the pass rate percentage is appropriate for the patterns observed in CDR’s data. If the pass rates are significantly higher, then there are a few other factors you will want to consider, like sample size for example.

Sample Size

Think about how many students each year take the exam while receiving support from the company. A smaller company may only have a few students a year. If 4 of the 5 students pass, then the pass rate for that year would be 80%. However, this could be misleading to generalize. Additionally, if the company is tutoring hundreds of test takers, and the pass rates are higher than the average, you may ask yourself “Who is included in this data set if the pass rates are so much higher? The pass rates may include students that only participated in a small part of the course, such as a single one-hour class.


CDR separates the first time test takers from the repeat test takers. It is observed that first time test takers have a higher chance of passing in comparison to the repeat test taker population. However, pass rates of repeat test takers are just as important because they represent a large portion of yearly test takers. Now ask yourself, “Does this separate the two groups or do the stats also include repeat test takers?” Next, you should be able to determine the timeframe of the data being collected.


Another key factor is determining if the data is being presented longitudinally or just for one year. If the data is collected longitudinally, there should be a disclaimer or description which informs you of how many years are included and if it is an “average” pass rate of X number of years. If the pass rate is just for that one year, then this also should be noted. So ask yourself, “Is the company combining all years of tutoring in their pass rate data or posting just one year’s worth of data? There are multiple ways that companies can present their pass rates while providing you with all the relevant information. Therefore, how a company calculated their pass rates is a key factor to consider.


Disclaimers and descriptions included with the statistics are a must! You should not have to “interpret” the stats on your own. All the key elements we discussed should be clearly stated.

We hope these points were a helpful guide in determining which pass rates you should trust, pointing you to the company you will trust to help you pass!

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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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