CDR Exam

Happy New Year!!

I did it!!! I can finally say that I am a Registered Dietitian! After 6 years of college, completing my dietetic internship in May 2015, and taking the CDR exam 3 times, I finally passed on my fourth attempt. I am so ecstatic and relieved! After studying for months, feeling discouraged, working a temporary position in the summer/fall, I didn’t think I would ever pass and started to regret my decision to become a dietitian. What if I really couldn’t pass this exam? What was I supposed to do with my life? Nutrition and dietetics has been the biggest part of my life for at least the past 5 years and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. But on December 30, 2015, I finally read the words, “Congratulations!” on the paper print-out before I left Pearson.

After reading so many posts about how dietitians passed the RD exam, I felt that I should do the same especially since even though I worked hard and did well throughout my classes and my internship, I still had trouble passing the exam. I have used almost every resource material out there to help you prepare for the exam, but I’m not a good exam taker, especially multiple choice, due test anxiety and thinking too much into a question. Here are the materials that I used to study for the exam:

-Jean Inman’s Study Guide (includes CD’s and material on all three domains w/ 500+ practice questions in each domain): $385

Very helpful and informative for specific details. I listened to the CD’s and followed along in the study guide, writing down notes throughout. Reviewed a domain in the study guide each week then answered the questions in the packet after reviewing a specific domain.

-Academy’s Study Guide (includes the outline of the exam and a practice exam on paper and online): $65

This was not worth the money. There are 3 online exam vouchers, but the questions are the same for each exam. My college also gave me the study outline for the exam.

-Dietitianexam.com: $225 for a limited time only

This was definitely the most helpful in preparing for the exam. It was more broad then Jean Inman’s study guide which helped to get the big picture and understand the main concepts. Also, it helped to stay motivated in studying every day. It gives you reading material then practice questions at the end. Then you have to go over and answer the questions that you missed. You will also receive a weekly question e-mailed to you.

-RD Exam Secrets Study Guide by Mometrix (includes material on all domains, test-taking tips, and 2 practice exams): $40.00

I bought this study guide to help me with test taking strategies which it really didn’t have that many tips to consider helpful, but I did like the practice exam questions.

-RDstudy.com (includes videos and practice questions): $119/month

This was helpful in watching videos for concepts that I felt less confident about, but didn’t have any reading material. The practice exam questions were asked in challenging ways that are not like the actual exam questions and were difficult to review. This wasn’t worth the cost.

-Quizlet (included flashcards/questions in each domain): free J

Searched for RD review questions and found flashcards to review for each domain. This was helpful, but only used it occasionally.

-Visual Veggies demo (I did not actually buy the full version, but the full version includes a hangman-style game and 700+ practice questions): free 🙂

I enjoyed playing the hangman-style game which was fun! I would have bought the full version if I did not buy RDstudy.com.

-SUNY Oneonta’s RD Review Course: free 🙂

-Pocketprep: Dietician for Registered Dietitian National Board Exam Prep App: free unless you buy the premium pro account for $19.99

This app was awesome! I set my exam date, a reminder alert to study, and answered the QOTD each day. You can choose up to 100 questions and which domain content you want. The questions are challenging, but helps you to understand main concepts. Every day, during my lunch break or any other free time, I would take a practice exam. You can also review your past exams and scores.

-Registered Dietitian Exam Prep by Upward Mobility (Double Bottom Line Partners): free 🙂

This app was very good too! It allows you to review questions then take a test in the chosen domain content. Questions were relevant to the material.

Other materials that many students use are: Hess and Hunt for $150, Breeding and Associates Registered Dietitian Exam Review Guide for $250 (I’ve heard you really only need Jean Inman or Breeding’s), RD-in-a-Flash Flashcards for $125. Also, I almost considered finding a tutor on Tutor Ant, although I had trouble finding a tutor to help with the actual content of the exam.

For my first attempt, I only used Jean Inman’s study guide and CD’s, I did not attend a class, although that is an option too and I would highly suggest doing that especially if it is offered for free by your college. I studied for 4 weeks and created a study outline, focusing on one domain each week and then on the weekends, reviewing the domain and taking the practice questions. The second and third time, I used Jean Inman’s study guide, listened to the CD’s on my way to and from work, dietitianexam.com, RDstudy.com (only on my third attempt), took the Academy’s practice exam and practice exams from Mometrix, studied flashcards that I made from using dietitianexam.com, answered questions on Quizlet and the Pocketprep RD exam app, and went through my study outline of the exam and wrote down all the information for each domain using Jean Inman and dietitianexam.com. Also, I created a RD “Cheat” Sheet and an equation sheet for all of the Foodservice Calculations. For the fourth time, I reviewed everything, again each week, I reviewed a domain writing everything down in Jean Inman’s study guide and all questions from dietitianexam.com questions on index cards, used visual veggies and aps every day, and studied my flashcards.

The exam has very broad questions so you must understand main concepts, many subjective and situational questions, and you must know your food service formulas/equations! This exam is intended for entry level, but in my experience it was frustrating, but you can pass this exam!

My last advice I want to give pertains to actually taking the test on exam day. First, relax and do not panic. Panicking only prevents you from thinking too much into questions, go with your gut answer, you first answer is usually always right! Second, make sure you do not drink too much coffee/tea/water before the exam and/or use the restroom before you enter the testing room. This prevents you from concentrating and you cannot go back to review or re-answer any question. Also, you do not have any scheduled breaks. You have 2.5 hrs. to complete 125-145 questions. Pace yourself, try not to spend longer than 1 minute on a question, although the math questions may take longer.

The first time, I only received 125 questions, but the following attempts, I answered up to 145, so do not panic if you get more questions over the 125. This means you are doing well! Third, if you do not pass the first time, try to remember everything that was on the exam and write it down. You cannot share any of the questions or specific information on the exam, but you can write down what you remember to help you prepare for the exam next time. I’m glad I did that since even though questions were different, many of the concepts were similar. And lastly, don’t give up! You got this far, you can do this! It might take you more than once, but that’s okay. What matters is that you don’t give up!

Failure and Success

“Happiness depends upon ourselves” is a famous quote by Aristotle which becomes more true to me as I grow as a person and embark on my career journey. At one of the 8 sessions I attended at FNCE, the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics held in Nashville, TN in the beginning of October, the speaker, Amy Myrdal Miller, spoke about failure and success. She spoke about her experiences and journey in the field of dietetics and shared her recipe for success: focus, fortitude, fun, fitness, friends, fallacies, flexibility, fervor, friendliness, forgiveness, and faith. The path to success is never straight or easy. As a recent dietetics grad, yet to pass the CDR exam and unsure of exactly what I want to do is this field, her speech was inspiring. Many of the sessions I attended at FNCE left me overwhelmed, excited, and inspired.

As my first time at the conference, I was astonished to see so many Registered Dietitians and nutrition professionals that were here to learn, grow, and make changes to improve the health of our communities. As I listened to the speakers, I knew this was the right career for me, yet since graduation, I have felt overwhelmed from passing the exam to finding a job to pay back my student loans. My passion and determination led me to this career, but as I am nearing the end of my temporary position at the WIC program, I think to myself, what do I do now? What do I want to do? Mrs. Miller shared her mentor’s advice: “Say yes to everything, but especially the offers that scare you.” Any opportunities that I receive, I know I have to just go for it. Leaving home and starting a life for yourself is somewhat scary, yet I believe that’s how an individual grows. Mrs. Miller says, for new dietitians, they must be a volunteer leader to grow, develop, find new skills, and mentors by participating in local, state, or Academy groups. I hope to one day have the opportunity to become more involved in my profession. But I have also found this profession to be competitive, 10,000 registered dietitians, students, or nutrition professionals attended the conference which are most likely qualified for similar job positions as you. And as a soon to be new dietitian, it is not easy against dietitians with 10-20 years experience in the field. But how do you know without trying? You just have to risks and not be afraid of failure.

If I never tried long distance running, I would never have known I could run 26.2 miles. Since I began my running journey, my life long goal was to one day run a full marathon. But as I trained, putting in long runs, I didn’t know how tough I had to be. Long runs are exhausting and takes hours from your weekend. Many times during my long runs, I wondered if I could really do this and what if I failed? And to my surprise, many people during the race, walked or could not go on any longer. But I was determined, no matter how much my body ached. And as I crossed that finish line, filled with so much emotion from the physical pain my body felt and the joy of the accomplishment I only ever dreamed of, it was all worth it. And when my Mom asked me, “Would you do it again?” I never imagined my answer would be “Yes, if someone asked me to run with them.” The hardest part, was being self-motivated to run and at times was lonely. As in running and many other things in my life, I don’t wait for others, I decide to do something and I do it. But as I become older, I realize I want to share with someone these experiences. If you or someone you know is thinking about running a marathon for the first time, consider joining a running group or find a running partner. You will have support and companionship on long runs. And share healthy recipes and running tips. And most important, don’t be afraid to fail.

Job interviews are also nerve racking and you may feel like a success or failure. In my most recent job interview at a small, teaching hospital in PA, I realized even if I didn’t get the job, I wasn’t a failure. I felt confident about myself and used my strengths shine such as my passion for nutrition and my personality. The more interviews I go on, I become more confident and realize both parties are judging each other. And not getting a job you think you really want does not mean you are a failure, maybe it isn’t the right fit for you whether the employer or you realize that, or a better opportunity is coming. Each job interview I have, I learn something. As I walked out from the hospital, happy, yet discontent, an older gentleman walking out of the hospital in front me, sparked a conversation with me. He told me good luck and that I had a good personality, “you will go far one day.” In that moment, I realized, I would be successful one day and I just needed to find the right opportunity. And reminded me of the advice from Mrs. Miller’s lecture, if you have a great attitude and smile, you’ll make it.

And that leads me to the question of what does success mean to you? Currently, Strayer University is campaigning to redefine Webster’s dictionary of success: achieving wealth, respect, or fame. I never wanted to be famous, but I have always wanted to be successful. To me, being successful is accomplishing your personal goals and finding happiness which is very similar to the new definition of success. Sign the petition here: http://readdress-success.strayer.edu/

Hello world!

I would like to start this blog to share my journey as I become a dietitian, share my nutrition knowledge, give tips on eating well and fitness, and inspire you to become a healthier and happier you! I am a passionate believer that one important aspect of happiness is to take care of our bodies through nutrition and fitness. My motto is that food is medicine and everything in moderation!

I recently went to NYSAND’s Annual Meeting and Expo where Dr. Katz was a keynote speaker. He stated, “eat real food, not too much, mostly plants.” And I couldn’t have said it any better. He explained that to be healthy, is a skill people must learn. I followed this career path to not only learn how to become a healthier me, but to also help others become healthier. Obesity is an epidemic and a current public health issue in the United States. Evidence has shown that obesity leads to chronic diseases. Our environment is the problem to obesity (as stated by Dr. Katz, we are polar bears in a desert). But as individuals we can learn to prevent chronic diseases through nutrition and physical activity.

In this blog, I hope to share my nutrition knowledge and culinary skills to help you feed your family healthier meals that you all can enjoy and inspire you to cook using real food and more plants! Also, I hope to share my running journey as I begin training for a half marathon.

As I have just finished my dietetic internship, I will be studying for the RD exam, working as a nutritionist for WIC, and training for a half marathon! I hope you will join me in my journey and maybe you will even start a fitness journey or cook more in the kitchen! Cheers to a happy and healthy life!