And we’re back. Feel free to catch up on the SRD Study Guide Part 1 if you missed Mondays post.
3.1) It’s all probability.
So this brings us to our probability game. If there’s 4 options to choose from, that’s a 25% chance of getting the answer right, simply by guessing blind. If we can eliminate 1, that drastically improves our odds by 8% bringing us to 33%. If we can do our very best and eliminate just 1 more, we’re at 50% odds of picking the right answer by a blind guess. Although the scoring system for the test is scaled and requires 25 out of 50 to pass, it’s generally accepted the unscaled system is somewhere between 50% – 70% to pass the exam. So if you have at least seen every term, your odds of eliminating clearly wrong answers drastically improves.
Knock out two wrong answers from each question and you could nearly pass by guessing blind.
4) Read, note, condense.
It’s hard to say what you do or don’t know going in to studying. You may feel your teachers prepared you, but do you remember the difference between glycolysis and gluconeogenesis from 3 years ago? For those questions, you need to review. Get a refresher on what the process is and take notes on just the essentials. Come back later and highlight the key parts you still don’t know well enough, rewrite only those on another sheet of paper.
This has been my studying process through most of college and it has never failed me. The day of the exam I don’t need to review 50 sheets of notes, I have one sheet of things I’ve had the hardest time understanding. I know it seems incredibly time consuming, but most people can’t claim to have studied for the RD exam in a matter of a week, while working full-time no less.
5) Know what you don’t know.
According to Inmans, the breakdown of exam is ;
Domain I – Food and Nutrition Sciences – 12%
Domain II – Nutrition Care Process and Model – 40%
Domain III – Counseling, Education and Research – 10%;
Domain IV – Foodservice Systems – 17%
Domain V – Management – 21%
However, this isn’t how you should structure your studying. Realistically you should spend around 65% of the time studying Domains 4 and 5.
Why you ask? Multiple choice questions have the added benefit of jogging your memory. The problem with domain 4 and 5 is twofold.
1) Most interns get the least exposure in these areas (foodservice and management) and 2) This is the only section that really has formulas to memorize.
No-matter how much exposure you get, if you don’t memorize these there won’t be much to help you during exam questions.
If you were to ask my personal choice for what to study third, I’d suggest Domain 3. Although it tends to be the “easiest”, choosing the “best” community program for a particular patient is rife with subjectivity.
Seriously, aside from overstudying, the most common reason for failing the exam is anxiety. Schedule the exam later in the day, sleep in, eat a good meal for breakfast and a snack before you go in. Unlike the GRE you won’t be able to eat or drink during breaks (at least I wasn’t) so make sure you have enough to keep you going. Throughout the test, stop and breath. You’re doing fine, you’ve got this. Answer in politically correct terms, now’s not the time to over-think. You’re almost there, just a few more questions. This is the moment you’ve been craving for, the culminating point of your education. Just a few more clicks. This isn’t the test you’ve been dreading, it’s just the start. The start of the rest of your life.
Be good to each other.
– Joshua Iufer, RD
p.s. for those wanting additional resources check out No Fluff RD Study Guide, What to Expect, or RD Exam Secrets (this one costs $$$ though)
Great advice Josh! I appreciate your perspective…very helpful! As always, you take a very sensible approach! Thanks.
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