Are you a dietetic intern looking to pass the registered dietitian exam, known as the RD Exam? Look no further, follow these 5 steps!

I am now Sarah Grace Spann, MS, RD, after passing the RD Exam (after 5 days of studying), and after many requests, I want to share exactly how I did it with you! Its been so fun to share my journey with you, and tips along the way. If you are a dietetic intern seeking to secure an internship, click and watch this video of anything you could want to know, or this interview video. If you are looking to PASS the RD Exam, you are in the right place.

After completing my masters in exercise physiology and sports nutrition, it was time to complete the very last exam ever.. the RD EXAM

sports nutrition


2 Disclaimers: I do NOT RECOMMEND studying only 5 days for the RD Exam even though I did pass. However, I think the 5 steps I took in 5 days, you can easily apply to a longer span of time, which I DO recommend. I also will get a very small % of one of the links that is linked within this post. If you do want to buy, I would really appreciate you using the link!

Now my 5 days of RD Exam prep was filled with stress and NOTHING but studying – sitting at my table, studying; walking on a treadmill, studying; laying in my bed, studying. Laying on the floor with my dog, studying.

So, I truly recommend taking more time than me and my 5 days to study. Thankfully, as RD2Bes, most of us are type A and super perfectionist type people – so I’m sure very few of you would EVER even consider doing what I did :). Trust me, I promise I’m usually one of those people, but because of launching my online course Break Up with Dieting the very next day, I needed to have my RD credentials ASAP. (If you want more info on launching your own business as an RD or making money online – I’ll be blogging about that here on my Entrepreneurship Tab)

No matter what, these 5 steps can help anyone, no matter the time crunch you are on!

Now for what you came to this post for:

dietitian exam

5 Steps to pass the RD Exam

1. RD Exam Studying Time Frame

Despite ME only taking 5 days to study for the RD Exam, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it. I got almost no sleep, and did not feel as confident walking in as I typically like to feel for tests. Probably not a shocker if you’ve read anything out there and seen how others take 2-4 weeks usually. What I will say, is stop waiting to schedule it. Right when you get cleared, commit to a timeframe for studying and schedule it!

Perfect time frame for studying for the RD Exam (in my opinion)? 1 Month. The tips I will give next, that I did in 5 days, I would space out between 3-4 weeks.

BUT, I did feel like I did a pretty good job looking over everything and at least seeing everything once, within those 5 days. How? Keep reading. But all in all, I would schedule your exam for 3-4 weeks out, and then COMMIT to a study plan.

2. Choose Study Materials Best For You

I chose to use 3 different study materials within the 3 days. But disclaimer, I received one of them for free to try out. I found all effective though, and will talk about all 3 briefly.

3 Materials I Used to Study

If you are a study guide type person and like to READ and have physical materials in front of you, the Inman Guide is awesome. For the first day (of my 5) days studying, I solely used the Inman Guide. Kind of pricey though!

If you are a visual learner, Visual Veggies is for you! I LOVED THIS. I used this the other days for studying, and I wish I would have had more time to utilize all the features! Here is what the “Study Suite” looks like:

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rd exam prep


The 3rd thing I used while studying, was FLASHCARDS. Mine were given to me by a friend and it was called “RD in a Flash”.. but Visual Veggies has flash cards as part of their program, so it’s a double win!

rd exam prep

Separated with all the different 4 domains:

visual veggies

And keeps track of your progress!


visual veggies

visual veggies

I mean, how cute is this personalized readiness plant? Good thing I didn’t have time to explore this before I took mine because in 5 days, it probably wouldn’t have shown very much readiness 🙂

rd exam prep

But all in all, choose whatever study program you do best with, either Inman guide for physical study guide type material, or Visual Veggies for visual + flashcards and more!

3. Create a Study Plan

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So for me personally with only 5 days, here was my study plan:

  • Day 1&2: solely went through all of the Inman Guide material – TONS of pages worth on content on all “domains” the test encompasses.
  • Day 3: Do practice exam questions and more prep on topics I wasn’t very good with on Visual Veggies — and create word document to take notes on things I wanted to look over yet again! I especially focused on equations this day along with (silly) questions on things like “scoop size and servings per scoop” and “temperature to keep coffee at” type silly questions. (Yes, you have to know things like that even though in my opinion, you shouldn’t ever need to know that as a dietitian, even food service dietitian)
  • Day 4: Practice questions like CRAZY on Visual Veggies + flashcards — I sat at my table practicing, I went on walks with questions, I laid in bed practicing. I’m not kidding when I say my whole 5 days was ALL RD Exam prep. I never want to look at that stuff again.
  • Day 5: Practiced equations, took ONE full practice exam the very first thing that morning, and then continued to look over the word document I had created from the first 4 days of “stuff I need to know but isn’t sticking” hah.
  • Night before test: NO MORE STUDYING. BREATHE.
  • Morning of exam: Definitely no more studying. Looked over one little cheat sheet I made of a few things I wanted to look over last minute – equations, vitamin sources, temperature for washing and such. Again, deep breaths + confident thinking!

But for you it will probably look a little different if you are taking more time than 5 days (which I recommend). I would do something similar to what I did, but space it over 3-4 weeks.

So, maybe week 1-2 is solely going through all the content once, whether using Inman Guide or Visual Veggies. Maybe throw in some practice questions/flashcards here and there. Then Week 3, do what I did on day 3&4. And then week 4, do what I did on day 5 🙂

But again, do what you think is best for you! Everyone likes to study differently!

4: Know What to Expect on Test Day

It may not come as a surprise, but because of choosing all of a sudden to take the exam in 5 days, I didn’t know ANYTHING about what the exam looked like or how it was structured until about 12 hours before.

Let me put you at a little more peace and tell you right now so you aren’t like me and stressing the night before to find all of this information out there.

What to Expect

  • NO materials are allowed in the test taking area – and no study materials are allowed in the sign in room even (I had to put my notes back in my car)
  • You don’t need to bring pencils or calculator or anything – because you won’t be able to use it – they provide you everything you can use.
    • I had to even split my gum out and be patted down before entering the room haha.
  • They give (or at least gave me) a little dry erase board + marker, and told me to use the calculator on the computer. All else was locked away in a locker before entering the room. I’ve heard other bloggers say you can ask for paper if you want to, but I didn’t. I also am not a big note taker and barely had to use it at all except like 2 equations.

Test Structure

  • 145 questions
  • 1-100: 25 of the questions are experimental and don’t count towards your score.
  • 100-125: all count. do as good as possible. (not like you wouldn’t on the first 100 either)
  • #125: if you’ve done well enough, it shuts off and woo you passed! If not, you keep going. You have up until #145 to do good enough.
  • No matter what, test shuts off at #145. You have to do a 10 question survey before seeing results…TALK ABOUT STRESS.
  • And then a little page pops up, and it will take you about at least 30 seconds to distinguish if you actually passed or not if you’re anything like me. You’d think it’d say in BIG LETTERS or something that you passed. Nope.

FINAL note on the actual test: Some questions you will roll your eyes and think WHY do I need to know this!! And for every question you don’t know, you’ll think to yourself, “I know so much that you aren’t asking me!!”.

It’s okay. You WILL pass. Don’t get discouraged or overwhelmed. Keep going. Stay positive throughout the test.

5. BELIEVE in Yourself – You WILL Pass!!

Despite only having 5 days to prepare, I TRULY think the one thing that allowed me to pass, was the fact I continually told myself, I WILL PASS.

It may sound silly, but the power of your thinking and words you speak are powerful.

You DESERVE to pass. Really, you KNOW this stuff. You have been learning this material for at least 5 years now (4 years of undergrad + 1 year internship). Think of this study phase before the exam as one big review session. You already know this material (except a few silly questions probably).

Throughout your studying time frame and DURING the test…


The one thing that can make or break you, is your confidence. If you let anxiety come in and takeover, it could really affect your test taking.

Prepare for coming on questions you don’t know, that’s OK. Keep going.

Know that you will know 100 things they don’t ask you for every 1 thing they DO ask and you don’t know. It’s OK.

Be ready for anxiety to TRY to creep in, because let’s be honest, it’s a big test and we’ve been working our whole academic career for this. That’s normal and OK.

But DONT let it overtake you. Remain positive. Stay positive. Take deep breaths.

Seriously. I’m not kidding about the deep breaths. I’m not even an anxious test taker typically, but throughout these 5 days of cramming and during this test, I stopped multiple times to take some deep breaths. And it truly helps.


If this helps you in any way, I’d love to hear in the comments below, or by coming over on instagram and letting me know in a comment or by tagging me in a post! (@freshfitnhealthy #freshfitnhealthy)

Happy Studying Friend!

Sarah Grace

Soon enough, you’ll be holding this little piece of paper too! Get EXCITED.

(come say hi on instagram so you can follow where I’m at post RD exam in my entrepreneur journey!)

passing rd exam