Your future is here, you just have to pass the RD exam first.
It may feel daunting, but don’t let the exam get the better of you. The exam is pass fail so the worst thing that can happen is that you’ll fail. That probably doesn’t sound reassuring to our high strung, wired for perfection, Type A, RD brains, but there are so many successful RDs that have failed and it hasn’t hurt them one bit. Like most things in life, it’s not worth the anxiety, but because our entire education has primed us for perfection, let’s talk about ways to not fail!
1. C O N F I D E N C E
I have no data to back this up, but I would say that anxiety about the RD exam is the biggest reason for poor performance. Truthfully, I didn’t study much for the exam outside of what I needed to do for our internship exit exam, but I a few things that I think were instrumental to my success. First, I retook a CDR sample exam the night before my test date. I had taken this same test at the beginning of the summer when I started studying, when I retook it about a month later (I didn’t remember any answers), I had improved which really boost my confidence. The kicker here is that despite the better score, I still missed some questions that I had gotten right the first time! The second thing, which I attribute most of my success to, is that I just kept telling myself that after the exam, I would be an RD. “Tomorrow, I’ll be an RD.” “In two hours, I’ll be an RD.” Focus on the positives.
2. S T U D Y M A T E R I A L S
There are so many different study materials out there. I mainly used VisualVeggies software that we used to take our exit exams in my internship. I tried to use RD in a flash flash cards and the Inman Review (very popular), but I really struggled to get through it and I felt like I was behind because I couldn’t get out of the first domain. Other people love the Inman, I think it’s a great resource because it outlines everything from your last 4 years of school, but I didn’t really know how to use it to my advantage, until I got to the questions. I also took a few CDR practice exams so I could get used to the style of question that would be asked.
3. S T U D Y T H E W A Y Y O U S T U D Y
Set a date and study like you would for any other exam. We take exams all the time. Even though there is a little more at stake with the RD exam, there’s a reason you’ve been successful in all of your other classes. Studying in a familiar way will boost your confidence and help you feel calm and prepared. I found that setting a date, and making that final in my head (with 48 hours notice, you can change dates), I was motivated to dedicate time to studying. In class, you don’t get to decide when you have tests, so make it a priority and try and schedule it during a week where you don’t have a lot else going on, then keep it that way!
The last 4 to 6 years of course work and you internship have prepared you more than anything for this exam. You have the knowledge and skills to pass. It’s just like seeing patients, some recommendation are based on research, others are based on past experience. Utilize everything in your tool box and you’ll be successful.