2 Methods for Crafting a RD Exam Study Plan that Works | Free Sample Plan

“Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.” – Steven Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Do you want to make a top-notch study plan? 

I get this question A LOT from people studying for the rd exam.  This topic seems to elude even the most fastidious student.

The most important point to remember is to have a plan. Simply having a plan and writing it down, you are 42% more likely to achieve your goal.

Another component is having a strategy for completing the goal.  That is where the study plan comes in. In your study plan, write down your strategy for that goal as well. For example, if you are going to be studying diabetes medical nutrition therapy, write down how you plan to achieve this. Take a quiz, do a brain dump, create flash cards.

Accountability is another important component to your study plan. Have a mentor, cheerleader, or peer to help support your study efforts. That is what we do at Sage, so check out our Sage RD Exam Prep course here for more information.

Plan + Strategy + Accountability = winning combination

I have a couple of approaches to crafting a study plan for the rd exam to consider depending on your personality type or needs.

Strategy 1: Comprehensive approach 

      1. Pick a date for your RD exam – even just a placeholder
      2. Make a list of all of your topics you need to study. Get specific.
      3. Decide what methods to use – quizzes, retrieval worksheets, exams, group study
      4. Plug it into a monthly calendar overview
      5. Keep track of daily activities with a comprehensive weekly worksheet.


    In strategy 1, write down every single detail, including your personal commitments, work, meal preps, exercise, appointments, etc. using the weekly worksheet. Get the details of the weekly worksheet in this blog article. This method works for those who are busy with work, family commitments and have a lot to juggle and need that extra detailed approach to get through the information.

    For those just looking to have an overall structure to study just to keep on track, try the abbreviated approach. 

    rd exam prep study calendar sage nutrition associates
    rd exam prep study calendar sage nutrition associates

    Strategy 2: Abbreviated approach

        1. Pick a date for your RD exam – even just a placeholder
        2. Use the 3-month overview calendar of all topics on the CDR outline. Add any study methods other than the ones mentioned on the template (quizzing, worksheets, exams). 
        3. Study a minimum of  30 minutes each day.

      Just print out the 3-month calendar with the topics filled in and go to town with studying! 

      You could even create a hybrid of the two.  It’s really up to you!  The main thing is to have a plan of what you are going to do. The ability to look at a goal (example: take the weight management quiz and brain dump) will keep motivating you when you are able to scratch the task off your list.

      Enter your email below to get a copy of the study calendar

      This template breaks down the study topics into small chunks of information over a 3 month period. It includes every topic area from the Commission on Dietetic Registration RD exam outline. This study template also follows along with the Sage RD Exam Review Guide and online course.

      You may need only 1 month or you may need to take 6 months depending on your schedule. Take the time you need to get through the information

      We do recommend you study a minimum of 30 minutes each day. This serves two purposes. 1) Studying daily keeps you in the mindset of studying. 2) Consistency- being consistent has the ability to improve your workflow.  

      The best time of day to study is typically in the morning when your mind is most fresh, but I understand if getting up 30 minutes early is not your thing! Try the 30 minutes before bedtime to have your mind process the information as you sleep.

      Strategies to include in your RD exam study plan


      Take quizzes after you study the information. Try to avoid using quizzes as your only study method. A mistake I have seen some test-takers make is using questions as their primary form of studying. Keep in mind that you are not likely to see sample questions that are floating around the internet on your rd exam. Quizzes are there to provide a litmus to how well you understand the material. Not a primary tool for studying the information.


      We recommend to take sample exams closer to your examination date. This is after you have completed most of your information review and quizzes. Use examinations to see how long it takes you to complete 125 questions (length of the rd exam). You are allowed 2.5 hours to complete the RD exam.

      Retrieval practice

      This could be in the form of a worksheet, concept map or brain dump. Retrieving information is superior to reading/rereading or highlighting. Here is a good explanation of retrieval practice.

      I hope you use these study plan templates.  Let us know how they work for you!

      Study Hard,


      rd exam prep
      Lauren & Laura of Sage

      Welcome New Readers!

      Take a look around to see what intrigues you. This is a great resource for RD2Be’s looking for some “sage” words of wisdom about the registered dietitian exam and the profession of dietetics. 

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