Current Dietetics Students

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Timeline Plans

Beyond Undergraduate

RD Exam Information

Application Process

All candidates eligible for the RDN exam, which is accomplished by the satisfactory completion of a supervised practice program (i.e. dietetic internship completion), will automatically receive an online application for their initial exam. Upon receiving this information after successful completion of the dietetic internship, an applicant will have one year to take the exam. In the case where an examinee fails the first attempt, a second attempt will be allowed after 45 days of the first attempt. However, please remember that the first exam should not be used as practice for the following reasons:

  • The RDN exam is very expensive.
  • Dietetic programs are evaluated on their students' first-time pass results.
  • If dietetic students take position immediately after completing their dietetic internship, employer may expect their new employee to pass the first time in order to not delay their role as a dietitian.

Preparation Methods and Resources

Date and Location

The RDN exam can be taken year-round at an approved test site from Monday to Friday, with the exception of some test centers which are open on Saturday as well.

The RDN exam can be taken at over 225 approved ACT test sites nationwide. Candidates will receive the list of test centers at the time of registration. Regardless of the exam location, state licensure for dietitian has to be obtained in each state you would practice dietetics.


For the RDN exam, application fee is $200.00, effective January 1, 2008. It must be paid with credit card (Visa or MasterCard), check, or money order at the time of registration.

Exam Structure

The number of questions varies for each examinee. The minimum number of questions is 125 and the maximum number of questions is 145. These include about 25 unscored pretest questions to be fair for all examinees. The computer monitors and varies the number of questions each examinee is given based on this. In other words, fewer questions will need to be answered correctly to pass the exam if the examinee gets slightly more difficult questions. More questions will need to be answered correctly to pass the exam if the examinee gets slightly easier questions.

Examinees will be allowed to complete an introductory tutorial and the exam within 3 hours. Once the examinee starts the exam, 2 hour and 30 minutes will be allowed to complete the exam material. The examinee can choose to either see or hide the clock during the exam. At no time during the RD exam will the examinee be allowed to go back to a question once they have moved from it.

Content Breakdown Percentage
Principles of Dietetics 12%
Nutrition Care for Individuals and Groups 50%
Management of Food and Nutrition Programs and Services 21%
Foodservice Systems 17%


Examinees will automatically receive the score on screen immediately upon completion. Never stop on your own. The computer will prompt the examinee by giving a pass/fail status. As examinees leave the testing center, they will be given the printed result in the scale 1-50. A score of 25 or above is required to pass the exam.

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