The main shift from the 2012 to the 2017 exam was a shift in focus on the Principles of Dietetics from 12% in 2012 to 25% in 2017, and the trickle-down effect reducing percentages of the other three domains. For dietetic students and new graduates, see the RD Handbook from CDR.
Look at the most up-to-date CDR outline on the website. Be aware of materials published before January 1, 2017 as they will be current with the previous 2012 exam.
The next exam update will be for 2021.
To learn more about the structure of the exam, see my 2016 post on RD exam pass rates.
how many people pass the exam?
About 30-60% of test takers each year take the exam between January and June for the first time, while the remaining percent take the exam in the latter half of the year. The pass rate does not differ by time of year taken. In the graphs below I’ve combined statistics for first time test takers and repeating test takers by year, and projected the last half of 2019 by assuming the first half represents 40% of the total test takers with the same pass rate.
The graphs below demonstrate the difference in pass rates (and number taking the test) between 2013-2016 and 2017-present, with the newest examination version implemented in 2017. The average pass rate for the 2012 version was 86% and for the 2017 version 71% for first-time test takers. For repeating testers, the 2012 version pass rate was on average 38%, versus 33% for the 2017 version.
does pass rate differ by dietetic pathway?
It seems to. The pass rate for all pathways has decreased from the 2012 exam to the 2017 exam. The overall pass rate in 2019 was 53%. Pass rate was similar for coordinated program and dietetic internship students (50% and 55%) but lower for ISPP students (36%). You can also see in the graph below that the majority of test takers were from the dietetic internship pathway.
Within the ISPP pathway, there are several sub-types, including the DPD path, the DI path, and the CP path, each with and without a graduate component. The pass rate overall for ISPP students in 2019 was 36%, and by subtype, was 34% for DPD-ISPP, 33% for DI-ISPP, and 50% for CP-ISPP. Note in the graph below the number of test takers in each of those ISPP subtypes.
how many RD students in each pathway?
In 2019, students from coordinated programs made up 21% of all test takers, ISPP test takers made up 5%, and dietetic internship test takers made up 73%. This make-up is similar to the 2016 statistics of 21% CP, 6% ISPP, and 73% DI.
If you want to look at the numbers yourself, go to https://www.cdrnet.org/rd-exam-stats or if that link no longer works, search for “CDR RD exam pass statistics” in a search engine.
So, now you know!
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