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Prior to full-time rotations, students will take a 140 question final competency exam covering all course work in the CPMA. Students who pass the exam with a score of at least 70% may proceed to the first full-time practicum. If a student scores ≤69%, he or she must return to take a new version of the exam after a two-week study period. Students who do not pass the exam on the second attempt will have another two-week study period and must return again to take the exam for the third time. Practicum hours missed to re-take the exam must be made up. If the student does not pass the exam on the third attempt, the student and the program director will agree about the remediation program (examples might include the Inman Seminar on CD at, Breeding review at,, Student Exam Prep (StEP) at The remediation program will be at the student’s expense, and the student provides proof of enrollment and a written plan for completion before he or she progresses in full-time practicum enrollment.

Who Writes the Exam – A team of three or more faculty who have taught the courses during the programwill compile the exam. Each team member will evaluate the exam for face validity by taking the test to determine the extent to which it is subjectively viewed as covering the concepts it is designed to measure. A minimum of two of the faculty will check each question for content validity. This means they are considered recognized subject matter experts and are able to evaluate whether the question assesses the defined content as per the RD Study Outline provided by Commission on Dietetic Registration.

Test specifications for the final competency exams will be the same as for the national exam administered by CDR and will consist of multiple choice questions with four responses to each question. The latest study guide for the RD exam is on the CDR website at You may also obtain a copy from the DE program director.

  • Principles of Dietetics 12%
  • Nutrition Care for Individuals and Groups 50%
  • Management of Food and Nutrition Services 21%
  • Food Service Systems 17%

The purposes of having students complete these exams are to:

  • Motivate students to begin preparation for the National Registration Exam
  • Provide the student with practice in taking comprehensive multiple choice exams 
  • Ensure that the student demonstrates an adequate knowledge and application base for entry-level practice in dietetics
  • Allow the student to identify knowledge and application areas in which further study and practice is needed in order to be adequately prepared for the Registration Examination

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