How to Study

The most common question I get asked is “how do I study for the CDE™ exam?”

The exam is created by a group of health care professionals who know how to care for patients in a wide range of settings. Approach the exam in the same way. If you become a health care professional who knows how to care for a wide variety of patients then you will find test easy.

The first step is to completely read and become very familiar with the 2018 Diabetes Canada clinical practice guidelines which can be found here: http://guidelines.diabetes.ca/cpg

YOU MUST be very familiar with the 2018 Diabetes Canada clinical practice guidelines for the test.  It is the most important document to read! A number of my students have passed by becoming very familiar with the guidelines and doing my Practice Exams.  If you aren’t familiar with the guidelines then its very unlikely that you will pass.

The Diabetes Canada website with its Health-Care Professional tools and People with Diabetes resources  is the second most important resource. You can find them on the side bar of the main website here: http://guidelines.diabetes.ca/

The information from the clinical practice guidelines are summarized in the Key Messages, Health-Care Provider tools and People with Diabetes resources. Becoming familiar with them will make you a better health care provider in the area of diabetes.

The Key Messages section has several resources to give to patients as well as patient cases with multiple choice questions.

The Health Care provider interactive tools are great for testing your knowledge on various topics in diabetes. The videos are useful in highlighting what is important in each chapter. You can download the slides and look through them yourself

The book called “Building Competency in Diabetes Education: The Essentials” is useful if this is the first time you are writing the exam or if you are relatively new to the field of diabetes.  It can be purchased here:  https://orders.diabetes.ca/products/building-competency-in-diabetes-education-the-essentials?variant=1198124569 .  There is also a book called “Building Competency in Diabetes Education: Advancing Practice” that is available here: https://orders.diabetes.ca/products/building-competency-in-diabetes-education-advancing-practice?variant=1198158265 . Note that as per May 2019 that Advancing Practice has not been updated to the 2018 guidelines so do not purchase until it has been updated.  A lot of student ask me if it is necessary but I have never read that book and I have passed the exam multiple times as well as hundreds of my students. I feel that book is unnecessary. If you have unlimited time to study there may be a few questions out of 165 that are in Advancing Practice book but I feel it is not worth your time investment.

If you have studied the above resources well then it is likely you will pass. Putting in the hard work to study is the key to passing the exam.

Here is a list of suggested resources for the exam:

The Diabetes Canada presentations narrated by Dr Alice Cheng at http://guidelines.diabetes.ca/slides-and-videos

Below is the exam workshop I attended at the national conference in Edmonton:

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Below is a great module for insulin adjustment

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Below is a guide for Diabetes Education in Canada, useful for the Education/Research competency.

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For the Pathophysiology competency I suggest reviewing: chapter 3 of Building Competency: The Essentials which can be purchased here, and my lectures on pathophysiology. For additional information (as they are on the list of recommended resources) please see chapter 25 of Joslin’s Diabetes Mellitus, (14th Edition) which I have uploaded here and chapter 60 of Diabetes Mellitus: A Fundamental and Clinical Text, which I have uploaded here. Alot of the information in these two chapters is too complicated. I have never encountered questions testing the complicated material but the chapters have been useful to increase my understanding of ß cell dysfunction.

For the Nutrition competency I suggest reviewing: the Nutrition Therapy chapter of the 2018 Diabetes Canada clinical practice guidelines starting on page S64, chapter 5 of Building Competency: The Essentials, the Diabetes Canada Glycemic Index handout, the Diabetes Canada Carbohydrate Counting handout and the Diabetes Canada Alcohol handout.

For the Medications Competency I suggest reviewing: Glycemic Management in Adults With Type 1 Diabetes on pg S80, Glycemic Management in Adults With Type 1 Diabetes on pg S88 of the 2018 Diabetes Canada Clinical practice guidelines. Appendix 3-14 of the Diabetes guidelines are also useful and will likely be on the exam. Also chapter 6 and 12 of Building Competency: The Essentials. There will be lots of questions on insulin initiation and adjustment so some other helpful resources are chapter 18 of Pumping Insulin (is on the list of recommended resources) which I have uploaded here. I also found the Forum of Injection Technique (FIT) guidelines very useful. The Diabetes Canada website has a ton of health care providers tools which are very useful in real life practice and will like be on the exam. You can find them here at the Diabetes Canada clinical practice website and the Pharmacotherapy for Type 2 diabetes is especially useful.

For the Self Management: Hypoglycemia competency I suggest reviewing: Hypoglycemia on pg S104 of the 2018 Diabetes Canada clinical practice guidelines and chapter 8 of Building Competency: The Essentials.

For the Self Management: Hyperglycemia competency I suggest reviewing: Hyperglycemic Emergencies in Adults on pg S109 of the 2018 Diabetes Canada clinical practice guidelines, chapter 8 of Building Competency: The Essentials and chapter 21 of Understand Your Diabetes and Live a Healthy Life (is on the list of recommended resources) which I have uploaded here.

For the For the Self Management: Physical Activity competency I suggest reviewing: Physical Activity and Diabetes on pg S54 of the 2018 Diabetes Canada clinical practice guidelines, chapter 5 of Building Competency: The Essentials and chapter 20 of Understand Your Diabetes and Live a Healthy Life (is on the list of recommended resources) which I have uploaded here. Its not on the test but in clinical practice, I suggest reviewing the Diabetes Canada exercise videos, buying a resistance band for $5-10 and showing patients how to exercise in the comfort of their own home.

For the Self-Care Management: Monitoring competency I suggest reviewing: Monitoring Glycemic Control on pg S47 of the 2018 Diabetes Clinical Practice guidelines. Also chapter 7 of Building Competency: The Essentials. The Diabetes Canada SMBG Frequency and Pattern Tool is also useful.

For the Self-Care Management: Foot Care competency I suggest: Foot Care on pg S222 of the 2018 Diabetes Canada clinical practice guidelines and chapter 9 of Building Competency: The Essentials. One of the references from the guidelines is the Foot Care guidelines by the International Diabetes Foot working group which I found useful. Though not on the exam, another excellent resource is the Alberta Footcare Pathway provider’s guide.

For the Microvascular and Macrovascular Complications competency I suggest:  all the chapters in the 2018 Diabetes Canada guideline involving Macrovascular and Microvascular Complications. Also chapter 9 of Building Competency: The Essentials. The Diabetes Canada Reducing Vascular Risk tool is also useful

For the Psychosocial / Lifestyle competency I suggest: Putting yourself in the patients shoes and asking yourself, how would you like to be treated in that situation. As well, Diabetes and Mental Health on pg S130 of the 2018 Diabetes Canada clinical practice guidelines and chapter 4 of Building Competency: The Essentials.

For the Special Situations competency I suggest:  the Type 1 Diabetes in Children and Adolescents and Type 2 Diabetes in Children and Adolescents on pg S234 and S247 of the 2018 Diabetes Canada clinical practice guidelines. Also Diabetes and Pregnancy on
S255 Diabetes in the Elderly on pg S283 of the guidelines. For additional information, although some of the information is out of date, I suggest chapter 21 of Management of Diabetes Mellitus (one of the recommended resources) which I have uploaded here

For the Education/Research competency. I suggest Organization of Diabetes Care on pg S27 and Self-Management Education on pg S36 of the 2018 Diabetes Canada clinical practice guidelines. Also chapter 2 of Building Competency: The Essentials.

To practice for the exam, try out the free quizzes section. If you found those helpful then consider purchasing a Practice Exam simulation in the Purchase section. They will improve your confidence and pass rate while lowering your stress and the amount of time you need to study. You will pass or you get your money back! Please see the Purchase page for details.

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