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Working Your Core (Concepts) to Prepare for the CDE Exam

Jul 01, 2011

Are you preparing for your CDE exam? Have you taken the CDE exam recently? How did it go? If you recently took it, what did you do to prepare? What were the most helpful things?

I took it twice; once after working as a diabetes educator for about 2 years and 5 years later for re-certification. Each time, I read the entire Core Curriculum and did the post-test questions for each chapter. We had little study group sessions in my office with those of us who were preparing, where we discussed the various answers for the quizzes and worked through challenges we were having. That was helpful since there was a dietitian, nurse, and myself (physical therapist) taking the exam at the same time. Medications and carbohydrate to insulin ratios were tough for me and the exercise information was more of a challenge for them.

The Art and Science of Diabetes Self-Management Education Desk Reference replaced the old Core Curriculum, and it seems like it would be very useful. Who has used this to learn all about diabetes education or to study for the exam? Did you also use the Diabetes Education Review Guide? What did you think? Any tips you could share for others preparing for the exam?

Before I took the exam for the first time, I took the Core Concepts® course. I found it to be extremely helpful. Not only did the instructors go over a great deal of information, explaining it so we could all grasp the concepts, but they also presented case studies to work through together and covered test-taking strategies. Since it had been many years since I took a standardized-type test, and the first time I was going to sit for this exam, that was incredibly helpful. Who took the Core Concepts course recently in preparation for the exam? What did you think? And, who has taken the course for another reason? I bet it would be really useful to someone entering the field, especially if they aren’t part of a team of educators. If you think this might be helpful for you, check out the upcoming courses.

AADE has several other materials and programs that could help prepare for life as a diabetes educator and for taking the exam. The ABCs of Diabetes Education is a 6-module course that you do on-line, at your own pace. Who has done this? Who would most benefit from the material? I think it is great that it is done whenever and wherever you want. That certainly fits our lives!

It has now been 7 years since I took the CDE exam. If you took it recently, throw out advice to those who are preparing. And, if you are preparing, what questions do you have? What would be helpful for you to know? Let’s work together to get lots of us to that next level of becoming a Certified Diabetes Educator!


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  1. Aug 24, 2011

    Hi Judy! Hopefully, some of your colleagues will add a comment to the thread here, but since it's an older post, I'm not sure that people will see it. I would recommend posting on your state's discussion board in the MY AADE NETWORK to see if there's anyone you could team up with in your area. Good luck with the exam!
  2. Aug 24, 2011

    I am preparing to take the exam this fall. I am overwhelmed with the amount of material to study. I have bought the resources you mentioned but still feel I need help to narrow the amount and concentrate on what is most important. I have talked with a few that have taken and passed the exam but feel that some of the questions are not pertinent to cde functions. Is there anyone out there that would volunteer to help me get started? I do not have access to a study group or person.
  3. Jul 20, 2011

    Jen, Thanks for your post. Any of you who have taken the exam, keep the helpful hints coming! Karen
  4. Jul 11, 2011

    I had the honor of participating in the seminar 'Diabetes Core Curriculum Workshop.' This four day workshop helped prepare me for the CDE exam. The course was interactive with lots of discussion. It answered questions and allowed for networking. I was very satisified with the course.
  5. Jul 08, 2011

    Karen thanks so much for such a helpful article. As a CDE who provides diabetes continuing education courses, many people call me for advice on how to become a CDE. I encourage people to study and take courses years before they are ready to apply for the exam. I also want to share another opportunity for people who want to become diabetes educators or for those who are CDEs and wish to recertify. I've been working at training CDEs for 17 years through my business Pro Health Consulting. We provide a CDE study course that people find very helpful. It is the 'Diabetes Core Curriculum Workshop.' This is a four full day workshop that covers the curriculum content of the CDE exam and the ADA National Standards for Diabetes Self-Management Education (DSME) programs. the course is interactive with lots of discussion. It includes lectures, test taking tips, 8 self-assessment tests and case studies. It is offered twice per year. Additional course information is on our website, or call me at 631.754.3663 or email I hope you find this helpful. Carol
  6. Jul 05, 2011

    I applied for a job that at the end of my two year wait I have to become a CDE. This is an awesome article and I can't wait to read all of the replies.
  7. Jul 05, 2011

    I took and passed the CDE exam on June 30th, 2011. I used the Diabetes Education Review Guide and found it to be very helpful. I also attended a couple of excellent seminars in March and April of this year. I really wanted to attend the Spring Core Concepts course that was held in Chicago, but I could not afford the cost. I had joined AADE last fall, and found my membership to provide me access to very useful information, especially the membership to The Diabetes Educator magazine.

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