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Chemistry Regents: Everything You Need to Know

Chemistry Regents: Everything You Need to Know

This guide will cover everything you need to know about the Chemistry Regents exam in 2024.

Sindhura S.
Sindhura S.
Pre-Test Checklist
Test Prep
Study Tips
Photo by Hans Reniers on Unsplash

If you're a high school student in New York State preparing to take the Chemistry Regents exam, you might be feeling a bit nervous! Even if you love the subject of Chemistry and have done well through the school year, the June test is cumulative and you have to go back and study all the things you learned as far back as September or October.

The Chemistry Regents is an important test because the results appear on your high school transcript which prospective colleges are then able to see, but with the right preparation, you can and should approach it with confidence. In this guide, we'll cover everything you need to know about the Chemistry Regents exam this year.

What is the Chemistry Regents?

The Chemistry Regents exam is a standardized test administered by the New York State Education Department. It assesses your understanding of core concepts within chemistry, which are typically taught in high school. The idea is to standardize what the thousands of public high schools across the state teach and make sure that NYS students come out of taking one year of Chemistry with a certain minimum level of knowledge.

For a Regents Diploma, students must take 1 Science Regents exam and for an Advanced Regents Diploma, students must take 2. Chemistry is often one of the Regents Science subjects that NY State students in public school take. Even if only 1 Science Regents Exam is required, many schools go above and beyond the minimum by requiring their students to take 2 or 3 science subjects. The Regents exam sometimes replaced the “final” exam of a class. But sometimes, teachers will want to give their own final exam, in addition to the Regents. This is up to each individual Chemistry department.

When is the NYS Chemistry Regents in 2024?

The Chemistry Regents exam in 2024 is scheduled for Thursday, June 20th.

Be sure to stay up-to-date with your school's announcements so that you know the exact time you must report for the exam.

How Long is the Chemistry Regents?

The Chemistry Regents exam is 3 hours long, consisting of three different parts. We’ll cover the specific structure of the exam and its content below, so be sure to keep reading.

Preparation for chemical experiment with test tubes and flask
Photo by RF._.studio

What Topics are in the Chemistry Regents?

The Chemistry Regents exam will cover a range of concepts that fall into these specific categories:

  1. The periodic table
  2. The atom and atomic structure
  3. Acids and bases
  4. Salts and solutions
  5. Stoichiometry
  6. Bonding
  7. Kinetics and equilibrium
  8. Oxidation-reduction reactions
  9. Organic chemistry
  10. Nuclear chemistry
  11. Matter and states of matter

As a part of the exam, you will receive a copy of the periodic table, and a comprehensive set of reference tables (listed below). Be sure to review these reference tables thoroughly, so that you can figure out what other formulas, constants, and equations you need to spend time memorizing. For example, you will be given the formula for determining percent composition, but not for determining average atomic mass. Also, be sure to review your rules for significant figures, as this will be important for multiple choice and open-ended questions.

Table A: Standard Temperature and Pressure

Table B: Physical Constants for Water

Table C: Selected Prefixes (e.g., kilo-, centi-)

Table D: Selected Units (e.g., meter)

Table E: Selected Polyatomic Atoms

Table F: Solubility Guidelines for Aqueous Solutions

Table G: Solubility Curves at Standard Pressure

Table H: Vapor Pressure of Four Liquids

Table I: Heats of Reaction at 101.3 kPa and 298 K

Table J: Activity Series

Table K: Common Acids

Table L: Common Bases

Table M: Common Acid-Base Indicators

Table N: Selected Radioisotopes

Table O: Symbols Used in Nuclear Chemistry

Table P: Organic Prefixes

Table Q: Homologous Series of Hydrocarbons

Table R: Organic Functional Groups

Table S: Properties of Selected Elements

Table T: Important Formulas and Equations

The other thing to note is that the exam may, and often will, ask you to recall information about seminal experiments that helped shape our knowledge of chemistry today. For example, the Rutherford gold foil experiment was fundamental to our understanding of atomic structure–remember that!

Chemistry Regents Exam Structure

The Chemistry Regents exam is broken down into three parts, each assessing your knowledge of chemistry and your ability to apply it to different situations:

  • Part A: 35 multiple choice questions
  • Part B: a mix of short answer and multiple choice questions, where you will analyze situations and apply your knowledge. You may be asked to interpret graphs and experiments or make calculations.
  • Part C: extended response questions (i.e., complete sentences).

Chemistry Regents Scores

Is the Chemistry Regents hard?

The difficulty of the Chemistry Regents exam varies from student to student based on a variety of factors and how comfortable you feel with the subject. However, there are some sections that students typically find more challenging than others, which you may want to emphasize during your preparation. Here are some of the harder topics you should prioritize reviewing:

  • Equilibrium. How does temperature affect the equilibrium position of an exothermic reaction? What other factors impact equilibrium?
  • Nuclear chemistry. Do you know what the difference is between an alpha and a gamma particle? What is nuclear fission?
  • Chemical properties and periodic table trends. This may not be the toughest thing to learn, but it’s easy to forget, especially if you learned this at the start of your class! Can you describe trends for electronegativity and atomic size, and explain why in terms of electrons?
  • Acids and bases. Can you determine the concentration of a strong acid based on titration data?

Of course, every student is unique and has their own strengths and weaknesses. Be sure to focus on studying topics that you remember struggling with in class. You can even ask your chemistry teacher to help identify topics that you’ve had trouble with, and go over old test questions or homework together. With diligent preparation and practice, you can feel confident and find success!

How is Chemistry Regents scored?

This exam grade will be somewhere between 0 and 100. Your raw score, or the number of points you earn, is scaled and converted into your final examination score.

How to pass the Chemistry Regents?

To pass the exam, students need to achieve a scaled score of 65 or higher. However, you’ll want to aim for a higher score for 2 reasons:

  1. Colleges will see the score on your transcript when you are applying.
  2. Many teachers use the Regents exam either as a final exam or they count it as 2 or 3 exams when averaging a student’s exam average, which means that a bad Regents score could have a disproportionately negative effect on your entire class grade.

What happens if you fail the Chemistry Regents?

If you fail the Chemistry Regents exam, you typically get the chance to retake it up to a total of three times–in order to achieve a passing score. However, as the test is only given in January, June, and August, it’s not ideal to retake it, because you will have to remember all the Chemistry subject matter you learned last year and, most likely, you’ll already be studying a different science subject at that point. If you don’t pass with these three attempts, you should discuss next steps  with your guidance counselor to find out your graduation requirements.

Chemistry Regents Exam Day Rules

What do you need to bring for the Chemistry Regents?

The night before the exam, it can be a good idea to set aside all of the materials you will need for the exam the next day. Be sure to pack:

  • Lots of No. 2 pencils!
  • A pen with black or blue ink
  • A 4-function or scientific calculator
  • A clear water bottle
  • And leave your phone at home!

Black Calculator Near Ballpoint Pen on White Printed Paper
Photo by Pixabay

What calculators are allowed on Chemistry Regents?

You should bring a 4-function or scientific calculator. No graphing calculators will be allowed into the testing room.

How to Study for Chemistry Regents? Here are 5 Tips!

Preparing for the Chemistry Regents exam can definitely seem like a daunting task because you have to cover all of the material you learned from September through June, but here are some tips and tricks to ensure your success:

  1. Identify your weak spots and create a study schedule. You can do this by taking an initial diagnostic exam and figuring out which topics were hardest for you. This way, you can assign extra practice time to areas where you need it most while you make your study schedule.

    Typically, it’s a good idea to start studying at least two months in advance (that means April for a June exam). To keep a focused schedule, dedicate each week to one or a few related topics. This might mean that you study the atom and atomic structure the first week, gasses the next week, and so on.
  2. Take practice tests. The best way to get used to the structure and concepts that will be on the real test is to work directly with similar questions! This is also a good way to keep track of your progress. The good news is that past Chemistry Regents exams can easily be found online here. Importantly, remember to take your practice tests using ONLY the materials and the time that will be allowed on the real day. This means put your phone and notes away, have your scientific calculator on hand, use your reference tables, and time yourself!

    Pro Tip: When you review the answer keys for your practice tests, keep a log of answers you missed. Are you consistently getting organic chemistry questions wrong? If so, then consider spending extra time reviewing your orgo!
  3. Work on your test-taking strategies.
    1. Understand how to pace yourself. The best way to do this is by taking practice tests to get used to the time pressure of the exam. Often, it’s a good idea to sit where you can see a clock and have mental checkpoints for yourself. If you only have ten minutes left and more than half of a section left, you know that you have to read and answer more quickly during the real exam!
    2. Make educated guesses. In the multiple choice section, cross out answer choices that seem obviously wrong to you. Then, of the remaining, think about what seems most right. Remember, you can always come back and think about it again if you have time at the end of the test.
    3. Skip questions that have stumped you, then return to them after you’ve completed the rest of the test. This way, you won’t let a single question prevent you from earning points by answering questions correctly later on in the test.
    4. Calm your nerves! Test anxiety is a very real and difficult feeling to battle. Be sure to get plenty of sleep the night before, and don’t skip breakfast! You will likely find much more success on exams if you can relax, be confident, and feel comfortable. Trust that you’ve prepared well, and know that all of your hard work goes a long way!
  4. Make a cheat sheet for yourself. If you know that you always forget certain facts–for example, that acids have a pH < 7 and bases have a pH > 7– then write reminders down on paper! You can find an example of a comprehensive cheat sheet online here.
  5. Seek help from a professional tutor through Ivy Tutors Network. We have a plethora of qualified and experienced tutors available to help you from start to finish as you start your preparation. Our tutors will work with you to create an individualized testing plan and study materials that will help you cross the finish line! Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions!

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