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Regents Exams: All You Need to Know in 2024

Regents Exams: All You Need to Know in 2024

This blog breaks down everything you need to know to be mentally and academically ready to perform successfully on the NY Regents Exams and earn your high school diploma.

Lisa Speransky
Lisa Speransky
Regents
Test Prep
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Photo by Katerina Holmes: https://www.pexels.com/photo/textbook-with-pens-and-ruler-on-table-5905522/

Students in New York are very familiar with the term ‘Regents Exams’, but if you’re a middle school or high school student, you might be wondering what they are exactly, and how you can best prepare for them. This blog breaks down everything you need to know to be mentally and academically ready to perform successfully on these tests and earn your high school diploma.

What are the NYS Regents Exams?

The NYSED Regents Exams are statewide standardized tests in core high school subjects, such as English, Algebra, and Science. There are 10 exams in total, and students must pass a certain number of regents exams to graduate from public high school. The exact number depends on the type of diploma a student is pursuing.

What is the point of NYS Regents Exams?

The Regents Exams were - and still are - designed to test students’ preparation for college or the workforce in key subject areas. They date back to the 1860s when the New York State Board of Regents determined it was important to test the knowledge of exiting eighth graders throughout the states. They became a set of high school exams in the 1870s and the subjects tested have changed and adapted based on societal and cultural expectations; for example, starting in 1927 “vocational homemaking” was the subject of a Regents Exam. The core subjects were most recently changed in 2011 with the state-wide adoption of the Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS).

What are the New York State Regents Exams in 2024?

There are ten total regents exams in the following categories:

English

  • English Language Arts

Mathematics

  • Algebra I
  • Algebra II
  • Geometry

Science

  • Living Environment
  • Physical Setting/Chemistry
  • Physical Setting/Earth Science
  • Physical Setting/Physics

Social Studies

  • Global History and Geography
  • United States History and Government

Additionally, students may choose to test themselves on their knowledge of a non-English language (French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Latin, Spanish) or take a Career and Technical Education (CTE) assessment. See Regents Diplomas Overview for more information.

Regents Exams Schedule 2024

The Regents Exams are offered in January, June, and August of 2024.

The June 2024 schedule is as follows:

DateTimeSubject
Thursday, June 4, 20249:15 amAlgebra I
Friday, June 14, 20249:15 amEnglish Language Arts
Friday, June 14, 20241:15 pmLiving Environment
Tuesday, June 18, 20249:15 amU.S. History & Government
Tuesday, June 18, 20241:15 pmGlobal History & Geography II
Thursday, June 20, 20249:15 amPhysical Setting/ Earth Science
Thursday, June 20, 20241:15 pmPhysical Setting/ Chemistry
Friday, June 21, 20249:15 amGeometry
Monday, June 24, 20249:15 amAlgebra II
Tuesday, June 25, 20249:15 amPhysical Setting/ Physics

The August 2024 Regents Exam schedule is as follows:

DateTimeSubject
Monday, August 19, 20248:30 amAlgebra I
Monday, August 19, 20248:30 amEnglish Language Arts
Monday, August 19, 202412:30 pmGlobal History and Geography II
Monday, August 19, 202412:30 pmAlgebra II
Tuesday, August 20, 20248:30 am United States History and Government
Tuesday, August 20, 20248:30 amPhysical Setting/Earth Science
Tuesday, August 20, 20248:30 amPhysical Setting/Chemistry
Tuesday, August 20, 202412:30 pmGeometry
Tuesday, August 20, 202412:30 pmLiving Environment

Students should check with their specific school to ensure accurate times and locations.

Why is New York the only state with Regents Exams?

Several other states require high school exit exams, but only New York calls them Regents Exams. In general, exit exams have fallen out of favor across the country with many states preferring to offer standardized testing at regular intervals throughout the educational journey of students, rather than making them a graduation requirement.

What is the easiest Regents Exam?

There is not a universally “easiest” Regents Exam. Which Regents Exam you will find easiest depends on your interests and knowledge. Preparation will go a long way to ensuring you perform well on all your exams. That being said, for the 2021-2022 school year, the fewest number of students (53%) passed the Geometry Regents, while the highest number of students passed English Language Arts (81%) and Global History & Geography II (80%).

Do Regents matter for college?

While high school exit exams are no longer the norm across the country, NYC public school transcripts list not only your grade in the class, but (in a special section at the bottom of the transcript) also the Regents Exam score. Since Regents exam scores show up very visibly on the transcript, this test score is particularly important for college admissions. It’s important to remember this and to leave lots of time to study for Regents exams at the end of the school year.

We’ve seen many students who have done really well in a class think that they don’t need to study, only to learn on test day that they don’t remember the topics taught at the beginning of the year. What makes these tests challenging is that they are cumulative. Studying for them and showing a top score on your transcript is one way for college admissions departments to assess your college readiness.

In addition, some high school teachers will use the Regents score as 1 or even 2 test grades when they are calculating your final class grade. So the Regents score can also affect your class average, although this varies by teacher. Make sure you ask your teacher how they will treat the Regents score when calculating your class grade.

Regents Exams Structure and Format

The structure of each Regents Exam varies slightly, but all but one - the Earth Sciences exam - consists of a single 3-hour testing period. The Earth Sciences Regents Exam has an additional laboratory component of just under 45 minutes that takes place two weeks before the written portion.

The exams are composed of several different question types including:

  • Multiple choice questions
  • Essay questions
  • Open-ended questions
  • Constructed response questions (open ended questions that often require the use of graphs, tables, images, or source documents to answer).

To prepare for each subject's test, students should look at the format and type of questions that will be required. Ivy Tutors Network currently has guides to the following tests:

Regents Exams Scoring

How are the Regents Exams scores?

Regents Exams are scored from 0-100 but a student’s score is not a “raw” measure - i.e. it is not based solely on the number of questions answered correctly. Rather, the score is calculated based on several factors including number of questions answered correctly, difficulty of each of the correctly answered questions, and which skills the question(s) measured.

What is waiving a Regents Exam?

Regents Exams for the 2023-24 school year may not be “waived”. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the cancellation of most Regents Exams between June 2020 and August 2021, the NYSED allowed students who met certain eligibility requirements to get exam waivers on some examinations. Waiver policies were extended in some situations through June 2023 to account for variations in learning that occurred during the pandemic.

Where to find Regents Exams score?

Once available, scores will be sent to each school with participating students and the schools will in turn notify and release scores to individual students.

What happens if you fail the Regents Exam?

To pass a Regents Exam you must earn a 65 or higher, though accommodations may be made for certain disabilities. Students who fail an exam may still pass the course, but will need to retake the exam. If their in-class performance was also poor, they may be required to retake the course in summer school before re-taking the test.

How to retake the Regents Exam?

Students have the right to retake a test as many times as is needed in order to pass. Work with your guidance counselor to schedule a retake the next time it is offered, typically in June, August, and January. But each exam schedule is different, so make sure to check here.

Regents Diplomas Overview

To earn a Regents Diploma in the state of New York, students must pass 5 Regents exams. Students must take one test from each of the major subject areas, English, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies, as well as one additional test. The additional test choices, or “Pathways”, are as follows:

NYS Regents Diploma with Honors

Students who average a score of 90 or higher on 1 life science Regents Exam, 1 Physical Science Regents Exam, the English Regents, and a Social Studies Regents Exam (5 exams total) will earn a NYS Regents Diploma with Honors.

Advanced Regents Diploma Requirements

To earn an Advanced Regents Diploma, students must complete the requirements for the standard Regents Diploma as well as pass three additional tests, two in Math and one in Science.

Are Some Schools Exempt from Regents Exams?

Project-based and Consortium schools are able to apply for a Regents exemption and in place of most Regents exams, PBA (project-based assessments) are conducted. The only Regents Exam required at these schools is the English test. Learn more about the 36 Consortium School in New York City by following this link.

Private school students are also not required to take Regents Exams.

10 Tips on How to Prepare for the New York Regents Exams

  1. Attend class. This one might seem obvious, but attending class is the foundation for doing well on any Regents Exam. Unlike other standardized tests, Regents Exams are designed to measure what you learn in your coursework. The curriculum and the exam go hand in hand, making attendance and participation a key component of success on test day.
  2. Study regularly. Making time to regularly review what you’re learning will not only help you in class, it will help the information stay in your brain, meaning you’ll need to do less “cramming” prior to the Regents Exam.
  3. Keep tests and assignments from coursework. Past tests and assignments are a great indicator of what you understood well from class and what you could use a little more focused time with. Save work in a digital folder, or act like it’s the 90s and get yourself a colorful folder to save paperwork.
  4. Study strategically. Don’t study what you already feel confident in. Mastered the Krebs Cycle but can’t remember cellular respiration? Don’t waste time reviewing what you know and instead take extra time in areas of struggle.
  5. Plan when you’ll take each test. Tests are offered in January, June and August of each year. Most students choose to take the exams closest to when they finish the coursework, but you could choose to space them out differently. Some students like to align them with when they’re taking the corresponding AP test. Others choose to give themselves extra study time for subjects in which they struggle.
  6. Take practice exams. Practice exams are one of the best ways to determine your preparedness level for a test. Since the NYSED publishes past tests, all students have access to these as practice.
  7. Find a study group. There’s a lot to be said for independent study, particularly when it comes to staying on task, but group study offers a lot of benefits as well. Remember to set a goal for the entire group at the start of the session (i.e. know all the important dates and key figures of the American Civil War) so that you can remain focused and know when you’ve succeeded.
  8. Prepare your body too. Don’t underestimate what a good night’s sleep and a decent breakfast can do for your focus and mental clarity on test day. It’s also a good idea to moderate caffeine intake so that you’re not jittery - and don’t have to run to the bathroom midtest!
  9. Seek additional help where needed. Sometimes the best thing to know is your own weaknesses. If you’re struggling with a subject - or just struggling with your confidence in a subject - working with a teacher or tutor to achieve mastery in a particular area will help you perform your best on the test.
  10. Review test reference sheets. Lastly, several tests have reference sheets you should be aware of. Know if the test you’re taking has one and if so, what’s on it, so you don’t waste time studying formulas or data that will be provided to you.

There’s nothing worse than feeling unprepared for something that matters. You can avoid that sinking feeling on test day by being well prepared. The tips above are a great way to make sure you sit down to each examination with confidence - and so is working with a tutor! Ivy Tutors Network prides itself on matching students with a tutor who will meet their unique needs and get them to test day with as much confidence as possible.

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