How to Prep for Regents Exams

Nearly all public high schools in New York State require their students to pass some number of Regents Exams in order to graduate with a Regents Diploma. By examining competency in the areas of English, math, science, and social studies, Regents Exams test student readiness for post-high school education, as well as provide measures upon which to gauge school district and teacher efficacy.

Regents Exams are usually administered to students after completion of coursework corresponding to the tested material; for example, the geometry exam would be given to students who have completed or who are about to complete a high school geometry course. Many students find that they need to review relevant material prior to taking a Regents Exam. If you are getting ready to take one of these important exams, consider using these guidelines as you prepare for test day:

1. Take a practice test to assess your strengths and weaknesses

The New York State Education Department posts past official Regents Exams on its website, and these serve as fantastic diagnostic tools for prospective test-takers. Before you begin reviewing, take the time to take one of these past tests to find out on which topics you should most concentrate your studying. Also pay attention to other issues that you may have to address as you prepare, such as being comfortable with all question formats and effectively using your time. You may wish to look into Regents tutoring as well.

2. Select and review relevant course material

Chances are that you won’t have enough time to review every topic you learned over the course of a year in preparation for your Regents Exam. Instead, you must choose the topics on which you wish to focus wisely. Use your diagnostic exam as a guide to decide upon which topics are worthy of thorough review and which you have already mastered. Make a list of topics you must review and plot out how you will allot your study time up until the exam. Remember to avoid cramming too many topics into short periods of time; each topic should get an amount of time proportional to both its weight on the test and its complexity.

3. Familiarize yourself with the question types

You’ve surely heard that practice makes perfect, and in the world of Regents Exams, this adage remains true. Regents Exams consist of both multiple-choice questions and those where you need to provide a written answer, all of which you must know how to tackle by test day. Supplement your content review by consistently completing all formats of Regents Exams questions. Make sure you take the time to go over your completed questions, comparing your answers to answer keys and making careful note of any information you did not know or omitted. Use the accuracy of your answers to gauge how your content review is going and adjust your study habits if needed.

4. Take a few more practice tests to identify any test-taking weaknesses or topics you may have missed

Comprehensive practice tests should be the cornerstone guiding your test prep, as they can help you identify any global test-taking issues you might be having. Taking them periodically throughout your preparation can help you improve issues like difficulty managing time, test anxiety, and endurance problems, all to help you become a more effective test-taker. In addition, taking full tests can help you identify if you’re missing any topics in your studying or if you’re delving too deeply into certain topics. Full-length practice tests are perhaps the best way to assess your progress and to guide changes to study content and practices.


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