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English Regents Study Guide and Exam Tips

The Exam Format

The English Regents Exam consists of three separate sections: reading comprehension, essay composition, and text analysis with response. Questions vary between written answers and multiple-choice selections. Students are assessed in four main areas: content and analysis; command of evidence; coherence, organization, and style; and control of conventions.

The Regents exams, as with any standardized test, have strict rules and protocols to quell attempts to cheat. Students indicate their answers by filling out scannable answer sheets with #2 pencils. It’s advisable to bring extra pencils in case one breaks. It’s best to not bring your phone with you at all, but most schools do designate an area where students can leave their phones while taking the test. If you bring your phone, make sure to turn it off before the test, because if it goes off during the test, you could lose points.


A passing score on the English Regents Exam is 65 or above. In order to earn a Regents Diploma and graduate high school, you have to score at least this high on at least five Regents exams.

Students can earn a total of 56 points on the English Regents. The first section consists of 24 multiple-choice questions worth one point each, but the essay composition and text analysis sections have lower raw scores weighted to give an overall weight of 24 points each. Students must accumulate at least 29 points to pass.

Tips for the English Regents Exam

Taking a test is generally nerve-racking and stressful, and many people underperform because of excessive nerves and test anxiety. Adopting the right attitude, getting enough rest before the exam, and putting yourself in a calm, relaxed mindset are crucial to maximizing your performance on the test. Thorough English Regents prep will also boost your confidence and help you achieve this mindset.

Your teachers can assist you, but you have to take charge and prepare independently, too. If you’re struggling with something, ask your teacher or a private English tutor for help. Take a look at your previous English tests to figure out your weak areas, and work on improving them. This will help you narrow down the areas you need to focus more on. Use English tests throughout the year as continuous measures of progress, and take mock English Regents tests to best prepare yourself for the real thing.

1. Take advantage of resources.

There is no shortage of materials students can access for their English Regents preparation. The Internet is brimming with free resources for the Regents exams—you can find tons of study material online and even YouTube channels dedicated to helping students prepare. You can find Regents exams from previous years and use them to take mock exams. If you’re a little more old-school, you can pick up a Barron’s Regents guidebook at a bookstore. Most schools offer extra help sessions, and you can form or join a student study group to prepare for the English Regents exam with your classmates. There are also private English Regents tutors throughout NYC, like ours, who can give you customized lessons tailored to your needs.

2. Take practice tests.

One of the most effective ways to prepare for the English Regents exam is to take practice tests. You can answer practice questions using the Barron’s book, and previous Regents exams are available on the NYS Regents website. Simulate the test environment the best you can by turning off all distractions and setting a timer. Score yourself afterward based on the official grading rubric, and use that feedback to determine which areas you need to focus on more. If your biggest challenge is the essay composition part, take a look at English Regents example essays for inspiration.

3. Be properly prepared.

It’s vital to take care of yourself and get a good night’s sleep the night before the English Regents Exam. Sleep well, eat well, try to relax as much possible before the test, and don’t stress yourself out. Do whatever will put you in a calm and relaxed yet alert and motivated mood.

ESL Students and Students with Special Needs

The English Regents exam is grueling for all students, but students with learning disabilities or who don’t speak English as a first language face additional challenges. Students who fall into these categories—or their parents—can contact their guidance counselors to determine what aids they may be entitled to, such as extra time.


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