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Frequently asked questions about the English Regents Exam

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What is the English Regents?

Beginning with the January 2011 exam, the English Regents exam of six hours over two days has been replaced by a one-day, three-hour exam. The exam continues to assess New York State students’ ability to perform a broad range of reading, critical thinking, and writing skills. It represents a rigorous level of expectation reflected in the State’s Learning Standards for English Language Arts, and a passing score on this exam is a requirement for a high school diploma.

What Does The Exam Look Like?

The new exam is in four parts and includes 25 multiple-choice questions, two short written responses, and one extended essay. The first two parts require the student to listen to or read extended passages of informational text or literary passages and answer multiple-choice questions on those passages. The third part requires the reading of two literary passages linked by a common theme, answering 5 multiple-choice questions, and writing two short Constructed Response questions. Part 4 is an essay of critical analysis and an evaluation of two works of literature the student has read.. All written responses require effective use of language and standard written English.

How and When Is The Exam Given?

The English Regents exam is administered in one three-hour session. It is offered in January, June, and August of each year. Students may take the exam more than once if needed to meet the graduation requirement.
Click here to see the latest NYS Regents exam schedule.

THE ENGLISH REGENTS EXAM—AN OVERVIEW

Part 1: Listening for Information and Understanding
You will listen to a lecture or a speech and answer 8 multiple-choice questions about key ideas in the passage. The lecture or speech will be read twice. You may take notes at any time during the readings, and you may use your notes in answering the multiple-choice questions.

Part 2: Reading for Information and Understanding
You should expect to read a literary passage plus an informational passage and answer 6 multiple-choice questions on basic comprehension of main ideas, vocabulary, and interpretation for each passage.

Part 3: Reading and Writing for Literary Response
You will read two literature selections (from fiction, poetry, memoir, or literary non-fiction) that are linked by a common theme, answer 5 multiple-choice questions on key ideas, details, vocabulary, and answer two short constructed response questions—one on the controlling idea and one on a literary element or technique from one of the passages.

Part 4 Reading and Writing for Critical (Literary) Analysis and Evaluation
In this part, you are required to write a critical essay in which you discuss two works of literature you have read from the particular perspective of a statement that is provided as a “critical lens.” Your interpretation of the “lens” and response to it become the controlling idea for your essay. Here you must interpret a sophisticated prompt, develop a critical point of view in response to that prompt, and develop that critical point of view with detailed reference to two works. You must also use specific references to appropriate literary elements to show how the chosen works support your opinion.

How Is The English Regents Scored?

Your final score is based on the total number of correct answers to the multiple- choice questions and the rating of the essay. All papers are read by at least two English teachers and may be reviewed by a third reader. They will evaluate your essay for meaning, development, organization, language use, and conventions. The scoring rubrics for the essay are outlined below.
Understanding the Rubrics
Rubrics are descriptive guidelines for how teachers will score the essays you write. Understanding the language of the rubrics will help you understand what is expected in each task and show you what makes the difference between a high and a middle score, or between a middle and a low score on an essay.
The essay of the Regents exam is scored on a scale of 1–6 for the same five qualities. Essays rated 5 or 6 are considered high scoring essays; 3–4 are middle range; 1–2 are low scoring and are not likely to result in a passing score.

What are the Five Qualities in the Rubrics?
Meaning The extent to which the response exhibits sound understanding, interpretation, and analysis of the task and text(s).
Development The extent to which ideas are elaborated using specific and relevant evidence from the text(s).
Organization The extent to which the response exhibits direction, shape, and coherence.
Language Use The extent to which the response reveals an awareness of audience and purpose through effective use of words, sentence structure, and sentence variety.
Conventions The extent to which the response exhibits conventional spelling, punctuation, capitalization, grammar, and usage.

How Do I Review For The English Regents Exam?

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