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Frequently Asked Questions

The Earth Science Regents is based on the Physical Setting/Earth Science Core Curriculum, which includes New York State Learning Standards for Mathematics, Science, and Technology.
Your school will determine when exactly you should take the Earth Science Regents. The test is administered in January, June, and August of every year.

The Earth Science Regents consists of four parts. You are allowed a maximum of three hours to complete the written portion of the test.

Part A: Multiple Choice
This section consists of 35 multiple-choice questions. In a multiple-choice question, you are given four choices from which to select the one that best answers the question or completes the statement. Part A of the exam focuses on Earth Science content and represents 30 to 40 percent of the exam.

Part B-1: Multiple Choice
This section of Part B consists of 15 multiple-choice questions as described in Part A, but consists of groups of questions based on diagrams, charts, maps, and short reading passages.

Part B-2: Constructed Response
This section consists of 15 constructed-response questions. In a constructed-response question, there is no list of choices from which to choose an answer; rather, you are required to provide the answer. Constructed-response questions test skills ranging from constructing graphs or topographical maps to formulating hypotheses, evaluating experimental designs, and drawing conclusions based on data. The combined sections of Part B represent 25 to 35 percent of the exam.

Part C: Extended Constructed Response
These 20 constructed-response questions require more time and effort on your part to answer than those in Part B-2. You will be asked to apply your Earth Science knowledge and skills to real-world problems and applications. You may have to produce short essays, design controlled experiments, predict outcomes, or analyze the risks and benefits of various solutions to a problem. Part C represents 15 to 25 percent of the examination.

Part D: Extended Constructed Response
These tasks test your laboratory skills. You will take this part of the exam sometime during the two weeks before the written Regents. Laboratory performance tasks involve using instruments (e.g., rulers, external protractors, triple beam balances, graduated cylinders, stopwatches, etc.), observing properties of Earth materials, performing calculations, and collecting and analyzing data. The scoring for each task is based on accuracy. Values within a certain range are granted the full point value allotted to each task. It is possible to accumulate a maximum of 16 points on the performance section of the examination. Additional information regarding the performance test, including an indication of the three tasks to be completed, will be provided by the teacher when this portion of the examination is given. The following is an outline of these tasks.

Note: The following description represents the information the State Education Department has noted may be shared with students before taking the performance part of the examination. You should be familiar with the skills being assessed because you have used them in laboratory activities throughout the year. However, you will not be allowed to practice the entire test or any of the individual stations before this performance component is administered.

Station 1: Identifying Minerals and Rocks
The student determines the properties of a mineral and identifies that mineral using a flowchart. Then the student classifies two different rock samples and states a reason for each classification based on observed characteristics.

Station 2: Locating an Epicenter
The student determines the location of an earthquake epicenter using various types of data that were recorded at three seismic stations.

Station 3: Constructing and Analyzing an Asteroid’s Elliptical Orbit
The student constructs a model of an asteroid’s elliptical orbit and compares the eccentricity of the orbit with that of a given planet.

All the questions on the Earth Science Regents will test major understandings, skills, and real-world applications drawn from the Physical Setting/Earth Science Core Curriculum. These fall into the following broad categories:

Skills and Applications
Mathematical Analysis, Scientific Inquiry, Engineering Design, Information Systems, Systems Thinking, Models, Magnitude and Scale, Equilibrium and Stability, Patterns of Change, Optimization, and Interdisciplinary Problem Solving

Mathematical Analysis, Scientific Inquiry, Engineering Design, Information Systems, Systems Thinking, Models, Magnitude and Scale, Equilibrium and Stability, Patterns of Change, Optimization, and Interdisciplinary Problem Solving

Geologic History, Plate Tectonics and Earth’s Interior, Weathering, Erosion and Deposition, Topographic Maps and Landscapes, and Minerals and Rocks

Energy Sources for Earth Systems, Weather, Insolation and Seasonal Changes, the Water Cycle, and Climates