Frequently asked questions about the
Earth Science Regents Exam



What is the Earth Science Regents?

The Earth Science Regents is typically administered at the completion of a New York State Regents level high school course in Earth Science. The examination is based on the Earth Science Core Curriculum which is based on Standards 1, 2, 4, 6, and 7 of the New York State Learning Standards for Mathematics, Science, and Technology.

When do I take the Earth Science Regents?

Your school will determine when exactly you should take the Earth Science Regents exam. The test is administered January, June and August of each school year.
Click here to see the latest NYS Regents exam schedule.

How is the Earth Science Regents set up?

Since laboratory experience is an essential part of a science course, a portion of the Physical Setting/Earth Science Regents Examination is devoted to assessing laboratory skills. Tasks have been identified from laboratory experiments that you will have performed during the school year. These tasks, which represent skills that are expected to have mastered, change only slightly, if at all, from year to year.

The performance portion of the examination is administered separately from the written portion, normally two weeks earlier. Arrangements for administering the performance exam are made at each school in accordance with guidelines set by the New York State Education Department.
The scoring for each task is based upon 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 on the examination.
Additional information regarding the performance test, including an indication of the three tasks to be completed, will be provided by your teacher when this portion of the examination is given. The following is an outline of these tasks. The time allowed for completing the tasks at each station is 9 minutes.

Note: The following description represents the information that the State Education Department has stated 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 peformance component is administered.

Station 1 . . Mineral and Rock Identification
The student determines the properties of a mineral and identifies the mineral using a flowchart. Then the student classifies two different rock samples and states the 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.

The written portion of the Earth Science Regents represents 90 points of the total score and has three parts. You should be prepared to answer questions in multiple-choice, constructed response and extended constructed-response formats. Questions will be content and skill based and may require you to graph data, complete a data table, label or draw diagrams, design experiments, make calculations, or write short or extended responses. In addition, you may be required to hypothesize, to interpret, analyze or evaluate data, or to apply scientific knowledge and skills to real world situations.
Part A --Multiple-Choice
A multiple-choice question offers several answers from which you choose the one that best answers the question or completes the statement. Part A of the exam focuses on earth science content and represents 30-40 percent of the examination.
Part B1 --Multiple-Choice
This section of Part B consists of multiple-choice questions as described in Part A. The combined sections of Part B (multiple-choice plus constructed-response) represent 25-35 percent of the examination.
Part B2 --Constructed-Response
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 upon data. The combined sections of Part B represent 25-35 percent of the examination.
Part C --Extended Constructed-Response
These are constructed-response questions that require more time (15-20 minutes per item) and effort on your part to answer. These questions require you to apply your earth science knowledge and skills to real-world problems and applications. Part C represents 15-25 percent of the examination.

What Topics are covered on the Earth Science Regents Exam?

All the questions on the Earth Science Regents exam will test major understandings, skills, and real-world applications drawn from the following 8 subject areas:
1. Size, Shape, and Composition of Earth
2. Mapping
3. Rocks and Minerals
4. Weathering, Erosion, Deposition, and Landforms
5. Earthquakes and Plate Tectonics
6. Earth History
7. Meteorology and Climate
8. Astronomy

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