The Best Earth Science Regents Review Guide for 2023 (2023)

The next Earth Science Regents exam will be held on Friday, June 16, 2023, at 9:15 AM. Will you be prepared?

In this guide, we explain everything you need to know about the Earth Science Regents exam, from what format the test will follow to which topics it’ll cover. We also include official sample questions of every question type you’ll see on this exam and break down exactly what your answers to each of them should include.

What’s the Format of the Earth Science Regents Exam?

The Earth Science exam consists of two main components: a lab performance test and a written test. The lab performance test is about 15% to 20% of your total Earth Science Regents score. It’ll be administered at your school, on a date your school decides. It’ll consist of three lab stations and will be worth a total of 16 points. The second section is the written portion of the exam (which we’ll refer to as just “the exam”). This guide focuses on the written portion of the exam.

The written portion of the Earth Science Regents Exam is three hours long and divided into four parts. During parts A and B-1, you’ll answer a total of 50 multiple-choice questions. For parts B-2 and C, you’ll answer a total of 35 short answer questions. You’re allowed a calculator, and you’ll also have access to a handy set of reference tables.

Here’s what the format of the exam looks like.

# of QuestionsQuestion TypePoints per QuestionRaw Points
Part A35Multiple choice135
Part B-115Multiple choice129-30
Part B-215Short answerVaries
Part C20Short answerVaries20-21
Total85 questions85 points

The multiple-choice questions in parts A and B-1 all have four answer choices, and many will be based on tables, images, graphs, etc. included in the test.

The short answer questions in parts B-2 and C will all be based on charts, maps, tables, images, etc. These truly are short answer questions, and most of your answers will only be a few words, at most a few sentences. There are no essay questions on the Earth Science Regents exam.

What Topics Does Earth Science Regents Cover?

The main topics the Regents Earth Science Exam will test you on are:

  • Atmosphere
  • Astronomy
  • Climate Change
  • Earth’s Interior and Plate Tectonics
  • Earth-Sun-Moon Relationship
  • Evolution of Life
  • Geography
  • Geologic History
  • Human Impacts on Climate and Geography
  • Landforms
  • Mapping Skills
  • Origins of the Universe
  • Rocks and Minerals
  • Solar System
  • Weather

As you can see, pretty much any topic related to Earth science is fair game for the test, including human impacts on the Earth, and you should be sure to study each of these topics during your Earth Science Regents review.

Earth Science Regents Sample Questions + Answer Explanations

In this section we include sample questions of both multiple-choice and short-answer questions, along with answer explanations. These questions all come from old Earth Science Regents exams.

Multiple-Choice Sample Questions


The Best Earth Science Regents Review Guide for 2023 (1)

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For this question, you have a graph as well as some accompanying information. You always want to read this information on the exam! The graph shows the water level at Kings Point, New York at different times over a three-day period.

The question wants to know when the first low tide on December 26 occurred, so you’ll need to be able to read and interpret graphs in order to get the question right.

But December 26 isn’t on the graph! That’s OK because the tides appear to follow a pretty regular pattern, so you can estimate the first low tide of the 26 by using the information that is in the graph. First, look at the graph and see how long it takes to go from high tide (the highest points on the graph) to low tide (the lowest points on the graph). There are five complete high-to-low tide changes shown. Since each line on the horizontal axis represents 2 hours (which you can tell from the numbers on the axis), you can count the lines to see how long it takes to get from high tide to low tide.

For example, on December 23, there’s a high tide at about 10 p.m., and the next low tide is at about 4 a.m. That’s about a six-hour difference between the two. If you calculate the distance between all the high and low tides, you’ll see there are about six to eight hours between each. Let’s say seven hours is the average.

The graph cuts off at midnight on December 26, and we can see that the water level has just begun to decrease after reaching the high tide level. We can estimate that high tide was at 11 p.m. Seven hours after 11 p.m. is 6 a.m., which is option 1. That’s the correct answer!


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This question wants to know about the composition of the Earth’s crust, specifically, the percentage by mass of elements. There are four pie charts, and you have to choose which one is the most accurate.

But what if you can’t remember anything about the Earth’s crust? Whenever you come to a question that requires information you don’t know, your first step should be to check your reference tables.

And, how about that, the information you need is right on the first page, in the chart labeled “Average Chemical Composition of Earth’s Crust, Hydrosphere, and Troposphere.” It includes both the percentage by mass and the percentage by volume of elements, but the question specifically asks for mass, so that’s the column you want to look at. You can see 46.1% of mass is oxygen and 28.2% is silicone, which means option 1 is the correct answer.

But what if the information hadn’t been in the reference tables? You can still use some common sense to eliminate obviously incorrect answers. For example, choice 2 can’t be correct because, if the Earth’s crust was almost all oxygen, it’d hardly be solid, right? Choice 4 also doesn’t seem right because that’d be an awful lot of silicon in the crust. You’d probably remember if that was the case. That leaves answer choices 1 and 2. It’s pretty hard to choose between the two if you can’t remember anything about the crust, but maybe you choose option 1 because you still think a crust of nearly half silicone doesn’t sound right.

As you can see, you can use common sense to narrow down your options, but having a solid knowledge of both earth science topics and what’s included in the reference tables will definitely make the exam easier.

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Short-Answer Sample Questions

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The Best Earth Science Regents Review Guide for 2023 (6)

Here’s some useful advice: the reference tables you’re given will help you on every set of short-answer questions on the Earth Science exam. For some questions they’ll basically give you the answer, for others they won’t help as much, but you should be prepared to refer to the reference tables for every set of questions.

This question set is asking about plate tectonics. Flipping through your reference tables, you can see that the section on plate tectonics is on page 5. Giving it a glance, you can see it has a nice world map of tectonic plates, and at the bottom there are diagrams of different tectonic plate boundaries.

Onto the questions. As these are short-answer questions, there are no answer choices, and you’ll need to come up with answers on your own. Some answers will be written in an accompanying answer booklet; it will always say when you need to do this. The number in brackets following each question is the number of points it is worth.

Question 53 wants to know the names of tectonic plates A and B. From the diagrams and the accompanying text, we know that these tectonic plates meet at the Mariana Trench. Looking at the map in the reference table, we see that the Mariana Trench is marked on there. The two tectonic plates on either side of it are the Philippine Plate and the Pacific Plate. The Philippine Plate is on the western side (as is Plate A in the diagram), and the Pacific Plate is on the eastern side (as is Plate B).

Therefore, Plate A is the Philippine Plate, and Plate B is the Pacific Plate. You need to get both of those correct in order to get the point.

Question 54 asks you to identify the plate tectonic boundary shown in the cross-section (the diagram on the left). In the diagram, it looks like Plate B is being forced under Plate A. Again, look at your reference table. Based on the key at the bottom of the page, it is a convergent plate boundary occurring at the Mariana Trench. There’s your answer! Graders will actually accept any of the following answers: convergent boundary, convergence, subduction, or plate collision.

Question 55 asks you to identify one other geologic surface feature in the area shown in the cross section. This one the reference guide won’t help you with, but it’s pretty easy to answer. Just by looking at the cross-section, you can see mountains and a smoking volcano. Both are acceptable answers. Other possible answers include: faults, seamounts, islands, and island arcs.

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Tips for Your Earth Science Regents Review

Here are three final tips to help you during your Earth Science Regents review.

#1: Be Familiar With the Reference Tables

We’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating: the reference tables you can look at during the exam will be massively helpful. They include a lot of information, and you’ll be looking at them at least every few questions.

However, searching through all 16 pages of the reference tables can cause you to lose a lot of time, and if you don’t have enough time to finish the test, it’ll be difficult to score high enough to pass. Therefore, you want to have a good idea of what information the reference tables include and how they’re organized before test day.

Throughout the year, and especially as the exam approaches, look through the reference tables and become familiar with them. You don’t need to memorize the information they include (that’d actually be a waste of your time), but you should know, for example, that the information on the solar system is near the back of the tables and includes information on stars and data about the planets.

#2: Take Official Practice Tests

Practice tests are one of the best resources to use during your Earth Science exam review. They give you an excellent idea of how well you’d score on exam day, and they can help you figure out where your weaknesses are with content and time management, so you can drill these weaknesses down as much as you can.

Official practice tests are the best to take, and fortunately, the NYSED has many available to you for free! You can access several dozen old exams, including answer keys. When you take the practice tests, we recommend taking each one in one sitting, and using the same timing as you will be for exam day.

#3: Answer Every Question

There’s no guessing penalty on Earth Science Regents, so you should put down an answer for every question on the exam, even if you have no clue what the correct answer is.

For multiple-choice questions, try to identify obviously wrong answers to narrow down your answer choices if you’re unsure. Your odds of answering a question correctly are much higher if you only have two choices to choose between, rather than four.

You might also want to come up with a guessing number (1-4), which you will choose whenever you don’t know which answer choice is correct. For example, if your guessing number is 3, you’d always choose answer choice 3 for any multiple-choice questions you didn’t know how to answer.

What’s Next?

Studying for other Regents exams? Check out our guides to Chemistry Regents, US History Regents, and Algebra 1 Regents.

Not sure which other science classes you should be taking? Check out our complete guide to the science classes you should take in high school.

Are you taking AP Environmental Science and looking for study help? Check out our ultimate APES review guide, and get access to practice questions with our compilation of the best APES tests.

Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points or your ACT score by 4 points? We’ve written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download it for free now:

The Best Earth Science Regents Review Guide for 2023 (8)

The Best Earth Science Regents Review Guide for 2023 (9)


What should I study for earth science Regents exam? ›

What Topics Does Earth Science Regents Cover?
  • Atmosphere.
  • Astronomy.
  • Climate Change.
  • Earth's Interior and Plate Tectonics.
  • Earth-Sun-Moon Relationship.
  • Evolution of Life.
  • Geography.
  • Geologic History.
Apr 11, 2023

Is the Earth science Regents easy? ›

Focus on studying.

Passing the Earth Science Regents Exam isn't easy, so you will need proper concentration to truly internalize the material.

How many questions do I need to get right on the living environment Regents to pass? ›

To pass the Living Environment Regents Exam, you need to achieve a score of 65. To pass with distinction, you need a score of 85.

What is the best way to study for the living environment Regents? ›

The Living Environment Regents Exam is associated with your Living Environment Science course. Regularly attending and participating in class, completing your homework assignments and reading your textbook will go a long way to making sure you pass the test.

How to pass the NYS earth science Regents exam? ›

Take Practice Tests

One of the best ways to prepare for the NYS Earth Science Regents Exam is by doing practice tests and quizzes while you study. By working through different problems, you will grow familiar with the way the test is structured and build your knowledge of earth science criteria.

Do you need a calculator for earth science Regents? ›

Each student taking the Regents Examination in Physical Setting/Earth Science must have a four-function or scientific calculator. Students are not permitted to use graphing calculators when taking the Regents Examinations in Living Environment or Physical Setting/Earth Science.

Which regents fail the most? ›

Global History and Geography is the most frequently failed examination. Under the proposal, students would be able to substitute a second Regents Exam in math or science or a vocational exam for this requirement.

Is Earth Science harder than chemistry? ›

Students also feel that Earth science is important in understanding major scientific problems. Students agree with teachers about the rigor of Earth science, finding ESS to be a fairly easy subject compared to physics, chemistry, and biology.

Is Earth Science harder than physics? ›

Earth/Physical Science

These classes are less math-intensive and often considered less rigorous than physics. Main Topics in Earth Science: Geology. Weather.

What happens if I fail the living environment Regents? ›

Question: What happens if I fail the Regents? Answer: Students who fail one of the required Regents exams must keep retaking the exam until they pass. Exams are offered three times a year: January, June, and August.

Is Regents hard to pass? ›

The Algebra 1 Regents exam is hard in the context that the subject can be tough for any student. However, it's not a very hard test based on how it is curved.

How many multiple choice questions do you need to pass the Regents? ›

Committees of teachers then go through several rounds of review, determining which questions reflect the minimum amount of information students must know to pass each exam (65). The same process is used to determine which questions students must get right to pass with distinction (85).

Is there a curve on the living environment regents? ›

Total points available (raw score): 85 points: This exam is known for having a negative curve at the mastery grades (85 – 89). This means that more than for every one point of raw score missed, more than one point of scaled score is lost.

Is the earth science regents all multiple choice questions? ›

The Earth Science Regents consists of four parts. You are allowed a maximum of three hours to complete the written portion of the test. This section consists of 35 multiple-choice questions.

Is living environment regents the same as biology? ›

Living Environment (Biology) Honors or Living Environment (Biology) Regents. Instruction focuses on the eight basic topics from the State syllabus, ranging from the activities of living things to identifying and defining interrelationships among organisms.

How many questions are on the New York State Regents exam? ›

The test consists of 24 multiple choice questions and 13 open-ended questions. Here's the amazing part, it's possible to pass Algebra I Regents Exam by only answering the multiple choice questions and getting less than 65% of them correct.

What grade do you need to pass the Global Regents? ›

Students must sit for and achieve a passing score (usually 65) on an English language arts, math, science, United States history, and Global History and Geography exam. These assessments are mandatory for students in public schools. Private schools can opt out of Regents.

How many points do you need to pass the Global Regents? ›

Format of the Regents Global History and Geography Exam

A score of 65 or higher is needed to pass the test and use it as the Regents social studies graduation requirement.

Can I use my own calculator on the Regents? ›

Is this acceptable on the Math Regents Exams? -Yes, as long as the lines and segments are drawn by the student. The graphing calculator must not draw what a student would otherwise need to construct or locate themselves either algebraically or graphically.

Can I bring my own calculator to the Regents? ›

Please note that schools must make a graphing calculator available for the exclusive use of each student while taking Regents Examinations in mathematics, and that students are allowed only one calculator.

Can I use a TI 84 on the Regents? ›

You can purchase your own calculator or borrow one from the HS LRC (color not available in the LRC). RECOMMENDED FOR PURCHASE: Texas Instruments TI-84, any version (but color is the best to use). A graphing calculator is required for all NYS Regents Exams (NYS Guidelines for Graphing Calculator Use).

Is 75 on Regents good? ›


Even though a score of 65 is passing, a score of 75 on the English Regents exam and an 70 on a math Regents exam is needed to be thought of as college ready.

Is a 96 on the Regents good? ›

Since the computed average of the two Regents Examination scores (92, 89) and the final course grades (94, 96, 88) equals 90 or above, the student earned the Regents diploma with honors.

Is 89 a good Regents score? ›

What is a “good” grade on the Regents Exams? While a score of 65 is required to pass a Regents Exam, only a score of 85 or above indicates “mastery” of the subject.

What is the hardest subject on Earth? ›

List of Toughest Courses in the World
  • Quantum Mechanics.
  • Statistics.
  • Journalism.
  • Nursing.
  • Finance.
  • Philosophy.
  • Fine Arts.
  • Foreign Language.

What is the hardest science degree in the world? ›

Chemistry is famous for being one of the hardest subjects ever, so it's no surprise that a Chemistry degree is fiercely challenging. Just one topic in Chemistry (for example, organic chemistry) is incredibly complex.

What is the hardest science class ever? ›

Quantum Physics/Mechanics:

It also requires the memorization of many formulas, which you must then be able to apply to real-life problems. Quantum physics/mechanics deals with very small particles like atoms and subatomic particles and how they work.

What's the easiest science major? ›

Psychology is commonly thought of as the easiest of the science majors thanks to its relative lack of complex math, although psych majors can still expect to do a fair amount of statistical analysis on their way to a degree.

What is the easiest high school science? ›

What is the easiest science class to opt for in a high school?
  • Oceanography.
  • Earth/Physical Science.
  • Biology.
  • Optional Electives ( Forensic Science, Environmental Science, Zoology, Astronomy, etc.)
  • Chemistry.
  • Physics.
Feb 17, 2021

What is the hardest STEM major? ›

Geological engineering is considered one of the hardest STEM majors because it combines elements of various disciplines, including geology, geophysics, geochemistry, hydrology, and engineering. It also requires a strong understanding of math and physics and the ability to analyze and interpret complex data sets.

What is the passing grade for Regents in NY 2023? ›

The student must have taken the Regents exam during the June 2022, August 2022, January 2023, June 2023 or August 2023 test administration periods. The student must have a score of 50-64 on the Regents Examination that is the subject of the appeal and was taken during one of the above administrations.

What does SA mean for Regents? ›


DIPLOMA. For a Regents diploma, students must have completed successfully with a 65%, an E, or SA (Special Appeal) on the following 5 exams: 1 Science, 1 History, 1 Math, ELA, and 1 Pathway (which could be an additional Regents exam).

Can you retake the Regents even if you didnt fail? ›

You may retake a NYS Regents exam as many times as you like. The highest, not the latest grade, will be counted. You must register for it well in advance with the guidance counselor of the school where you plan on taking it. They need to order the number of tests they will need well ahead of time of the test.

What is the hardest NYS Regents exam? ›

The tests are a mix of multiple choice and essay questions. Which is the hardest test? The one people fail most often is Global History because, I think, it's just a lot to memorize. In terms of those higher tests which college-bound kids take, they get harder and harder.

How many Regents do you need to graduate in New York? ›

This totals 7 Regents exams or Department-Approved Alternatives and one pathway.

What does WG mean in Regents? ›

Regents Exam Waiver Guidance (COVID-19)

How many times can you retake a Regents? ›

You have the right to take the exam as many times as you need. Regents exams are in June, August, and January. Schedules are online here. If you want to try for a higher score, ask your guidance counselor to schedule you for the test the next time it is administered.

Do Regents questions repeat? ›

EVERY PAST REGENTS EXAM FROM THE PAST TEN YEARS IS EASILY FOUND ONLINE! Questions from previous years are often repeated, with minor changes. For each test, know what you got right, what you got wrong, and why. If you can't figure out why a certain answer is right, get help from a review book, tutor, or classmate.

Can you retake NYS Regents? ›

There is no limit to how often you can retake the test to achieve the desired score. Even if you receive a 65, you can retake the test to get an even higher score if you want to graduate with honors.

What to expect in Earth Science Regents? ›

What's the Format of the Earth Science Regents Exam? The Earth Science exam consists of two main components: a lab performance test and a written test. The lab performance test is about 15% to 20% of your total Earth Science Regents score. It'll be administered at your school, on a date your school decides.

Which regents are curved? ›

Why are Algebra 1 Regents exams curved? Algebra 1 Regents exams are curved as an attempt to standardize test results for each year's respective group of tests.

How much is multiple choice worth on Living Environment Regents? ›

The LE Exam consists of approximately 75 questions worth a total of 85 points. The exam is broken down into 4 parts: Part A: General knowledge multiple choice questions (30 points) Part B: A mix of multiple choice and short answer, dealing with the application of knowledge.

Is the Earth Science Regents easy? ›

Focus on studying.

Passing the Earth Science Regents Exam isn't easy, so you will need proper concentration to truly internalize the material.

How many questions do you need right to pass the physics Regents? ›

If a students answers all 50 multiple-choice questions correctly, it should be just enough to pass with a 67. Most students are going to need help from the open-ended student-response questions as well.

What is the best way to study for the living environment regents? ›

The Living Environment Regents Exam is associated with your Living Environment Science course. Regularly attending and participating in class, completing your homework assignments and reading your textbook will go a long way to making sure you pass the test.

Is biology harder than environmental science? ›

AP Environmental Science is an interesting and applicable class, where you will use more math knowledge to solve environmental problems. It is a less rigorous class academically compared to AP Bio and also requires less memorization of concepts.

Is biology hard in college? ›

So college biology classes may be more difficult than your average high school class. But, according to Draft, biology is a highly accessible subject, especially if you're really interested in it. You don't need to come into an introductory biology class with a specific knowledge base or level of talent.

What do you study when you study earth science? ›

In general use, the term "earth science" often includes the study of the earth's atmosphere (meteorology or atmospheric science), the water flowing on and beneath the surface of continents (hydrology), and the earth's seas and oceans (oceanography or ocean sciences).

What topics do you study in earth science? ›

Earth scientists study natural hazards, climate and environmental change, groundwater, lakes, oceans, earthquakes, volcanoes, tectonics, minerals, fossils, soils, sediments, and rocks.

Is earth science in high school hard? ›

Earth Science or Physical science is less math-intensive and rigorous than Physics. So, students who are less confident with science or find maths difficult can choose Earth or Physical Science.

What are 3 of the 5 main fields of study in Earth science? ›

The four basic areas of Earth Science study are: geology, meteorology, oceanography and astronomy.

Is studying Earth science important? ›

Earth Science studies are critically important to modern society. An understanding of the rocks and minerals that make up the solid Earth, and how these materials interact with the atmosphere, the world water supply, and living organisms provides the foundation for all natural and environmental sciences.

What's the easiest science class? ›

Some of the easiest college science classes are what most liberal arts students take. They include psychology, biology, geology and computer science. Meanwhile, some of the hardest college science classes are those that involve lots of math and medicine, such as chemistry, physics and neuroscience.

What are the 5 examples of Earth science? ›

Major subdisciplines are mineralogy and petrology, geomorphology, paleontology, stratigraphy, structural geology, engineering geology, and sedimentology. Physical geography focuses on geography as an Earth science.

What are the 5 Earth Sciences? ›

The study of Earth science includes many different fields, including geology, meteorology, oceanography, and astronomy. Each type of Earth scientist investigates the processes and materials of the Earth.

What are the 5 subtopics of Earth science? ›

Major subdisciplines are mineralogy and petrology, geochemistry, geomorphology, paleontology, stratigraphy, engineering geology, and sedimentology.

What happens if you fail geo Regents? ›

Students who fail the Geometry Regents exam have the option of taking it again as many times as necessary to receive a passing grade. In addition, even if you passed the exam you can re-take it to attempt to receive a higher score if you wish.

What is the fastest way to memorize geography? ›

The following are strategies that can help you memorize and recall hundreds of geographical facts and features.
  1. Mnemonic devices. ...
  2. Organize the information. ...
  3. Use "chunking" ...
  4. Visualize information. ...
  5. Association. ...
  6. Frequent Reviewing.

Is Geo harder than algebra? ›

Geometry has less math in it than algebra, and the math that is required is less complicated. However, Geometry also requires you to memorize a lot of rules and formulas, which can be more difficult than basic algebra for some people.

Do colleges look at Earth Science? ›

Earth science can certainly be a useful and informative class, but it is not one that most colleges require. As you map out your high school curriculum, keep in mind that taking biology, chemistry, or physics at the advanced level will typically impress colleges more than earth science.

What is the hardest subject on earth? ›

List of Toughest Courses in the World
  • Quantum Mechanics.
  • Statistics.
  • Journalism.
  • Nursing.
  • Finance.
  • Philosophy.
  • Fine Arts.
  • Foreign Language.


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