Regents High School exams are mandatory to graduate in New York State, as designated by the New York State Education Department. The exams are designed three years before the testing year by a specialized group of teachers who are skilled in the designated subject area. Each exam must be given on a specific date at the specific time indicated on the front of the exam booklet.

Regents Requirements

You must pass the regents exam with at least a 65 to get your diploma, and 85 if you are striving to get an advanced regents diploma with honors. The courses can be taken as many times as a student needs in order to pass them.


You must pass the integrated algebra exam, also known as math A, to get a high school diploma. Students take this in ninth or tenth grade. To get an advanced regents diploma you must also pass either the geometry, algebra two/trigonometry or math B exam. This exam is usually taken in 10th or 11th grade.

Social Studies

The social studies exams that you must pass include both the global history and geography and U.S. history and environment exam. There are no distinctions between the requirements for the regular diploma and the advanced regents diploma. Most students take the global regents exam in 10th grade--since global history is a two-year course--and the U.S. history exam is taken in 11th grade. Each type of exam includes multiple-choice questions and an essay.


The English regents exam is administered in 11th grade after a student has three years of English instruction. The exam is given in two individual three-hour parts and covers critical analysis, listening and reading comprehension. Students must also write an essay.


Students must pass only one science exam for the regular regents diploma or two for the advanced regents diploma. The most common sciences that students take include living environment (also known as biology) and earth science. A chemistry exam is another option. The science exams contain a written portion, and the earth science regents also contains a lab portion with three individual sections.

Foreign Language

The foreign language exam is a requirement for the advanced regents diploma. The regents exam is taken after the language is studied for three years.

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