How to Study for the English Regents

by Rose Guastella

The Comprehensive English Regents Examination is given to high school students in the 11th grade in the state of New York to assess English language skills as a requirement for a high school diploma. While the test format and focus has undergone many changes over the years, in 2010 it was primarily a writing test administered in two three-hour sessions over two days. According to the New York State Education Department, a new test format is scheduled to be instituted in 2011. It will be similar to the previous version but will be administered in one three-hour session.

Practice Tests

Choose a recent past Comprehensive English Regents Examination test to practice with (see Resources for link). Practice one section of the test at a time.

Ask someone to read the dictation selection aloud twice while you take notes. For all other sections of the test, read the provided literary selections to yourself very carefully.

Answer the multiple-choice questions about the selection that you have just listened to or read, referring to your notes as necessary for the listening section.

Read the guidelines for producing a written response to the topic proposed. Use your notes and the test questions and answers to write a brief outline for the writing piece.

Produce a finished writing piece using all the resources provided.

Ask someone whose opinion you value, such as a teacher, parent or tutor, for feedback on the quality of your writing.

Focus on improving your writing skills. The College Board offers several tips on how to be a better writer, such as by paying attention to grammar and syntax as well as by expressing ideas logically and clearly.

Things You Will Need

  • Practice tests
  • Paper
  • Pen


  • Past Comprehensive English Regents examinations (as well as scoring guides) are available free on the New York State Education Department website on the Office of Assessment Policy, Development and Administration page.
  • Stay within actual test time parameters when you take a practice test in order to see where you may need to work on time management.
  • Mark important points in the literary selections of the test by underlining or circling them.

About the Author

Rose Guastella is a professional artist and teacher from Kitsap County, Wash. She has been writing educational materials for schools since before 1990. Guastella holds a Master of Arts in liberal studies from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. She has contributed several articles about education and plant biology to various websites.

Photo Credits

  • writing tablet of paper with pen image by Joann Cooper from