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The Best Chemistry Regents Review Guide 2020


Confused about how to begin studying for the chemistry regents? This review guide will help you learn what’s on the test and how to prepare for it.

In the guide, I’ll cover the format of the chemistry regents, list the concepts you can expect to see on the test, and provide sample questions for your chemistry regents review.


When Is the Next Chemistry Regents Exam?

The NY State High School Regents exams are given three times a year: January, June, and August. The next Chemistry Regents exam is in January 2020.

The Regents exams measure your achievement in school. In order to graduate from high school in New York state, you’ll need to pass five Regents exams: English Language Arts, a math, a science, a social studies, and any additional Regents exam or another option approved by the State.

The Chemistry Regents is one of the four science Regents exams. The other three are Earth Science, Living Environment, and Physics.

You’ll need to pass at least one of these four exams to graduate high school.


Chemistry Regents Exam Format

The Chemistry Regents Exam has three sections:

Part A has 35 multiple choice questions from all units that you cover during the school year.

Part B has 25 questions that are a mix of multiple choice and short answer. The questions focus on the provided Chemistry Regents Reference Tables (more on these tables in a bit), graphing, and laboratory experiments.

Part C has approximately 15 short answer questions that are broken down into smaller parts. For these questions, you may have to perform tasks like writing responses, drawing graphs or diagrams, or using equations and the Chemistry Regents Reference tables.


Chemistry Regents Exam Topics Covered

There are twelve specific topic areas covered on the Chemistry Regents exam. These topic areas are:

  • The Atom
  • Nuclear Chemistry
  • Bonding
  • Matter
  • Energy
  • The Periodic Table
  • Moles and Stoichiometry
  • Solutions
  • Kinetics and Equilibrium
  • Acids, Bases, and Salts
  • Oxidation-Reduction (Redox)
  • Organic Chemistry

You’ll also need to demonstrate your abilities at graphing, solving equations, and consulting reference tables. As part of the exam, you’ll receive 20 Chemistry Regents reference tables that you will use on the test.

The topics of the reference tables are:

  • Table A: Standard Temperature and Pressure
  • Table B: Physical Constants for Water
  • Table C: Selected Prefixes (e.g., kilo-, centi-)
  • Table D: Selected Units (e.g., meter)
  • Table E: Selected Polyatomic Atoms
  • Table F: Solubility Guidelines for Aqueous Solutions
  • Table G: Solubility Curves at Standard Pressure
  • Table H: Vapor Pressure of Four Liquids
  • Table I: Heats of Reaction at 101.3 kPa and 298 K
  • Table J: Activity Series
  • Table K: Common Acids
  • Table L: Common Bases
  • Table M: Common Acid-Base Indicators
  • Table N: Selected Radioisotopes
  • Table O: Symbols Used in Nuclear Chemistry
  • Table P: Organic Prefixes
  • Table Q: Homologous Series of Hydrocarbons
  • Table R: Organic Functional Groups
  • Table S: Properties of Selected Elements
  • Table T: Important Formulas and Equations

You’ll also receive a copy of the periodic table of elements.




Chemistry Regents Review: Sample Questions

One of the best ways to prepare for a test like the Chemistry Regents is to practice. In this section, we’ll give Chemistry Regents review questions so you can see what the content on the test is like.


Chemistry Regents Multiple-Choice Sample Questions

Parts 1 and 2 of the Chemistry Regents have multiple-choice questions from all units that you cover during the school year. Here’s a sample question:

Which particles are found in the nucleus of an argon atom?

  1. protons and electrons
  2. protons and neutrons
  3. protons and neutrons
  4. positrons and electrons

The answer is A: Protons and electrons are found in the nucleus of an argon atom.


Chemistry Regents Constructed Response Sample Question

On parts 2 and 3 of the Chemistry Regents, you’ll have to short answer questions that follow an image or diagram. Here’s an example.




Question 1: State the purpose of the salt bridge in the cell.

Answer: The salt bridge is used for ion migration. The salt bridge causes ions to flow from place to place.

Question 2: Explain, in terms of electrical energy, how electrolysis reactions differ from voltaic reactions.

Answer: Electrolysis reactions use electrical energy. Voltaic reactions produce electrical energy.


How to Pass the Chemistry Regents Exam

If you’re taking the Chemistry Regents test to fulfill high school graduation requirements, it’s very important that you pass the test. Here are four tips to help you get the score you need.


#1: Take Real Practice Tests

One of the best ways to do some Chemistry Regents review is to take a couple of official practice tests, which you can find on the New York State of Education site. These are real, previously administered exams, so you know you’ll be getting the most accurate and realistic test-taking practice possible when you use these.

It’s best to take one practice exam in the beginning of your prep, one around the middle, and one closer to test day, so you can see your progress on the test and get a sense for what topics or question types are giving you the most trouble. Make sure to time yourself as you would on the real exam. You should also take the test in a quiet room away from others so you can focus and mimic real testing conditions.

Once you’re finished, score your test with its answer key to see how well you did. You should also go over your answers to see the types of questions you did well on and those you struggled with. This review will help you know where to start studying.


#2: Review Major Topics Using Class Materials

Everything that’s tested on the Chemistry Regents exam is stuff you should have already learned in your high school chemistry class. That means you can use your old homework assignments, graded quizzes/tests, and your chemistry textbook to review the concepts tested on the exam. You can also use your old homework assignments to find practice questions that will boost your skills.


#3: Get Help From Your Chemistry Teacher or Classmates

Your chemistry teacher wants you to pass the Chemistry Regents exam, so don’t be afraid to ask them for help with any difficult concepts or areas you’re having problems with. You can also rely on your peers in class. You will all take the same test, so prepping together can be a way to work through challenging questions and help each other learn.


#4: Answer Every Question

There’s no guessing penalty on Chemistry Regents, so you should put down an answer for every question on the exam, even if you have no idea how to solve it. For multiple-choice questions, use the process of elimination first if you aren’t sure what to do and see if you can get rid of one or two obviously wrong answers.

For the constructed-response questions, try to solve as much of the problem as you can. Even if all you know is the first part of a problem, write it down. You can get partial credit on the Chemistry Regents, so having something on your paper is better than putting down nothing.

Summary: NYS Chemistry Regents

The Chemistry Regents exam is one of the four Living Science Regents exams. All students in the New York State public school system need to pass one of the Living Science Regents (such as Chem Regents) exams to graduate from high school.


What's Next?

Get started on your chemistry reviewing with our guide to balancing chemical equations. Alternatively, apply chemistry to your life by learning how to make three different types of slime or how to use muriatic acid for household cleaning.

You might be wondering whether AP tests or SAT Subject Tests carry more weight in the admissions process. Learn more about the differences between AP tests and SAT Subject Tests, and find out how much each type matters for you.


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Hayley Milliman
About the Author

Hayley Milliman is a former teacher turned writer who blogs about education, history, and technology. When she was a teacher, Hayley's students regularly scored in the 99th percentile thanks to her passion for making topics digestible and accessible. In addition to her work for PrepScholar, Hayley is the author of Museum Hack's Guide to History's Fiercest Females.

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