Regents Physics

Regents exams are statewide testing for core high school subjects which are required for a Regents diploma. The Physics Regents exam is given after the completion of a New York States regents level high school Physics course. The exact date of the Physics Regents varies by school; however, testing is typically administered in January and June of each school year. The examination given in January is given in restricted form, which means that only students who are taking the exam are allowed to read the questions in the testing booklets. The examination is three hours long and includes four parts: two multiple choice sections, a constructed response section, and an extended constructed response section. The Physics Regents test is an evaluation of the student’s cumulative knowledge of the Physics course, so it is imperative for test takers to review the most important topics in order to be successful.

Part A is a multiple-choice section that offers three distractors and one correct answer. This section tests a student’s ability to recall knowledge of the main material. Part A makes up about 30-40 percent of the exam. Part B1 is also multiple choice and is about 25-35 percent of the test. Students should be able to apply and analyze the course material.  Part B2 is a constructed response section. No answers are provided, rather the students must create the answer themselves. Questions based on calculations and interpreting graphs may be found here. Part C is an extended constructed response section. This part is by far the most time- consuming for the test taker. In this section, the student must be able to utilize their knowledge of major scientific ideas. It is important that the student write in complete sentences when creating their answers.

The Physics Regents examination will touch upon six major topics: mechanics, energy, electricity and magnetism, waves, modern physics, and mathematical skills. Students should be able to demonstrate the ability to critically analyze data, execute scientific investigation, and apply knowledge to occurrences outside of the lab. Math skills such as unit conversions, solving algebraic equations, and determining proportional relationships must be able to be applied in order to solve given problems. It is also important that students are able to create diagrams and utilize the correct equations to arrive at the correct answer. Generally, a student should be able to define and differentiate between concepts such as position, speed, velocity, and displacement. Reviewing Newton’s laws of motion and practicing the application of vector concepts and math to the proper situations, should be priorities for a test taker as well. Momentum, impulse, conservation, and other major concepts as applied to collision and explosion problems may also be seen in the constructed response section. Students should also be able to identify and define the different kinds of electrical charges and be able to interpret the interactions between charged objects. A passing score for this test is a 65 and above. Passing this exam or one of the other three Regents science exams is necessary to graduate high school in New York.


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