This year, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, New York State is administering Regents Exams in only four academic subjects - - Earth Science, Living Environment (Biology), Algebra 1 and English Language Arts.

Traditionally, in past years, the grade received on a Regents Exam counted towards a certain percentage of the final grade in the course. In addition, the grade received on the Regents Exam appeared on the student’s high school transcript. This year, each school district is afforded the flexibility as to how scores on these exams will be treated and whether to permit an “E” or “exempt” on the student’s transcript in place of the grade on the exam.

Here are factors to consider when deciding whether your student should sit for Regents Exams this year:

Is my school adopting a “no harm” policy if my student does not perform well on the Regents Exam?

Many school districts are utilizing the flexibility they have this year to ensure that students are not penalized if they take Regents Exams and perform poorly. Thus, in those districts, if the score on the exam would serve to lower the student’s final grade point average for the course, the score on the exam will NOT be included in the final grade. As such, there is “no harm” in sitting for the exam under these circumstances.

Is my school offering any benefit or incentive to take the Regents Exam?

Many school districts are permitting the grade on the Regents Exam to count towards the final grade in the course if the score on the exam is higher and will help to improve the student’s final grade.

In some school districts, the grade received on the Regents Exam will replace a quarterly grade, if doing so will benefit the student’s grade point average.

Some school districts are even adding points on to the overall grade point average if the student achieves a target score on the Regents Exam.

Will the score on the Regents Exam appear on my official transcript?

In many school districts, students who choose not to take the Regents Exams will receive an “E” or Exempt on their official transcript next to the listed exam.

For those students who take Regents Exams in a school district adopting a “no harm” policy, the score will appear on the official transcript unless, in the student’s discretion, the score will negatively impact the transcript. Thus, the student can opt to keep the score or replace the score with an “E.”

How will it impact me if other students in my school are taking Regents Exams and I choose to opt out?

If other students in the school are taking the Regents Exams and perform well, then those students will receive a numeric grade on their official high school transcript, whereas those students who opt out will receive an “E.”

A high score on your Regents Exam will reflect positively on your transcript and can set you apart from other students in your school.

Although having the choice to opt out, sitting for the exam demonstrates your willingness and ability to meet academic challenges during very difficult circumstances.

With the ever increasing competitiveness of college admissions, small things such as choosing to take an academic exam when having the choice not to, sets you apart from other students.

As parents and educators, we understand the difficulties of this past academic year and we are here to help. We are the original one-day test prep experts and have been assisting students excel on Regents Exams for over 40 years. Yes, over 40 years! Please call us if you have any questions regarding the options that your students face and, of course, if your student chooses to take Regents Exams, then please #ComeStudyWithUs!


Regents Review, ( a teacher-owned-and-operated company, has been helping students prepare for New York State Regents Exams for over 40 years.