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Boost Your Score on the Biology Regents

Doing well on the NYS Biology Regents Exam requires memorization. But, most people find memorization tedious and difficult. Additionally, memorization can actually confuse you. If you assign equal importance to every fact in the Regents Review Book, the sheer volume of data will drown out key facts and areas that you should concentrate on. The critical question in planning your preparation is: How do you decide what to focus on? Fortunately, the Regents gives you direction in the form of past Regents Exams. A number of questions and subject areas tend to frequently repeat. Of course, the precise question may vary slightly from one year to another. The key is to master the subject area and to familiarize yourself with the style of the question. Additionally, you can focus your preparation even more precisely because the questions on the Exam can be divided into several basic formats and questions which repeat, usually do so in the same format. Below are two formats in which questions are frequently repeated:

o Questions based on diagrams that call, either on your knowledge of facts or processes. Of the 75 questions on the Regents exam, every year, about 15 are based on an accompanying diagram.

o Questions accompanied by a chart. Every year, about 10 questions are based on any accompanying chart.

Questions based on diagrams that require your memorization of facts that frequently appear on the Exam include the structure of animal cells, the structure of plant cells, asexual reproduction by budding, human male & female reproductive systems, the organization of organisms into cells and tissues.

Favorite Regents topics for questions based on diagrams based on your understanding of processes include photosynthesis, respiration, DNA replication, the “lock and key” model of receptor-hormone synthesis, energy pyramids, food webs, fertilization at the cellular level, and osmosis.

A careful reading of the material in these areas followed by familiarization with questions the Regents has asked in the past with special attention to the diagrams the Exam has utilized, will maximize your chance to perform well on the Exam. Instead of walking into a testing situation where you have little ability to predict what will be asked, you will open an Exam in which you recognize a number of questions together with their accompanying diagrams. If you have prepared in this manner, not only will you get these questions correct, but you will gain confidence in approaching the rest of the Exam, knowing that your preparation for the Exam has been the correct one.