What is a Regents Level Course?

When you apply to college with the Common App, you might find that you have the option of listing classes you look in high school like advanced placement courses or a regents level course. Depending on where you live, you may not know what a regent course means. These are not standard courses that give you school credit. Regent classes are actually a type of exam that select states use when awarding regents diplomas to graduating seniors. Taking these exams shows that you are ready for college level work.

Requirements for Taking an Exam

Before you can take one of these exams, you must ensure that you meet all the requirements of your state. You usually need to complete a college prep curriculum or the common core and score highly in all those classes. Though students can score a maximum of 100 on one of these tests, they must score at least 45 to pass. To get a regents diploma, you typically need to score a minimum of 65 on at least five exams, including American history, language arts and natural science.

Related resource: 50 Great Schools Where High School Students Can Get College Credit

Exams That You Can Take

The Office of State Assessment lists six subject with regency exams attached to those subjects: language arts, science, foreign languages, social studies and math. Students can take an exam to show their proficiency in a foreign language like French, Latin, Italian, Spanish or Hebrew. Some colleges will use your score on these exams to determine whether you should take any additional language classes in college. Many of the exams available relate to the common core, but other courses relate to specific subjects like earth sciences, comprehensive English, integrated algebra or American government.

Why Take Regents Exams?

Taking a regents level course and passing this exam shows that you are ready for college. A score of 75 or higher shows that you have the skills necessary to do well in college classes. New York, which is the main state that offers these courses, requires that students score at least a 75 on each subject test they take to enroll in many of its state and public colleges. Scoring an 85 or higher shows those colleges that you have stronger skills than your peers and that you already have college level knowledge. A higher score may even help you pick up a few scholarships.

Vs. Competency Exams

There is a big difference between a regents exam and a regents competency exam. Also called an RTC, this is a type of exam administered to students with individualized education programs. These are students with mental disabilities and medical conditions that prevent them from passing traditional regents exams. Schools offer these exams each year, and the scores that students earn determine if they are ready to move up to the next year of their studies. Many schools spread the tests out during the school year and allow students to take one exam every few months instead of taking all exams at the same time.

When you complete your college applications, you may need to list whether you took any regents classes. Though not available in all states, a regents level course is actually a type of exam that covers a specific subject area and shows if you have enough knowledge in that area to succeed in similar classes in college.