The English Language Arts Exam


The English Language Arts Exam (ELA) is the New York State Regents exam in English which students must pass in order to graduate.  Most students will take this exam in June of their junior year.  This is the second year that New York State Department of Education is using a newly re-formatted  test.  It is a one-day exam (three hours in length), and it consists of the following parts:


  • Part 1:  Listening
    • Students will listen to a passage that is read to them and answer some multiple choice questions.
    •  Check out this link to Randall's ESL Cyber Listening Lab  for practice with listening passages and quizzes.  Scroll to the middle of the page and listen to passages under the "Listening Passages for Academic Purposes" section.  Yes, the site is intended to be used by students who are learning English, but it is great practice for listening comprehension too!
  • Part  2:  Reading Comprehension
    • Students will read two passages (one narrative and one expository) and answer some multiple choice questions regarding each passage.


  • Part 3: Reading and Responding to Literature
    • Students will read two short pieces of literature and answer some multiple choice questions regarding each passage.  Then they will be asked to write two written responses regarding the passages.  Directions for the written responses will look something like this:
      • Write a well developed paragraph in which you use ideas from both passages to establish a controlling idea about a topic (this topic will be given to students on the exam).  Develop your controlling idea using specific examples and details from each passage.
      • Choose a specific literary element (e.g. symbolism, irony, figurative language, etc.)  used by one of the authors.  Using specific details from that passage, in a well-developed paragraph, show how the author uses that element or technique to develop the passage.


  • Part 4: Critical Lens
    • Students will be given a quotation.  They must interpret the quote, agree or disagree with it, and write an essay supporting their stance with two works of literature that they have read throughout high school.
Check out this link to view ELA Regents exams given in the past: