The best way for any student to score a "5/5" on the Regents exam is to make sure that they are organizing their thoughts BEFORE they write their essay. I have taken 12 past thematic essays and created a t-chart like "essay outline" for each. These can be done together in class, done as homework, used on a test, etc. Included also is the NYS rubric for scoring the thematic essay. The essays are in chronological order (as per the curriculum) and include topics such as belief systems, migration, important individuals, geography, technology, etc. Updated April 2016 to include all recent thematic essays.
Best reproduces as a book with double staples on the left side, copied back to back with a blank page behind the cover page (this is why you will notice different margins on the even and odd numbered essays.)