The Midterms

The midterms serve us with two major purposes. First, they tell students how they are doing in classes in the middle of the year which determines if we need to change our studying habits; and secondly, it tells teachers if their teaching style is efficient for their students.

The midterms focus on things you learned in the first semester. It is important to save your notes so you can use them as a reference when studying for these tests. Most of the time teachers offer study sessions and give out packets to study from. In this case I advise that you be wise and don’t wait until the last minute to start cramming. After all, the midterms count towards your third quarter grade. As soon as you get you review packets start it early. Jump around from different sections and ask your resources for help when needed. Usually the study sessions are filled with students so be prepared with questions beforehand. Plan out your time and create a study schedule. You want a schedule that includes breaks in between studying.  Find that healthy balance. Make sure you ascertain your style of learning, identify whether you’re an auditory, tactile or visual learner and use it to study more efficiently. This will help you attain more information. Consider cleaning out your locker and organizing folders and binders. You can find old notes that can help you study; plus it gives you a fresh clean start for second semester. Practice is key, this will make you feel less anxious and less stressed about the tests!


Good luck.


To be able to network with business contacts as a high school student is quite impressive to many!   Networking, is defined by the Merriam- Webster Dictionary as ” The cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business.” Our school district created an organization back in 1977, the Smithtown IAB, where you do exactly as defined above with partners from around our community, Long Island and NY City.

Networking with these partners will benefit you greatly. The purpose of networking is to grow a relationship to get connections which can lead you to new opportunities in the future. You can learn valuable shared knowledge from each person!

Click here to learn more about the benefits of networking. Although the article is from a business prospective, it still applies to us students.

To network, you have to interact with these professionals. You need to tell them about yourself. It may seem strange to open up to people you just met, but your goal is to introduce yourself to professional contacts that will prove to be good resources both in the present and in the future. A great way to open up is by creating an elevator pitch. This pitch lets them know about you. You state your name, occupation, interests, what makes you unique from other students…………. The elevator pitch was designed to tell the professional all of this in a concise way, as if you were in an elevator with this person.

To learn more about the importance of networking, click here




The ACT is described to be ” a curriculum- and standard-based educational and career planning tool that assesses students academic readiness for college.” It measures your knowledge to help determine your acceptance to colleges similar to the SAT. Click here  and here to learn the differences between both tests.


The ACT is cut into different sections. They have an English, Math, Reading, Science and if desired, a Writing section. They take your scores from all of these sections with an exception to the writing and find the average. The average is your composite score, which is what colleges look at most.


To register you first go to and you need to fill out  loads of information. I suggest that you don’t wait until the last minute to register!  If you are eligible for a waiver, you can visit your counselor to collect a form.


To help prepare for the ACT you can buy prep books. The ACT does sell their own book called The Real ACT Prep Guide. This is the only book that has actual questions from prior tests. Other prep guides have questions that are only similar to the ACT because the people who make the tests don’t want to license their questions away.  You can go to your counselor for a free prep booklet. You can get the  2013/1014 edition pdf file here. Also check out FAQ about the ACT. The Smithtown High Schools have also partnered with SCOPE. SCOPE offers review classes at your school for this test. You can find out more about the ACT from your school counselor.






During Your junior year, you have probably thought about taking the SAT. The stereotype is that this grade (out of 2400 points) means everything once you’re applying to college. Which is incontestably false.


The SAT determines your skills and ability to do well in college almost like the ACT. Click here and here to find the differences in both tests. Many colleges look at this combined with other criteria such as extracurricular activities, GPA, and college essays. With this they decide your acceptance. However, some colleges on the other hand, don’t require you to send your scores.


Of course this test is important, but it’s not life threatening. However I do believe that it takes planning. There are plenty of resources out there to help guide you. The SAT is given four times a year. Go to to check dates and to know when to register.


To start preparing, you might want to take the PSAT. This tests you in everything except the writing portion of the test; your scores get sent to you by mail along with your test booklet.  Taking the PSAT will help show you where you can use improvement. I also recommend getting SAT prep and course books for you to study from.


Take a look at the most FAQ  about the test. Smithtown High School West and East have partnered with SCOPE to provide students with prep courses in order to prepare for the SAT. You can find out more about the from your school counselor.



4 Years Go by Quickly….

Every year in high school is different. You focus on different things and take on new challenges. As the years progress you gain new responsibilities.The difficulty of each year varies between each person. Here are a couple of things each class should keep in mind depending on your grade while you’re in high school.

Freshman year:

It is typically said that freshman year is the easiest of all four. Keep in mind that your weighted GPA for the entire year will roll over for the following years. Because of this, I advise that you concentrate on your grades so that you start out strong. Getting good grades can ultimately determine if you get into any AP classes.These classes can translate into college credits. Having a good GPA is great, but also participate in extracurricular activities like sports, clubs and community service. Colleges want to know what else you did during your years in high school.  Do Community Service as often as possible.  Visit the Career Center and Mrs. Grafstein can give you some great ideas on places right in our community that need your help!  Looks great on your resume which you should begin working on during this year.


Sophomore year:

In your sophomore year you should still be focusing on your grades and extracurricular activities. If you have an early birthday and get your drivers permit, you can take drivers ed this year. It would be easier to get it out of the way, so you can focus on your SATs and ACTs next year. Start to think about what interests you and what you think you might want to be when you grow up.  Visit the Career Center for help with “self-assessment”  from Mrs. Grafstein!  If you haven’t done so already, start to create a Resume for use in the future.


Junior year

Junior year is said to be the hardest year of all. This is the year where students are put under a lot of pressure academically. You’ll start to begin to decide what you want to be when you get older. You can get a real grasp by applying for internships similar to your interest to help you figure out what you really want to pursue. This year a majority of you will be taking drivers ed, you can take it in the summer, fall, winter or spring. Make sure to get all information from the main office. You might also begin to prepare for the SAT’s and the ACT’s. You can start preparing by taking the PSAT, SAT and ACT classes as well as reading SAT and ACT books. However since the curriculum for the SAT test has changed I advise you to get a 2014 published book.  Visit the Career Center for help from Mrs. Grafstein in getting an INTERNSHIP!  Having an internship in High School is very impressive on your resume.


Senior year
In your senior year you should focus on college preparation by writing college essays, applying for scholarships and more. Speak to your counselor and see what else needs to be done in order to prepare for college. You can also retake your SAT’s and ACT’s if desired. Take on internships and enjoy your last year in high school.  Visit the Career Center for help from Mrs. Grafstein in getting a job or an Internship for the summer before you go to college!



The Bridge is a student based blog ran by students in hopes to empower peers throughout high school. Our blog is an informative site that delivers beneficial and interesting information throughout the year that helps you prepare for near future events. We offer advice and focus on the opportunities you can take within your interest. Our mission is to aspire you to do more in your high school career, to excel and take the advantages Smithtown Schools has to offer with the good opportunities that go unnoticed in school.


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