This past week has been a little testy for students at Amity as, starting on Tuesday, midterm exams began. These all encompassing tests, based on the information taught during the first two semesters, last one hour and 25 minutes each, indicating that students only had to take two each day and were able to go home at 11 o'clock. Some lucky seniors did not have to come in at all, as many teachers exempt those who have a B average or better in their classes from taking the midterms (although this is usually not the case concerning Advanced Placement classes, where midterms are almost always given).

These tests are lengthy, cover a lot of material, and require a great deal of studying. Some students get a couple of days of review in class with their teachers; others are working up to the last day possible, with no in-class review time. This all depends on the course and the professor, but either way the majority of the responsibility rests on the students.

This is not to say that Amity has not worked to provide some helpful tools for students. For example, there is a peer tutoring program in which trained students, sophomores or above, are assigned students who have asked for help. This can be a very good resource for students not only before the midterms, but throughout the entire school year.

Another means of studying coordinated by students, for students is the Cocoa & Cram study session. Members of the Link Crew, a group of trained juniors and seniors whose job is to be there to aid and guide the freshmen all the way through the school year, organize this program. This program was held for the freshmen class last Thursday night to assist them in adjusting to high school level exams. During the program, freshmen split up into groups and have their Link Leaders review certain subject material and share their knowledge and experience of how best to take exams.

The school also provides a Study Smarter, Not Harder program, administrated by school psychologist Madeleine Leveille and some of her colleagues. These six sessions are not based on subject curriculum, but provide a basis of study and test-taking techniques, for example note taking, organization, test time management, and strategies to handle multiple choice, short answer, and essay questions.

Midterms are an important part of a student's year, particularly as the grade received makes up 10 percent of the yearly grade. Special time must be taken as most often students receive between a half and a full letter grade lower on their midterms than they have been getting through the first two quarters. It can be a stressful period, but with proper time given to reviewing and studying there is no reason students cannot come out on top.

Erin Beaulieu is a student at Amity High School