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I struggled in school ever since I was in elementary school. Things did not come easy to me and I needed a lot of support from my family and extra tutoring to get through school. As a family, we decided to work harder versus getting tested and getting accommodations from school. I did not want to make high school easy and then be faced with struggling in college. We had to come up with several techniques that would work for me to be successful in school.

First, I did the obvious. I made sure that I no longer procrastinated with my studying and got prepared for a test far in advance. I asked questions in class and met with teachers after school if I did not understand something. I learned how to take better notes. I worked with my teachers to make sure I hit all the major points and that the information was correct and easy to follow. I learned to annotate better when reading, making sure I highlighted the points that were important for me to remember. Still I struggled to retain a lot of information when it was time to take a test. I learned a memorization technique from my mom. When I had to memorize a list of things, we would take each letter of the words I was memorizing and come up with a funny phrase or sentence that had those same letters. The funnier the phrase, the easier it was for me to remember it. During the test, I would remember the phrase and answer the question correctly.

For vocabulary and definitions, I would write index cards and tape them all over the house. I put some on the bathroom mirror, the kitchen table, my dresser, and on the refrigerator. That way no matter where I went, I would study the words and definitions every day so I would retain the information. Another technique that worked for me, especially in math, was I turned my full length bedroom mirror into a huge writing board. I would use an expo marker and write and re-write the material. For some reason, seeing the information on a large scale would help me. Finally, I would study by talking out loud. For some reason, when I would talk things through, it would help me retain the information. It is almost like studying with someone else.

I started using the techniques above in high school. A couple of months into my freshman year, I made my parents nervous because I stopped asking for them for help and they were afraid I would fail. I did not want them to help me any longer. I was determined to do my school work on my own. I admit that even after using my new techniques, I did not suddenly become a perfect 4.0+ student, but I did well and was very proud of my accomplishments. I earned my acceptance to college and will be able to work and study independently. Everyone has their own challenges. Trying to find the right techniques combined with determination is definitely the key to success.

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