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Challenge You Overcame Essay Format

University of California: Freshman Essay - Prompt #5

Prompt: Describe the most significant challenge you have faced and the steps you have taken to overcome this challenge. How has this challenge affected your academic achievement?

Example:

During my first year of high school, I faced an enormous challenge: test anxiety. Prior to high school, I had always felt nervous about exams of any kind. However, in high school, the stakes became higher and test scores had a bigger impact. This was a very frustrating challenge because I was always a very strong student with high grades. I was a perfectionist on most assignments. However, when it came time for the test, I choked and felt paralyzed, like I couldn't think properly. I absolutely had to find a solution to this problem. My future depended on it. My test anxiety is the most significant challenge I have faced and overcome.

My first step towards reducing my test anxiety was to educate myself about its causes. I learned that test anxiety is common, affecting children and adults alike. I learned that it often has nothing to do with a person's academic ability. Rather, test anxiety is mostly psychological. Through books and tutorials, I learned some of the basic remedies for test anxiety. It is generally agreed that the keys to test success are preparation, organization and practice. I studied preparation techniques including relaxation, breathing exercises and proper nutrition. I also studied organization practices such as using note cards and keeping folders for each test on my horizon. Further, I practiced the tests as much as I could by reviewing quizzes and unit tests.

Once I learned these simple procedures, my test anxiety was alleviated. I learned that my test anxiety will never completely disappear, but I learned tools I can apply towards a better testing experience. Now, I have an action oriented? attitude towards tests. Instead of feeling paralyzed and stuck when I think about an upcoming test, I feel motivated to take action. Facing any future test, I remember what I learned about preparation, organization and practice, and it's go time. I even learned that these three tools could improve my life in other ways, such as attention to my basic health habits. Overcoming my test anxiety has made me a stronger, more resourceful person.

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