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Knowing I was going to be appearing on Countdown and I was only going to get one shot at it I had decided that it would be one thing I would do properly. I'd taken a break from playing at the Scrabble club help me to avoid confusing the two dictionaries in my mind. I did not having many commitments so I had plenty of free time on my hands preparing for the fateful day. During my life I've spent an awful lot of it at school, college and university studying garbage I had no interest in and no use for where the main aim was gaining some qualification or other. To me doing something similar for Countdown made a lot more sense. I've always been someone who has struggled to self-motivate and to some extent it felt like I was improving upon that weakness as much as I was learning to spot Countdown words quickly. My Scrabble background and various studying software that people have developed for the game meant I knew it would be relatively easy task to find an effective way of honing my ability for Countdown, as well as there being a few websites out there to look at too. The goal of trying to achieve something helped me get through well over 20,000 words learning all sorts of interesting words with no idea what most of them meant.

One thing I've never had trouble with however is playing games, competing. A large part of me really enjoys the nature of games - their black and white nature, their inherent fairness, none of this subjective crap you get in most walks of life. When I play games with the aim of achieving things then the hours can fly by. I spent time preparing for Countdown by playing some more indirect games, one called The Corral Challenge was a particular favourite. A number of scrambled 9 letter words would appear the aim was to get as many right in as quick a time as you could manage. Fortunately I wasn't the only one who liked this game and I spent many a time exchanging high scores with series winner Conor Travers, til I'd gotten the best times on all the different variations of the game. Another one I played was actually more of an educational child's game, called Meteor Multiplication. I practised times tables and multiplying bigger numbers together on this for short bursts. I figured that if you reduced the amount of concentration and time spent on doing actual calculations by making the process more like second nature then you would be less prone to panicking, making mistakes and would have time to try more ways at obtaining a solution. As well as these things I also spent a lot of time just simply doing numbers games and viewing solutions I'd missed on one of the number solver sites out there. Seeing myself improve helped the whole process self-perpetuate.

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