\item If the value for $a$ is \textit{not} 1, divide both sides of the equation by $a$. (We want the $x^2$ term to be by itself.)

\item Move the constant term to the right side of the equation.

\item Divide $b$ by 2, square it, and add it to both sides of equation.

(\textbf{Note:} If dividing by 2 results in a fraction, leave it as a square. That is, leave it as $(\frac{5}{2})^2$ rather than doing the math and arriving at $\frac{25}{4}$. This will make step four easier.)