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    bit confused. How do you know when to work out difference in moles (the excess) for both acidic and basic buffers?!

    The reagent in excess in an acidic buffer is always the weak acid and is always the weak base in the case of a basic buffer, otherwise you would end up neutralizing the mixture. Moles XS HA = moles HA originally - n(moles base added) where n is an integer, 1 for a monobasic base, 2 for a dibasic base etc. Just write down the equation of your buffer, this will help you visualize what is actually going on.
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