flibber's Quest for A*s Watch

flibber
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I am in Year 11, and I am hoping for at least 10 A*s. I already have one for Mathematics in Year 10, and I am taking the following this exam season:
[/SPOILER]
Classical Greek (OCR)- predicted A*, aiming for A*
Latin (OCR)- predicted A*, aiming for A*
Religious Studies (OCR)- predicted A*, aiming for A*
English Language (AQA)- predicted A, aiming for A*
English Literature (AQA)- predicted A, aiming for A*
French (AQA)- predicted A*, aiming for A*
Biology (AQA)- predicted A*, aiming for A*
Chemistry (AQA)- predicted A, aiming for A*
Physics (AQA)- predicted A*, aiming for A*
iGCSE Further Mathematics (AQA)- predicted A*, aiming for A^
Geography (Edexcel)- predicted A*, aiming for A*
Music (Edexcel)- predicted A, aiming for A*
[SPOILER]
I shall update this post in due course to document my progress.

Units already taken (warning: includes a lot of boasting):
Spoiler:
Show

Mathematics (Edexcel)- achieved A*, 183/200 - considering that loads of people got above 190/200. I hope Oxford or Cambridge don't ask for GCSE raw marks!- fortunately, they don't!
[Controlled Assessments: all marks are provisional until moderation]

French Writing part 1- 27/30
French Writing part 2- ?/30
French Speaking part 1- 29/30
Music Performance part 1- 30/30
Music Composition part 1- 30/30
English Language Unit 3- 67/80 to 77/80 (I don't know where the remaining 10 marks come from, but my English teacher is rather generous to me).
English Literature Unit 3- 40/40
Geography Unit 4- ?/50 (shall find out in due course)
Biology Unit 4- 40/50
Chemistry Unit 4- 41/50 (first try). second try ?/50
Physics Unit 4- 47/50 (first try), second try ?/50


Thursday, 5th March 2015

I apologize for not having done anything to keep up this blog for the past three weeks. However, I have been either incredibly busy, or (what's more likely in the past week) lazy. I have finished my Physics, Chemistry, and Biology notes, although parts of my Physics notes are incredibly messy!

The strategy I have used to make my Sciences notes is called the 'annotated specification' strategy; that is, copy off from the specification directly (I tend to revise better from my own handwriting) where it gives simple facts or definition, but research the parts it does not expand upon (especially the evaluation questions). I admit that this was more 'learning' than 'revision'; my Physics teacher in Year 9 was awful and didn't teach a lot of the content in the specification (so it's no surprise that I got 24/45 in my Year 9 end of year exam), and people disrupted my learning in Year 10 ). Fortunately, I managed to finish making notes for Physics by February 11th.

As for my Chemistry notes, I already had notes for Units 1 and 2 from Year 10, but those required heavy editing, as not all the content from the specification was present. Since my class is somewhat behind, I decided to do some research in advance, so that I could finish Unit 3 before my classmates.

And finally, Biology didn't take that long; the specification was quite detailed regarding many of the processes and functions that would be tested in the exam. My textbook helped to fill the remainder!

I'm currently making notes for Geography (although my progress has been hindered by an approaching French Writing Controlled Assessment tomorrow). I've finished Coasts (largely helped by notes I found online) and I've almost finished Extreme Climates, and I have notes from last year for Water World, Development Dilemmas, Consuming Resources, and Population Dynamics.

As for my French Writing Controlled Assessment, it is on the topic of School, and involves writing to a French correspondent. I admit that my work has not been well connected, and seems like a jumble of four paragraphs (that is something I definitely need to sort out today)! On the plus side, I do have a variety of complex structures (qui, où, après avoir, bien que, le mien, although not avant de or the present participle) and opinions and justifications.

The subject I am currently struggling with is Music. I got full marks for my first performance and composition, but the listening... Well, it's more due to a lack of effort, since I do not remember revising it, despite the fact that my teacher has generously provided a nice revision booklet for the class.

I hope to post most frequently from now on!
Friday, 6th March 2015

It's 5:55 am at the time of typing. Yesterday, I managed to finish my notes for Water World in Geography (there were a couple of features missing from my Year 10 notes, which I foolishly thought weren't going to be asked in the exam). Population Dynamics only needs a tiny bit of editing. Unfortunately, I did absolutely no work writing up my French Controlled Assessment yesterday... do you have this moment when you can't be bothered to do any work and leave it last minute?...

----
It's now 5:15 pm. My French controlled assessment went really well- I don't remember having that regret which I had last time (when you find out you wrote a sentence incorrectly or missed out an accent). One thing to note is that I kept changing my work and adding , replacing, and taking away words. Given that I only wrote my draft once at home, it's quite a surprise that I pulled this one off. My draft, which was essentially a jumble of paragraphs which were largely unconnected, was somehow turned into a nice, flowing piece of work (the task was on the topic of school, essentially what writing about you think about your school to a French correspondent) in the actual controlled assessment.

On the downside, I received somewhat negative news regarding my Geography controlled assessment. While my teacher thought my analysis, conclusion, and evaluation were fine (I thought I had messed up the conclusion!), he said that my introduction and methods of data collection clearly needed to be sorted out. I found this rather surprising; I thought I had done well in the introduction and not so well in the high-level control parts- it turns out that it's the other way round. Fortunately, the parts I need to improve are 'low level control', which means (if I'm correct) that I can work on it at home and put it on a USB stick. I'll have to appear on Monday and Tuesday after school to finish it off!.

By the end of Sunday, I aim to complete the following:

-Finish Geography notes
-Start solving past papers for all the sciences, and actually revise off my notes.
-Start to revise for Music.
-Finish Religion and Philosophy Unit 2 (Science and Islam).
________________________________ ________________________________ ______
Sunday, 2nd May 2015

It's been a while since I last posted here. Guess what?

It's because of revision.

Let's update this for each subject:

Biology:

I believe had I got one mark lower than I did in my ISA (40/50- 80 UMS- scraped A*), my biology teacher would have allowed me to retake my ISA. However, that was not the case, so I have to get 93.33 UMS overall to get my A*. My notes (well, they're not really mine), are not always clear, and in some cases, contained outright errors (for example, the equation for respiration was wrong and I had to balance it myself) and missed out the last topic of Unit 3 (human impacts on the environment). Nor did it help that my laziness has meant that I got Cs and Bs in my last end of topic tests.

Fortunately, my mum hired a tutor (the first time for over five years), who is a biochemistry graduate and is applying for a PhD in neuroscience as he wants to enter research. My first session was on Friday, and he helped a lot to clear areas which I wasn't sure about. For example, he quickly cleared up the path blood flows from the heart by saying that anything which is described as 'pulmonary' is to do with the lungs. That helped to ease the confusion of artery was where. I am planning three further sessions with him, to clear any remaining points of confusion. Other topics covered were the differences between mitosis and meiosis, the lungs, and inheritance.

However, given my poor ISA result, and the annoying style of the AQA Science GCSE papers, I predict myself an A at this point. My two greatest enemies are the graph questions ('what conclusions can you draw from this graph?') and the 'suggest' questions. It'd be a shame if the reason why I fail to get an A* is due to questions which tests on things not included in the specification. It doesn't help that my Biology teacher said that Unit 3 is a 'synoptic unit' which can also test material from Units 1 and 2.

Chemistry

Chemistry is the only science which I am currently intending to take to A Level, so this is the most important science in terms of the effects of the grade on my academic record. The processes in Chemistry, in my opinion, are easier to describe than the processes in Biology, and Chemistry is generally a more logical subject (and more interesting as well).

Throughout the GCSE course, I have consistently received results in the mid-high 70s to the low 80s, which is between a high A and a low A*. There are exceptions to this of course: my abysmal Crude Oil end of topic test in Year 9 (I believe I got around 55%), a decent Year 10 End of Year exam result (92%- that was a fluke) and a good Year 11 mock GCSE result- obtained by looking up all the past papers online for Unit 2 like the rest of the year did (a.k.a. cheating), hence I got 95% in the second paper (but 88% overall). Since I started solving past papers, my results have gone up to 51-53/60 (85-88%), but again, I could be too generous when marking my own tests.

There are two pieces of good news: firstly, unlike Biology, everyone does two ISAs for Chemistry and Physics, one in Year 10 and the other in Year 11. As shown above, I received 41/50 (83 UMS) in my Year 10 ISA. However, my Year 11 teacher gave me initially 45/50 (93 UMS) in my second ISA, which she then increased to 47/50 (98 UMS) because she was being nice. Secondly, my mum is planning to persuade my Biology tutor if he can go through some topics in Chemistry as well the day before my exam.

My method of revision for all sciences is the same- read the notes and review past papers, and identify common trends or words that are found in the past paper.

Therefore, I predict myself a cautious A* in Chemistry, as Unit 1, which I had taken for granted, had slipped, as I had focused too much on Units 2 and 3. However, Unit 1 is another month away,

Physics

Physics has long been my weakest science (although its claim to this dishonourable title may soon be supplanted by Biology). Paradoxically,
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Jitesh
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(Original post by flibber)
I am in Year 11, and I am hoping for at least 10 A*s. I already have one for Mathematics in Year 10, and I am taking the following this exam season:

Classical Greek (OCR)- predicted A*, aiming for A*
Latin (OCR)- predicted A*, aiming for A*
Religious Studies (OCR)- predicted A*, aiming for A*
English Language (AQA)- predicted A, aiming for A*
English Literature (AQA)- predicted A, aiming for A*
French (AQA)- predicted A*, aiming for A*
Biology (AQA)- predicted A*, aiming for A*
Chemistry (AQA)- predicted A, aiming for A*
Physics (AQA)- predicted A*, aiming for A*
iGCSE Further Mathematics (AQA)- predicted A*, aiming for A^
Geography (Edexcel)- predicted A*, aiming for A*
Music (Edexcel)- predicted A, aiming for A*

I shall update this post in due course to document my progress.

Units already taken (warning: includes a lot of boasting):
Spoiler:
Show

Mathematics (Edexcel)- achieved A*, 183/200 - considering that loads of people got above 190/200. I hope Oxford or Cambridge don't ask for GCSE raw marks!
French Writing part 1- 27/30
French Speaking part 1- 29/30
Music Performance part 1- 30/30
Music Composition part 1- 30/30
English Language Unit 3- 67/80 to 77/80 (I don't know where the remaining 10 marks come from, but my English teacher is rather generous to me).
English Literature Unit 3- 40/40
Geography Unit 4- ?/50 (shall find out in due course)
Biology Unit 4- 40/50
Chemistry Unit 4- 41/50 (first try). second try ?/50
Physics Unit 4- ?/50 (first try), second try ?/50
Pretty sure exam boards like AQA mark MFL writing themselves?
And all controlled assessments will be subject to standardisation and moderation by the exam boards

However, good luck with them results!
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flibber
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(Original post by Jitesh)
Pretty sure exam boards like AQA mark MFL writing themselves?
And all controlled assessments will be subject to standardisation and moderation by the exam boards

However, good luck with them results!
My teacher gave me a provisional mark for French Writing.
I know all controlled assessments will be subject to moderation by AQA/Edexcel/OCR, but I do hope that the marks don't change much (with the exception of French Writing, Biology and Chemistry ISAs). [I edited my post slightly to take that into account]

Thanks nonetheless!
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Puddles the Monkey
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This post is to confirm that flibber's grades have been verified! :banana: :banana2: :banana:
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flibber
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Blog updated!
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L'Evil Fish
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Cambridge don't ask for raw marks at AS let alone at GCSE. They don't look at GCSE UMS either :lol:

If it makes you feel any better, I scored higher in my A2 Maths exams than in my GCSE exams, and I sat them before sixth form so it wasn't because I got more mathematically mature.

I just couldn't lost lots of marks at GCSE

What subject are you thinking of applying for?
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flibber
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(Original post by L'Evil Fish)
Cambridge don't ask for raw marks at AS let alone at GCSE. They don't look at GCSE UMS either :lol:

If it makes you feel any better, I scored higher in my A2 Maths exams than in my GCSE exams, and I sat them before sixth form so it wasn't because I got more mathematically mature.

I just couldn't lost lots of marks at GCSE

What subject are you thinking of applying for?
Ok. At least the stupid mistakes I made in GCSE Maths will remain hidden.

I honestly don't know what subject to apply for at university. Presumably the one which I find interesting and has the least number of no-life nerds applying. I'll have to do some reading after my GCSEs. The subjects I'll be taking for A Levels are Maths, Further Maths, Chemistry, Geography, and Economics. My school has this policy that anyone doing Further Maths must take 5 AS Levels (my deputy head said it's so that they could study a wider range of things).
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L'Evil Fish
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(Original post by flibber)
Ok. At least the stupid mistakes I made in GCSE Maths will remain hidden.

I honestly don't know what subject to apply for at university. Presumably the one which I find interesting and has the least number of no-life nerds applying. I'll have to do some reading after my GCSEs. The subjects I'll be taking for A Levels are Maths, Further Maths, Chemistry, Geography, and Economics. My school has this policy that anyone doing Further Maths must take 5 AS Levels (my deputy head said it's so that they could study a wider range of things).
Would strongly advise against geography, I enjoyed GCSE but AS was the worst thing ever :lol:

Seems Economics would be the right choice for you! Or Maths.

Lol dw I won't judge the AS/A Levels, I did a handful too
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flibber
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(Original post by L'Evil Fish)
Would strongly advise against geography, I enjoyed GCSE but AS was the worst thing ever :lol:

Seems Economics would be the right choice for you! Or Maths.

Lol dw I won't judge the AS/A Levels, I did a handful too
My Geography board for A Level is AQA while yours is WJEC, so I hope the geography content in AQA is more interesting.

I was thinking of maths, but I'm not so sure now, since I'm not sure whether I can get a good score in MAT/AEA/STEP. I did fine for SMC (95) last year but that was because my dad forced me to do SMC past papers since he's a maths tutor and he's obsessed with math challenges.

I'm not sure about how to express enthusiasm for economics. It sounds interesting but I'm not sure if it's something I can study solely for 3 years without getting bored. Plus I only intend to take it for AS.

By the way, what's your board for Physics A Level, and how different are the style of questions from GCSE (my board's AQA)?
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L'Evil Fish
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(Original post by flibber)
My Geography board for A Level is AQA while yours is WJEC, so I hope the geography content in AQA is more interesting.

I was thinking of maths, but I'm not so sure now, since I'm not sure whether I can get a good score in MAT/AEA/STEP. I did fine for SMC (95) last year but that was because my dad forced me to do SMC past papers since he's a maths tutor and he's obsessed with math challenges.

I'm not sure about how to express enthusiasm for economics. It sounds interesting but I'm not sure if it's something I can study solely for 3 years without getting bored. Plus I only intend to take it for AS.

By the way, what's your board for Physics A Level, and how different are the style of questions from GCSE (my board's AQA)?
My board is meant to be quite a hard and interesting one for geography though.

Can't go in half hearted with maths, the step will kill you if you don't enjoy it.

It's very mathematical at Cambridge. Sounds awesome

OCR A. It's better in that there's more maths.
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flibber
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(Original post by L'Evil Fish)
My board is meant to be quite a hard and interesting one for geography though.

Can't go in half hearted with maths, the step will kill you if you don't enjoy it.

It's very mathematical at Cambridge. Sounds awesome

OCR A. It's better in that there's more maths.
Would you say I should change one of Geography or Economics for Physics? I find the GCSE specification very boring but reading the A Level specification right now it seems quite interesting.

My school's Sixth Form Course Guide says this about Physics A Level:

During Year 12 all students (both AS and A2) will study the following topics : Measurement skills, Particle Physics, Quantum Physics, Waves, Mechanics, Materials
and Electricity. If they choose to study the full A-level they will also study in their second year: Further mechanics, Thermal physics, Electric, Gravitational and
Magnetic Fields, Nuclear Physics and Astrophysics. Although exam boards are moving towards a less prescriptive coursework element our course places heavy emphasis on practical work. It is an essential scientific discipline and also a valuable aid to enhance understanding. Lessons follow the ‘flipped teaching’ paradigm – students are required to read the online course notes before they come to the lesson. With the process of note-taking already complete, more lesson time can be devoted to developing higher skills of complex reasoning and numerical calculation. Physics remains one of the most prestigious A-level subjects due to the transferable nature of the skills learnt, and also the stringent demands of the subject. Although many of our students go on to study Engineering and Physics, it is not uncommon for Finance and Humanities applicants to find that Physics complements their other subject choices very well.


By the way, why does it always say that you're offline? Are you a ghost?
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L'Evil Fish
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(Original post by flibber)
Would you say I should change one of Geography or Economics for Physics? I find the GCSE specification very boring but reading the A Level specification right now it seems quite interesting.

My school's Sixth Form Course Guide says this about Physics A Level:

During Year 12 all students (both AS and A2) will study the following topics : Measurement skills, Particle Physics, Quantum Physics, Waves, Mechanics, Materials
and Electricity. If they choose to study the full A-level they will also study in their second year: Further mechanics, Thermal physics, Electric, Gravitational and
Magnetic Fields, Nuclear Physics and Astrophysics. Although exam boards are moving towards a less prescriptive coursework element our course places heavy emphasis on practical work. It is an essential scientific discipline and also a valuable aid to enhance understanding. Lessons follow the ‘flipped teaching’ paradigm – students are required to read the online course notes before they come to the lesson. With the process of note-taking already complete, more lesson time can be devoted to developing higher skills of complex reasoning and numerical calculation. Physics remains one of the most prestigious A-level subjects due to the transferable nature of the skills learnt, and also the stringent demands of the subject. Although many of our students go on to study Engineering and Physics, it is not uncommon for Finance and Humanities applicants to find that Physics complements their other subject choices very well.


By the way, why does it always say that you're offline? Are you a ghost?
I am indeed a ghost

Swap physics for geography for sure
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flibber
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(Original post by L'Evil Fish)
I am indeed a ghost

Swap physics for geography for sure
I would, but

1) isn't geography considered more useful than economics A Level?
2) my dad would be surprised since physics has traditionally been one of my weakest subjects (although I'm now clearly improving, since when I made my revision notes I realised that my Year 9 Physics teacher didn't teach a lot of the stuff in the specification hence I learned them for the first time last month; my classmates were noisy so I often couldn't hear my Year 10 physics teacher; so it's more to do with poor teaching/disruptive classmates which led to a lack of effort/enthusiasm; luckily my Year 11 Physics teacher actually teaches properly and my classmates don't mess up his life as much).
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L'Evil Fish
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(Original post by flibber)
I would, but

1) isn't geography considered more useful than economics A Level?
2) my dad would be surprised since physics has traditionally been one of my weakest subjects (although I'm now clearly improving, since when I made my revision notes I realised that my Year 9 Physics teacher didn't teach a lot of the stuff in the specification hence I learned them for the first time last month; my classmates were noisy so I often couldn't hear my Year 10 physics teacher; so it's more to do with poor teaching/disruptive classmates which led to a lack of effort/enthusiasm; luckily my Year 11 Physics teacher actually teaches properly and my classmates don't mess up his life as much).
Not really. Both can be done without the A Level, but I think it'd be better to do economics in your position

Doesn't matter, just do it. If you're gonna do further maths, you'll be fine
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flibber
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(Original post by L'Evil Fish)
Not really. Both can be done without the A Level, but I think it'd be better to do economics in your position

Doesn't matter, just do it. If you're gonna do further maths, you'll be fine
Do you know when the deadline is for changing an A Level?

My dad and my older sister (who's studying maths at uni) are going to teach me Maths A Level over the summer holidays so that I have a head start. My dad said that it'll enable me to concentrate on harder A Levels (such as Chemistry).
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L'Evil Fish
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(Original post by flibber)
Do you know when the deadline is for changing an A Level?

My dad and my older sister (who's studying maths at uni) are going to teach me Maths A Level over the summer holidays so that I have a head start. My dad said that it'll enable me to concentrate on harder A Levels (such as Chemistry).
Considering I changed 6 weeks into starting a Levels, from geography to biology, you can definitely change beforehand if timetables allows for it.
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flibber
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(Original post by L'Evil Fish)
Considering I changed 6 weeks into starting a Levels, from geography to biology, you can definitely change beforehand if timetables allows for it.
Wouldn't it mean that I'd have a lot of catch up work to do to cover the first six or so weeks?
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L'Evil Fish
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(Original post by flibber)
Wouldn't it mean that I'd have a lot of catch up work to do to cover the first six or so weeks?
Well you haven't started so you can change beforehand... I'm not saying you should change 6 weeks in! Just that it can be done
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(Original post by flibber)
Wouldn't it mean that I'd have a lot of catch up work to do to cover the first six or so weeks?
Just another point of view.

I do economics and geography and I think geography is 1000x better (doesn't get much harder and if you're good at it, guaranteed an A) . I went in with an open mind and thought for some reason economics was more to do with current affairs which is true for macro not so much micro and I detest it. I do AQA for geography and love it. I cant stress how important it is to do something you enjoy. I wish I done maths instead of economics because then I wouldn't feel the need to feel like I want to drop it ASAP. Research into the spec and then choose


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flibber
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(Original post by L'Evil Fish)
Well you haven't started so you can change beforehand... I'm not saying you should change 6 weeks in! Just that it can be done
Thanks!

http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show...=#post54071611

How's Physics A Level at the moment?
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