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How to get 6.0 AWA....my guide

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How to get 6.0 AWA....my guide [#permalink] New post 22 May 2008, 05:56
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Guide to Perfect 6.0 AWA GMAT Score

Related AWA Resources:


I took the GMAT twice and scored 6.0 each time. I did put a lot of time in it the first time....too much actually. Being a non-native speaker and having not written a damn essay (of any kind) in many many years, I was very scared of the AWA. So, I went through every guide that I could find and wrote nearly 25-30 essays. Even had a friend grade them for me.....Pathetic, huh?

Anyway, for my second time, I just looked over my templates I created and wrote one of each the day before test just to refresh my memory on faster typing without making too many typos......

So, here it is....Enjoy, and please do not blame me if the 6.0 percentile goes down to 80 soon :-D



AWA GUIDE

by Chineseburned

1. General Structure



Intro - Restate argument, point out flaws or state intention to discuss them below
1st Para - First,...
2nd Para - Second/In addition,...
3rd Para - Third/Finally,...
Conclusion - The argument is flawed/weak/unconvincing because of the above -mentioned...Ultimately, the argument can be strengthened if/by...


2. Structural Word (should be all over the essays)



  1. Supporting examples - for example, to illustrate, for instance, because, specifically
  2. Additional support - furthermore, in addition, similarly, just as, also, as a result, moreover
  3. Importance - surely, truly, undoubtedly, clearly, in fact, most importantly
  4. Contrast - on the contrary, yet, despite, rather, instead, however, although, while
  5. Decide against - one cannot deny that, it could be argued that, granted, admittedly
  6. Ying-yang - on the one hand/on the other hand
  7. Concluding - therefore, in summary, consequently, hence, in conclusion, ultimately, in closing


3. Templates



Intro:
The argument claims that ....(restate)
Stated in this way the argument:
a) manipulates facts and conveys a distorted view of the situation
b) reveals examples of leap of faith, poor reasoning and ill-defined terminology
c) fails to mention several key factors, on the basis of which it could be evaluated
The conclusion of the argument relies on assumptions for which there is no clear evidence. Hence, the argument is weak/unconvincing and has several flaws.

1st Para:
First, the argument readily assumes that......
This statement is a stretch....
For example,...
Clearly,...
The argument could have been much clearer if it explicitly stated that...

2nd Para:
Second, the argument claims that....
This is again a very weak and unsupported claim as the argument does not demonstrate any correlation between....and...
To illustrate,...
While,...
However,....indeed....
In fact, it is not at all clear...rather....
If the argument had provided evidence that.....then the argument would have been a lot more convincing.

3rd Para:
Finally,...
(pose some questions for the argument).....Without convincing answers to these questions, one is left with the impression that the claim is more of a wishful thinking rather than substantive evidence.

Conclusion:
In conclusion, the argument is flawed for the above-mentioned reasons and is therefore unconvincing. It could be considerably strengthened if the author clearly mentioned all the relevant facts....
In order to assess the merits of a certain situation/decision, it is essential to have full knowledge of all contributing factors. In this particular case....
Without this information, the argument remains unsubstantiated and open to debate.

4. Going from the templates to full-fledged essays




ESSAY QUESTION:
The following appeared in the editorial section of a national news magazine:[/b]

"The rating system for electronic games is similar to the movie rating system in that it provides consumers with a quick reference so that they can determine if the subject matter and contents are appropriate. This electronic game rating system is not working because it is self regulated and the fines for violating the rating system are nominal. As a result an independent body should oversee the game industry and companies that knowingly violate the rating system should be prohibited from releasing a game for two years."

Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Point out flaws in the argument's logic and analyze the argument's underlying assumptions. In addition, evaluate how supporting evidence is used and what evidence might counter the argument's conclusion. You may also discuss what additional evidence could be used to strengthen the argument or what changes would make the argument more logically sound.


YOUR RESPONSE:
Quote:
The argument claims that the electronic games rating system, although similar to the movie rating system, is not working because it is self regulated and violation fines are nominal, Hence, the gaming rating system should be overseen by an independent body. Stated in this way the argument fails to mention several key factors, on the basis of which it could be evaluated. The conclusion relies on assumptions, for which there is no clear evidence. Therefore, the argument is rather weak, unconvincing, and has several flaws.

First, the argument readily assumes that because the electronic game rating system is self regulated, it is not working well. This statement is a stretch and not substantiated in any way. There are numerous examples in other areas of business or commerce, where the entities are self regulated and rather successful. For instance, FIA, the Formula1 racing organization is self regulated. Yet, the sport is very popular and successful, drawing millions of spectators around the world each year. Tickets are rather expensive, races are shown on pay-per-view, and nearly all drivers are paid very well. Another example is the paralleled movie rating system that the argument mentions. The author fails to clarify whether it is working well, but it is clear that the movie rating system is pretty well received by people, who often base their decisions to go see a movie with kids or not on the movie rating. It has never been a case when someone would feel cheated by the movie rating and express disappointment afterwards. Since the movie rating system is also self regulated, it follows that this regulatory method is working pretty well and it is not obvious how it can be the reason for the poor electronic game rating system. The argument would have been much clearer if it explicitly gave examples of how the self regulatory system led to bad ratings and customer dissatisfaction.

Second, the argument claims that any violation fees for bad electronic game ratings are nominal. It thus suggests that this is yet another reason for the rating system not working. This is again a very weak and unsupported claim as the argument does not demonstrate any correlation between the monetary amount of the fines and the quality of the electronic game rating system. In fact, the argument does not even draw a parallel with the mentioned movie rating system and its violation fines. If any such correlation had been shown for the movie rating system, which supposedly works well, then the author would have sounded a bit more convincing. In addition, if the argument provided evidence that low violation fines lead to electronic game manufacturers to ignore any regulations with respect to the game rating system, the argument could have been strengthened even further.

Finally, the argument concludes that an independent body should oversee the game industry and companies that violate the rating system, should be punished. From this statement again, it is not at all clear how an independent regulatory body can do a better job than a self regulated one. Without supporting evidence and examples from other businesses where independent regulatory bodies have done a great job, one is left with the impression that the claim is more of a wishful thinking rather than substantive evidence. As a result, this conclusion has no legs to stand on.

In summary, the argument is flawed and therefore unconvincing. It could be considerably strengthened if the author clearly mentioned all the relevant facts. In order to assess the merits of a certain situation, it is essential to have full knowledge of all contributing factors.


5. Final tips



  • During the tutorial type in a few sentences in the mock essay window to get used to the keyboard.
  • Again during the tutorial, jot down on your notebook the basic structure of your essays or the opening sentences in case you get too nervous and forget them when the clock starts ticking.
  • Write as much as you can. Try to write at least 500 words per essay.
  • Always have the e-rater in mind as your potential reviewer. Remember that the human rater will make every effort to grade just like the e-rater. In that sense, keep your structure and volume in mind over actual quality/content.
  • Be careful of spelling mistakes. Double check words that you normally know you misspell (e.g. exercise). Try to finish 2-3 minutes before time is up so you can slowly re-read your essay for the purposes of spell checking. Do not reorganize/delete sentences/paragraphs with less than 2 min left.
  • No matter how great you thought your essays went, try to stay humble and focused - remember this was just a warm-up and the real stuff hasn't started yet!

Good luck!

Image
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Last edited by carcass on 26 Aug 2014, 10:26, edited 9 times in total.
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Re: How to get 6.0 AWA....my guide [#permalink] New post 26 May 2008, 11:49
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Here is an essay I wrote for a PR Test - Graded a 6.0 (normally they grade harder than real thing)

Prompt: “The autonomy of any country is based on the strength of its borders; if the number of illegal immigrants entering a country cannot be checked, both its economy and national identity are endangered. Because illegal immigrants pose such threats, every effort must be made to return them to their country of origin.”

Assignment: Discuss how well-reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion, be sure to analyze the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument. For example, you may need to consider what questionable assumptions underlie the thinking and what alternative explanations or counterexamples might weaken the conclusion. You can also discuss what sort of evidence would strengthen or refute the argument, what changes in the argument would make it more logically sound, and what, if anything, would help you better evaluate its conclusion.


"This argument relies heavily on unverified assumptions and has a very extreme conclusion. The author fails to make logical connections between the evidence provided and the conclusion that all illegal aliens must be returned to their country of origin.

The first problem with the argument is that it suffers from multiple unsubstantiated claims. The first evidence that is given to support the extreme conclusion is that the autonomy of any country is based on the strength of its borders. This statement is also extreme because it infers that every countries autonomy could be ranked by the strength of its borders. There are many European countries that have very little strength exerted at the borders, but still maintain autonomy. The author should clarify this statement by grouping countries together or using a more vague statement that would include most countries but not all.

The next statement in the argument is conditional phrase stating that the more illegal immigrants that enter a country the worse off the economy and national identity will be. While this statement might be true for some countries it is certainly not true for all countries. The very foundation of early US society was based on immigrant labor and culture that brought from over the sea. There are still many countries whose economy is heavily dependent on immigrant labor. Even though many economist feel this statement is true in the US today, most would disagree that this statement is true of all countries.

The final portion of the author's argument is the conclusion. The conclusion states that the because of disadvantages mentioned earlier all illegal immigrants must be returned to their country of origin. Although this statement might appear to be a logical conclusion of this extreme argument it fails to take extra information into account. The author doesn't give any indication on how extreme these problems will be or how costly it will be to return the amount of illegal aliens to their home country. What if the cost to the economy was half the amount that it would cost to send all of the immigrants back to their country of origin? The author could use some monetary figures to prove that some savings would be incurred if all illegal immigrants were deported.

In conclusion, the argument suffers from logical flaws and makes an extreme conclusion based on unproven assumptions. The addition of hard examples and connections between the statements would prove to strengthen the argument."


*This just shows you how you don't have to write great to get a good score*
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Re: How to get 6.0 AWA....my guide [#permalink] New post 22 May 2008, 10:18
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navy01 wrote:
to add to chineseburn, veritas tells you in paragraph #5 (before conclusion and after 3rd point) to add what would have made the arguement issues stronger (analyze the arguement) or to criticize your own arguement (issues question). They say to write 6 paragraphs.



I include this in the conclusions.
5 or 6 paragraphs doesn't matter as long as the word count is there.
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Re: How to get 6.0 AWA....my guide [#permalink] New post 22 May 2008, 06:40
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Thanks! Many thanks!
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Re: How to get 6.0 AWA....my guide [#permalink] New post 04 Mar 2010, 09:30
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It is one of best guidelines ever i have seen....
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Re: How to get 6.0 AWA....my guide [#permalink] New post 27 Oct 2009, 08:11
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We recommend that students write 5 paragraphs.

Here is the breakdown:

1) Intro paragraph. State succinct thesis with specific perspective. Introduce 3 independent points/ideas/examples that bolster thesis. Intro paragraph should be at least 3 sentences.

2) First body paragraph. Introduce paragraph with topic sentence. Unpack first point/idea/example bolstering thesis.

3) Second body paragraph. Introduce paragraph with topic sentence. Unpack second point/idea/example bolstering thesis.

4) Third body paragraph. Introduce paragraph with topic sentence. Unpack third point/idea/example bolstering thesis.

5) Conclusion paragraph. Restate thesis using new language. Quickly touch on three supporting points/ideas/examples. Conclusion paragraph should be at least 3 sentences.

Obviously, this is not the only template that will help improve your score. But it is the one most preferred by GMAT essay-readers—so you would be best served by running your essay through this framework.

I hope this is helpful; please let me know if you have more questions.

Best,

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Re: How to get 6.0 AWA....my guide [#permalink] New post 22 May 2008, 09:14
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Great stuff chineseburned, much obliged!!!!!!
If you have any additional material that might be useful kindly post it...although your guide looks sufficient :-).
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Re: How to get 6.0 AWA....my guide [#permalink] New post 07 Sep 2008, 08:44
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The only addendum I would add here is that you do not necessarily need to make 3 points. I made 2 points on an essay and still got a 6. If you don't make 3 points, though, make sure you write a lot about the 2 points. Word count is important, i think.
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Re: How to get 6.0 AWA....my guide [#permalink] New post 22 May 2008, 10:16
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to add to chineseburn, veritas tells you in paragraph #5 (before conclusion and after 3rd point) to add what would have made the arguement issues stronger (analyze the arguement) or to criticize your own arguement (issues question). They say to write 6 paragraphs.
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Re: How to get 6.0 AWA....my guide [#permalink] New post 12 Apr 2009, 02:29
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typhoidX wrote:
Hi everyone,

I'm new here & I'm glad I finally found an AWA thread. My appreciations to the author of this guide, it is very helpful. However, I have a few questions about AWA that was not covered:

1. Does anyone have suggestions on the use of common abbreviations and acronyms (as a time saving method)? Would the computer rater grade such usage as spelling errors?

Example 1: I want to replace the word "and" with the symbol "&".
Example 2: If I am writing about small and medium enterprises, instead of writing out the whole phrase "small and medium enterprises" every time I refer to them, I would like to write out the complete phrase the first time, followed by an acronym in parentheses, and write ONLY the acronym in future uses.
Preferred usage - "An effective strategy for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) would be... Therefore, by doing..., SMEs can successfully..."


Good questions!
Do not use & instead of and and do not use "don't" - these are not considered proper writing rules.
The safe approach is not to use any contractions on the GMAT, even such as I'm, and instead write I am.

typhoidX wrote:
2. Does AWA affect the overall score (on the 200-800 scale) in anyway? How important is the AWA section?

If these questions were already asked/answered in other threads, it would be great if someone pointed me in that direction. Thanks for advance for any help given.


No, AWA has its own grading scale - 0 - 6 on a 0.5 scale.
It does not affect your GMAT Score and is reported separately.

Hope this helps!
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Re: How to get 6.0 AWA....my guide [#permalink] New post 06 Aug 2009, 11:22
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murdoc wrote:
Can someone use the exact words of the example above, or a little modification must be made?
In other words, if 100 people put the same templates, is there some kind of constraint from GMAT to do this? Will the scores be low? Or at least If I create my own template, can I use it over and over the same if I retake the test? Will the later scores be low? How the raters see that?
Are my essays send to business schools? Or just the score?


I don't think there are any issues with using the same template over and over by everyone. Why not? It does not say anywhere you can't do that.
The essays are sent to the business schools but they are used rarely and only to verify that your application essays have been written by you. Few of the schools outside of top20 review them.
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Re: How to get 6.0 AWA....my guide [#permalink] New post 04 Mar 2010, 09:16
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Thanks for the breakdown. I studied your template literally a day or two before the test and managed to get a 5.5. Not too bad. thx!
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Re: How to get 6.0 AWA....my guide [#permalink] New post 09 Jul 2013, 10:34
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writing an essay comprises of 3 things:

1. A crisp and clear template
2. A planned approach
3. lucid but good word usage.

1. Analysis of an Issue

A Template Approach to the GMAT Essay

You will be given an essay topic that ETS expects to be debatable. In other words, about half of the people will agree with one side, while the other half will agree with the other side. ETS will not give you a topic that most people agree on. For example, you will not see a topic asking you to give your opinion on the value of education for children, nor on whether or not the government should have programs to decrease the number of the drug users.

However, you might see an essay topic asking you to give your opinion on school vouchers, for example, or you might see a topic asking you to pick whether you think it is primarily the government's or the family’s responsibility to prevent drug use among children.

In general, do not take one side of the argument completely. A good rule of thumb is to argue your opinion at about 60 percent or 70 percent. I should emphasize this—even if you believe you are one hundred percent correct, you should still pretend that you are 60 or 70 percent correct.

Although the GMAT essay scorers are trained to forgive certain mistakes given the time constraints of the essay, ETS can be very picky. Pay attention to your grammar, spelling, and logical sequence, just to name a few. How can you improve your score? ETS also looks for sentence variety and ability to use language. I will show you some simple ways to do this—really, it's not that hard!

OK, here we go.

One Way

First of all, you have to figure out why they chose this as a topic. Remember—not everybody will agree, in fact it should be about 50/50. This is your hint. Try to find about five points for and against each side (ten points in total). Don't worry if you think that your points are stupid or trivial. The important thing right now is just to get some ideas down on paper, to start your brain working.

Second, figure out which side you are going to take.

Third, start writing! Don’t worry about an introduction or a conclusion right now—they are the hardest to write and everybody gets hung up on them. Just get your ideas down first.

Next, make sure you have about three or four paragraphs. You should be thinking about adding some examples now. Try to make one personal, maybe from your country and another one either international or American (the idea is that most educated Americans will have heard about the topic before). Don’t make your examples too personal! Imagine your prospective boss is reading this.

Now, go back and spice up your language—add something witty, an illustrative anecdote, a rhetorical question, even sarcasm or irony. Also, try changing the order of some of your sentences, i.e., put the subordinate clause first.

Almost done! Write your intro and conclusion!

Last, check grammar and spelling. Voila! A perfect essay!

Template

Okay, let’s try the essay now.

First Paragraph: Introduction

The issue/belief/idea/opinion that ______________________________________ is an interesting/controversial one. This issue is increasingly important in this age of ___________________________. Many people believe _________________________, but these people overlook _________________________________________________. Furthermore, _____________________________________. In this essay, I will argue that __________________________________________________ _______________.

Second Paragraph: Support

There are many good reasons for ____________________________. However, it cannot be ignored/overlooked that ___________________________. A classic example of this is ___________________________________________ . Try to add something interesting in this paragraph. Make sure you use a few complicated structures—try putting a subordinate clause first. Like this: While many type of professional promote the notion that _____________________________, I believe the opposite should be argued given the current situation/status/ of ____________________________________.

Conclusion

I have argued _______________________. This view will become increasingly dominant in the coming century given ________________________________. Many of these issues can never be resolved to everybody’s satisfaction, but in the long run, promoting ________________________________ will lead to the betterment of all involved. Finally, _____________________________ increased something like global cooperation, cultural understanding, blah, blah, blah can only result from this, resulting in ______________________________ for everybody.
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Re: How to get 6.0 AWA....my guide [#permalink] New post 12 Nov 2013, 22:32
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Thanks for best Post on this topic;
I guess have more simplified format to remember while writing the essay;

A) Introduction ;
1. Restate the argument summary- topic and scope of Argument
2. State the argument flawed because of ;
Flaw 1- Data / Evidence missing;
Flaw 2- Only single factor considered; other factors needs to be considered, etc.

B) Para 1;
1. State the flaw 1
2. Why it is flaw
3. What Data / evidence missing with ex.
4. What would have made the Flaw more convincing

C) Para 2;
1. State the Flaw 2
2. Why it is Flaw
3. What Other Factors will effect and need to be considered with ex.
4. What would have made the flaw more convincing

D) Conclusion;
State why the conclusion was Flawed
The final verdict- Yours conclusion and why you support that.


let me know your comments
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Re: How to get 6.0 AWA....my guide [#permalink] New post 23 May 2008, 00:41
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Thanks a lot 4 ur efforts. G8 job!
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Re: How to get 6.0 AWA....my guide [#permalink] New post 23 May 2008, 03:20
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+1 with my 3.0 AWA is very useful. Well done! Chineseburned, if you have more pls post this. We'll appreciate this exciting!!! 8-)
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Re: How to get 6.0 AWA....my guide [#permalink] New post 23 May 2008, 18:20
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Many thanks and +1 for great job, chinesburn! :lol:
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Re: How to get 6.0 AWA....my guide [#permalink] New post 17 Jun 2008, 15:14
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Wow Chineseburned, this makes the AWA much easier to attack. +5
Much obliged. :-D
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Re: How to get 6.0 AWA....my guide [#permalink] New post 11 Jan 2009, 11:44
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Thanks mate. The structure part of your guide was very helpful.

I didn't read past section 3, and it was good enough to take me from a 4.5 in late 2003 to a 6.0 a few days ago (I'm surprised they churned out a score that fast!). Unfortunately, that is only an 87% now... :(

My conclusion paragraphs were very short too, and my intros weren't that long either. My three body paragraphs were very long though. Therefore, if I have anything to add to this for other test takers, it is literally restate the argument/issue and take a position and move on. Don't bother with fluff and save that for the body, as that seems to be what they are looking for. Same with the conclusion. A couple sentences seems to suffice (i.e., don't restate anything, just say for the reasons stated above).
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Re: How to get 6.0 AWA....my guide [#permalink] New post 24 Jul 2009, 09:05
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murdoc wrote:
You mentioned to type at least 500 words per text. On the test it is shown the number of words or characters I typed or do I have to estimate that?


You have to estimate it on the test. The interface is very basic.
However, during your practice you can use Word's word count feature to get an idea where 500 words gets you.
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Re: How to get 6.0 AWA....my guide   [#permalink] 24 Jul 2009, 09:05
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