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Debrief- 760 first attempt

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Debrief- 760 first attempt [#permalink]

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This is a long one, sorry. There's a TLDR and summary at the bottom

The Day Of


I took the day off from work as I had a 12:30 time slot for the test. This time slot proved to be…problematic for me. I usually start work at 5:30 am, so I was wide awake by 5am with nothing to do. I tried to play some video games, made some food to kill time, looked at my school spreadsheet to see what schools I wanted to send my scores to, and worked on my “bottom number”, aka the lowest I’d be willing to accept, eventually settling on a 680. (My previous practices were 650-730) After all of this was done, is was still just 10am. Sigh. I killed a few more hours before hopping in my truck and heading to the test center.

Upon arrival, I checked in, dropped my stuff in a locker, and got to it pretty quickly. Probably 10 minutes tops from arrival to testing. I decided to take the test in the standard order since I hadn’t put much thought into it and I hadn’t done any practices in any other order, so it made sense to stick to what I knew already. I also suspected that being able to work away at an essay (which doesn’t matter as much as the 800 score) would give the opportunity to calm down and settle into a groove.

The essay prompt was about a tourism office wanting a to host another major sporting event. I picked three flaws out of it, and weakened them. There were some major gaps in the way things were stated so it wasn’t particularly challenging.

IR was a different story. For some reason, this one really caught me off guard. There were two or three questions I just didn’t get. There were a few fill in the blank type questions too, which I hadn’t seen before. I had 7 or 8s on all of my practices, and wound up with a 6 on this one. Not really sure what the issue was if I’m honest, but I can live with the 6 I received.

Math started off pretty slow, the first ten felt like freebies. Around question 20 it started to get a little harder, and by 25 it was turned up another notch. From 25-37 the problems seemed similar in difficulty. There wasn’t too much variety, and very few questions felt “difficult” which had me pretty unsure by the time I finished. The DS seemed tricky, and I will admit that I spent a lot of time thinking to myself, “why are they giving me this second statement” on a few, just trying to find the trap that didn’t exist.

Verbal is where great scores go to die, and I was pretty sure this was the case for me. By the time the first 20 were done, I already felt like it was challenging. I had 2 long reading comprehensions and a few sentence corrections that had me really confused. This trend continued to the end, and I really struggled at the finish from fatigue. A few yawns were had, and I mumbled more than a few words to myself while reading some of the questions. I eventually got through it with just 3 minutes to spare, a record low for me.

The moment of truth arrived shortly after and I felt like I waited forever for the score to finish loading. 760! Q49, V44, IR6. Holy $^&*. I almost missed the “do you want to accept this score” prompt when it popped up because I was so surprised. I walked in with the expectation of a 700 at best and left with a 760. I was ecstatic.


The Training


I wish I could say I had a dedicated, well thought out plan for my studying, but I didn’t. I started off buying a Kaplan book on Amazon for about 15 bucks, and an older OG book on sale, I think it was the 2015. I wasn’t 100% sure I wanted to go back to school, so I figured if I could get through a book and take a test, I’d see where I sat and reevaluate. My undergrap GPA is under 3, so I knew I would need to do very on the test to have any chance of admission. It just wouldn’t be worth applying with a sub par GPA and GMAT score. I worked my way through the OG over the course of a month or so and took a few Kaplan tests in segments to get the hang of things. When I sat down and took my first complete Kaplan, I scored a 690. On the right track, but still not completely convincing. I continued to work through the Kaplan book occasionally until I was on a business trip without it, and came across Magoosh. There was a sale going on and I took the offer. That was a significant turning point for my studies.

I watched a bunch of the videos and worked my way through about 85% of the practice problems on the site. After doing these problems, I took a gmatprep test and scored a 710. Very nice, some steady progress. I kept the same verbal, and increased math by a few points. Most importantly though, it confirmed the Kaplan result wasn’t a fluke. Between the two test results and the school research I had been doing, I knew I wanted to apply to school, and made a more serious effort to prep.

I found the gmatclub site and took the free Veritas exam offer( I'm a sucker for sales and free stuff). It was brutal. My score plummeted to the mid 600s. I decided to capitalize on the 6 exam promotion they were offering, and starting grinding away at the free problem bank to help prepare. I took a second Veritas exam and scored a 680. Ok, things are starting to get back in line. I was feeling confident, with my official test about a month away. I decided to take the second gmatprep test and scored a 730. That really helped my confidence level, as I once again increased my quant and the verbal by 2 points each.

I kept drilling problems from Veritas and Magoosh for another two weeks really focusing on a few things that I was struggling with. Number properties, probabilities and reading comprehension were the 3 biggest. After doing more than a fair share of them, I decided to take one final practice test from Veritas. I scored a 710, another huge boost to my confidence, and I really cut back on my studying for the home stretch.

In the last week and a half, I studied just a few hours in an effort to keep the material fresh. I knew that very little would come from cramming at the end and decided instead to just enjoy my evenings. I played video games with my wife, went for a few runs, and started to gather some information on school applications. I wrote two awa essays two days prior to my test, and that was that. The day prior to my test was spent doing some chores and relaxing. I tried really hard not to stress about the test, and I think that was a major factor in my success. Going in calm and collected (and confident from practice scores!) is truly critical to performing your best.


In summary, the resources I used were:


Kaplan gmat book – select problem sets
OG book – entire book with math twice, verbal once
Magoosh – nearly all problems in the bank and many videos
Veritas – several practice exams and a few hundred problems from the bank
Gmatprep – 2 exams and the 90 free problems


My few bits of advice, which may or may not work for you-


Treat practice exams as just that, practice. Use them to work on timing issues, fatigue, etc. Also remember, the scoring is not perfect, especially from 3rd parties. I was 50 points above my best Veritas and 30 above Gmatprep.
Focus on what you do not know. Don’t take the easy route and practice what comes easily to you. If you are terrible at sentence correction, focus on sentence correction. It sounds easy, but it is really hard to get motivated to do this sometimes.
Don’t stress about missing study time. I went back and forth sporadically with my studies. There were weeks that I worked close to 70 hours, and I spent little time studying during those. It’s ok to do this. Just stay focused and pick it back up when you can.
You don't have to spend a fortune on prep to do well. Excluding the test, I spent less than $200 on study material, and the majority of that was the Magoosh subscription.


TLDR:


Did much better than practice exams and pulled a 760 on my first attempt. Q49, V44, IR6. Tied my highest quant score, and scored 2 higher than my best verbal.
Self studied sporadically for ~6 months using Kaplan, OG, Magoosh, Veritas to prepare. Practice exams were 650-730.

If you have any questions, I'll try to keep up with this thread and answer them.

Last edited by bb on 26 Jul 2017, 23:24, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Debrief- 760 first attempt [#permalink]

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New post 26 Jul 2017, 22:02
Hi,

First of all, Congrats on the awesome score.
What did you think worked for you on the final day,
that helped you score 30 points more than you had ever score before.
Was it just because you were very relaxed and went for the test with a lot of confidence,
or did you feel a few questions were easier that you had expected(specifically for Verbal)?

Also, could you detail your strategy for Verbal(RC and CR in specific),
considering that you were initially struggling with RC, but managed to score a 99 percentile in the Verbal Section.

Best of luck with the applications.
Pushpit
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Re: Debrief- 760 first attempt [#permalink]

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New post 26 Jul 2017, 22:13
cxa0897

Congratulations!! That's an amazing score.

Can you share your experience with Veritas mocks and free question bank? How did you find the Verbal and Quant questions in Veritas mock? Were those representative of official questions in terms of quality?

I recently gave a Veritas mock and got 16 questions wrong in Quant, but still ended up with a Q50.

Thanks!
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Re: Debrief- 760 first attempt [#permalink]

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yt770 wrote:
cxa0897

Congratulations!! That's an amazing score.

Can you share your experience with Veritas mocks and free question bank? How did you find the Verbal and Quant questions in Veritas mock? Were those representative of official questions in terms of quality?

I recently gave a Veritas mock and got 16 questions wrong in Quant, but still ended up with a Q50.

Thanks!


I would like to draw your attention to the part of the debrief which talks about the scores from Mock Tests.

Quote:
Treat practice exams as just that, practice. Use them to work on timing issues, fatigue, etc. Also remember, the scoring is not perfect, especially from 3rd parties. I was 50 points above my best Veritas and 30 above Gmatprep.
Focus on what you do not know. Don’t take the easy route and practice what comes easily to you. If you are terrible at sentence correction, focus on sentence correction. It sounds easy, but it is really hard to get motivated to do this sometimes.
Don’t stress about missing study time. I went back and forth sporadically with my studies. There were weeks that I worked close to 70 hours, and I spent little time studying during those. It’s ok to do this. Just stay focused and pick it back up when you can.


To reiterate, I think I would not delve too much on the scores.
Try to recognize a pattern(if any) in your mistakes, and correct those mistakes as you go.
Especially in the Quant Section, where you could be making repeated mistakes because of not
following some concepts, or where some specific practice could be needed to get rid of these problems.

Thanks in advance
Pushpit
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Debrief- 760 first attempt [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jul 2017, 03:24
pushpitkc wrote:
Hi,

First of all, Congrats on the awesome score.
What did you think worked for you on the final day,
that helped you score 30 points more than you had ever score before.
Was it just because you were very relaxed and went for the test with a lot of confidence,
or did you feel a few questions were easier that you had expected(specifically for Verbal)?

Also, could you detail your strategy for Verbal(RC and CR in specific),
considering that you were initially struggling with RC, but managed to score a 99 percentile in the Verbal Section.

Best of luck with the applications.
Pushpit


I think it was a combination of factors. In the quant section many of the questions, especially the first 2/3, felt easier than the practice problems I was doing. Veritas in particular, was much more difficult. Their "700+" math problems were much harder than anything I saw on my way to the q49 on test day. I would say you need to be in the q50/51 range to see multiple questions of that caliber on the exam. Another thing I noticed, is that I gained a lot of time during the first half of math, and was over 6 minutes ahead at the midpoint. I slowed down and really focused on what the question was asking, and double checked my work in the back 1/3. I spent extra time on DS trying to figure out exactly why I was given each statement, and I'm sure that this contributed to my score.

On verbal, it was definitely hard for me. I believe I was near my limit much of the test. I think the biggest factor for my improvement on the real test was that I spent much more time evaluating answer choices. Instead of just picking the one that sounds best on CR and RC, (the most concise, or the one that seems to match the passage best), I spent time deciding if it was 100% relevant to the argument or not. Many of the questions I got wrong while studying where from falling into these kinds of traps. I would read the passage, and pick the one that seemed to match best, even if it didn't match the question the best. I would often look at the answer and go "oh, I should have known that, I'll get it next time" and moved on without much more thought. I finally started to make progress when I really focused on why this choice was wrong, or why that one was correct, and started to pick up patterns. The RC questions from Veritas were invaluable for me here, as there was often ambiguity which forced me to have this strategy. I don't think the questions were a great representation of the gmat, but I do think they were a great tool to learn from. The strategy was more important than the content in my opinion. Magoosh's verbal was more representative of the gmat's style, and going through the medium/hard problems was a great supplement to the Veritas bank.

Beyond that, going into the exam fresh definitely helped immensely. You'll never perform at your best if you are stressed or tired. I'm a long distance runner and I think my journey to the gmat was really similar to my running training. Start easy, build the volume up to a peak about a month out, and wind down from there. The months of progressive training are what get you your results, not hectic workouts in the last week or two.

Last edited by cxa0897 on 27 Jul 2017, 03:39, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Debrief- 760 first attempt [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jul 2017, 03:36
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yt770 wrote:
cxa0897

Congratulations!! That's an amazing score.

Can you share your experience with Veritas mocks and free question bank? How did you find the Verbal and Quant questions in Veritas mock? Were those representative of official questions in terms of quality?

I recently gave a Veritas mock and got 16 questions wrong in Quant, but still ended up with a Q50.

Thanks!


I think the veritas quant is harder than the real thing. I got a q45, q47, q49 on my veritas practices, and q49 on the real deal. All of the veritas practice exams felt tougher to me. That being said, they are definitely more straight forward than the gmat which has all kinds of tricks mixed in. You can have a complete mastery of gmat math and still do poorly on the gmat if you don't read the questions carefully. I didn't get that vibe from the veritas. The questions are just, math.

Veritas verbal is really hit or miss in my opinion. A lot of the questions are ambiguous, and tough to decipher. They are great for practice, but not a great representation. I scored v35, v34, v39 on my veritas practices and v44 on the real thing to put that in perspective. The gmat verbal was much more straight forward.

Also, don't worry about how many questions you got wrong. Once you get to the advanced level, getting questions wrong doesn't matter as much, as long as you don't miss several in a row.
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Re: Debrief- 760 first attempt [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jul 2017, 03:43
Congratulations cxa0897 for the amazing score! Your first attempt and a 760 is truly an achievement.

I completely agree on your point on focusing on weak areas, sometimes it can be so easy to just drift along your strong areas! Wish you all the best for the applications.
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Debrief- 760 first attempt [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jul 2017, 05:54
Thanks a ton for taking time to reply.

Quote:
You'll never perform at your best if you are stressed or tired. I'm a long distance runner and I think my journey to the gmat was really similar to my running training. Start easy, build the volume up to a peak about a month out, and wind down from there. The months of progressive training are what get you your results, not hectic workouts in the last week or two.


Great explanation of a common mistake a lot of test takers make.
You saved me from repeating this mistake.
As for the tips to face the dreaded Verbal session, thanks again.
Planning to work on all the Official material i can lay my hands on,
in this last leg of my GMAT preparation!
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Re: Debrief- 760 first attempt [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jul 2017, 08:32
That's an amazing score. Congrats.

I also got confused with my Veritas free test score. I scored 600 (Q46, V27) after preparing regularly for 4 months. In my earlier test (Manhattan), I scored a 550 (Q37, V 28).
Though its a 50 point improvement, I am still unsure how accurate this is.
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Re: Debrief- 760 first attempt [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jul 2017, 10:32
cxa0897 wrote:
This is a long one, sorry. There's a TLDR and summary at the bottom

The Day Of


I took the day off from work as I had a 12:30 time slot for the test. This time slot proved to be…problematic for me. I usually start work at 5:30 am, so I was wide awake by 5am with nothing to do. I tried to play some video games, made some food to kill time, looked at my school spreadsheet to see what schools I wanted to send my scores to, and worked on my “bottom number”, aka the lowest I’d be willing to accept, eventually settling on a 680. (My previous practices were 650-730) After all of this was done, is was still just 10am. Sigh. I killed a few more hours before hopping in my truck and heading to the test center.

Upon arrival, I checked in, dropped my stuff in a locker, and got to it pretty quickly. Probably 10 minutes tops from arrival to testing. I decided to take the test in the standard order since I hadn’t put much thought into it and I hadn’t done any practices in any other order, so it made sense to stick to what I knew already. I also suspected that being able to work away at an essay (which doesn’t matter as much as the 800 score) would give the opportunity to calm down and settle into a groove.

The essay prompt was about a tourism office wanting a to host another major sporting event. I picked three flaws out of it, and weakened them. There were some major gaps in the way things were stated so it wasn’t particularly challenging.

IR was a different story. For some reason, this one really caught me off guard. There were two or three questions I just didn’t get. There were a few fill in the blank type questions too, which I hadn’t seen before. I had 7 or 8s on all of my practices, and wound up with a 6 on this one. Not really sure what the issue was if I’m honest, but I can live with the 6 I received.

Math started off pretty slow, the first ten felt like freebies. Around question 20 it started to get a little harder, and by 25 it was turned up another notch. From 25-37 the problems seemed similar in difficulty. There wasn’t too much variety, and very few questions felt “difficult” which had me pretty unsure by the time I finished. The DS seemed tricky, and I will admit that I spent a lot of time thinking to myself, “why are they giving me this second statement” on a few, just trying to find the trap that didn’t exist.

Verbal is where great scores go to die, and I was pretty sure this was the case for me. By the time the first 20 were done, I already felt like it was challenging. I had 2 long reading comprehensions and a few sentence corrections that had me really confused. This trend continued to the end, and I really struggled at the finish from fatigue. A few yawns were had, and I mumbled more than a few words to myself while reading some of the questions. I eventually got through it with just 3 minutes to spare, a record low for me.

The moment of truth arrived shortly after and I felt like I waited forever for the score to finish loading. 760! Q49, V44, IR6. Holy $^&*. I almost missed the “do you want to accept this score” prompt when it popped up because I was so surprised. I walked in with the expectation of a 700 at best and left with a 760. I was ecstatic.


The Training


I wish I could say I had a dedicated, well thought out plan for my studying, but I didn’t. I started off buying a Kaplan book on Amazon for about 15 bucks, and an older OG book on sale, I think it was the 2015. I wasn’t 100% sure I wanted to go back to school, so I figured if I could get through a book and take a test, I’d see where I sat and reevaluate. My undergrap GPA is under 3, so I knew I would need to do very on the test to have any chance of admission. It just wouldn’t be worth applying with a sub par GPA and GMAT score. I worked my way through the OG over the course of a month or so and took a few Kaplan tests in segments to get the hang of things. When I sat down and took my first complete Kaplan, I scored a 690. On the right track, but still not completely convincing. I continued to work through the Kaplan book occasionally until I was on a business trip without it, and came across Magoosh. There was a sale going on and I took the offer. That was a significant turning point for my studies.

I watched a bunch of the videos and worked my way through about 85% of the practice problems on the site. After doing these problems, I took a gmatprep test and scored a 710. Very nice, some steady progress. I kept the same verbal, and increased math by a few points. Most importantly though, it confirmed the Kaplan result wasn’t a fluke. Between the two test results and the school research I had been doing, I knew I wanted to apply to school, and made a more serious effort to prep.

I found the gmatclub site and took the free Veritas exam offer( I'm a sucker for sales and free stuff). It was brutal. My score plummeted to the mid 600s. I decided to capitalize on the 6 exam promotion they were offering, and starting grinding away at the free problem bank to help prepare. I took a second Veritas exam and scored a 680. Ok, things are starting to get back in line. I was feeling confident, with my official test about a month away. I decided to take the second gmatprep test and scored a 730. That really helped my confidence level, as I once again increased my quant and the verbal by 2 points each.

I kept drilling problems from Veritas and Magoosh for another two weeks really focusing on a few things that I was struggling with. Number properties, probabilities and reading comprehension were the 3 biggest. After doing more than a fair share of them, I decided to take one final practice test from Veritas. I scored a 710, another huge boost to my confidence, and I really cut back on my studying for the home stretch.

In the last week and a half, I studied just a few hours in an effort to keep the material fresh. I knew that very little would come from cramming at the end and decided instead to just enjoy my evenings. I played video games with my wife, went for a few runs, and started to gather some information on school applications. I wrote two awa essays two days prior to my test, and that was that. The day prior to my test was spent doing some chores and relaxing. I tried really hard not to stress about the test, and I think that was a major factor in my success. Going in calm and collected (and confident from practice scores!) is truly critical to performing your best.


In summary, the resources I used were:


Kaplan gmat book – select problem sets
OG book – entire book with math twice, verbal once
Magoosh – nearly all problems in the bank and many videos
Veritas – several practice exams and a few hundred problems from the bank
Gmatprep – 2 exams and the 90 free problems


My few bits of advice, which may or may not work for you-


Treat practice exams as just that, practice. Use them to work on timing issues, fatigue, etc. Also remember, the scoring is not perfect, especially from 3rd parties. I was 50 points above my best Veritas and 30 above Gmatprep.
Focus on what you do not know. Don’t take the easy route and practice what comes easily to you. If you are terrible at sentence correction, focus on sentence correction. It sounds easy, but it is really hard to get motivated to do this sometimes.
Don’t stress about missing study time. I went back and forth sporadically with my studies. There were weeks that I worked close to 70 hours, and I spent little time studying during those. It’s ok to do this. Just stay focused and pick it back up when you can.
You don't have to spend a fortune on prep to do well. Excluding the test, I spent less than $200 on study material, and the majority of that was the Magoosh subscription.


TLDR:


Did much better than practice exams and pulled a 760 on my first attempt. Q49, V44, IR6. Tied my highest quant score, and scored 2 higher than my best verbal.
Self studied sporadically for ~6 months using Kaplan, OG, Magoosh, Veritas to prepare. Practice exams were 650-730.

If you have any questions, I'll try to keep up with this thread and answer them.

How many hours did you dedicate while preparing per day?

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Debrief- 760 first attempt [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jul 2017, 14:12
sahilsnpt wrote:
How many hours did you dedicate while preparing per day?

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One or two hours in an evening, definitely no more than 10 in a week. I worked 8-12 hrs a day and studied afterwards, so I was always tired pretty quickly. I also don't think there is much to gain going for hours, outside of the mocks of course.
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Re: Debrief- 760 first attempt [#permalink]

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New post 29 Jul 2017, 11:53
Got my official report in today, 6.0 on the awa :-D . Followed the format from chineseburned and it worked perfectly.
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Re: Debrief- 760 first attempt [#permalink]

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New post 01 Aug 2017, 10:09
cxa0897 wrote:
Got my official report in today, 6.0 on the awa :-D . Followed the format from chineseburned and it worked perfectly.


How well does the official guides represent actual gmat??

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Re: Debrief- 760 first attempt [#permalink]

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New post 02 Aug 2017, 08:15
dhruv solanki wrote:
cxa0897 wrote:
Got my official report in today, 6.0 on the awa :-D . Followed the format from chineseburned and it worked perfectly.


How well does the official guides represent actual gmat??

Posted from my mobile device

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They are pretty close, since they are essentially the old tests. Some question types were different/new, but I did not study with the latest editions, so I can't say if that will be the case for all
Re: Debrief- 760 first attempt   [#permalink] 02 Aug 2017, 08:15
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Debrief- 760 first attempt

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