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Q51 V50 790! (Missed 1 DS question)

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Q51 V50 790! (Missed 1 DS question) [#permalink]

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Hi all,

Prior to touching on the questions I have about scoring, I will go ahead and share my experience.

Background: I am a 24 year old American male born and raised in the US. For my undergrad I went to MIT where I received a bachelors in ChemE. I currently work in oil and gas as an engineer.

First off, let me say that I am over the moon at having achieved this score. Seeing that pop up on the screen at the conclusion of the test left me floating on a cloud the remainder of the weekend.

I achieved this score on my first (and conclusively last) official GMAT test. My prep in the two months prior was mostly via the Veritas Prep course but at the beginning I used a Kaplan book I purchased prior to signing up for the Veritas course. All in all I took 9 practice tests between Kaplan, Veritas, and GMAC and my baseline with zero prep was a Q49 V40 720 score on a Kaplan test. I estimate that my personal time sunk into all GMAT prep including the 6 week, 6hrs/wk class was ~120 hrs. My quant score was consistently near perfect from the start so I put about 2/3 of my study time into the verbal section, particularly on sentence correction. I continued to sink time into the quant section to get comfortable enough with the material to avoid mental fatigue prior to the verbal section. I did every single sentence correction question in the Veritas Prep question bank and reviewed the questions I got wrong on two separate occasions. I took the test last weekend so I have still not received the official score report with my AWA score.

To those scoring highly from the start and questioning the value of a prep course, I would recommend reconsidering your stance. I was initially planning to solely self study, but after flat lining on my test scores right off the bat (I only went from 720 to 730 on the first three practice tests) I decided to sign up for the Vertias course and I am very glad I did. I can't speak for all prep courses or even for all Veritas instructors, but my instructor was exceedingly helpful in getting me to the next level of understanding the GMAT. Looking at the GMAT from the perspective of the GMAT test maker that is trying to create questions and answers that most strongly reward logical thinking and mental trap avoidance, and then internalizing that perspective completely such that I could "feel out" the questions and answers was, I believe, fundamental to my success on the GMAT.

Every person is different, so maybe self study will work out for some as well as a class, but the $2000 I spent on the in person course against the total real and opportunity cost of an MBA of ~$250,000 I believe will prove to be a worthwhile expenditure.

On the day of, I awoke at 430am before my 800am test. I normally wake up between 4am and 5am since I typically start work before 6am, so this was a normal time for me. I can't recommend someone get up at 4-5am before an 8am test if they never do so normally, but certainly if you can adjust your sleep schedule to that time period the week prior if you have an 8am test, it should be well worth it. My understanding is that mental performance fully gears up ~2-3 hours after waking. I have been on a ketogenic diet for 2.5 months now (unrelated to the GMAT) which may have helped with my focus. I have noticed at work that my focus and energy is higher and less erratic on the ketogenic diet, plus the distraction of hunger is greatly subdued. My breakfast consisted of a bulletproof-ish coffee (coffee, MCT oil, half and half) that I normally consume every day in the AM, along with a protein/amino acid smoothie (frozen berries, protein, MCT oil, BCAAs, creatine, kale, water) that I normally consume later in the day. I did not eat anything else an hour before or during my test. I had a second bulletproof-ish coffee with me during the test that I consumed in equal portions during each of the two breaks.

During the breaks I went to the bathroom each time and did some deep breathing exercises. I found the deep breathing exercises and semi-meditation in those breaks to be extraordinarily helpful in clearing and refreshing my mind.

Other than that, I can say that the practice also paid off in terms of my mental state during the exam. I scored a 770 on the GMAC practice exam the weekend prior to the exam and I know I perform better under pressure, so my mentality was that I assumed I would be happy with my score since I was shooting for a 760. At the same time I really badly wanted to score as high as humanly possible. The practice also seemed to help with my timing. I did not watch the timer much during testing or think much about timing but I completed the quant section with a healthy amount of time to spare, and the verbal section with only 3 minutes to spare. I was about as calm, focused, and energized as I could hope to be.

On to my questions about scoring:

I received a Q51, V50 and per my enhanced score report I got one question wrong on the quant section and zero questions wrong on the verbal section.

You can understand my confusion on the verbal section scoring...

On every sub section of the verbal, the enhanced score report stated that I scored a 51, yet my overall score came out to a 50. I don't understand how this is possible given that the overall score should exceed the average of the sub sections. I.e. 90th percentile on two separate tests is not 90th percentile overall for the population taking both tests, it is usually substantially higher since scores between tests do not perfectly correlate. If they did perfectly correlate it would be still be 90th percentile. Scoring 51 on all subsections and a 50 overall, to me atleast, seems non sensical.

Besides the sub section scores and full section scores not aligning, the fact that I got every single question correct but did not get a perfect seems to imply a V51 is not possible, or I got "unlucky" and did not get difficult enough questions to test at a V51 level, but if the questions were not difficult enough to deserve a V51 this still begs the question how I could get 51s on every verbal subsection...

Does anyone have any thoughts on how this verbal scoring is possible?

Besides that, all of the scoring charts I have seen, including from articles posted a few months ago, show the cutoff for an 800 with a Q51 to be a V49. Perhaps there is not much focus on accuracy of scoring at the far upper end of the score range for these charts? In any case, my most pressing question is reconciling how my verbal score can be sensible and determining whether or not to reach out to the makers of the GMAT about it. I am waiting on the official score report to see if the discrepancy remains unresolved.



Best of luck to all!

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Re: Q51 V50 790! (Missed 1 DS question) [#permalink]

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New post 10 Nov 2017, 08:54
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wow that is pretty impressive!
Congrats on getting an almost perfect score!!!
I would advise contacting GMAC to clarify the Verbal part though...no mistakes, yet the score is not perfect...something is not right.

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Re: Q51 V50 790! (Missed 1 DS question) [#permalink]

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New post 10 Nov 2017, 09:00
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justalmost wrote:
Hi all,

Prior to touching on the questions I have about scoring, I will go ahead and share my experience.

Background: I am a 24 year old American male born and raised in the US. For my undergrad I went to MIT where I received a bachelors in ChemE. I currently work in oil and gas as an engineer.

First off, let me say that I am over the moon at having achieved this score. Seeing that pop up on the screen at the conclusion of the test left me floating on a cloud the remainder of the weekend.

I achieved this score on my first (and conclusively last) official GMAT test. My prep in the two months prior was mostly via the Veritas Prep course but at the beginning I used a Kaplan book I purchased prior to signing up for the Veritas course. All in all I took 9 practice tests between Kaplan, Veritas, and GMAC and my baseline with zero prep was a Q49 V40 720 score on a Kaplan test. I estimate that my personal time sunk into all GMAT prep including the 6 week, 6hrs/wk class was ~120 hrs. My quant score was consistently near perfect from the start so I put about 2/3 of my study time into the verbal section, particularly on sentence correction. I continued to sink time into the quant section to get comfortable enough with the material to avoid mental fatigue prior to the verbal section. I did every single sentence correction question in the Veritas Prep question bank and reviewed the questions I got wrong on two separate occasions. I took the test last weekend so I have still not received the official score report with my AWA score.

To those scoring highly from the start and questioning the value of a prep course, I would recommend reconsidering your stance. I was initially planning to solely self study, but after flat lining on my test scores right off the bat (I only went from 720 to 730 on the first three practice tests) I decided to sign up for the Vertias course and I am very glad I did. I can't speak for all prep courses or even for all Veritas instructors, but my instructor was exceedingly helpful in getting me to the next level of understanding the GMAT. Looking at the GMAT from the perspective of the GMAT test maker that is trying to create questions and answers that most strongly reward logical thinking and mental trap avoidance, and then internalizing that perspective completely such that I could "feel out" the questions and answers was, I believe, fundamental to my success on the GMAT.

Every person is different, so maybe self study will work out for some as well as a class, but the $2000 I spent on the in person course against the total real and opportunity cost of an MBA of ~$250,000 I believe will prove to be a worthwhile expenditure.

On the day of, I awoke at 430am before my 800am test. I normally wake up between 4am and 5am since I typically start work before 6am, so this was a normal time for me. I can't recommend someone get up at 4-5am before an 8am test if they never do so normally, but certainly if you can adjust your sleep schedule to that time period the week prior if you have an 8am test, it should be well worth it. My understanding is that mental performance fully gears up ~2-3 hours after waking. I have been on a ketogenic diet for 2.5 months now (unrelated to the GMAT) which may have helped with my focus. I have noticed at work that my focus and energy is higher and less erratic on the ketogenic diet, plus the distraction of hunger is greatly subdued. My breakfast consisted of a bulletproof-ish coffee (coffee, MCT oil, half and half) that I normally consume every day in the AM, along with a protein/amino acid smoothie (frozen berries, protein, MCT oil, BCAAs, creatine, kale, water) that I normally consume later in the day. I did not eat anything else an hour before or during my test. I had a second bulletproof-ish coffee with me during the test that I consumed in equal portions during each of the two breaks.

During the breaks I went to the bathroom each time and did some deep breathing exercises. I found the deep breathing exercises and semi-meditation in those breaks to be extraordinarily helpful in clearing and refreshing my mind.

Other than that, I can say that the practice also paid off in terms of my mental state during the exam. I scored a 770 on the GMAC practice exam the weekend prior to the exam and I know I perform better under pressure, so my mentality was that I assumed I would be happy with my score since I was shooting for a 760. At the same time I really badly wanted to score as high as humanly possible. The practice also seemed to help with my timing. I did not watch the timer much during testing or think much about timing but I completed the quant section with a healthy amount of time to spare, and the verbal section with only 3 minutes to spare. I was about as calm, focused, and energized as I could hope to be.

On to my questions about scoring:

I received a Q51, V50 and per my enhanced score report I got one question wrong on the quant section and zero questions wrong on the verbal section.

You can understand my confusion on the verbal section scoring...

On every sub section of the verbal, the enhanced score report stated that I scored a 51, yet my overall score came out to a 50. I don't understand how this is possible given that the overall score should exceed the average of the sub sections. I.e. 90th percentile on two separate tests is not 90th percentile overall for the population taking both tests, it is usually substantially higher since scores between tests do not perfectly correlate. If they did perfectly correlate it would be still be 90th percentile. Scoring 51 on all subsections and a 50 overall, to me atleast, seems non sensical.

Besides the sub section scores and full section scores not aligning, the fact that I got every single question correct but did not get a perfect seems to imply a V51 is not possible, or I got "unlucky" and did not get difficult enough questions to test at a V51 level, but if the questions were not difficult enough to deserve a V51 this still begs the question how I could get 51s on every verbal subsection...

Does anyone have any thoughts on how this verbal scoring is possible?

Besides that, all of the scoring charts I have seen, including from articles posted a few months ago, show the cutoff for an 800 with a Q51 to be a V49. Perhaps there is not much focus on accuracy of scoring at the far upper end of the score range for these charts? In any case, my most pressing question is reconciling how my verbal score can be sensible and determining whether or not to reach out to the makers of the GMAT about it. I am waiting on the official score report to see if the discrepancy remains unresolved.



Best of luck to all!


Hey, Congrats on your tremondous score.
If you don't mind, can you share your ESR.
I think you should mail GMAC and see if they resolve this, maybe you will get bumped to 800. because i don't think you will get less than 51 without making any mistake.
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Re: Q51 V50 790! (Missed 1 DS question) [#permalink]

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Wow! Congratulations!
The raw scores, sectional ones, such as Q51 and V50 are calculated using a different algorithm then your overall score, the 790. That’s why you sometimes may have same raw scores but different overall score or vice versa.

That leads me to believe that each individual section score such a CR may also be calculated using a different algorithm from the raw score. However that still does not explain why you would only get Q 50, having missed no questions.

The only wild guess I have is that while the report show no wrong answers, you still may have made some mistakes on the experimental questions and gotten at least one of those wrong. I really have no idea otherwise why you would not get the V51.

Amazing score nevertheless.
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Re: Q51 V50 790! (Missed 1 DS question) [#permalink]

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bb wrote:
Wow! Congratulations!
The raw scores, sectional ones, such as Q51 and V50 are calculated using a different algorithm then your overall score, the 790. That’s why you sometimes may have same raw scores but different overall score or vice versa.

That leads me to believe that each individual section score such a CR may also be calculated using a different algorithm from the raw score. However that still does not explain why you would only get Q 50, having missed no questions.

The only wild guess I have is that while the report show no wrong answers, you still may have made some mistakes on the experimental questions and gotten at least one of those wrong. I really have no idea otherwise why you would not get the V51.

Amazing score nevertheless.


Hey BB, I thought that experimental questions are not used in score calculation.
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GMAT PREP1: 660 ( Q50, V30). (CR 41, RC 22, SC 27).
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Re: Q51 V50 790! (Missed 1 DS question) [#permalink]

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You are correct, they’re not used in score calculation. My wild guess was that perhaps they impact something very minor that added to V50 discrepancy... such sequence of questions or the difficulty of the following question. We do not know unfortunately.

Posted from my mobile device
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Re: Q51 V50 790! (Missed 1 DS question) [#permalink]

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By the way, here is the only confirmed and real user debrief we have for 800 (afaik)

https://gmatclub.com/forum/long-debrief ... 35335.html

Posted from my mobile device
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Thanks all for the congratulations!

I attached the ESR for anyone who is curious. I neglected to mention in my original post I got a 7 on the IR. Doh! I got 8s on every practice test after the first few so this was a bit surprising. I guess I wasn't fully mentally in gear or was worn by the AWA assignment? Hard to say, but then again the IR was not something I spent any substantial amount of time on outside of the practice tests.

Thank you bb for the information on scoring. I guess it can't hurt to reach out to GMAC and see if they have an answer. If they won't disclose the reasoning I am still ecstatic about the score and feel blessed to have scored as high as I did.
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Re: Q51 V50 790! (Missed 1 DS question) [#permalink]

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New post 10 Nov 2017, 09:58
Thank you for sharing your ESR!

I have tweaked it a bit (removed your name from the description. (figured you did not want to have that left in there)
Also tweaked the subject of the post (I hope you do not mind).

I am going to guess you will be waiting a year or two until you apply? Or you heading for R2?

P.S. Congrats again and please do let us know what you hear back from the GMAC
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Re: Q51 V50 790! (Missed 1 DS question) [#permalink]

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New post 10 Nov 2017, 10:17
Thanks bb! I thought I thoroughly checked that was removed...

I don't mind the subject change at all.

My current plan is to apply R1 next year. If I don't get into one of my top choices I plan to reapply the next year. 4-5 years work experience seems to be the optimal amount time prior to getting an MBA and R1 next year will place me right at the 4 year mark at enrollment.

I will report back when I hear back from GMAC and get the official score report.

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Re: Q51 V50 790! (Missed 1 DS question) [#permalink]

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New post 10 Nov 2017, 10:54
Hi justalmost

Congrats on the awesome score.
Very inspiring debrief, and all the best for your applications!
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Re: Q51 V50 790! (Missed 1 DS question) [#permalink]

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New post 10 Nov 2017, 12:36
justalmost wrote:
Thanks all for the congratulations!

I attached the ESR for anyone who is curious. I neglected to mention in my original post I got a 7 on the IR. Doh! I got 8s on every practice test after the first few so this was a bit surprising. I guess I wasn't fully mentally in gear or was worn by the AWA assignment? Hard to say, but then again the IR was not something I spent any substantial amount of time on outside of the practice tests.

Thank you bb for the information on scoring. I guess it can't hurt to reach out to GMAC and see if they have an answer. If they won't disclose the reasoning I am still ecstatic about the score and feel blessed to have scored as high as I did.


WOAH ! you hardly took any time on the RC's.

bb, i have generally observed that if you are on the path to a top score on verbal, difficulty of the 2nd quartile is relatively higher than all the other quartiles. Is this observation sound ?

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Re: Q51 V50 790! (Missed 1 DS question) [#permalink]

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New post 10 Nov 2017, 12:51
KGump wrote:
justalmost wrote:
Thanks all for the congratulations!

I attached the ESR for anyone who is curious. I neglected to mention in my original post I got a 7 on the IR. Doh! I got 8s on every practice test after the first few so this was a bit surprising. I guess I wasn't fully mentally in gear or was worn by the AWA assignment? Hard to say, but then again the IR was not something I spent any substantial amount of time on outside of the practice tests.

Thank you bb for the information on scoring. I guess it can't hurt to reach out to GMAC and see if they have an answer. If they won't disclose the reasoning I am still ecstatic about the score and feel blessed to have scored as high as I did.


WOAH ! you hardly took any time on the RC's.

bb, i have generally observed that if you are on the path to a top score on verbal, difficulty of the 2nd quartile is relatively higher than all the other quartiles. Is this observation sound ?


That is a different conversation/topic - you are correct of the "humpy" nature of the GMAT - I have noticed it increase in difficulty until question 17 or so when there is nowhere else to go and then somewhat eases up. My theory is that it has to do with the economics and mechanics of the test... Here is my theory: GMAC can only get so many hard, so many medium and easy questions for the test. They can't afford to create 30 hard questions only for the top 1% of users to score V50. Would be very costly and very wasteful. Instead they create 10 hard questions and fill the rest of the time with easier questions for which they penalize more if you are on the path to a higher score. (Disclaimer - this has not been confirmed by GMAC)
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Q51 V50 790! (Missed 1 DS question) [#permalink]

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New post 10 Nov 2017, 12:55
I am somewhat confused to see the difficulty at almost "medium" level for the entire test...
I remember I saw an ESR in which the difficulty level was over the chart...

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Re: Q51 V50 790! (Missed 1 DS question) [#permalink]

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New post 10 Nov 2017, 21:13
WOW! Nice job. Very impressive how quickly you got through the RCs. Also interesting to see that the verbal questions actually got easier in sections 3 and 4...
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Re: Q51 V50 790! (Missed 1 DS question) [#permalink]

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New post 13 Nov 2017, 10:45
mcelroytutoring, you may find this interesting.
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Q51 V50 790! (Missed 1 DS question) [#permalink]

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New post 13 Nov 2017, 19:10
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DIII wrote:
mcelroytutoring, you may find this interesting.

Very interesting indeed. Thanks for calling my attention to this, DIII. That's pretty absurd to get every question right on Verbal, yet still not earn a perfect score!

I'm guessing that it's a bug in the algorithm that requires you to answer all 58 (counted) questions right to earn a perfect 800. You can get up to 2 wrong on Quant and still earn a perfect 51, and of course 0 wrong on Verbal should normally be a perfect 51 as well, but if you happen to get 1-2 wrong on Quant and 0 wrong on Verbal, then perhaps the scoring algorithm will bump your Verbal down by a point to compensate. But if that's the case, then why not just bump the Quant down to 50/51 instead, since that's the section where you actually got 1 question wrong? Or why not just give you a Q51, V51 with a 790 composite, as I have seen some GMAT Clubbers saying they scored in the past?

Your Verbal score shouldn't have anything to do with the 11 experimental questions, since the experimental ("pretest") questions are unscored--or at least that's what GMAC tells us.

Anyway, congrats on the amazing score! In my opinion you deserved a perfect 800.

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Last edited by mcelroytutoring on 14 Nov 2017, 20:49, edited 6 times in total.

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Re: Q51 V50 790! (Missed 1 DS question) [#permalink]

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New post 13 Nov 2017, 22:17
Hello justalmost - Congratulations for the great score!

The flaw you pointed is indeed strange and it would be worth sending an email to GMAC, and there is high possibility that there is some flaw in the algorithm as pointed by mcelroytutoring

All the best for your applications and do let us know once you hear anything from GMAC. :-)
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Q51 V50 790! (Missed 1 DS question) [#permalink]

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New post 17 Nov 2017, 16:33
It does look as if there is a flaw in the algorithm.

The verbal question difficulty chart in the ESR shows the question difficulty decreasing.

Given that you, as far as we can tell, got all the verbal questions right, the decrease in the difficulty should not have been caused by anything you did. In other words, the test had its own reasons for decreasing the difficulty. Those reasons could be that the test ran out of most difficult questions or that somehow your performance on experimental questions affected the difficulty, though clearly it should not.

Whatever reason the test had for decreasing the difficulty of the verbal questions in spite of your performance, it seems to have based your score on the difficulty of the questions that you answered, and therefore scored you at V50 rather than V51.

Adding to the mystery is that Rich Cohen reported that he scored 800 with Q51 and V50. So, it may be that your V50 was not even perceived by the test as being at the high end of the range that gets V50, but at the low end. Otherwise, perhaps you would have gotten a score of 800, though I guess it's possible that Rich got 100% of the quant questions he saw right, and so his 800 could have been the result of getting all quant questions right and perhaps one verbal question wrong.

Overall, the entire thing does not make sense. Definitely, you should bring this up with GMAC. Something is wrong, and while it is obvious that your scores are evidence of a problem, likely other people are being less obviously affected by whatever it is as well.

If the GMAT is indeed a little broken, as it does seem to be, fixing it right away would be best for all involved.
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Q51 V50 790! (Missed 1 DS question)   [#permalink] 17 Nov 2017, 16:33
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