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  #1  
Old 11-12-2014
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I will take u through my story of long 3 years... yup... perhaps more than that, coz after a while, I stopped counting. No marriage, no family issues... just personal reasons that I took so long to complete my exam. I am writing this post to motivate u all that we all can do it. Doesnít matter that u werenít serious in college, or that u have been preparing since very long. what matters is persistence and ability to stick to it for at least last 4 months whole heartedly .also I will like to thank all my sp who have studied with me. Thank u so much friends. I will like to put a disclaimer here that I am a person who learns the best if someone teaches me. So discussions and doing videos helps me a lot. Please keep in mind that everyone is different. I am writing all this not for the experience, I dint do anything extra ordinary, same fa uw Kaplan ,nothing else. I am writing this to motivate those who feel they have lost it. So please pick up the tips u find suitable for u and make a unique plan for urself.i ended up with 257 on exam.
I started my preparation by going through all Kaplan videos and writing whatever was taught in the videos on sides of Kaplan books or highlighting them in book itself. I tried revising them daily. After completing my first go of Kaplan, I did goljan with a sp in 1 month. Although I felt I got nothing from it.
I got my first distraction during the prep.. I could have studied still but since I was destined to take exam 2 years later(thatís only justification I can give) I stopped studying. After that, I started doing fa with a study partner, we used to just read through first aid ,I got to know what fa is all about, after that, I started doing uw offline 2013 which was just out then. I annotated heavily all of it into my fa. Halfway through offline, I took online subscription. Now was time for 2nd big distraction of my life. Again, stopped studying. When I got back, I literally struggled to get through remaining ques of uw, extending it again n again.
Now I realized that I had forgotten all basics and I had to go thru all Kaplan videos (Almost all, I skipped anatomy histo videos) this time I put all extra material into fa ,by extra material, I mean the explanations of pathophysiology or mechanism of drugs. Or for the topics which were too lengthy to be written into fa, marked those topics I had to cover from Kaplan. For example, I did pharm general and autonomic nervous system from fa while I drew the diuretics diagram into fa near diuretics topic in it to help me revise the mechanisms. I did pathoma this time, annotating whatever explanation he gave, whatever scribbling he did on screen, same into my fa. Dr sattar,salute . u sir, have played a major role for score of so many people.
And since it had been so long I dint have a distraction., it was time for next one.. (Read bros marriage, dads surgery, my mood tantrums, past coming back and more .whatever u can relate to, I had them all except being pregnant or having kids or having bad family)this time It was long, insidious types. I was studying, but not more than 3 hours daily.. I even missed my slot after extension. Fast forward>>>>
I came out of it and bit more determined and worried about my exam. This time I started with revision of my annotated fa and completed uw. Then I went through wrong questions and started thinking about doing nbme. (yup,hadnt touched nbme till now)those days, I used the strategy of dividing my day into 3 parts. One part I used to do uw, other part I used to waste ( ;( ) and other part I used to do fa . this is what made a lot of difference imho. Since I was doing wrong questions random, it made all systems to stick into mind all togetherÖ I mean I started getting a bigger picture now and doing fa with annotations helped learning the small details .btw,I did this fa round in a group on Skype.
I took nbme 1 and 2 to know what is nbme. I am not going into details of scores of offline ones, I donít think that mattered. So I took nbme 13.i got 230 plus something, still I felt while taking the test that most of answers were picked on basis of ďI think soĒ. I wasnít sure of much of answers and they happened to be right. So I decided to reset my uw and do fa over and over again. Also I took my slot .
I reset my uw and found 2 study partners, this time I did morning and evening, two blocks uw daily with sp in noon, I was supposed to do fa. Which might have guessed, I skipped. This time I decided to do it with sp so that I can go through each point given in uw. This time, I needed not think whatís given in fa and what do I have to annotate, I could focus on learning. Doing uw with sp helped me immensely
In between, all those things happened. I got sick, sp got dropped.my net stopped working for like a month almost.. I was still left with half go of uw .
Lo and behold, I was one month away from last month of my exam triad.i used those days of no net connection to go through fa. Day in and out, I kept going through fa. When I got my net back, I started again. This time I did 2 blocks uw morning evening and fa in noon . also I started doing nbme almost every weekend. In between, I had days of zero productivity. I used to let those moments go. I tried not screw my next day fretting over why I wasted my last day.
Almost like 20 days away from exam, I was done with 2nd go of uw. I now concentrated on doing nbme and fa. So nbme became my qbank.did few offline nbme with a sp, something like few questions daily and online nbme on my own. Here, I will like to thank Katherine and Maryam. Kath`s notes and Maryam posts on usmleforum have been so helpful, saved so much time. Still doing nbme was a time sponge. (if there exists a word like that)
By now I could see that my graph had started going down. And I realized that leaving uw wasnít a good decision. I went thru wrong questions now. This time, I read explanations of questions which I did wrong again. For rest of them, only educational objective. Also I started doing pathoma videos for topics I was uncomfortable with. Like I did rheumatology from it. Just did everything that made me comfortable with the subject. So in nutshell, last 30 days were spent on 1)wrong and marked ques 2)fa 3)after every system, I used to go through the slides on usmlepathslides.tumblr.com. I wonít say exam had points from it, though the site goes along with goljan audios and it gives a clearer picture.4)pathoma videos for weird topics )goljan audios after I was done with pathoma . I didnít do all pathoma videos,btw. Just to stress, only topics I felt I was bad in.goljan audios are awesome. I used them in my breaks,wenever I used to be too tired to read, I used to sit n listen to him. He used to make me laugh and smile, and helped me go through the day easily.
Took nbme 15,got 249.plan was to take one nbme 11 or 12 offline after taking nbme 15 to simulate exam conditions but I was too tired after doing nbme 15,I skipped it. I used to complete each block of nbme with around 20 minutes remaining after each block.
I was happy with the score ,yet the mistakes that I did were all from fa itself ,so I knew I could improve. I worked on fa again, I did Kaplan for few topics now like immunology. Since I had been preparing since very long, I had started forgetting and I could see its all downhill from here. I took my date now. I revised Kaplan for few topics like biochem,behav epidemiology etc. Now I started practicing for exam, I took nbme 11 and 12 offline together for 8 hours since I dint want to assess myself with score, but I wanted to do the ques. Somewhere my confidence was going down coz I could see I was having problem in recalling straight from fa. I used to talk to parents, watch TV , talk on Skype with ex sp or nbme sp, or just sleep or fret over and after I did all this, I used to get myself up and decide to work on it again. Reminding yourself why are u studying is greatest motivation.
Ten days before exam, took nbme 16 and uwsa1 . Got 251 in nbme 16 and 268 in uwsa1. I had decided that If I get 250 plus, I will go for exam. And lol I got one mark more than that, but it wasnít over still. I had originally scheduled my exam after 7 days and since I had to travel ,I essentially had 6 days for exam and I was too concerned that I wonít be able to cover whole fa in 6 days again ,so I extended it by 3 days .(8 days were fine) so I wasted the day of taking nbme as well as next day till I dint extend. So yeah,I managed to waste time even a week before exam.
Went thru fa, goljan audios continued till one day before exam.3 days before exam,I took fred exam. It made me confident that I retain concepts. I did blaufuss for heart sounds.
2 days before exam, I had to leave for Gurgaon. I and my parents took a room near medicity hospital, after reaching venue and figuring out how long it will take me to reach there on exam day.
One day before exam in Gurgaon, I went thru some anatomy points I got on forum, left over goljan audios till my mom and dad warned me to stop studying. Then I went out, roamed around the place.
On day of exam, my bro gave me his pearls. 1)take it as a mock test 2)u have scored well in nbme, so will u in exam.dont let ur morale down . more pearls by ujwal,who had been with me during all this time. This post wont b complete if I donít mention him. He told me to expect stupid ques and that u wont b knowing answers .
I went into exam hall praying just for one thing, that I shudnt b cold turkey in there. I wanted to be in my senses to give my best.
Exam time- took 1st block. I was expecting really really really long questions, with due respect, as ppl have been telling in the forums. Guys, I donít think ecfmg ppl gave me exceptionally short questions. Exam length was similar to uw or nbme 16. Whole exam was same as nbme 16 in terms of difficulty as well as length of questions. Since I was prepared that I will have weird ques, I was cool with that. I was marking like 10 ques every block, I am a fast reader,(thanks to love for reading novels ),completed each block with 10-15 min after all ques in each block. I went outside after 1st block, came back and realized that 10 minutes passed by . hence, I decided that that going out= 10 min at least. So after 2nd block, I sat in seat, watched timer tick down by 5 minutes. Started next block and took 10 min break after every block.
Had a small chocolate and banana in each break. I took pantoprazole before exam and every time I did simulation at home, I used to get headache, so I took crocin-ibrufen twice during whole day of exam.
Everything was smooth till 4th block, I got sort of overconfident, also I got bit tired.in 5th block I was left with around 8 min after going thru all ques. Blocks seemed getting tougher . 7th was a relief coz I knew it was last one.
Btw,a guy started coughing in my 5th ,continued thru my 6th block. When I asked the prometric ppl to help him, they said nothing could be done and asked me use noise cancellation headphones. Those orange ones were so heavy. I had taken in-ear plugs along with me. So please take them along just in case u get such weird encounters in exam. The typing sound of gre people wasnít much distracting.again,with due respect, itís just exaggerated .
7th block done, I had minutes still left. Did survey and went out.
Exam done, I was happy, jumping and giggling all over, had a train to catch to go home, so rushed out of prometric.

I canít be thankful enough to my family who has been such a support, everyone perhaps lost their hope in me but my family and few friends didnít. who says girls arenít good friends. I absolutely adore u ravneet for being there always with me. Also ujwal,vijay,amrata,nusrat,tasneem,hyndavi,Rahul,sh ajjad,maya,syeda,kayal,ankur,arvind,sumit,suresh and ashwini,nancy and hamid for their wonderful groups I was a part of. List will go on and on. I was blessed to have all of you, apologies if I missed someone. U guys helped me a lot in understanding concepts and getting through the whole journey.
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  #2  
Old 11-12-2014
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Congrats and good luck
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A TRUE STORY.... PROUD OF YOU MY FRIEND.... LOVE N RESPECT FOR OUR LAV - Tanzia
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Old 11-12-2014
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Exam- it didnít have twisted questions like u find in Kaplan q bank, neither it had weird new facts which u have no idea about.
Regarding anatomy, I had around 2 ques per block, or less than that. I flunked all the questions, I had no basic knowledge since it had been long I did anatomy in school. I still got above 240,so what I want to say is that if u r good in fa and uw,u can consider urself good to go
Regarding nbme- I did 13,15 and 16 online. Got 230 something,249 and 251 respectively, also took uwsa1 ,got 268. Nbme 11,12 I did offline, had to let nbme 7 n uwsa2 go coz of lack of time.
Nbme are to assess urself where u stand. I used online ones to assess myself and did rest offline to get more questions for practice. In my opinion,nbme 15 was easier than nbme 12. I canít say about nbme 13 coz I took it long back.
Study partners : there is variable opinion about it. Sp are great if they stick to u,if they r punctual and if they r better than u or at same stage as u r. if something out of these conditions is missing, it might actually pull u down. So try study with sp if u think it will help u.give few hours to sp or group studying and rest of the day study on ur own.its important that one doesnít get totally dependent on sp for studying since in last few days, obviously u wonít be able to get a person who will do exactly the way u want, or who will have same weaknesses as you have. Having said that, what matters is that u study. If u canít do it on ur own, study partners are great resource. If u find that other person somehow is pulling u down, pls step back.be strict regarding the timings. That will help both of u to stick to plan.
Sleep: please donít compromise on it. I did try to do it, my productivity went down by miles. To make a schedule, put alarm at same time daily. Try to sleep at same time. After around 20 days,u wonít need the alarm. Then stop putting alarm and let the sleep cycle complete on its own. U will see the perks of it once u start doing it
Help: this is one thing I wana emphasize on , pls help someone if u can. There are offline things available. If those ppl have been so selfless and put the offline stuff for everyone,u r doing something really wrong by hiding it from everyone . this is least u can do in direction of the spirit of uploaders that u donít let chain break, pls donít be the weak link in the chain. Help others as much as u can. Thatís the beauty of usmle. Everyone helps everyone. Even if u got some bad experience,let it be. Also ,u must have heard of karma right? It kicks u in the ass when u need the most. So make sure u have it on ur side always,. Thatís another selfish reason to help others.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by singthesong View Post
Exam- it didnít have twisted questions like u find in Kaplan q bank, neither it had weird new facts which u have no idea about.
Regarding anatomy, I had around 2 ques per block, or less than that. I flunked all the questions, I had no basic knowledge since it had been long I did anatomy in school. I still got above 240,so what I want to say is that if u r good in fa and uw,u can consider urself good to go
Regarding nbme- I did 13,15 and 16 online. Got 230 something,249 and 251 respectively, also took uwsa1 ,got 268. Nbme 11,12 I did offline, had to let nbme 7 n uwsa2 go coz of lack of time.
Nbme are to assess urself where u stand. I used online ones to assess myself and did rest offline to get more questions for practice. In my opinion,nbme 15 was easier than nbme 12. I canít say about nbme 13 coz I took it long back.
Study partners : there is variable opinion about it. Sp are great if they stick to u,if they r punctual and if they r better than u or at same stage as u r. if something out of these conditions is missing, it might actually pull u down. So try study with sp if u think it will help u.give few hours to sp or group studying and rest of the day study on ur own.its important that one doesnít get totally dependent on sp for studying since in last few days, obviously u wonít be able to get a person who will do exactly the way u want, or who will have same weaknesses as you have. Having said that, what matters is that u study. If u canít do it on ur own, study partners are great resource. If u find that other person somehow is pulling u down, pls step back.be strict regarding the timings. That will help both of u to stick to plan.
Sleep: please donít compromise on it. I did try to do it, my productivity went down by miles. To make a schedule, put alarm at same time daily. Try to sleep at same time. After around 20 days,u wonít need the alarm. Then stop putting alarm and let the sleep cycle complete on its own. U will see the perks of it once u start doing it
Help: this is one thing I wana emphasize on , pls help someone if u can. There are offline things available. If those ppl have been so selfless and put the offline stuff for everyone,u r doing something really wrong by hiding it from everyone . this is least u can do in direction of the spirit of uploaders that u donít let chain break, pls donít be the weak link in the chain. Help others as much as u can. Thatís the beauty of usmle. Everyone helps everyone. Even if u got some bad experience,let it be. Also ,u must have heard of karma right? It kicks u in the ass when u need the most. So make sure u have it on ur side always,. Thatís another selfish reason to help others.
Thanks for the honest reply,felt really scared after reading experience of many ppl who said paper is totally difficult,no longer like FA and Uworld.
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Old 11-13-2014
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I want to thank you for your detailed experience and honesty.

This is a great learning tool to be utilized for one to study. I will be using your strategy to achieve my goal of scoring high on the step. We all need people like you in this forum to help us out and aide us through our trials and tribulations.

All the best on your step 2 exam. I'm sure you'll do very well.
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Old 11-13-2014
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Congratulations for the awesome score
Iwould Liketo know about kath notes ? Are they nbme answers? If so can you tell me where can I get them?.
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Old 11-13-2014
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link to kath notes . https://www.dropbox.com/sh/zsn6r90hk4h5146/jSxe4mA20J
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  #9  
Old 11-13-2014
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Thanks so much , wish you the best for the next step
Do you think these nbme answers are reliable?
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Old 11-13-2014
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I feel identified with you. I was supposed to give the exam in June but for shame reasons (don't ask) I haven't taken it yet .

My exam is in Dec 11th. Tomorrow I'm going to take a Nbme but I know I will get a low score .

I don't have problem understanding the questions, but is about recalling straight forward things like metoprolol is preferred in CHF, interleukines, toxicities, vasculitis, etc.

Even if I fail tomorrow (I know I will do and feel like crap) I will study hard, very hard and review the material covered every single day (I used to skip this) for 20 days and then take another Nbme. I know I just need to keep the info fresh in my mind and study smart (comparing concepts like Dr. Sattar do).

Thanks for your story men and congratulations.
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Old 11-13-2014
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congrats on superb scores
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congratualtions on your score...good luck...
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  #13  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drsouheyla View Post
Thanks so much , wish you the best for the next step
Do you think these nbme answers are reliable?
almost reliable.i searched on usmleforum.com maryam posts if i wasnt confident about answers given in the pdf.. she has done a great job in explaining each question block wise.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mvp12 View Post
I feel identified with you. I was supposed to give the exam in June but for shame reasons (don't ask) I haven't taken it yet .

My exam is in Dec 11th. Tomorrow I'm going to take a Nbme but I know I will get a low score .

I don't have problem understanding the questions, but is about recalling straight forward things like metoprolol is preferred in CHF, interleukines, toxicities, vasculitis, etc.

Even if I fail tomorrow (I know I will do and feel like crap) I will study hard, very hard and review the material covered every single day (I used to skip this) for 20 days and then take another Nbme. I know I just need to keep the info fresh in my mind and study smart (comparing concepts like Dr. Sattar do).

Thanks for your story men and congratulations.
hey mvp, pls dont take exam if ur nbme dsnt come out to b good. if u arent confident about concepts regarding pharma esp cvs,pls listen to raymon. its not a rule that videos are supposed to be done only in start and never in end... do everythng that makes u comfortable with subject. for vaculitis,listen to dr sattar how he explains them. that will help the data stick for longer time and then keep revising it to not let go.even if it does, revise it and bring it back. regarding interleukins,search for some mnemonics on google or keep revising it till it starts making sense. u will do well buddy. good luck. btw,most important thing,pls dont think negative about urself. staying hopeful and upbeat is necessary. pray , meditate and stay peaceful and keep doing the hard work (Y)
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  #15  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by singthesong View Post
hey mvp, pls dont take exam if ur nbme dsnt come out to b good. if u arent confident about concepts regarding pharma esp cvs,pls listen to raymon. its not a rule that videos are supposed to be done only in start and never in end... do everythng that makes u comfortable with subject. for vaculitis,listen to dr sattar how he explains them. that will help the data stick for longer time and then keep revising it to not let go.even if it does, revise it and bring it back. regarding interleukins,search for some mnemonics on google or keep revising it till it starts making sense. u will do well buddy. good luck. btw,most important thing,pls dont think negative about urself. staying hopeful and upbeat is necessary. pray , meditate and stay peaceful and keep doing the hard work (Y)
Thanks for the advices, I really appreciated .

I watched Raymon Pharm videos a long time ago and annotated a bunch of stuff in a pdf copy of FA (screencaptures of the videos). I will check that again in a more active way with some UW notes of my FA physical copy and revise over and over again everyday. I'm plaining to dedicate 5 days to revise Pharm chapter, neuro and psy with great emphasis on Pharm part and revise everyday till the next Nbme. I hope this is enough, but, if I don't get a good score in the next 2-3 weeks I will delay the exam. I won't delay it now because I will have to pay the fee anyway, so I think is worth to try.
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  #16  
Old 11-14-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mvp12 View Post
Thanks for the advices, I really appreciated .

I watched Raymon Pharm videos a long time ago and annotated a bunch of stuff in a pdf copy of FA (screencaptures of the videos). I will check that again in a more active way with some UW notes of my FA physical copy and revise over and over again everyday. I'm plaining to dedicate 5 days to revise Pharm chapter, neuro and psy with great emphasis on Pharm part and revise everyday till the next Nbme. I hope this is enough, but, if I don't get a good score in the next 2-3 weeks I will delay the exam. I won't delay it now because I will have to pay the fee anyway, so I think is worth to try.


Hey so are these Raymon Pharm videos basically kaplan videos?
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Old 11-15-2014
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congratulations and good luck for the next steps.. your post was real inspiration...
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Layla937 View Post
Hey so are these Raymon Pharm videos basically kaplan videos?
yup kaplan videos
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Old 11-16-2014
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Default Congratulation!

U've got a killer score !
Thanks for sharing your experience & advice !
Best of luck !!!

What can you say and recommend about Molecular biology&genetics?..
Did u find the questions about lab.techniques, and if yes, were they doable?
__________________
If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you...
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Old 11-16-2014
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Originally Posted by MananaMD View Post
U've got a killer score !
Thanks for sharing your experience & advice !
Best of luck !!!

What can you say and recommend about Molecular biology&genetics?..
Did u find the questions about lab.techniques, and if yes, were they doable?
thanks.
i frankly dont remember.. i guess there were none...
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MananaMD (11-17-2014)
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Old 11-16-2014
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Hey singthesong, that's such a great score and I commend you for sticking it out as I'm sure it was very rewarding.

I have a question. You said you had some personal things come up which sort of breaked your prep schedule. See I had a similar thing (a family issue) due to which I had to cancel my exam date but ever since I've canceled it, it's just becoming so hard to study like I used to, the number I hours I used to put in versus now, the frustration and burnout of studying the same material over and over again. If you faced this, how did you come out of it?

I want to somehow take my exam next month no matter what but I'm just so scared how I'll perform. Most of my NBME scores have been in 230s-240s (although I really want something above a 240) but then I used to take those NBMEs very regularly (every 2-3 weeks), unfortunately, I just have one left and I'm keeping that for the end. So it's so scary preparing and preparing, and keeping the motivation going when you have nothing to assess yourself.
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