Understanding Different Types of IELTS Essay Questions

by adhikarisunita


How do I answer this question?

I need some reasons for answer, I mean some main ideas.

Today the high sales of popular consumer goods reflect the power of advertising and not the real needs of the society in which they are sold.

What is your opinion?

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Sep 05, 2015
High sales of popular consumer goods
by: IELTS buddy

Hi,

You are asked your opinion so you would need to decide if you agree, disagree, or partly agree and then give your reasons why.

Here are some example ideas:

Agree

If you agree, then you think that people are buying things they do not need because of advertising.

You are best then to just give some examples to support this. For instance, IT products are a good example of this. Explain how people are encouraged by advertising to keep buying the latest mobile phone when their old one still works, thus they don't really need it.

People are also encouraged to buy brand named goods, be they IT products or clothes in order to be fashionable, but do they really need all this?

Disagree

If you disagree, you could look at the same items, but you would argue that people are not buying them just because of advertising.

People are making their own choices to buy these things because it improves their lives in various ways.

You'd need to explain why they do need them. For example, explaining why it is necessary to have the latest mobile phone.

Partly agree

You could look at both sides of course. In this case you would discuss all the points above, then say what you think.

***


These are just some suggestions of course. There are other ideas you could look at.

Dec 12, 2015
Possible points to include in the essay would be
by: Anonymous

1) research suggests that people are more inclined to purchase items they are familiar with. Manufacturing companies bank on this by ensuring that they brainwash you with their ads so much so that when are at the store you feel very familiar with the product and nine out of ten times will purchase an item depending upon the advertisement that appealed to you.

2) After watching and hearing about a product for several days and several times a day, the brain cannot distinguish the difference between reality (actually knowing the product) and virtual reality (thinking you know the product).

3) Products that are well propagated especially if they include offers/discounts tend to sell even if they are not immediately required by the consumer.

4) A lot of effort is spent in surveying the sensitive areas of humans and advertisements use this information to their advantage by propagating a weak area and convincing the consumer that they require it. Consumers are easily carried away and it results in the purchase of a whole plethora of items wherein even the packaging will not be touched.

Sep 14, 2016
Confused
by: Anonymous

Hi ieltsbuddy,

Last week I gave my exam. I got a very easy topic.

"some people say members of family are more important whilst others say friends are important. whether you agree/disagree. give your opinion".

In 1st para I introduced the essay.secondly I wrote about supported for family.third para I supported friends and finally I supported family as well as friends.

My concern is that, is the structure correct, I supported both views is it correct?

Last exam I got 6.5 so this exam I am worried about my writing :( someone plz suggest.

Sep 14, 2016
Confused
by: IELTS buddy

There isn't one 'correct' way of writing an essay as there are various ways you can answer and structure most essays.

Also I think you may have remembered the essay question incorrectly as you wouldn't be asked if you agree or disagree and then asked what is your opinion. You would only have one of those.

But anyway, your answer looks fine as there are two opinions and you discussed them both and you also gave your own opinion.

Of course this does not mean you will get the score you want as you are graded on many things.

Good luck.

Apr 12, 2020
rrr
by: Anonymous

rrrrr

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Is this a Positive or Negative Development Questions

by Cams

I recently took the IELTS exam last September 24 and the question was confusing. The question was like:

In many countries, petroleum is still used for power. However, some countries are using renewable sources (solar, wind) as their main source of energy.

To what extent is this a positive or negative development?


How should we answer this kind of question?

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Oct 19, 2016
Understanding different types of IELTS essay questions
by: IELTS buddy

This is an 'advantages and disadvantages' essay, but it also requires your opinion, as it wants to know whether you think it has more pros or cons.

You could answer it in various ways.

1) Say it is definitely a positive development and write 2-3 paragraphs about the advantages of renewable sources.

2) Say it is definitely a negative development and write 2-3 paragraphs about the disadvantages of renewable sources.

You could make your paragraphs comparative so you are discussing both renewables and petrol. For example, body paragraph one could discuss 'pollution' as a topic and explain why renewable sources reduce it but petroleum increases it.

3) Or you could write one paragraph about the benefits of petroleum and another about the benefits of renewables and then come to a conclusion (with your opinion) in the at the end (or the cons of each).

4) You could write one body paragraph about the benefits of petroleum then the next paragraph about problems of renewables then conclude that it is a negative development (or visa versa).

So as you can see there are quite a few ways to approach it.

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'Positive or Negative' Type Essay Questions

by delvy
(Santo domingo)

Hi guys,

The use of mobiles has become common in many countries.

Is this is a positive or negative development?


- How we should write answer for this essay?
- What is the task here?
- Are they asking for the advantages or disadvantage of mobile phones?

Could someone tell me pls

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Sep 14, 2013
Positive and Negative Essay Questions
by: IELTS buddy

Yes, this essay is basically asking you about the advantages and disadvantages of mobile phone use being so popular.

You could look at both sides of the issue.

It specifically asks you for your opinion as well:

"Is this a positive or negative development?".

So you can look at both sides but you must explain what your personal opinion is in the introduction and / or conclusion.

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Confused about an essay question

by Yasir

Hello!

I had my ielts test recently. I am confused about my General writing essay 2 response.

The question like:

"In many parts of the world, people live for longer than they used to. What are the resons for that.

Whats are the advantages or disadvantages of that".


Does this question ask about why in some countries people prefer to live for longer (as in Australia, Canada) OR it's asking why people live longer lifes?

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Jul 14, 2015
Living Longer Essay
by: IELTS buddy

Hi Yasir,

It is the second one. I'm not sure what you mean by your first interpretation as people don't really have a preference to live longer. We can assume most people want to live a long life, and it is difficult to choose anyway.

You would just need to explain why people are living longer now, which has a lot to do with improved health care and lifestyles.

Then given the advantages (e.g. people have longer in the world to enjoy their life) or disadvantages (e.g. pressure on governments to support so many old people) of people living longer.

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Which do you prefer?

by Azi

Hello.

When the question asks, "which do you prefer?" or "which is better", is it an agree or disagree question?

Examples:

Some prefer traveling companions. Other prefer to travel alone. Which do you think is better?

Instead of teaching a broad range of subjects, schools should just focus on those necessary for a given profession. Which do you prefer?

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May 25, 2018
Which do you prefer?
by: IELTS buddy

The question is not an agree / disagree type question. It's actually more of a comparison essay than opinion, though of course you are giving an opinion and reasons too.

So taking this question as an example:

Some prefer traveling companions. Other prefer to travel alone. Which do you think is better?

You have to simply say which you prefer and give reasons. For example:

I prefer travelling alone because:

- I enjoy a break from other people
- I can decide where I want to go


Or you could structure it a bit differently and say which you prefer and then compare each option in a different paragraph.

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How do I answer 'What is your opinion' type IELTS essays questions?

by sunita

Violence in playgrounds is increasing. However, it is important that parents should teach children not to hit back at bullies.

What are your opinions on this?


I'm confused whether this is agree-disagree type of question or not.

The next thing is if the question says to give our opinion without mentioning agree / disagree or advantages / disadvantages, then what will we write....discuss both views? Or give only our one opinion of agreeing or disagreeing?

And in above question how to generate ideas..I didn't know what to write about..

a. whether parents should teach or not
b. is it good that parents should teach
c. how should parents teach
d. or any other methods like teachers teaching at school.


Which could be the answer for above question

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Jul 15, 2015
What is your opinion essays
by: IELTS buddy

Hi Sunita,

Giving your opinion

If you are given this type of question it leaves it very much up to you how you approach it in terms of organisation, but if you are ever asked your opinion about something, that automatically means you are being asked whether your agree or disagree with what has been said (or partially agree) and giving the advantages and / or disadvantages.

You are trying to separate all these things out but they are all essentially the same thing.

You will need to state whether you think parents should teach children to hit back at bullies or not.

Your opinion could be they SHOULD NOT teach them to hit back (i.e. agree) and you then give reasons why.

Your opinion could be they SHOULD teach them to hit back (i.e. disagree) and you then give reasons why.

In this way you are explaining the advantages of each approach.

You could of course look at both sides (like a 'discuss both opinions' essay) and then give your opinion on the issue. When you give your opinion you would be saying which side you agreed or disagreed with (or maybe you can see both sides).

In this way you are looking at both sides i.e. the advantages and disadvantages of such a method.

Generating ideas

When you are asked your opinion about something your answer should give REASONS.

So you state what your view is e.g.

"I think parents should encourage their children not to hit bullies back".

Then give your reasons why you think this e.g.

a) Children will grow up to think violence is the solution to things
b) Children could get injured more harshly by the bully if they fight them back

Or visa versa if you disagree.

Regarding the points you made about the possible content for your essay:

a. whether parents should teach or not

- This is not an idea for a paragraph, this is your opinion

b. is it good that parents should teach

- You are just repeating the question. This is what you need to answer: yes or no and give reasons

c. how should parents teach

- No. This would be going off topic. It is not about 'how' to teach it but whether it is a good idea or not and why.

d. or any other methods like teachers teaching at school.

- You could possibly offer alternatives i.e. you say you disagree, explain why, then discuss some better ways.

You can check out a model answer for this type of essay question here:

What is your opinion / view model essay

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Can someone help me to understand this IELTS task 2 essay question on traditional male roles?

by ieltsfish

I have following IELTS Writing Task 2:

-------------


To what extent has the traditional male role changed in the last 20 years?

Many people believe that women make better parents than men and that this is why they have the greater role in raising children in most societies. Others claim that men are just as good as women at parenting.

Write an essay expressing your point of view.


-------------


I am not really sure what I'm expected to answer here.

Am I expected to give my opinion on whether women are better at parenting or do I have to answer the question "To what extent has the traditional male role changed in the last 20 years?" by expressing my point of view and giving reasons?

Or am I expected to answer the question and also give my opinion on who is a better parent?

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Sep 29, 2013
understanding an IELTS task 2
by: IELTS buddy

Where did you get the question from?

This is two separate questions, not one.

The first is not asking specifically about parenting (though this topic would likely make up a large part of your answer).

You just need to describe how the role of the man has changed in society over the last 20 years. You might talk about the males role in work, parenting, and anything else relevant. It is not asking for any opinion particularly.

The second is specifically about parenting, and you need to give your opinion on whether men or women are best at raising children and explain why.

The questions are very different.

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What can I do if I don't understand the IELTS essay question?

by Dia - Xing HuiShuai
(Wuxi,JiangSu,China)

Hi,

I want to ask a question about IELTS writing test.

If I don't understand the question, what can I do?

Thanks your help.

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Mar 10, 2014
Not understanding the IELTS Writing question
by: IELTS buddy

Hi,

This is an important point because many candidates don't answer the question properly because they have misunderstood it.

Making sure you understand the IELTS essay question is one of the most important things you need to learn.

If you get in the test and you don't understand the question then there is not much you can do! It is too late then.

You need to make sure that you practice analysing IELTS essays questions BEFORE you do the test so that you are not in the situation that you don't understand the question.

There are techniques to understanding the question.

You can get some information here:

Analysing Essay Questions Part 1
Analysing Essay Questions Part 2

I also focus on this quite a lot in my ebook because it is very important:

IELTS buddy ebook


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How do I answer different IELTS essay questions?

by claudia moraga
(santiago, Chile)

Hi, my name is Andrea, and I am very worried about how is the way of writing an essay.

I learned different ways to write it, but I don´t know what to choose.

Maybe the way differs in the structure of the essay depending on the type of questions that are at the end of the problem, for example:

- to what extent...
- which do you believe and why?
- Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.

please help me with that.
Sincerely,
Claudia

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Feb 05, 2013
Reply ;)
by: Anonymous

There is some grammatical mistake in your post. Fix that. You can find some very high quality writing material in this website. Read them carefully and deduce yourself.

Feb 07, 2013
IELTS essay types
by: IELTS buddy

Hi,

It is difficult to answers this question in one post.

One thing I would say to you is don't get bogged down in (confused by) different essay structures and types.

They key thing is studying exactly what the question is asking you and making sure you answer it.

If you also know how to structure a general essay (i.e. introduction, body paragraphs, conclusion) and how to structure a paragraph (topic sentences, supporting ideas, coherency and unity) then you should be ok.

But have a look at the essays on these pages:

Model Essays

Study them and see the various ways you can answer them as that may help.

Good luck


Mar 01, 2013
copy materials
by: lili

hi, thanks a lot for your best site. I want to know if I can copy these materials available on this site and teach in my class or not? thanks

Mar 04, 2013
using materials
by: IELTS buddy

Hi,

You can certainly copy the materials for use in a class (but not for publication to a website or book obviously).

Thanks

Mar 18, 2013
GREAT THANKS
by: Khoja

thank u very much it really helped me to imrove my writing essays

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How do we answer opinion and argument types of IELTS essays?

by doctor

In the opinion and argument type of essays do we need to discuss both the sides or we just stick to our opinion throughout the essay?

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Jan 03, 2016
Opinion and argument types of IELTS essays
by: IELTS buddy

It depends exactly what you mean by 'opinion' and 'argument' essays.

For this kind of question you have to discuss both sides (other people's opinions) and give your opinion as it clearly says:

--------------------------------------------
"Some people think that the main factors influencing a child’s development these days are things such as television, friends, and music. Others believe that the family still remains more important.

Discuss both opinions and give your opinion".

--------------------------------------------

So you are discussing both sides and giving your opinion.

For this next type of essay, again you obviously have to give your opinion (as you are asked if YOU agree or disagree):

--------------------------------------------
"Currently there is a trend towards the use of alternative forms of medicine. However, at best these methods are ineffective, and at worst they may be dangerous.

To what extent do you agree with this statement?"

--------------------------------------------

However, although you can just give your side (e.g. you 100% agree/disagree) you may want to partly agree and look at both sides of the argument, or still 100% agree/disagree but discuss the other side just to show other people have a different perspective to you.

It's difficult to explain this without showing model answers.

Check out some examples on these pages and you will see the different ways you could answer:

IELTS Model Essays.

I also discuss this in more details in the IELTS Writing eBook.

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will the essay in writing task 2 be repeated?

by rupa

will the essay in writing task 2 be repeated?

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Mar 31, 2014
Getting the same IELTS task 2 essay question
by: IELTS buddy

Hi,

You mean will the same essay question come up again?

Unlikely it will be exactly the same question, but similar type topics / questions come up again, just worded in a different way.

So a useful skill is to look at past essay questions and model answers. You may then get to recognise similar types of question that are worded differently.

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To What Extent Question

by Albert

Hello,

I was wondering about the best way to answer such this topic because I couldn't know what should I do?

Some people claim that not enough of the waste from homes is recycled. They say that the only way to increase this is for governments to make it a legal requirement.

To what extent do you think laws are needed to make people recycle more of their waste?


Please provide me with the best strategy for such an essay.

Thank you
bro

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Feb 05, 2017
Recyling Waste Essay
by: IELTS buddy

Hi,

There are several ways you could answer it.

You could have your first body paragraph explaining why people do not tend to recycle their waste enough and then, if you think laws are needed, in your next paragraph explain why they would help. Alternatively if you do not think laws would help your second body paragraph would be explaining the problems with having laws.

Or you could have an essay that looked at both sides. The first body paragraph could go straight into the issues of having such laws, the second the advantages, then in your conclusion giving your opinion.

This is one of those essays that could be answered if a few ways so somebody could well come up with another way that would be fine.

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Confusing Essay Type

by kzbk

I am really confused with the types of essays. Can you tell me what type of essay is this one?

Most people are not interested in how their food has been produced. They only care about how much it costs.

How true is this statement? What influences people when they buy food?

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Jun 29, 2018
Confusing Essay Type
by: IELTS buddy

Many essays do fit a certain pattern. For example:

- Agree / disagree
- Discussing two opinions
- Problem solution
- Cause effect

I prefer to label them like that but some people prefer to label them as a Discussion Essay or Argument Led Essay etc.

But not all essays fit the first list I gave you. You are discussing a topic, so it could be called a discussion essay.

But the point is you should not get obsessed with trying to find a label for it or an essay type.

If it doesn't fit those first ones I gave you, which you will be able to see immediately, then just answer the questions.

You'll waste time trying to find a label and that won't help you with that essay. You are clearly asked two things so just answer each one in a separate body paragraph.

Body One

How true is this statement?

So say to what extent you agree with it - to make it easy just pick one opinion i.e. you agree, and say why people don't care and why price is what they care about (of course you could do a separate body paragraph for each of those points).

Body 2

What influences people when they buy food?

Just say what other things make people buy certain foods apart from price (as you have already mentioned that) e.g. adverts, personal preferences etc.

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Did I answer this IELTS essay question correctly?

by Dmr

Hi!

Please, help me to analyze my failed attempt to get an 8 band for my writing, since I'm not sure where it went wrong. I had my exam two weeks ago and there was this question for the writing task 2:

More houses are needed in many countries to cope with increasing populations.

Would it be better to build houses in existing towns and cities, or to develop new towns in rural areas?


The phrasing was a little bit different, but the structure and the topic of the question was exactly the same.

My question is what should be the structure for the answer to this kind of question? I identified it as a discussion question, which, I presume now, was a mistake.

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Mar 17, 2017
discussion question
by: IELTS buddy

How you identified it does not tell me anything about how you actually answered it, and that is the important thing.

For this question you are given two possible scenarios / opinions so it is best to consider them both.

Here are the two:

1) build houses in existing towns and cities

2) develop new towns in rural areas


So you could have two body paragraphs discussing the benefits of each and then in your conclusion state which you think is the best choice and why (or you could have that as a third body paragraph).

I'm not though saying that that is the only possibility.

You could for instance have a first body paragraph discussing the problems growing populations are having on housing in cities, then another paragraph discussing what you think the best solution is and why by choosing one of the opinions i.e. the best solution is to build houses out of town (explain why) and say why that is better than in town.

But as I said, you didn't explain exactly how you answered it so it's difficult to know for sure whether you addressed the question fully or not.

But remember that not getting an 8 may not be to do with the way that you answered the question as there are various other criteria that you get graded on, such as grammar, vocabulary and coherence.

So it's never going to be possible to say for sure why you did not get the score you wanted.

Mar 18, 2017
Details of my answer
by: Dmr

Thank you for such a quick answer!

Okay, some more details then. I went with the following structure, which I consider kind of a classic one for discussion essays and that's why I decided not to describe it in the opening post:

- Introduction: Rephrased question, stated opinion (went with building new houses in the countryside)

- Body 1: Described benefits of developing existing cities. I tried to use some words for uncertainty like "it will [probably] allow for..", "it will [likely] lead to..." to highlight that this isn't what I'm convinced of.

- Body 2: Went over the advantages of constructing new houses in rural areas

- Conclusion: Restated my opinion with a short summary of points from the second body paragraph.

From what you say, it turns out that this structure should've been good enough if I'd written it correctly.

My next exam is in three weeks. I guess I need to focus on working hard to improve my lexical resource and coherence.

Thanks again!

Mar 19, 2017
Details of my answer
by: IELTS buddy

Hi,

Your ideas and general answer do look fine, but as I say it could be a number of other things bringing your score down.

We don't know how you presented or supported them and as you say there are other factors like grammar, coherency, lexis etc.

It's really impossible to judge someone's answer without actually reading it.

Good luck with your next attempt. Let us know here how it goes.

Thanks

Jun 15, 2017
Advice
by: Fast Track IELTS

Hi there,

We find that a lot of students panic when a question is worded in a way that they feel they cannot immediately identify the 'type' of. It sounds like you did well to identify it as a Discussion question but maybe you felt stressed at the beginning as to how to structure your essay and that this compromised your band score? If so, make sure you take a deep breath in future and have confidence in your abilities!

As I'm sure you are aware, the best way to prepare is past papers, so you can be knowledgable about all the ways they may ask questions in the exam. Lots of past papers are available at www.passmyielts.com.

Good luck next time,
Jordan
Fast Track IELTS

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Is my IELTS essay plan ok?

by Anonymous

Some people believe children are given too much free time. They feel that this time should be used to do more school work.

How do you think children should spend their free time?


Which type of essay do we write for this question?

It it correct to mention reasons why we diagree on the viewpoint given in Body para 1 and in body paragraph 2 mentioning about activities that we feel children should do in free time?

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Jun 18, 2020

by: IELTS buddy

You need to give your opinion on what children should do in their free time, and as school work is specifically mentioned, you should also say whether you think this is what they should do in their free time.

So yes, if in body 1 you explain why you think doing school work in free time is not the best idea then that would be addressing the question.

And if you then in your next body paragraph discuss what activities they should do instead and why, that would answer the question.

So your idea sounds fine.

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IELTS Essay Types - Reasons and Solutions

by shayan shafaghaty
(Iran)

Congestion

Congestion

Car ownership has increased so rapidly over the past thirty years that many cities in the world are now 'one big traffic jam'.

How true do think this statement is?

What measures can government take to discourage people from using their car?


Please help me. I do not know how to answer this essay's question? Which type it is?

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Jan 11, 2020
Reasons and Solutions Type Essay
by: IELTS buddy

Don't get too worried about labelling an essay as a particular 'type' if it is not immediately obvious what it is.

Yes there are certain types that essays can be categorised as but not all fit these 'types' and anyway they may be worded in a way that you don't see it.

In this case the first part is asking for your opinion - so you will need to state your opinion and then give reasons why you hold that opinion. Then you are asked for solutions to the problem mentioned.

But just focus on answering the one or two questions that you are asked to. In this case it is:

1) Is it true that cities are now 'one big traffic jam'?
2) How can governments discourage car use?


So think of your answer to the first one.

Let's say for you it is 'YES'. Well in this case simply say in the first sentence of your first body paragraph that it is very true (in other words you strongly agree), then give reasons why.

You would explain all the issues with traffic congestion and the problems people have getting to work or to town etc. Say how in some cities for example it takes people two hours just to get to work.

Then in your second body paragraph give some suggestions of what the government could do. For example they could introduce congestion charges, improve public transport etc.

Do those two things and you will have answered the question and done so in an organised and logical way.

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