Common pitfalls to avoid for year 12 school leavers and other medicine applicants

Discussion in 'UMAT' started by Mana, Oct 10, 2016.

  1. truetryhard

    truetryhard New Member

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    Thanks for your reply. (I feel honoured to have been in your 1000th message lol)

    Sorry I'm not too sure what you mean by "ask that of yourself"? If you mean the answer to why wouldn't I do medical science/biomed instead, it's because I guess I would feel that a) it would be a waste of a high atar (which I know sounds stupid), and b) because it really doesn't differentiate myself from all the other "med wannabes" like Mana said lol. I guess I would feel like "why did I put so much effort in getting this 99.whatever atar if I'm just going to do biomed anyway..." I think it would be crazy for someone with 99.95 to do biomed and not even try to get into BMS/MD undergraduate at UNSW or double degree at USYD for example. Even if a biomedical bachelor then PhD degree is more suited towards a career in academia/research than MD, I feel like it really wouldn't differentiate myself. Then again I'm only in high school and have a lot to learn and don't know much about university and medicine in general, please enlighten me. :)
     
  2. pi

    pi Junior doctor Administrar

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    Your reasons for doing medicine instead of biomed/science seem to be relating to what others think of what you're doing rather than what you think: how others think you have used your ATAR, or how others are clumping you with the 'med wannabees'. Other people aren't getting your degree and entering your career, it's all you. Furthermore, there is no "just" when it comes to a biomed or science degree, they're not inferior degrees to medicine, they're just different degrees. Every degree has its own merits, and when comparing different types of degrees it is impossible to say which is generally 'better'. However one might be genuinely 'better' for you. And you have to do that thinking on your own to find out. So far, you haven't given me any convincing reason why you want to do medicine other than what could be summed up as "why not, others (society, employers, etc.) will view me better", which is not a very insightful reason for wanting to anything, let alone medicine.

    If your goal is to be a researcher, medicine is a very long and difficult way of getting there, and it's also an unusual way. Most doctors, upon completion of training, don't engage in any research, and even those who go on to get PhDs usually do so after 7-10 years of working as a doctor first, going through various hoops of fire in the meantime. It's a much longer pathway than a biomed/science -> hons -> PhD pathway, which will likely save you nearly 5 years upon completion. Now that's not to say that there aren't people who have taken the medical pathway and spend most time researching, because there are a minority who do that, but it's really not common.

    So, I guess, you need to focus on what's best for you, thinking about what you want to do. Don't do medicine or any other degree on a whim, you have time to decide so use it wisely. If you're not sure, there are two schools of thought:
    1. Doing something general is ideal, as you can explore many options
    2. Go for the one that is hardest to get into, as it's easier to drop out than get back into it (although note that medicine has a culture of people just pushing through rather than dropping out... so in fact it may be easier to get back in than drop out, somewhat paradoxically!)
     
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  3. A1

    A1 Admissions Speculator Moderator

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    Statistically speaking less than one third of the 99.x will get a med offer, it's not quite there yet. Assuming you will be good enough for an offer, a good option for you is to not get into the direct undergrad med schools. Go instead for the provisional MD schools (UQ, Griffith, Flinders, UWA) do Biomed for the pre-MD undergrad degree, then decide in 2-3 years time to go on to the assured MD place or sidestep to a research higher degree.
     
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  4. truetryhard

    truetryhard New Member

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    I definitely agree with that second point, which is why I want to get into usyd/unsw med lol. I'm just curious to know if in an interview, I said my motivation for doing medicine was research and to help society or whatever, would it lower my chances? Like you said, I can always go for the one that is hardest to get into, then worry about the rest later...

    Actually I'm aiming for a 99.95 partly to get into USYD's DDMP, and not to sound cocky or anything but I'm kinda confident I'll get like 99.85+, like I said before I put 100% effort into anything I set my mind on doing and am extremely self-motivated, I've kind of already self-learned the preliminary and HSC content for the subjects I am doing, and I'm currently on a full scholarship at a top ranking private school. I pretty much spend most of my days and weekends studying anyway :/. I've already started preparing for the UCAT too (in year 10 atm).

    Which leads to my second thought... A1 your medical selection criteria here [Undergrad] - (2018 Updated) Med schools Selection Criteria Y12s & Non-standards states the interview success rate for USYD is 2/3? But I've asked some people who got the interview and they said it was about 50%? I'm kinda worried about their "assessment process including a written assessment and a panel discussion." What exactly are they looking for? I found this online for the graduate entry but am not sure:

    - good communication skills;
    - a sense of caring, empathy and sensitivity;
    - an ability to make effective decisions;
    - an ability to contribute as a member of a team;
    - an appreciation of the place of medicine in the wider context of healing; and
    - a sense of vocation, motivation and commitment within the context of medicine.

    Has anyone here actually done it and have any tips and would like to share their experiences? Like I actually really want to get into DDMP (nothing to do with parents or whatever), and I will put 110% time and effort over the next two years to get into B Science/D Medicine, how do I correctly use my efforts other than for studying? What can I do to maximise my chances of passing the medicine interview?

    I know this sounds stupid because there is obviously no secret formula of extracurricular activities and volunteering or whatever, but if I don't do anything at all it definitely doesn't look good. I wanna be involved in something through which I can show interviewers through my experiences and what I've learned, that I am actually serious about getting in. In fact I know someone who got a 100 UMAT (which I know is irrelevant for USYD), and was the CUO (leader) of the Medics platoon in the school Cadet Corps, and didn't make it into USYD and ended up in UNSW.

    My backup after USYD med is UNSW, then space engineering at USYD. I know it sounds stupid that I'm only considering those two, but if I didn't make either I'd probably be so salty that I'd never want anything to do with medicine lol. I probably need to change my mind on that somehow... Honestly I have a lot of bad misconceptions like "trying to 'spend' all of my ATAR", or doing degrees because of how hard it is to get in, which I know is stupid, (I used to want to do com/law at USYD but decided against it in favour of something that actually helps society), but I just can't convince myself.

    Sorry I know I rant a lot haha.

    By the way I just found this: on page 2 of USYD's MD Information booklet (http://sydney.edu.au/medicine/pdfs/MD-DMD-Guide-2019-web.pdf), they state in the pie chart that 45% of their graduate entry students studied Biological Sciences, 27% studied Human biosciences, 7% studied Psychology, 4% studied Pharmacy, 3% studied Engineering, 3% studied Art/Social sciences and 2% studied Health, leaving only 9% with fields completely unrelated to the sciences and health.
     
  5. pi

    pi Junior doctor Administrar

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    Honestly. It sounds like you have no idea what you want to do if one of your back-up plans for medicine is space engineering and you recently thought about doing comm/law. And that's fine, you have two years to start making some plans. A rushed discussion online at this stage of your schooling is not going to help. Come back to us once you've lived a bit more and thought about things a bit more :)
     
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  6. Post

    Post Medical Student @ UNSW

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    The fact that you would not consider medicine if you did not make those 2 unis suggests to me you haven't developed a proper motivation for medicine. More likely than not you'll get rejected from one or both of those unis, and the fact that, that itself would be enough to make you not want to pursue medicine means that you need to do some thinking over the next 2 years about your reasons for medicine. Best of luck.
     
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  7. A1

    A1 Admissions Speculator Moderator

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    USyd allocates a set number of 30 places for this pathway. I believe all 99.95s who apply get invited to the interview, so if 60 apply it's 50% if 50 apply it's ~2/3. We have no control on how many applying each year.

    Have a read of this thread > USyd - Usyd Provisional Entry MD
     
  8. truetryhard

    truetryhard New Member

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    So I'm pretty sure there's about 40-50 99.95s a year, and not everyone would apply. Officially there's 30 domestic spots and 15 international, but not everyone domestic is from NSW doing HSC. There would probably a few be interstate applicants and maybe a person with IB 45 as well? Also this doesn't factor in rural applicants and Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islanders. Apparently last year the number of non-rural non-Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander people from Sydney who got in was more like 15 (according to someone I know who got in).
     
  9. Perplex

    Perplex Moderator Moderator

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    I'm going to add to what others have said and express my opinion on the matter. Not everyone pursues research full time, and you don't need to do an MD to necessarily be a great researcher. The Bachelor to Hons to PhD pathway is a suitable alternative. No point putting yourself through med school for the sake of having an MD, without an intention to practice.

    The reality is that most people start a Medical Science degree with the intention of doing medicine. I would say that a small minority have research in mind as their end goal. Arguably doing a BSc with a targted major is a better approach. Doing a Science degree would also help in medicine. Both are very similar degrees and either would help in the pursuit of research or medicine itself.
    Now given that not everyone is going to get into medicine, a lot of medsci grads have to consider other options - which may include allied health disciplines, or pursuing something completely unrelated like consulting for an accounting firm (commerce-related things). I would still say that a minority go into research.

    As a year 10 it is difficult to judge things about the workforce. Research is difficult. It takes substantial amounts of effort - competition for funding, competition with other labs around the world, producing research which can be replicated, publishing robust papers in high-impact journals, etc. Not to mention that there are a host of things beyond your control in the world of research. In saying that I do not think that the difficult of succeeding in research should be a determinant in choosing medicine instead - by no means is that an easy path.....

    Judging by your posts I don't think you are in the best position to determine which field is suitable. Re: Your post regarding how to perform best in the interview. You're in Year 10 and no one would really blame you either....
    I think you need to do some work experience in the fields which interest you, thoroughly research into them, and pursue something not for the sake of being "the best" or the "poster boy/girl".

    Reality is that getting into medicine is tough, so is completing medicine, so is being a Doctor. It is a very long journey and for someone without an organic reason or genuine passion it is only going to be infinitely more difficult...
     
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  10. frootloop

    frootloop D-D-D-Doctor Moderator

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    Hi truetryhard,

    I've just finished a medical degree, an honours degree in medical science, a postgraduate diploma in business administration and public health... and my first week as a doctor. So I certainly know what it's like to not being quite sure what path to take your career down!

    My first piece of advice would be to stop getting caught up in the minutiae of the entry pathways for various things. Do not try to select a career based on that. It is unlikely to end well.

    Very few people nowadays go through their entire medical training without some form of research experience. Certainly quite a few people develop strong research interests, although many simply aren't that interested. Personally I did the BMedSc(Hons) year during medical school, and thoroughly look forward to doing a PhD at some stage and building myself as a researcher.

    Becoming a full-time academic isn't all that common for holders of a medical degree, because most people who want to be full-time academics from the start don't do medicine. The likes of standard BSc are geared far better than a medical degree towards developing research skills, and they're cheaper/shorter/lacking the patient interaction that you've mentioned you're not so keen on. The only real reason to go into medicine for the sole purpose of becoming an academic is if you want to do clinical research or an area where grants tend to favour medics.

    It's definitely worth noting that clinical research is very different from the lab coats and test tubes a year 10 thinks of when they hear 'science'. While you can obviously do basic science research from a medical background, if that's where you aim to end up I'd argue you're probably better off doing a BSc.

    I'd say it's worth examining your own motivations here.

    'Or some other clichè' doesn't really suggest a strong passion for any particular topic. That's perfectly fine - after all, at your stage you're unlikely to have even heard of your eventual pet topic - but be careful not to go down a career path thinking 'or some other clichè' is going to sustain you.

    You then say that you want to 'make an impact', and that's great. My main area of research has been on chronic pain, which causes an unbelievable amount of suffering. Wanting to help reduce that suffering in some small way through my research is hugely motivating. Wanting to make the world a better place etc obviously drives a lot of people's career choices.

    The next part is a little concerning. You are almost certainly never going to be 'the next face of medicine' (neither am I, for that matter). Most people's entire life's work boils down to adding a small drop to the knowledge pool. If you're looking to get famous or whatever, I can't say I'd really recommend either medicine or science as the places to start.

    Why does 'being at the forefront' matter so much? Is advancing human knowledge and improving health only important if it gets you your name in lights?

    I'll also point out that science, medicine and engineering are not the only three jobs in the world. Don't go into medicine if you genuinely don't think you'll enjoy it - you're doing an awful lot of talking yourself into it on this thread.

    Ask yourself what interests you, what motivates you, what you want out of a career and what you definitely want to avoid.

    While a few of the others have made legitimate points about motivation being important for something that requires as much work as medicine, I would like to make one point:

    Not knowing whether you'd like patient interaction is perfectly fine. In fact, it's much more realistic than saying 'oh I'm going to love interacting with patients!'. It's not a form of social interaction you have any experience with whatsoever, and it's something that takes time to learn (and learn to enjoy). Don't feel like you shouldn't do medicine based solely on the fact that you're uncertain how much you'd like the patient contact.

    Here, you are 100% correct. While it's good to slowly think about these things in the last year or two of high school, there is no need to have your entire career mapped out now (nor would that map likely wind up playing out)
     
  11. chinaski

    chinaski Regular Member

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    Though I think this entire discussion is pointless, as it's really putting the cart in front of the horse - there are far more pressing issues at hand here than just the different pathways into medical research - I'll comment just quickly on this point.

    Pathways into research as a clinician researcher via a medical degree + PhD (+ additional fellowships, invariably) is actually reasonably common, and some might argue advantageous in some respects. Anecdotally there's greater success rates in clinician researchers consistently landing big grants (eg NHMRC) than pure scientists, which does make the former pathway somewhat more lucrative (for want of a better word). Nevertheless, it must also be said that top gun, lab-leading, cancer curing clinician scientists are rare, it's an incredibly competitive field, and most clinician researchers never rise to that level professionally. So, whilst it is admirable to set one's sights at the very top, one must also be realistic and have a Plan B and C. For those going through the medical degree pathway, said alternative plans would invariably involve clinical work (so fairly pointless going through if that doesn't interest you).

    But yes, attend to the more critical issues first. Nothing wrong with considering medicine after you've lived a few more years and matured a little.
     
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  12. truetryhard

    truetryhard New Member

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    About the "face of medicine" and "forefront"... I didn't really express that well, I am not looking to try to be famous or whatever, I just want to be able to contribute to society and make an impact on technology or treatment of diseases, whatever can help people in future generations (which is why I've decided against doing something like com/law or actuarial), of course becoming an eminent figure like, idk, Hawking, Peter Higgs (one of the physicists who discovered the God Particle), or any Nobel prize winner would also be great (who wouldn't want to be?). I would definitely say that I thoroughly enjoy learning new things, and am extremely passionate about and take pleasure in physics/chemistry/biology/maths, which is kind of why I am most interested in science, medicine and engineering. In fact I couldn't really see myself doing anything else (and actually enjoying it through being able to contribute to society) besides those three.

    And yes I am definitely very young and will probably have different opinions and interests by the time I graduate high school. But for something like medicine I feel like it's always better to prepare early and have done the preparation for the UCAT or relevant extracurriculars/volunteering "just in case" and to end up doing something different like engineering; than get to the end of Year 12 and realise you always wanted to be a doctor, but be too late to do anything (at least for undergraduate entry). Idk I'd rather over-prepare (maybe unnecessarily) during high school years than realise that hidden passion I always had for being a surgeon and have to miserably grind through a non-Med course through 3 years.

    Anyways thanks for your replies, they're all very insightful!
     
  13. Ruffle

    Ruffle Admissions Helper Moderator

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    A bit late, but here's my 2c:

    I've noticed that you often preface sentences with phrases like the ones bolded above, which indicates that you're aware to some degree that the ideas you have might seem strange to others. It's okay to be a little self conscious, and I know that it's intimidating posting on forums for the first time. We've all been there! However, if your own ideas sound silly to you, the most mature thing is to learn to let them go.

    Additionally, NO AMOUNT of volunteer work is going to definitely convince interviewers that you are suited for medicine. I know some people without an outstanding ATAR/UMAT who got into medicine without much volunteer work, but demonstrated a mature and well-reasoned thought process in their interview. I know people, including myself, who did a lot of volunteer work in fields unrelated to medicine, but for causes we were passionate about. It didn't show that we were dedicated to get into medicine per se, but it did demonstrate other good attributes such as empathy, altruism, and good communication skills- skills that a good doctor should have.

    Perhaps most of those who studied Eng or Art/Social Science are perfectly happy with their chosen degree and feel no need to switch to Medicine? I know very, very intelligent, caring, compassionate, and hardworking individuals studying degrees other than Biomed or Medicine, who would've made excellent doctors or researchers, but just didn't feel the need to be. (And yes, one of these had a 99.95 ATAR.)


    This is the comment that concerns me the most. Please make an effort to enjoy childhood while you can, and to gain some experiences outside books and studying. I get that you enjoy studying, and that's great, but it's been said several times here that UCAT prep doesn't help significantly past a certain point, and you can learn a lot outside of books- from things like volunteering, or getting a job, or extracurriculars.

    I hope you take everyone's advice into account. There are some people here who have a lot of life experience and wisdom on offer. You sound like a very bright student and no doubt you will go far in life, but you seem to have a lot of thinking to do.
     
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  14. sarangiya

    sarangiya what's this

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    I know this topic has been fleshed out already but I'll add some anecdotes.
    • In the class of 2018, there was a student who was amazingly academically gifted. He got multiple 50s in math, languages and was a world champion in scrabble. His 99.95 in year 11 meant he graduated with co17. I would say that if he wanted admission into med, he'd probably get it. Instead, he is doing BSc at Melbourne Uni because it will lead to his goal. Sure, BSc might only be an 85 ATAR but that is just the minimum cutoff .
    • My friend's brother is a smart kid. Really talented with anything scientific. He had a difficult time figuring out what he wanted to do after school, and at one point he wanted to do medicine. But, now he is doing science (maybe engineering I can't remember) at Monash because according to his Mum, he realised that "being a doctor wasn't the smartest job out there" . I agree!
    • I too thought I would get a 99.95. I came into contact with the first guy i mentioned because we had both got a 50 and a premiers award in Year 10. It's really easy to think that things will all be smooth sailing and that you are 'exceptional' and different from everyone else. What's hard to come to terms with is that sometimes 110% falls short too. Medical school is hard, becoming a medical researcher in some respects is probably harder.
    Your passion is great, but I think your pride is misplaced. I think things will be easier for you if you take off the bells and whistles, and take a humble stance when looking at your future prospects.

    Good luck
     
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  15. LMG!

    LMG! UTAS MBBS II Moderator

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    Well summed up. Thank you :)
     
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  16. v.confused

    v.confused New Member

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    Hi everyone!

    I really want to study medicine next year but unfortunately, haven't been offered interviews for UNSW, UWS or Charles Sturt Dentistry. Because these courses have taken up 3 spots on my UAC preferences, with the JMP and health science at ANU being the other two, I haven't had much space for courses which I can be sure I can get into (and I don't want to be stuck doing nothing next year).

    While these are my highest preferences, I would like to put something else in to ensure that I at least have one offer before the January rounds start.
    So, this is my question, will UNSW/UWS med or CSU dent send out any more interview offers or should I take them off my list to make space for other courses (e.g. clinical science at Macquarie Uni or Physiotherapy at Newcastle)?

    The deadline is tomorrow (midnight) for preferences so I want to make an informed decision.
    I have been looking everywhere and haven't found an answer so I hope you guys can help :)
    Sorry if what I said didn't make much sense haha, I'm happy to clarify.
     
  17. LMG!

    LMG! UTAS MBBS II Moderator

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    What is your ATAR/UMAT combo?

    CSU Dent have sent out OFFERS, so I highly doubt they still have interviews to do. WSU Med have sent out interview rejection emails (did you get one?), so it’s also probably safe to remove them from your list. If you didn’t get CSU Dent then I suspect you’d struggle to be competitive for UNSW Med, so that’s probably another one you can remove. Did you get a UNSW rejection email yesterday?

    Physiotherapy at Newcastle sounds like a fabulous backup option! I’d caution you against Clin Sci at Macq.
     
  18. RMeister

    RMeister New Member

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    Hi guys, I'm new to this forum, and it's amazing! Really appreciative of all the awesome people here!
    I've just graduated with a good atar but not so good umat... and I'm looking to make medicine and also stay in Sydney.
    1. I've read about how taking a gap-year to re-sit the umat (well now it's ucat) is bad, but I've also heard that there are way more spots in undergrad med that way than if you start a different course like med sci and sit ucat during 1st year. Is this true? If so, doesn't it make the gap year not such a bad option?
    2. And I'm also wondering what happens if you take a gap year and fail to get into medicine again. Can you still apply for other courses as you would at the end of Yr 12?

    Thanks so much!
     
  19. Crow

    Crow Moderator Moderator

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    Common pitfalls to avoid for year 12 school leavers and other medicine applicants Please read this thread! I (and pretty much all experienced members of this forum) strongly advise against both of the above mentioned courses of action (taking a gap year to resit UCAT and doing a medical science degree while aiming to gain entry into medicine) for the reasons mentioned in the linked thread.

    There’s actually a pretty even number of positions available in graduate entry medicine as undergraduate medicine (and arguably less competition in graduate entry med) so no, that isn’t true - starting a degree and aiming for graduate entry will actually open more places for you because you’ll not only be eligible for the graduate entry schools, but you’ll also still be able to apply as a non-standard to the JMP, WSU, UNSW, JCU, Curtin (when you have a completed degree) and Bond.

    If you do gap year, you’ll be eligible for all the same courses as you would’ve been the year before (though UQ provisional entry is not available to gap year students, only for direct school leavers).

    ETA: If you want to stay in Sydney then literally all med schools there will still be open to you (+ USyd, UNDS and Macquarie once you have a degree) if you have commenced / completed a university degree.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2018 at 3:08 PM
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  20. A1

    A1 Admissions Speculator Moderator

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    In the past I supported this gap-year strategy for those who (1) have a reasonably high ATAR say 99.3+, (2) can potentially improve on UMAT, and (3) are prepared to go interstate (to gain the benefit of the extra med schools they can apply to vs starting uni).

    In your case (1) you haven't said how good your ATAR is, (2) UCAT will be a totally new unknown, (3) all three NSW schools accept non-standard applicants. There isn't much for you to gain with a gap year.
     
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