Work Experience is proving to not matter this cycle.

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rayiner
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Re: Work Experience is proving to not matter this cycle.

Postby rayiner » Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:32 pm

FunkyJD wrote:
rayiner wrote:Um, Northwestern?

In general WE tends to count more for GPA forgiveness than LSAT forgiveness. Largely because WE and the former both measure work ethic, and the latter measures who well the person reasons under time pressure.

A much better measure of how someone reasons under pressure can be derived from judging that person's significant work experience, if it exists.


Not even a little bit. No jobs require the sort of reasoning you need on a law school exam. Math/computer science probably comes close, but that's much less time-pressured.

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FunkyJD
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Re: Work Experience is proving to not matter this cycle.

Postby FunkyJD » Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:38 pm

rayiner wrote:
FunkyJD wrote:
rayiner wrote:Um, Northwestern?

In general WE tends to count more for GPA forgiveness than LSAT forgiveness. Largely because WE and the former both measure work ethic, and the latter measures who well the person reasons under time pressure.

A much better measure of how someone reasons under pressure can be derived from judging that person's significant work experience, if it exists.


Not even a little bit. No jobs require the sort of reasoning you need on a law school exam. Math/computer science probably comes close, but that's much less time-pressured.


Yes ... as an employer, I'll tend to trust the judgment and decision-making skills of a wet-behind-the-ears 25-year-old with a 170 LSAT over a more-experienced candidate with five years of experience in the finance industry, or who has worked in the federal government, who pulls a 160.

Is this necessarily true?
Last edited by FunkyJD on Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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autarkh
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Re: Work Experience is proving to not matter this cycle.

Postby autarkh » Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:39 pm

FunkyJD wrote:
rayiner wrote:Um, Northwestern?

In general WE tends to count more for GPA forgiveness than LSAT forgiveness. Largely because WE and the former both measure work ethic, and the latter measures who well the person reasons under time pressure.

A much better measure of how someone reasons under pressure can be derived from judging that person's significant work experience, if it exists.


This may be so, but there's no way to perform apples to apples comparisons with WE, even when the jobs are similar. All you have to go on are candidates' descriptions of what they did, which they have every incentive to exaggerate. As imperfect as the LSAT is, at least it is the same for everyone.

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reasonabledoubt
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Re: Work Experience is proving to not matter this cycle.

Postby reasonabledoubt » Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:42 pm

im_blue wrote:
reasonabledoubt wrote:It's a bit troubling to think my 7+ years of quantifiable acheivement in the real world is trumped by a fresh-out-of-undergrad applicant with an LSAT a few points higher (who didn't have to juggle working full time w/preparing) but that is exactly what the data is starting to prove.


LOL if you ever though 7+ years of WE could overcome a few LSAT points. I would be surprised if it even counted for 1 LSAT point. Basically it's a tie-breaker between you and the undergrad with the same LSAT.


If true, the dynamic described above it too stupid to ignore and has to change. If adcomms are relying so heavily on ranking or median-boosting efforts for their respective schools to the point they develop blinders with regards to the obvious insanity of 7 years of proven accomplishment being trumped by 1 LSAT point, then it simply has to change. This is like lead in household paint. Yeah, it happened for a long time too - it was crazy - and had to stop. So does this, it makes absolutely no sense for anyone. 1 point = 7 years? Facepalm after I stop typing.

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FunkyJD
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Re: Work Experience is proving to not matter this cycle.

Postby FunkyJD » Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:45 pm

autarkh wrote:
FunkyJD wrote:
rayiner wrote:Um, Northwestern?

In general WE tends to count more for GPA forgiveness than LSAT forgiveness. Largely because WE and the former both measure work ethic, and the latter measures who well the person reasons under time pressure.

A much better measure of how someone reasons under pressure can be derived from judging that person's significant work experience, if it exists.


This may be so, but there's no way to perform apples to apples comparisons with WE, even when the jobs are similar. All you have to go on are candidates' descriptions of what they did, which they have every incentive to exaggerate. As imperfect as the LSAT is, at least it is the same for everyone.


Oh, people exaggerate on apps and resumes ... but as someone who has experienced hiring processes, you can tell who's for real and who's full of it, in my opinion. A well-written PS will also reveal some aspects of how significant a person's experience truly was.

If schools are LSAT/GPA whores, and all they care about are raw numbers, God bless 'em. It's their right to do that. And I don't hate on people with 175/3.8's, I congratulate them for their accomplishment. But I disagree with the idea that work experience should be viewed as a meaningless soft. Now whether or not adcomms agree, I guess that's all that matters. I'll get mine regardless, and you'll get yours regardless, if we perform well enough once we step inside the classroom. I don't think your LSAT's going to matter too much then.

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rayiner
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Re: Work Experience is proving to not matter this cycle.

Postby rayiner » Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:46 pm

FunkyJD wrote:
rayiner wrote:
FunkyJD wrote:
rayiner wrote:Um, Northwestern?

In general WE tends to count more for GPA forgiveness than LSAT forgiveness. Largely because WE and the former both measure work ethic, and the latter measures who well the person reasons under time pressure.

A much better measure of how someone reasons under pressure can be derived from judging that person's significant work experience, if it exists.


Not even a little bit. No jobs require the sort of reasoning you need on a law school exam. Math/computer science probably comes close, but that's much less time-pressured.


Yes ... as an employer, I'll tend to trust the judgment and decision-making skills of a wet-behind-the-ears 25-year-old with a 170 LSAT over a more-experienced candidate with five years of experience in the finance industry, or who has worked in the federal government, who pulls a 160.


We're not talking judgement and decision making, we're talking about logical reasoning. Very few jobs require the sort of precise thinking that you need to pick apart a case or a hypo on a law school exam. I used to be a software engineer, and algorithm design requires a similar skill, but when I'm doing that I usually have the luxury of cogitating on it for the whole day over a few lattes.

That said, I do think work experience should count, but it really has way more overlap with GPA than with LSAT. It measures work ethic, judgement, etc, not reasoning ability.
Last edited by rayiner on Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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FunkyJD
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Re: Work Experience is proving to not matter this cycle.

Postby FunkyJD » Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:46 pm

FWIW, if an adcomm is lurking on this thread, you could provide a real service by commenting on what you've read.

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FunkyJD
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Re: Work Experience is proving to not matter this cycle.

Postby FunkyJD » Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:47 pm

rayiner wrote:We're not talking judgement and decision making, we're talking about logical reasoning. Very few jobs require the sort of precise thinking that you need to pick apart a case or a hypo on a law school exam. I used to be a software engineer, and algorithm design requires a similar skill, but when I'm doing that I usually have the luxury of cogitating on it for the whole day over a few lattes.

Logical reasoning involves judgment, no?

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autarkh
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Re: Work Experience is proving to not matter this cycle.

Postby autarkh » Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:53 pm

FunkyJD wrote:Oh, people exaggerate on apps and resumes ... but as someone who has experienced hiring processes, you can tell who's for real and who's full of it, in my opinion. A well-written PS will also reveal some aspects of how significant a person's experience truly was.

If schools are LSAT/GPA whores, and all they care about are raw numbers, God bless 'em. It's their right to do that. And I don't hate on people with 175/3.8's, I congratulate them for their accomplishment. But I disagree with the idea that work experience should be viewed as a meaningless soft. Now whether or not adcomms agree, I guess that's all that matters. I'll get mine regardless, and you'll get yours regardless, if we perform well enough once we step inside the classroom. I don't think your LSAT's going to matter too much then.


I don't think work experience is, or should be, meaningless. But then, I also don't think "soft" factors are meaningless. "Soft" just means difficult to quantify. You can't assign a point value to holding down a significant job for 7+ years, and you certainly can't do it by "forgiving" lower performance on a standardized test. What you can do is glean some genuine insight into the person whose file you are reviewing and--perhaps--admit them over someone with slightly better numbers. I'm sure this happens. Just don't expect it to be systematic.

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FunkyJD
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Re: Work Experience is proving to not matter this cycle.

Postby FunkyJD » Sun Feb 07, 2010 2:01 pm

autarkh wrote:
FunkyJD wrote:Oh, people exaggerate on apps and resumes ... but as someone who has experienced hiring processes, you can tell who's for real and who's full of it, in my opinion. A well-written PS will also reveal some aspects of how significant a person's experience truly was.

If schools are LSAT/GPA whores, and all they care about are raw numbers, God bless 'em. It's their right to do that. And I don't hate on people with 175/3.8's, I congratulate them for their accomplishment. But I disagree with the idea that work experience should be viewed as a meaningless soft. Now whether or not adcomms agree, I guess that's all that matters. I'll get mine regardless, and you'll get yours regardless, if we perform well enough once we step inside the classroom. I don't think your LSAT's going to matter too much then.


I don't think work experience is, or should be, meaningless. But then, I also don't think "soft" factors are meaningless. "Soft" just means difficult to quantify. You can't assign a point value to holding down a significant job for 7+ years, and you certainly can't do it by "forgiving" lower performance on a standardized test. What you can do is glean some genuine insight into the person whose file you are reviewing and--perhaps--admit them over someone with slightly better numbers. I'm sure this happens. Just don't expect it to be systematic.

Your scores are your scores. Whatever you score, you score. Whatever your GPA is, it is what it is. 2.5, 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, whatever.

That being said, that's not all that you are, and the rest shouldn't be considered meaningless. Everything should be seen in the proper context. It's up to each school to decide the right combination of factors for them -- and it's up to us, as applicants, to (a) investigate a school's admission practices and estimate our chances accordingly; and (b) be the best advocates for ourselves that we can be.

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rayiner
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Re: Work Experience is proving to not matter this cycle.

Postby rayiner » Sun Feb 07, 2010 2:07 pm

FunkyJD wrote:
rayiner wrote:We're not talking judgement and decision making, we're talking about logical reasoning. Very few jobs require the sort of precise thinking that you need to pick apart a case or a hypo on a law school exam. I used to be a software engineer, and algorithm design requires a similar skill, but when I'm doing that I usually have the luxury of cogitating on it for the whole day over a few lattes.

Logical reasoning involves judgment, no?


You can say everything involves judgement --- it's a very hand-wavy argument.

Law school is all about precise logical reasoning. Professors don't care about the conclusions you reach, but rather about the quality of your analysis. The former involves the exercise of judgement, but the latter is a mostly mechanistic, mathematical process.

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autarkh
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Re: Work Experience is proving to not matter this cycle.

Postby autarkh » Sun Feb 07, 2010 2:10 pm

FunkyJD wrote:Your scores are your scores. Whatever you score, you score. Whatever your GPA is, it is what it is. 2.5, 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, whatever.

That being said, that's not all that you are, and the rest shouldn't be considered meaningless. Everything should be seen in the proper context. It's up to each school to decide the right combination of factors for them -- and it's up to us, as applicants, to (a) investigate a school's admission practices and estimate our chances accordingly; and (b) be the best advocates for ourselves that we can be.


I agree with this. Just that, as I said before, I don't think softs are meaningless. How much weight each school places on them varies, but unless you're way below their number targets, I'm sure the adcomm at least looks at them. I think the perception of meaninglessness comes from people believing that they are unique, when in reality, practically everyone who applies has something comparable, albeit different, in their history. For soft factors to matter, they actually have to differentiate you -- either positively or negatively -- and most people's don't.

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Re: Work Experience is proving to not matter this cycle.

Postby FunkyJD » Sun Feb 07, 2010 2:12 pm

rayiner wrote:
FunkyJD wrote:
rayiner wrote:We're not talking judgement and decision making, we're talking about logical reasoning. Very few jobs require the sort of precise thinking that you need to pick apart a case or a hypo on a law school exam. I used to be a software engineer, and algorithm design requires a similar skill, but when I'm doing that I usually have the luxury of cogitating on it for the whole day over a few lattes.

Logical reasoning involves judgment, no?


You can say everything involves judgement --- it's a very hand-wavy argument.

Law school is all about precise logical reasoning. Professors don't care about the conclusions you reach, but rather about the quality of your analysis. The former involves the exercise of judgement, but the latter is a mostly mechanistic, mathematical process.

May I suggest that law school, while undoubtedly challenging, is not to be confused with the Labors of Hercules. Those of us without Harvard LSAT's, while not as flashy, will be just fine.

narkizopoint
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Re: Work Experience is proving to not matter this cycle.

Postby narkizopoint » Sun Feb 07, 2010 2:15 pm

I think it may have helped in mine. My numbers aren't quite that great but I did get a couple of acceptances (My "reach" school I expected a reject even with the WE).

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Re: Work Experience is proving to not matter this cycle.

Postby Kobe_Teeth » Sun Feb 07, 2010 2:21 pm

Speaking as someone who is hoping that WE does help a bit, I see why it doesn't.

An adcomm can only use the materials in front him/her to judge my aptitude. A 3.5/165 should get accepted before me any day of the week. They have a history of working hard and all I have is WE that suggests that I might.

That might not be fair to you personally, but its the fairest way generally. That's life get over it.

If you really are going to be that good of a lawyer then work your ass off and kill everyone at your t2. That's what I plan to do.

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Re: Work Experience is proving to not matter this cycle.

Postby thisguy456 » Sun Feb 07, 2010 2:21 pm

FunkyJD wrote:
rayiner wrote:
FunkyJD wrote:
rayiner wrote:Um, Northwestern?

In general WE tends to count more for GPA forgiveness than LSAT forgiveness. Largely because WE and the former both measure work ethic, and the latter measures who well the person reasons under time pressure.

A much better measure of how someone reasons under pressure can be derived from judging that person's significant work experience, if it exists.


Not even a little bit. No jobs require the sort of reasoning you need on a law school exam. Math/computer science probably comes close, but that's much less time-pressured.


Yes ... as an employer, I'll tend to trust the judgment and decision-making skills of a wet-behind-the-ears 25-year-old with a 170 LSAT over a more-experienced candidate with five years of experience in the finance industry, or who has worked in the federal government, who pulls a 160.

Is this necessarily true?


I don't know why, unless you have TRULY interesting work experience. All a 7 year work experience tells me is that after college, the person decided that they had to earn money to live, so they got a job, and continued to have that job for 7 years. Millions of people do it, and millions of people are middle managers in all types of industries. I don't see how that would necessarily make one a better lawyer, or more qualified than someone out of school with a higher LSAT score. Again, unless it's a TRULY interesting work experience and that they can write effectively about it.

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Re: Work Experience is proving to not matter this cycle.

Postby Chromakey » Sun Feb 07, 2010 2:27 pm

I'd have to agree with some of the above comments, that WE does seem to count more towards GPA forgiveness than LSAT and I do believe the value of said experience might be greater for splitters. That being said, I think if you have particularly unique WE, it can play a significant role. I was surprised by how well my cycle went...especially when I saw others with better numbers (that weren't in the YP category) getting waitlisted. And many of the handwritten notes I received from admissions specifically referenced my WE.

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Re: Work Experience is proving to not matter this cycle.

Postby dutchstriker » Sun Feb 07, 2010 2:32 pm

Remember, every law school says the number one thing they care about is whether or not you can succeed in law school. GPA and LSAT are the best predictors they have for this.

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rayiner
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Re: Work Experience is proving to not matter this cycle.

Postby rayiner » Sun Feb 07, 2010 2:32 pm

FunkyJD wrote:May I suggest that law school, while undoubtedly challenging, is not to be confused with the Labors of Hercules. Those of us without Harvard LSAT's, while not as flashy, will be just fine.


Did I suggest anything of the sort? You claimed that substantive work experience could serve as a measure of logical reasoning skills, a claim which I contested. How do you, from that, get the claim that people without Harvard LSAT's won't do well in law school, aside from maybe using faulty logical reasoning...

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Re: Work Experience is proving to not matter this cycle.

Postby shanoodle » Sun Feb 07, 2010 2:33 pm

It's interesting that the focus is primarily on LSAT and GPA factors when schools are being conscious of rankings. I certainly understand the importance of these two factors and I believe they are great predictors of a person's potential for success in law school. A high LSAT score and/or GPA certainly take a great deal of time, effort and intelligence. I'm just curious about other factors that influence rankings. For example, the percentage of graduates who secure a job nine months after graduation? Or the salary ranges that graduates receive? Or the number of summer internships? Perhaps a person with several years of meaningful work experience will have a good chance of raising employment/salary stats for a school. Many people with a good amount of work experience will have connections with colleagues, former clients, etc. While a person may not have a rank-boosting LSAT score, perhaps he or she will help a school's rankings in a different way. In an economy where jobs are harder to come by, a candidate with an above average shot at landing a position may be an important consideration for admissions committees.

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Re: Work Experience is proving to not matter this cycle.

Postby FunkyJD » Sun Feb 07, 2010 2:34 pm

rayiner wrote:
FunkyJD wrote:May I suggest that law school, while undoubtedly challenging, is not to be confused with the Labors of Hercules. Those of us without Harvard LSAT's, while not as flashy, will be just fine.


Did I suggest anything of the sort? You claimed that substantive work experience could serve as a measure of logical reasoning skills, a claim which I contested. How do you, from that, get the claim that people without Harvard LSAT's won't do well in law school, aside from maybe using faulty logical reasoning...

Take a knee, killer. Play's over.

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chadwick218
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Re: Work Experience is proving to not matter this cycle.

Postby chadwick218 » Sun Feb 07, 2010 2:36 pm

I found that last cycle, WE really seemed to help at some schools and matter very little to other. In particular, I found that WE seemed to make the difference for me at NU, Penn, and Duke, while mattering very little at Michigan, UVA, and Cornell ... ultimately, I have nothing to substantiate this.

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dutchstriker
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Re: Work Experience is proving to not matter this cycle.

Postby dutchstriker » Sun Feb 07, 2010 2:42 pm

shanoodle wrote:It's interesting that the focus is primarily on LSAT and GPA factors when schools are being conscious of rankings. I certainly understand the importance of these two factors and I believe they are great predictors of a person's potential for success in law school. A high LSAT score and/or GPA certainly take a great deal of time, effort and intelligence. I'm just curious about other factors that influence rankings. For example, the percentage of graduates who secure a job nine months after graduation? Or the salary ranges that graduates receive? Or the number of summer internships? Perhaps a person with several years of meaningful work experience will have a good chance of raising employment/salary stats for a school. Many people with a good amount of work experience will have connections with colleagues, former clients, etc. While a person may not have a rank-boosting LSAT score, perhaps he or she will help a school's rankings in a different way. In an economy where jobs are harder to come by, a candidate with an above average shot at landing a position may be an important consideration for admissions committees.

I don't think Harvard, with its straight-from-undergrad students, is having any problems in any of those areas. There's no chance those things will make as much of a difference in the rankings, at least at the top schools where most report 98+% employment anyway.

DanInALionsDen
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Re: Work Experience is proving to not matter this cycle.

Postby DanInALionsDen » Sun Feb 07, 2010 2:44 pm

amputatedbrain wrote:I think it really depends on what kind of work experience it is. The LSAT is meant to predict how well you should do in the first year of law school. I imagine that work experience really counts when they feel it is indicative of how you might fare in a law school environment. I've really outperformed my LSAT score this cycle, and the only factor that can explain it is work experience (not a URM or anything like that). The problem is that what kind of work prepares you for law school is much more subjective than the single number that is your LSAT score, hence it makes things much more unpredictable. Of course, I don't really know, but I think this explanation is plausible.


As to the portion where you state that "the only factor that can explain it (your admittance into certain schools) is work experience: You outperformed your LSAT because you have a 4.0, not because of work experience... Your cycle has been pretty predictable from what I can see.

Unless your work experience involves the military or the peace corp. I doubt it will make a difference. The answer to the OPs question is, yes, a fresh out of undergrad kid with an LSAT a few points higher than you (a few points is a lot, btw), will definitely fair better in the admissions process if you two have comparable GPAs.

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Re: Work Experience is proving to not matter this cycle.

Postby vanwinkle » Sun Feb 07, 2010 2:45 pm

Kobe_Teeth wrote:You know, there's a difference between work experience not mattering and it not mattering for you, right?

Haha, QFT.

rayiner wrote:In general WE tends to count more for GPA forgiveness than LSAT forgiveness. Largely because WE and the former both measure work ethic, and the latter measures who well the person reasons under time pressure.

This. Several years of WE can compensate for a low GPA, but very little can compensate for a low LSAT, especially since you can have a second chance at the LSAT by retaking it. If you can't retake it and do better, that's a sign that you lack those reasoning-under-time-pressure skills.

Last cycle I got into a great school with a high LSAT and low GPA. I know it was because of my WE, but 1) my WE was 5+ years and 2) it was specifically work that demanded decision-making skills under extreme time pressure.

WE only strongly benefits high-LSAT splitters, and for good reason. The LSAT is still a good measure of the skills and abilities you need, and you can retake it to prove you have what it takes if you did poorly the first time.




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