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Manual of Frequently Asked Questions on the Award Competitions

Category of 'Distinguished Student'

Question: Who is the distinguished student eligible to participate in the award competitions?

Answer: All students can participate in the award competitions. Those students should belong to the 'Distinguished Student' Category, provided that they comply with the following conditions:

·   To be enrolled in a public or private school or in an elderly learning center under the Ministry of Education, in addition to the Institutes of Applied Technology in the UAE.

·   To have obtained at least 90% in the past three academic years.

·   To be an effective member within and outside the school community, with a leading figure, keen on developing his/her skills and knowledge, and with a propensity to participate in various competitions.

Question: In case a student failed in his/her academic performance in one year, but got through the 90% for the three years, can he/she participate?

Answer: No, he cannot, because a student must get at least 90% in each of the three years.

Question: What is the best supporting document to be submitted as evidence of academic performance?

Answer: The certificate issued at the end of the year, duly authenticated and stamped by the school. It is not preferable to enclose the file with a number of certificates given by the class teacher unless necessity demands.

Question: What are the stages through which a final decision or judgment go through?

·   Stage I: is the theoretical stage in which the nomination request, along with the accompanying

    documents judged and evaluated. It is a must at this stage that the candidate has got 80% of

    the specialized subject. Normally all those getting above 70% are accepted for interviews.

·   Stage II: is the stage of conducting interviews during which distinguished candidates are

    interviewed, and the information given in the application form checked, along with

    matching the candidate's personality with the information of the application form .

Question: Is computer literacy a talent?

Answer: Computer literacy is considered one of the skills and abilities that students acquire by practice and training.

Question: When is the Holy Quran memorization regarded as a talent?

Answer: Rapid memorization, great voice, recitation, and the ability to imitate outstanding clerics' voices are all considered talents.

Question: What is the difference between 'talent' and 'hobby' according to the award criteria?

Answer: A hobby is a favorable activity, exercised in leisure time. It does not necessarily involve excelling or mastering it despite its continuity. As for a talent, it is a group of great abilities and capabilities with outstanding performance that excels peers in one field or more of human activities appreciated by the community culture. On one hand, a talent could be artistic such as playing musical instruments, painting, chanting, design, rhetoric and art of delivery. On the other, it could be academic such as distinction in mathematics, sciences, Arabic with vivid tangible output. A talent includes but not confined to computer literacy, the Holy Quran memorization, reading, Karate, Kung fu. They can be part of skills and capabilities.

Question: What is the best document to be enclosed as evidence of talent and hobby?

Answer: That evidence is not confined to a certain document due to its possible variety. However, it is convenient to hint at the fact that enclosing pictures is a weak document; it gains no points when judged. Consider the following points for example:

·   A photograph showing a student playing a musical instrument is not accepted as evidence of

     talent; rather a student must enclose duly stamped documents, and talent registered forms

    along with results.

·   A photograph showing a student in a public swimming pool is not accepted as evidence of the

    talent of swimming; rather a student must enclose certificates of successfully completed

    competitions and a membership card.

·   A photograph showing a student reading books at home or in a public library is not accepted;

    rather he must enclose the library membership card, a letter proving how often a student

    frequently visits the school library, or a statement showing the useful books the student in

    question has borrowed and the book-purchase bill.


Question: What is the difference between the method of developing talent and its results (output)?


Answer: A method is represented by participation in courses or workshops and in other general practices while 'results' refer to the degree of getting through and achieving distinction, or chalking up victory via performing his talent before concerned bodies. For example, if a student has a talent for 'painting', then the method of developing it is to participate in a certain competition whereas the result is 'paintings, gallery, getting prizes, etc.


Question: Is it possible to add new categories on the application form when filling it in?

Answer: A student should suffice with the number of the categories of the application form. Certificates and other supporting evidence are to be enclosed in the file. A student may explain more in the criterion within the file of attachments on condition that the enclosed file does not turn into redundant verbosity or prolixity.


Question: How can a student validate and authenticate his skills if he/she has methods for developing his/her skills but he/she does not have official certificates from the granting bodies?


Answer:  It is very important to enclose authenticated evidence proving all talents and results. Authenticated evidence is a document issued by a state body and duly stamped. If this is not available, a student may enclose some of his/her representative models of his/her skill. Judgment committees will verify that during the interview.


Question: Do all participant students pass the interview?


Answer: Only those who get at least 80% pass.


Question: What is the importance of the interview?


Answer: In the interview, the judgment committees–first of all- verify the candidate's identity. Then they check some vague points on the candidate's file. In addition, the committees focus on closely following up the candidate's talent. The candidate's personality must be a mirror, exactly reflecting what appears on the candidate's file.


Question: What are the types of questions posed to candidates in the interview?


Answer: The foremost goal of the interview is to measure the candidate's personal competence that is immeasurable through the application form. This includes strong personality, charisma, self-confidence and his ability to lead a dialogue in addition to his communication skills. The committee members pose general questions to verify the information filled out on the enclosed file. All this takes place in a friendly cordial ambience amid full neutrality. A judgment committee member should keep in mind that the candidate is the award wealth regardless of the result. The interview may include questions related to the file of enclosed documents and attachments, what the student has offered of evidence of his/her talent and practice and other general questions. Through the application form, the candidate clarifies much about himself/herself, hobbies, talents, capabilities, the issues he/she adopts, the committees he/she  has joined, and his/her participation in activities and occasions. The file submitted should match with the candidate personality, and thus should be both harmonious. The candidate personality should vividly reflect the file reality, and should support it as opposed to contradicting with it. For instance, if a student mentioned in his/her file that he had joined many work teams, he/she would be asked about the best lessons he/she had got from his/her participation in those teams. So, the committee would like to verify the following points:


·   Verification of evidence mentioned in the application form.

·   The extent of the impact of the file contents on the candidate personality. For

    example, what does the candidate benefit from his/her  participation in activities, and

    what is the impact of his/her hobbies on his/her personality along with the lessons he/she  

    learnt from them?

Question: What is the ideal personality that the Committee prefers?

Answer: The interview sometimes changes the committee's viewpoint in favor of or against the candidate. Some candidates submit less documents that what they actually have of capabilities and skills. Sometimes documents do not adequately give the correct impression in favor of the candidate. In the interview the committee members sometimes discover some aspects not mentioned in the application form and vice versa. Here emerges the importance of the following points:

·   Spontaneity  in interview. The candidate should not pretend traits contradicting

    with his actual personality whether he/she  is serious or funny.

·   Honesty in replies and answers.

·   Make sure that the Committee will do the best for the candidate, so no need to be afraid or stressed.

·   Before the interview,  the candidate have to review all the information he/she included in the application form and should be aware of  what is enclosed in the attachments.

·   If a candidate does not understand a certain question posed to him/her, he/she may 

    politely and tactfully ask the committee to pose a different question to him/her.

Question: How long does the interview take?

Answer: The interview duration is the same for all candidates to ensure fairness. It ranges from 15 to 30 minutes.

Question: Do questions differ with different candidates?

Answer: The question of introducing oneself is unified for all. As for other questions, they differ depending on the enclosed documents, and the written criteria. For example, if a student has written that his/her  hobby is 'drawing', then he/she is going to be asked questions on drawing schools, renowned artists and drawing exhibitions. Such questions would help measure the candidate's cultural level, and the extent of his/her involvement in the field in question. However, others would not be asked the same questions at all.

Question: Does the committee ask the candidate to give a performance on his/her hobbies or skills?

Answer: Yes, occasionally when the enclosed documents are not adequate to clarify the skill mentioned.

Question: Does the candidate have to carry some tool of his/her hobbies when interviewed? Answer: No, the committee does not ask the candidate to carry any tool or documents, except in exceptional cases determined by the committee. It asks for them via direct contact with the candidate prior to the interview date.

Question: Does the committee usually bring in the candidate's file in the interview?

Answer: The committee writes down in the application form the grade given in each criterion, along with the question or remark that the committee would like to verify and check in the interview or the visit paid to the GCC countries. That is why the committee does not carry any documents.

Question: When is the candidate informed of his interview date?

Answer: The Award coordinator at the Educational Zone is in charge of informing the candidate of the interview date. The Award Management is keen on contacting the candidate immediately by texting him/her a message, informing him/her of the time and pace of the interview.

Question: Are the students of Institutes of Applied Technology allowed to join the Award competitions within the Distinguished Student Category?

Answer: Technological institutes are dealt with the same way as public and private schools in terms of categories. Each student, teacher, social worker has the right to participate in the Award. The institute itself can participate within the category of distinguished schools or management. The institute can also participate in the category of the best applied project and the best scientific innovation.

Category: Distinguished Teacher, Distinguished Psycho-Social Specialist, and Distinguished Supervisor.

Question:  Who is considered to be a Distinguished Teacher, Distinguished Psycho-Social Specialist, and Distinguished Supervisor who can participate in the award?

Answer: All Teachers, Psycho-Social Specialists, and Supervisors can participate in the award on the following conditions:

·   He/she should work for a private or public school or an elderly-learning center that belong to

    the Ministry of Education.

·   He/she must have got at least 90% in the annual report for the last two academic years.

·   He/she must be an active member within and outside the school community. He/she must have

    a leading personality, and be keen on developing his/her  skills, taking the initiative to participate in various competitions. He/she must be at work when applying for the award competitions.

Question: When are Teachers, Psycho-Social Specialists, and Supervisors nominated for the interview?

Answer: They are nominated for the interview and the field visit in case they get at least 75% of the allocated grade.

Question: Can a teacher, specialist or a supervisor nominate himself/herself  for Hamdan Bin Rashid Award?

Answer: Yes, any of them can nominate himself/herself provided that the immediate supervisor agrees to that, and signs all the enclosed documents. He/she should also write a recommendation letter on condition he/she meets the following requirements:

·   For a distinguished teacher and distinguished social specialist, a recommendation letter given by the supervisor and the school headmaster should be submitted. All documents should be signed by the school management.

·   For a distinguished supervisor, a recommendation letter given by the

    Educational Zone Director and the senior supervisor should be submitted. All enclosed documents should be signed by the senior supervisor or the Management of the

    Educational Zone.

Question: Who is meant by the nominee for the category of Highly-Distinguished Teacher?

Answer: This refers to the distinguished teacher who has previously won Hamdan Bin Rashed Al- Maktoum Award for Distinguished Academic Performance. He/she must be practicing his/her work in one of private or public schools in the UAE.

Question: Is an Highly-Distinguished Teacher allowed to participate in the award competitions annually?

Answer: He/she has the right to apply for the award until he gets it. Then he/she is not permitted to apply for it again.

Question: Is a diploma holder or a non BA holder accepted to participate in the highly-distinguished teacher category?

Answer: It is not conditioned for the candidate for the Highly-Distinguished Teacher category to have a BA, MA or PhD or its equivalent from a recognized university.

Question: If a teacher is nominated for the Highly-Distinguished Teacher category has not got an excellent degree, is he/she allowed to be nominated?

Answer: Getting an excellent degree is a sine qua non for being nominated for this particular category.

Question: How can a distinguished school psychologist determine the schools he/she is to supervise?

Answer: By work nature, the candidate for psychologist category represents the Educational Zone he/she works for as opposed to the schools he/she supervises, unlike the social worker who represents his/her school.

Question:  If the school for which the social worker participates in more than one stage, does he/she have to choose one stage only?

Answer:   Social worker represents only one school even if stages are many as opposed to the distinguished teacher who should choose one stage only.

Question: If a supervisor is delegated between two education districts, does he/she represent one or two Educational Zones?

Answer: A delegated supervisor represents only one Educational Zone. He/she has the right to choose what suits him/her in accordance with responsibilities.

Question: How does a candidate prove he/she has got an excellent degree?

Answer: The candidate should enclose the technical inspector's annual report for the last two years on condition that the evaluation by percentage ranges between 90 and 100% as opposed to a descriptive one (excellent, very good, etc.). In case this is not available, the Educational Zone should report that.

Question: If the distinguished teacher has got at least 90% in many years at his/her work, but he/she has not got an excellent degree in the last two years, does he/she have the right to participate?

Answer: Getting at least 90% in the annual evaluation for the past two years is a sine qua non to participate in the award regardless of the progress made in the previous years. 

Question: What are the tools that help the candidate analyze and understand some questions in the application form?

Answer: It is important to acquaint oneself with the category explanatory manual to understand the criteria. The candidate can attend the training workshops given by the Educational Zones and the Award Management. It is also important to seek experienced people's advice and those who have got the award.

Question: Some criteria cannot be answered descriptively, because they do not depend on the creativity level of performance. So how do judgment committees give their judgment on such criteria? 

Answer: A candidate may enclose a CD or a Flash Memory that shows some situations such as educational performance, variety of teaching methods, so that the criterion is properly evaluated theoretically. This is considered part of passing the judgment on the candidate. Then the committee visits and interviews the candidate where the judgment is completed. As mentioned earlier, the interview might occasionally change the committee members' viewpoint positively or negatively, depending on the enclosed file and its conformity to reality.

Question: Are the field visit and the interview considered to be the most important stage for passing the final judgment?

Answer: Yes, the interview is very important, and it determines if the candidate is going to complete the competition or is going to leave.

Question: If a teacher has more than one method to present one education situation, and thus cannot be both combined in one class, does he/she have the right to ask to be visited more than once?

Answer: The time allocated for the committee to attend is one hour. This allows the teacher to show all his/her capabilities and abilities along with his/her outstanding teaching methods.

Question: What are the procedures followed by the committee on the field visit?

Answer: Field visits are approved for the categories of distinguished supervisor and distinguished teacher whereas a social worker is interviewed in the committee's compound. On the field visit paid to the teacher, the candidate teacher, the school headmaster and the teacher colleague are interviewed. As for the visit paid to the supervisor, the Educational Zone Director or his/her Deputy and the immediate head of department are interviewed. Then the committee pays a visit to at least two schools of those he/she supervises in addition to interviewing the school headmaster and some teachers. As for teachers, the following will be noted:

-    Attending an integrated educational demonstration. This requires that the teacher's class is a model lesson, showing his/her distinction, and proving what has been mentioned on the enclosed file. The model lesson should demonstrate clear interest in learners' moral and physical environment. Additionally, the teacher should display the use of various educational methods, modern techniques, vivid learner's involvement, enhancement methods, evaluation innovated methods, etc. Some teachers list much evidence but the committee discovers that the demonstration lacks creativity, and does not reflect the contents of the file enclosed.

-    Interviewing the school headmaster. This interview is meant to verify the teacher's cooperation with the management, his/her contribution to the schools activities, his/her relationship with his/her colleagues at work, his/her cooperation with them on experience-swap programs and his/her colleague's enthusiasm in relation to his distinction. As for the supervisor, it is important to note the following:

-    Interviewing the Educational Zone Director: This is meant to verify the supervisor's     cooperation and his active role.

-    Interviewing the school headmaster he/she supervises: This is meant to verify the supervisor's

    cooperation with the management, his/her role in experience-swap programs, his/her

    contribution to school development, and the headmaster's enthusiasm about the supervisor's


-    Interviewing the colleague's supervisor: This is meant to verify his relationship with his/her

    colleagues at work, the extent of his/her cooperation with them on experience-swap programs,

    and the colleague's enthusiasm about the colleague’s candidacy.

Question: What is the best method to submit the file: paper or electronic?

Answer: The Award prefers the electronic documentation of enclosed documents. If this is too hard, a paper file can be prepared on condition that the number of pages of all submitted document shall not exceed the limit specified for each category which is mentioned in the conditions and instructions in the application form.

Question: What happens if the committee could not open the electronic file? Will the file be discarded, and those excluded? 

Answer: The file should be designed on common computer programs that are easy to use, observing the file size electronically for ease in browsing. The candidate has to make sure that the file opens many times prior to submission. As for the committee, it does not discard any file for any reason; rather it goes back to the candidate to solve the file problem.

Question: When does the committee determine the candidate's visit?

Answer: The committee determines the date of visiting the candidate if the candidate's file has got at least 75%.

Question: When is the candidate informed of the visit date?

Answer: The award coordinator at the Educational Zone informs the candidate of the interview date one or two days only prior to it. The award management is keen on contacting the candidate directly through sending him a text message.

Question:  How long does a field visit take?

Answer: A visit paid to a teacher or supervisor takes at least 2 hours whereas the committee conducts at least a 20-minute interview with a school psychologist or social worker specialist. As for the candidates for 'Distinguished Teacher category' in the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries, the committees are often available at the outset of the academic day. The teacher devotes himself/herself for only the visit and meeting the committee.

Question: Is it important to number the file pages?

Answer: It is extremely important to duly number the pages of the file contents. Organization and coordination are two important factors that contribute to understanding the candidate, and following up his/her train of thoughts. Numbering the contents plays an important role in flicking through the file. It is important to observe the following:

·   Organizing the application form in terms of compliance with classifying and codifying the

    enclosed documents.

·   Not enclosing redundant details. It is sufficient to enclose only evidence. Further details

    are left for the field visit if the visit is confirmed.

·   Not enclosing any document that lacks a stamp, signature and date.

·   Not enclosing any document that was issued more than 3 years ago  because this would

    hinder the committee work, and does not give any advantage  or points to the


·   Electronic documents should support the paper documents submitted, not duplicates of


·   The candidate should abide by the size of the enclosed file.

·   The candidate should fill in his full information on the envelope and on all enclosed files

    and CD's.

·   The candidate should state the name of the program for opening the electronic files.

Category of the Distinguished School Management, the Best Project and the Best Scientific Innovation

Question: If the school management has prepared for the award competition for the Distinguished School Management or the Best Project category, and there happens that the headmaster has resigned or moved to another school, can the new headmaster continue to prepare for the award competitions?

Answer: The participation in the Distinguished School Management competitions or the Best Applied Project depends on collective work at school, thus the absence of one member of the work team does not prevent the participation.

Question: In case the new headmaster has failed in properly showing all the distinction aspects of the school during the visit to the school, who can play the role of showing the distinction aspects?

Answer: The former school headmaster may join the work team when the committee visits his/her former school. In addition, some other members can clarify the distinction aspects such as assistant headmaster, social worker and teachers.

Question: Can a school participate in the award competition if the school architectural design is traditional?

Answer: Yes, because the school building is measured by the school management ability to invest in the facilities to prepare learning methods, and to find an educational environment attracting both teachers and learners. This cannot be measured by the years of the school. Sometimes the ability to invest in the old building in favor of the educational process is considered a value to be added to the school management efforts.

Question: Some enclosed documents cannot be carried to be shown to the committee such as research, studies, students' output, minutes of meetings, training programs, summer visits, etc. How can this be sent to the award competition?

Answer: The school management may gather the many enclosed documents related to each criterion in an explanatory table. A sample or two can be enclosed. The school management may also refer to the remaining works when the committee visits the school.

Question: What is meant by 'a project'?

Answer: It is a social, educational or scientific achievement that meets a community or educational need. It also solves a certain problem, and is led by an integrated work team made up of administrators, teachers, students or supervisors.

Question: Is it necessary for the project to be adopted by a central or school management or Educational Zone?

Answer: yes, because the project is a collective work, and it has to be adopted by a central or school management or Educational Zone.

Question: Can individuals apply to offer a project individually, or can the project be an individual work?

Answer: No, it has to be worked on by a team as opposed to one singular individual.

Question: Who is concerned with the committee's visit?

Answer: Individuals differ according to category.

·   School Management: The committee interviews the school management and the work

    team regarding the award criteria. The committee may interview any individual during

    the visit (i.e. as the school management supervisor, senior inspector and any teacher

    at the school).

·   The Best Project: The committee interviews the school management, the project team

    and a sample of those targeted to figure out the project impact.

·   The Best Scientific Innovation: The committee interviews the school management

    and the subject supervisor along with the student innovator.


Higher Education Competitions:

Question: What is meant by Higher Education Competitions?

Answer: At the end of the 11th cycle, His Highness, the Award sponsor has announced the introduction of a new category into the award competitions, i.e. the Higher Education Category which includes 3 sub-competitions:

Distinguished Academic Student Category:  This category refers to each student enrolled in a public or private university or college recognized by the Ministry of Higher Education. He must be a student officially registered at the higher education institution when applying for the award, and must have completed at least 60 credit hours or two academic years. Evaluation is conducted according to special criteria. Having met the requirements listed in the application form, the student applies for the award directly. The student winning the award will be given the amount of AED -25,000 award, in addition to a certificate and the distinction trophy.

The Best Applied Project Category:

It is an educational or scientific collective achievement, achieved by a work team of teachers or students at a public or private university or college recognized by the Ministry of Higher Education. The project should be genuine and pioneering. It has to be applied for at least two years, and has to have gone through the 4 scientific stages for project preparation, starting with the concept and its development, and ending with review and evaluation going through planning and application. The project is evaluated according to special criteria. Having met the requirements listed in the application form, the student applies for the award directly. The project winning the award will be given the amount of AED -35,000 award, in addition to a certificate and the distinction trophy.

The Best Scientific Innovation:

It is the students' output in a public or private university or college recognized by the Ministry of Higher Education. It should embody the scientific thoughts or concepts in the shape of a device or model for potential solutions for a scientific problem. Evaluation is conducted according to special criteria. Having met the requirements listed in the application form, the student applies for the award directly. The scientific innovation winning the award will be given a AED -25,000 award in addition to a certificate and the distinction trophy.

Question: What are the procedures for participating in or applying for the award?

Answer: Applying for the award will be directly to the Award Management having met the requirements listed in the application form in each category of the Higher Education categories.

Question: How can a student get the application forms?

Answer: All application forms are available on the award website.

Question: Is it a condition for the candidate to have a GPA of 3.6?

Answer: This is a condition or a student should have got an equivalent provided that it is an excellent grade.

Question: Are higher education competitions confined to postgraduate students?

Answer: No, higher education competitions address only undergraduate students.

Question: Is the project applied for individually in the name of the student or the teacher?

Answer: No, the project is applied for in the name of the university work team or certain department or colleges among which the student is one member of it.

Question: Is the project or innovation which has previously won previous awards allowed to participate in this award?

Answer: No, it is conditioned that the project has not won previous awards, neither should it be a graduation requirement.

Question: Are students’ community contributions and participations confined only to his college or university?

Answer: No, the student's community contributions are not conditioned to be confined to his/her college or university only. He/she may expand his/her participations.

Question: What are the stages of the higher education competition judgment?

Answer:  The judgment process goes through two stages. The first stage involves screening out the application forms where a candidate, project or innovation is conditioned to get at least 80% before moving to the second stage. The second stage involves conducting interviews with students and innovators at the time and place specified by the award management. As for the project category, the project is visited to know it better and the project work team is interviewed.

Question: Is it allowed to fill in the application form in English?

Answer: Yes, that is possible.

Education-Supporting Organizations 

Question: Is it conditioned that the organization should have an educational activity?

Answer: No, the important thing is that the organization takes initiatives to support education in the UAE regardless of the activity itself.

Question: What are the organizations that have the right to participate in the award?

Answer: This applies to any public, private or local organization or commission within the country or abroad.

Question: How can an organization apply for the award?

Answer: There are two ways: self-nomination by the organization that has taken the initiative or by recommendation by other body.

Question: What is the language used for application?

Answer: Arabic

Question: Is electronic documentation used for all categories?

Answer:  Electronic documentation is important and thus required for all categories, but in varying degrees this time until passing judgment electronically is adopted. Electronic documentation is possible for student and project categories whereas the rest of categories could be partially electronically documented, and the other part should be in the form of paper documentation on condition that the same enclosed documents are not repeated, complying with the size specified on the guidelines page.

Question: Does the award prefer certain programs for electronic documentation?

Answer: The most common computer programs are preferred.

Question: What are the storage devices preferred by the award for electronic documentation?

Answer: It is possible to use any of the following: Hard Disk- Flash Memory (USB) CDs 

Question: How can I contact the Award if I have other questions?

Answer: There are many effective contact channels with the Award Management such as:

·   Award telephone: 042651888

·   Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

·   Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/HamdanBinRashidAward

·   Website: www.ha.ae

·   Calling the Award Coordinator in your Zone. You can get their numbers from the page '

    Award Coordinators'.


Question: Can submitted files be retrieved?


Answer: No, all documents submitted become the Award possession. Thus a candidate should keep the original copies, and only submit copies of documents as mentioned in the guidelines.


Question: I have downloaded and filled in the application form, but the allocated blanks are not sufficient to write more details. What can I do?


Answer: All blanks provided have been carefully listed so that they are sufficient. There is no need to mention details because the enclosed documents include all required details. So please abide by the provided blanks.


Question: What is the explanatory guide?


Answer: It is especially designed for each category to be read and followed. It includes a detailed explanation of each criterion as well as useful examples that would help the candidate understand what is exactly required in the questions listed.


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