The Texas Real Estate Test

After many months of preparation, weeks of arranging paperwork and waiting for the day to arrive, it finally did.  I sat for the Texas Real Estate exam.  I won’t lie, I was a bit nervous.  I’ve put a lot of time and preparation into this, and it’s all come down to 2 1/2 hours on a monday morning.  Spoiler alert – I passed.  It’s hard to think that all the work I’ve been doing for the last 6 months has led up to this moment.  But it has, and it’s all been worthwhile.

If you found this post you were probably searching the web for info about the Texas Real Estate Exam.  I’m going to describe my experience, as best I can, so you can be as prepared as possible.  If you find this page helpful, please like my Facebook Real Estate page as a thank you.  Karma baby!

There aren’t a whole lot of photos in this post, mostly because I couldn’t take any pics at the testing center.  But there are a lot of words, so grab a coffee, and sit down for a long read.

Registering to take the test was a little tricky, because the instructions from TREC aren’t super clear, and are sort of hard to find on the web.  Here’s how it worked for me.

As soon as I finished my final class at the Champion School of Real Estate, I jumped on the TREC website, and filled out the Texas Real Estate salesperson paperwork, digitally.  I’ve heard from a couple of people around town that doing it digitally was faster than printing out the forms and sending them in.  Since I wanted my license as fast as possible, this was my obvious route.

But, I did have one small problem when I submitted my supporting school documents (transcripts).  TREC requires not ust the basic Real Estate classes, but also that you have some other college coursework.  Naturally I keep copies of my college transcripts around (both official ones that are unopened, as well as an open copy for my use).  So  I scanned them in as PDFs and emailed them in as the instructions said to do.  But the file was too large for their system to handle, and it bounced back to me.  Of course it took a week for me to find this out, delaying my application in the process.  GRRRR!  Note to TREC – if you are going to accept PDFs why not use an email system that can handle large attachments.  It’s not like Real Estate contracts aren’t 20 pages, they are sometimes.

To solve the problem I could have created a bunch of PDFs that were smaller in size, but I didn’t want to risk this also not working, so I jumped in the car, headed to downtown Austin, and submitted my transcripts in person at the TREC office.  Low tech solution to the problem.  When I was there I asked a couple of questions, and found out that the next step was for someone in the office to review my paperwork, and if everything was OK, I’d get an email with more instructions.

As they said, after a few days, I got an email from TREC stating that all my documents were in order and that I was approved to take the Texas real estate exam.   The email also instructed me to visit the PSI website and download the candidate information brochure (C.I.B.).  Alternatively I could call a number or visit the TREC website for more info.

But when I visited the PSI website, there was no C.I.B. to be found.

As a side note, one thing I’ve found with technology is making things super easy for everyone to use.  When sending out an email, even though you have spent hours crafting the perfect words, to express exactly what needs to be said, make sure that what you are saying actually gets some kind of action.  Sure, as the writer of a note, you may be super familiar with what needs to be done, but the reader might not be.  Make it easy for them using photos, hyperlinks, or bulleted instructions.  That’s the beauty of the web – you can easily format things to make what you need to get done, DONE!

After poking around the PSI website for a while, It turns out, I needed to create an account, wait for it to be approved, and then log in before I could get the  C.I.B with the much needed instructions.  I needed my TREC number (the one that starts with 9999), and once I discovered that, everything worked well.  Of course I didn’t figure that out on my own, I had to call PSI and talk with someone who carefully explained it to me.  It would have been much easier if the original email from TREC just said “Crate an account on the PSI website using this link, to be able to register for the test”.  Instead, I had to spend over an hour trying to figure it out on my own.

The Candidate Information brochure has a TON of information in it:  Sample test questions, what kind of things you can bring in to the test center (pretty much nothing), what kinds of ID are accepted, how to use the computer at the testing center, and more.  But what it doesn’t have is how to register for the test.  That’s done on the PSI website.  It would be helpful to add a paragraph there, too, just in case someone was looking (like me).

Real Estate Exam Prep Book
Click the book to see it on

So I went through the different menus and signed up for the Salesperson exam at one of the two Austin PSI testing centers.   I had to wait 2 weeks for the next available appointment.  There was nothing I could do about that,  So I waited and waited (and spent some time studying from this book), and finally the day arrived.

One thing the C.I.B. says to do is arrive 30 minutes early to the test.  Even with Austin traffic, I was able to manage to arrive early.  I wasn’t the first one there, as a bunch of others were waiting outside the door of PSI, which was of course locked.  It’s no fun to wait outside in Texas during the summer, so I found a nearby tree, and hung out for 10 minutes playing on my iPhone, until the door was unlocked.  After a short while, the door opened, and I stashed my phone in the car and headed inside.

Once inside the PSI testing center, it wasn’t very exciting.  There was a table a bunch of chairs lined up against the wall, a door to a bathroom, and not much else.  One by one, the proctor called us up to the front desk where we handed over our ID, had our photo taken, and then were asked what test we were taking.  Very official.  After the short check in, I was told to go through the door, and enter the testing area  a room with a bunch of old cubicles against the wall.  Each one with a computer.

How hard is the texas real estate exam?

There isn’t much you need to take the test.  Just yourself and 2 forms of identification.  I used my Driver’s license, and my passport.  They supply scratch paper, pencils and even a simple calculator (anything more is forbidden).  Obviously no phones are allowed, nor notes, or anything else that could be used for cheating.  Ladies are asked to leave their purses in the car.  You can’t even bring in a Starbucks, so if you can’t go for more than 90 minutes without a latte, start preparing now.

I was instructed to sit at station #5, where there was an older PC, a keyboard with some funny keys on it, and a mouse.  There was also a set of disposable earplugs if I wanted to use them.  There are lots of cameras inside the testing room, watching for funnybusiness, too.  So don’t try anything ’cause you will get caught.

The test taking experience wasn’t anything spectacular.  First there is a little tutorial on how to take the test using the keyboard or mouse.  You can mark questions for review, go back and forward through the questions, and even change your answers.  Then there are 10 or so “practice questions” based on common US trivia (what do the stars on the flag represent).  Then the test starts.  It’s super quiet in there.  But every now and then I heard a cricket chirping.

Is the Texas Real Estate License Exam difficult?

The test itself is broken into two parts – The National Section, and the Texas specific section.  Really,  you have two separate tests at one time.  This wasn’t really explained during any of my prep classes or even in the C.I.B.  You have to take one immediately after the other, and once you finish the first, there is no going back to change or correct any answers.  For me, I was given the Texas portion first.

In the Texas specific section of the real estate exam, I didn’t have any math questions.  I did have a lot of ethics questions, and a ton of contracts questions, especially questions about amendments to the standard TREC forms.  Lots of questions about short sales, and foreclosure stuff, and even some stuff on water and sewer lines on unimproved property.

There were also a lot of questions about Agency.  Specifically are the differences in powers between an agent and a broker, and what happens during some dual agency type agreements.  There was also a few questions about real estate assistants, and what they can and can’t legally do.

The national part was much longer.  This section had a lot of questions that I expected, but it was still pretty hard.  I had spent a lot of time taking sample questions I found online, as well as going back and reviewing all the real estate questions at the end of the chapters of all my textbooks.  I think that really helped.

On the national exam, there are a lot more questions about the agency relationship between salespeople and clients, Principals, fiduciary agreements, and stuff.  Plus there are some questions about national regulations like 1978 lead based paint (say it out loud, it sort of rhymes).  Also in this test, there were some math questions   a few about calculating finances stuff, and a few regarding land area (so be sure to know those calculations).  I’m really good at math, so I know I got those answers right.

I didn’t need all the time required to finish both parts.  So I went back, carefully checked each answer, and clicked the finish button.  Actually I had to confirm 3 times that I wanted to end the test, just in case I did it accidentally, I guess.

Before I got my instant results, there was a short, mandatory survey about my experience.  They asked a bunch of questions about how easy it was to take the test, how nice the testing center was, and how helpful the staff is.  I answered them honestly, and hope someone from PSI finds this post for more details.

Finally, after completing the post test survey, I got my results.

I passed!

I was super excited!  And couldn’t rush out of there fast enough.  I collected my ID, and a couple of printouts confirming my success!  Then I got back to my car and grabbed my phone so I could call my wife.

As for the next steps, the page I got from the PSI testing center in Austin says that TREC will notify me within 10 days, and since I’ve had my fingerprints done, passed all my classes and had them approved, paid my fees, and completed all my paperwork, I don’t expect there to be anything else preventing me from beginning to buy and sell houses in Austin.

If you are about to take the test, or already did, I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below.

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51 Replies to “The Texas Real Estate Test”

  1. I have never given any real estate exams. i scared to get failed. 🙁

    1. You can do it! Lots of people do, and you can be one of them!

  2. Just wondering did the book that you posted in our article help any. I plan I taking the test next month and have been studying like a mad man.

    1. The book DID help! Good luck on your test, and let me know how it goes.

  3. Did you take a Prep-Class in Champions School of Real Estate ? or just the required courses? if you did was it helpful when taking the exam?? Im about to sign up for the prep class then sign up for the test, I’m Super nervous.

    1. I didn’t take the prep class. Just the required ones, and then the test. But I didn’t wait very long between my classes and the test, so the information would be fresh in my mind.

  4. Hi, Eric!
    I recently completed my education requirements and have been approved to schedule the licensing exam. (I ran into many of the same obstacles as you; I wish I had found your page sooner!)
    I chose not to purchase a prep course, but now I feel as if I am retaking each class while trying to prepare for the exam. I have been told that the exam only covers a small portion of the information covered in the required courses. I want to be prepared, but I don’t want to waste valuable time going back over every detail, unless it is actually necessary. I’m finding it very difficult, (if not impossible) to find accurate information; seems everyone and their brother just wants me to buy their prep course! 🙂
    I really appreciate that you took the time to share your experience. This is great information!!

  5. I just wanted to say thank you for the information. I received my email from TREC to schedule my exam. I have to admit that I’m very nervous. After reading your post it does ease my mind a bit. I have scheduled the exam yet, mainly because I’m afraid. I will probably wait another week before I schedule the exam. I will also purchase the book that you suggested. Thanks again and I will definitely like your face book page.

    1. Hi Beverly,

      Congratulations that you have completed all the requirements and can now take the exam. You can do it! Just schedule it, and be done with it. It really isn’t that hard. I suggest you take it sooner, so the information is still fresh in your mind. The longer you wait, the more you are going to forget. Keep me posted!

  6. Akil Williams says: Reply

    I took the six required courses plus an extra preparatory course at SABOR and I passed the national part of the TREC exam without a problem. However, the state of Texas portion of the test was indeed difficult.

    The way questions are worded requires a lot of concentration. I failed the state exam part by one point but passed it the second time.

    Now I’m a happy real estate sales agent with a national chain.

    1. Congratulations! Different people have told me that the Texas part is a wee bit harder, but if you persist, you can get through it, and get your license!

    2. Sanjay Koshti says: Reply

      This is exactly what happened with me. Is there a special material I could go through before I reappear for Texas portion of the exam?

  7. Hi Eric,

    I studied like crazy, took the prep class and was doing the online test for the prep. There are two for each. I was making 100s on the state every time and was98/99s on the national bc there are a few math questions I have trouble with. So, I was sure I would pass with flying colors. Went in and failed both! So discouraged and disappointed bc of how hard I have been working for this. I feel like such a failure. They told me there are many different versions of the test and to be honest, they were probably 10 questions on each ones that were from the test I had been taking. The rest, I had never seen before. Rescheduled for the2 weeks from now, but am super worried I will fail again.

    Jenn 🙁

    1. Hi – I’m so sorry that you had to reschedule and retake the test – but now you know and you can do it! Hang in there, and just think about all the other realtors that have taken it and passed. You are next! Let us know how you do 🙂

      1. Thanks for the encouragement! Your article was very resourceful and very well put together. Hopefullyyour experience as a reactor has been a huge success. Hopefully soon, mine will be too. Thanks for getting back to me and I will post after my test.


    2. Same position for me but I barely passed with a 84 on the national and 76 on the state portion. My practice GMAT score was a 720 first time, so the more challenging my exams are the better I do.
      The questions are over simplified and cater to half wits it seems. I always naturally study in depth and approach all areas from different angles and viewpoints. It was very disappointing to take an exam in the same room(Probably a Class b or c somewhat professional building) with others who aren’t even aware that I am taking a Real Estate exam which obviously requires more focus and accute attention than whatever lower socio economic related exam they are taking. Just not too sure how professional houston can be at times…Seems as if the entire city has a long, long way to go as opposed to where we bought in the woodlands…Nice little country club….Anyways…..

      I have memorized over 1000 flash cards( key term/definitions, practice exam quesitons from Real Estate, Econcomics of Real Estate, 100 math/finance questions down pat, Different mortgages and which one each borrower should obtain(Residential, Commercial; Office, retail), what exactly an escrow account represents and how lenders benefit, took the online PSI 80 question exam, plus the 25 question online exam for Texas….

      Again, luckily I passed, and I guess I can view this as knowing much, much, much more in the long run than what this dim witted basic real estate exam consists of…My appraisal certification, and law certification should be nice compliments before graduate school for my master’s in Real Estate Development. That won’t be in Texas, but rather the North East Coast.

      Thank God I am not planning on selling…Unless I happen to stumble upon a decent amount of buyers who know what they are doing and do not require an FHA. Which obviously would be a house above 500k…… Once again, the exam is very, very simplified…..Thank you, have a good day.

  8. patrick hiatt says: Reply

    I finished my courses about two months ago having had done half of the required courses two years ago and then finishing the rest this past year when I decided to pursue it further…well…I went in to take my exam very unprepared and thought that my general knowledge of what I studied would have been enough to pass…far from the truth..I failed both parts and then purchased the psi study exam and just took both parts again today and passed the national part with flying colors but have to say that the Texas portion is quite more difficult considering there isn’t an exact reference from the study book to the exam…the national part on the study exam clearly states the number of questions that will presumably derive from a section…so anyone taking the test I advise “for the national part” this book definitely helps extremely. For the Texas part I can only say that ill keep you posted if I find anything that really helps on that part….round 3 here I come..I have to say its cost me over $180 dollars now to take this test for the third time but if you walk in there with the thought that failure doesn’t mean impossibility to success than it sure does alleviate the stress and unneeded pressure when taking the test..just think that the best qualities that the most successful realtors may have are based on there character and skill and that even they may have failed this ten times only to prove that success is not based only based on knowledge..I could possibly say today im disappointed that I failed half the exam but instead im celebrating to have completed half of this exam and only leaves me that much closer to success…..thanks again for recommending the study exam it really did help a lot…

    1. You are half way there! you can do it!

  9. Thanks so much for sharing! Your article is so inspiring!!!! I completed my courses at Champions School of RE in May and I am just now registering to take my exam. I’m scheduled for next Friday and I’m nervous as all outdoors! I’ve started reviewing my notes and textbooks but still feel like it’s so much information to digest. However, after reading your article I feel a little bit more at ease. I’m going to study all I can over the next few days and put my best foot forward on Friday. Thanks again for sharing your story!!!!

  10. patrick hiatt says: Reply

    well I passed my exam! amazingly as long as you have the right study guide passing it isn’t hard at all…I wanted to post up a link which is a quick study guide to the Texas state portion of the test…helped a lot and I randomly found it.. (‎ )…hope it comes to help for anyone studying for the of luck

    1. Congratulations! Now comes the fun part!

    2. hey patrick! First, congrats. Next, that link isn’t working. any chance you can post the pdf? Thanks!

  11. Hi Eric!

    Thanks for your info! Really good stuff and well worth the ‘long read’! I have just finished my online courses thru real estate express – just didn’t have time to do a classroom due to my current job. Took 3 months to complete all 180 hours or the core courses. Passed every unit exam first time out, and passed the finals after each course first time also. They offer 17 different practice tests from 50 to 150 questions – took all of those and passed each one on the first try also. I have also taken another dozen or so tests that I have found on the internet just trying to be as prepared as possible. I still feel a little unprepared!
    My test is scheduled for next Friday and I’m super excited to get there and see what happens! One thing I’ve noticed on the practice questions…you have to read the WHOLE question! I missed a few things by getting in a hurry and not finishing an equation or simply not seeing a word that changed the whole answer! Very frustrating!
    So…the big question to you is…do you think I have studied enough? We’re gonna find out soon enough! Thanks for your blog…I’ll let you know what happens!

    1. Keep us posted! Good luck!

  12. Good Morning Eric!

    Just wanted to let you know I took my exam Friday afternoon…..and PASSED! Both sections! Whew! What a relief! Got an 83 on Texas portion and an 89 on National…pretty pleased with the end result! All those practice tests – more than 50 if I remember! – really paid off! I felt bad for some of the people in the test center – one lady was on her 5th time to retake one of the tests! I can’t imagine!! Texas was more difficult than the National – lots of questions worded in such a way that I really had to stop and think! But, the answer is already there – just have to figure out which one it is!

    So now it’s on the good stuff! Ready to hit the ground running, get listings, find buyers and sell some property!!

    Thanks again for your site! And continued success in the Austin area!

  13. I am scheduled to take my tests after attending classes at Champions in Austin. Did you find their Prep book to include most of what you needed to know? I see you bought the PSI one so I wasn’t sure. Someone had recommended CompuCram to me so, I have been going through those exams and there are sooo many subjects we never touched on in our Prep Class. I don’t want to focus on things I don’t need. I’m so ready for this to be over! 🙂 Thanks for your post Eric!

  14. Hello Eric, thanks for thing I am not sure if you mentioned it or not.. Is the exam multiple choice answer method? .. also like how many math questions you think they ask in total?


    1. Yes, the test is multiple choice. I didn’t count the number of math questions they had on the exam. It wasn’t a lot, and I think the actual number varies from test to test. Good luck, and let us know how it went!

  15. Michelle Fodell Speetzen says: Reply

    Hi there ! Im so glad I found your Blog.,, I am currently taking my 3rd class (Agency) and then I will take Promulgated Forms, and Laws of Contracts, and Finally Finance. I have been in the RE industry for over 30 years, and most of it is pretty easy for me., but the math. The Land area Ive got down pat but the other math is a little shaky. My question to you is that I am unable to get in the Laws of Contracts because of a vacation that was already planned and the next class on that is the end of January. If I have had Prin 1 and 2, Agency and Promulgated Forms will I be able to do good on taking Laws of Contracts online? Ive done all my classes in class, so I dont know anything about the online classes. You mentioned that there is a mock test online?? I think I read that, if so, where is it? Thanks for any tips you can give me !!! : )

  16. Hi,
    It seems like you have a good handle on the classes, so I think you will probably be OK taking the Contracts on-line. At first it takes some getting used to , but after a little bit, you will catch on, and I'm sure you will be OK. As for an on-line version of the test, I don't know of one.

  17. Jane Strother George says: Reply

    Hi Eric! I just "liked" your page, btw. I am currently studying for my RE license. I noticed in your blog post that the TREC requires some college course work. I am sorry to say I have not had any college education. I went to work full-time right after high school. Is this going to be a problem for me? Please tell me it won't be. I have over 30 years of work experience, most of it in a managerial role.

    1. I start my first class tomorrow at Champions in Plano. When I enrolled the administrator did not tell me college hours were needed. This is news to me! Yikes! I don’t have any college under my belt either.

  18. Taking my test tomorrow, any advice?

  19. I passed my test the first time i took it, which was on 4/26/14. Now I am playing the waiting game on my back ground. I submitted my finger prints on 4/13/14, figuring that I would get those done before taking my test, that way I didn’t have anything else left to do once I passed my test. I have contacted TREC twice a week since passing my test to get an update on my back ground, but all they can tell me is to be patient because back ground checks can take up to four weeks. I know I don’t have anything on my back ground, but it is very frustrating to sit here an play the waiting game. I guess my plan to get my fingerprints done first and get a jump start on my back ground didn’t work out.

  20. Eric, YOU ROCK for posting this! Great information I haven’t found anywhere. I was wondering if the test questions were more fact based or case study based. I am going to take my classes at Champion but I am reading and taking notes on all of the books first. (well, I just did Prin 1&2, so we will see how long this enthusiasm lasts.) 🙂 If anyone has recently taken the exam (It is now April 16, 2014) please post all you know. I have heard that the exam has recently changed quite a bit and don’t trust that my champion profs will have recently taken the exam. So other than basics, how will they know how to guide me?

    You mentioned the contracts type questions (amended trec forms). Do they actually show you the contract and you have to determine what was amended? Also, since I have thus far only read Princ 1&2, would the trec form type questions been from Law of Contracts or Promulgated Forms? Haven’t even looked at those books yet. OH, also, do you have to know all the ways (a-z, aa) that you can violate TRELA?)
    Thanks again, I will go like your fb page! You are awesome for posting this!

  21. Eric, I got licensed in 1991 right when the market was about to take a serious dive. Worked it for a little over a year before I went back to working my old job again. Real Estate left a bad taste in my mouth and like a fool, I let my license expire without keeping up with the required renewal courses. Passed the exam back then the first time, but they did not tell you if you passed when you were finished. TREC sent you a yea or nay letter only, no score, weeks later. TREC required a lot less hours then, I believe it was three 30 hour courses for a total of 90 hours. So now I am going to give it another shot. Just finished my course and sending in my app. today. Will do as much exam prep as I can until I get the go ahead to take the test. Older and not as quick a study as I was back in 1991, so we will see what happens. At least I will know right away. Now they only require you to take what you failed over, back then it was the whole thing all over again. Sooner or later, I will pass and be licensed again!

  22. Thanks for the article, great info! I have a question. In the post you wrote:

    “TREC requires not ust the basic Real Estate classes, but also that you have some other college coursework.”

    The courses I am taking include Principles of Real Estate 1 & 2, Law of Agency, Law of Contracts, Real Estate Finance and Promulgated Contract Forms. Totaling 180 hours.

    Are you saying that more courses than this are required? If so, can you provide a link showing what other courses are required? I can’t find anything on the web about it.

  23. Are you saying that there are college courses besides the 180 hours.

  24. Has anyone discovered the answer to the “other college coursework” required aside from the 180 hours at RE school?

    1. At the time Eric wrote the article, it is believe additional college coursework was required. It may no longer be required. It may be best to contact TREC directly to confirm.

  25. I passed the natl part, but cannot pass the texas part, I’m so frustrated, is there any website online that may help specifically with the Texas part??? help..such strange questions.
    for example where does an escrow banker deposit the escrow? I’m thinking with a broker in a trust account…no! answers were..buyer, seller, title company, or with the lender???
    confused, I put title company???

    1. Crazy!! Did you ever find out the answer?? Now I am curious!!!

    2. Isn’t the answer with the Lender?

  26. Thanks for all the info. I am getting ready to start classe online. I haven’t been in school for over 30 years so I’m pretty nervous. I’m curious, you said you had to have other college Coarses too? Not just the real estate courses?

    1. Britney Campbell says: Reply

      No, you don’t. RE courses count:) I didn’t have any college hours going in!

  27. How many questions are on the actual test for Texas Real Estate License?

    1. Britney Campbell says: Reply

      85 national and 40 state:)

  28. Britney Campbell says: Reply

    Today is March 13th 2016! I took my RE tests on March 10th! I passed both! There were not a lot of math questions on the national portion but let me tell you, the state portion was way harder! Good luck everyone!

  29. I signed up for the test at TREC website. Paid the fee but where do I upload the certificates?

  30. Johnny W. Smith says: Reply

    Hello. I found your site and need a little advice. I’ve already gone thru Champions School of Real Estate, and I’ve taken PREP 3 times. I pretty much know the material. Pearson Vue is the only testing center for the exams. I’ve taken both the State and National exams, and passed the state portion. I’ve failed the National portion 5 times. I keep missing it by 2 or 3 points. I’ve noticed that a lot of the questions that are on the exam are NOT what was taught at Champions. I keep missing the area titled: “Real Estate Practice.” There are a total of 18 “Real Estate Practice” questions on the exam.

    I’ve even talked to Champions about “Real Estate Practice” and they mentioned that they don’t teach it there. So, I’m very lost on what to study? I’ve studied everything and anything I know to study; flashcards, books, online quizzes, other material..etc. I’m very upset about real estate at the moment, and I’m having second thoughts about going into the field. I simply cannot pass the National portion.

    Does anyone have any references, links, advice about what to study for the National portion? Because, the questions that I’ve seen on Pearson Vue do not match up with what I was taught at Champions. These questions are way out in left field. Plus, I notice that every time I re-take the exam, the number of questions differ. One test will have 90 questions. The next will have 80 questions. Today’s exam had 85 questions on it, and I failed the exam by 2 points.

    Just feeling discouraged about all this. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.

  31. Johnny W Smith, Did you pass your exam? Did you find out info on the Real EState Practice section? I, too, am took Champions and am about to test next week. Please update us. Thanks!

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