Tag: Math Anxiety

Math Anxiety

Does your child have math anxiety? Or maybe you have math anxiety! What is math anxiety?

I’m glad you asked!

So here is an excellent article all about math anxiety and some of the myths that people believe about math.

Check it out, it’s an interesting read.

Math Anxiety: Shattering The 5 Myths

Students who say they suffer from “math anxiety” usually have the following symptoms: Upon entering their math classroom, even on the first day, they panic and feel immediately unsuccessful. Feelings of nervousness, frustration, annoyance, even anger are felt. Even when offered help or opportunities to get assistance, the student remains passive and afraid. On tests these students feel like they are alone in their suffering; that they are the only ones who are struggling; that they will mess up even the simplest problems. These students have lost their confidence, and have often felt this way for many years. What is perpetuating this problem, and what can parents and teachers do about this?

The problem of math anxiety is universal. Yes, many students come to class with skill gaps in the curriculum and poor training in study and test-taking skills. But it is mostly a mental block and self-fulfilling prophecy perpetuated by those who care for the struggling student the most: parents, relatives, and teachers who show a negative attitude about their past challenges in math class. The clue to the power of the self-imposed block is when the student travels to his next class and immediately feels better and more confident, and is glad the torturous hour of math is over. For most kids with math anxiety, this is the reality. Why the sudden relief, the sense of going back to normal, and the instant sense that things are better?

Math anxiety is simply an emotional condition, extended through many days, weeks, and years and blown up in the student’s mind as being something unrecoverable, innate, and permanent. One of the first steps in dealing with this strong emotion is to examine the myths about math in general that create mistaken ideas about how math concepts and ideas fit in to our world.

Math Myth #1: Only the lucky few are born with math ability
We all accept the fact that some people are born with the right type of body, skills, and athletic ability to become professional athletes, right? Does this mean that those of us who are not “naturally gifted” athletically shouldn’t try to play tennis, join a softball team, throw the football? Of course not. The difference is one of degree. Sports still can play an active part of our lives, in fact should be important to all of us for reasons of health and social and emotional well being.

If a student feels they are not talented in calculations, “getting numbers”, or thinking mathematically, do they just give up? No — and it obviously leads to a discussion of learning to persevere the obstacles and challenges in our career as students, not quit when the going gets tough.

Math Myth #2: There is only one answer, and this is the goal of mathematics
Sure, at the simplest levels of calculation there has to be a unique answer: 2 X 4 has to be only 8. As we move on to upper, more important levels of mathematics, these memorized calculations are only tools to get at the true goals in the realm of math: learning how to measure and analyze our world, and solve problems using mathematical tools. Again, I would argue that when solving systems of equations (simultaneous), there must be only one solution. But this is just learning the tool; the process of solving such a problem is a procedure that becomes a higher level strategy to solve even more complicated situations. An experienced math teacher or professor should delight in students who can show creative ways of solving problems different from the way it is shown in the textbook. The key is to use math skills and algorithms to practice your thinking abilities, and improve them!

Math Myth #3: Girls are not good at math, and shouldn’t pursue math-related careers
Although this idea has faded a bit in recent generations, the idea that girls can’t think mathematically is still out there at the family dinner table, school classrooms, and hallways. Of course, the female brain is wired differently than the male one, but mathematical ability remains one that has to be practiced and nurtured over time, regardless of gender.

At the typical family gathering, do people laughingly admit that they are illiterate, and have always struggled with reading? Probably not, yet there seems to be some camaraderie when someone mentions their challenges in math class. It tends to be accepted as normal, and anyone, especially a girl who thrives mathematically must be unusually talented. There is also no truth to the rumor that girls are somehow less feminine if they enjoy math or excel in it.

Math Myth #4: Success in math means you can get the answers instantly
At the earlier grades, when learning addition facts or multiplication tables, of course speed is important. These are the building block skills necessary at the foundational level. In the middle school or high school classrooms where the faster thinkers are celebrated or minimal time is allotted for slower learners to respond, this just shows poor teaching. A good instructor should allow time for exploring other solutions and finding alternate methods.
In fact, an effective math lesson needs to celebrate creative problem solving. This involves conversation, brainstorming, and group discussion. Another argument for possibly women being more suited to higher levels of mathematics!

Math Myth #5: Math literacy can be avoided and is not important
Again, the scene centers on your dinner table. . . If you mention your struggles with yesterday’s math lesson or bad score on a quiz, the stories come out again. Knowing nods of sympathy, and opinions about how only some people are gifted enough. You hear comments about how you just need to get through it in order to graduate and then you can spend your time doing more “important” work. The implications are, of course, that math is something to endure, not something to learn to improve on and even enjoy.
The idea of math literacy is an important one. Few people argue that everyone needs to be able to read and write, but there is the fuzzy notion that mathematical competence is optional. If a student does well in Algebra classes in high school, studies have shown that they will far excel in college experiences and be more successful in life. This represents a minimal competency landmark. Everyone should strive at the least to pass algebra classes in high school and college as a jump-start for further success in the academic and working world.
The algebraic skills of creating
abstract representations of problems and solving them (equations, graphs, proofs, and hypothetical models) is extremely important in life. Whether researching the best place to order carpet, construct an addition for the house, or do a cost-analysis for your business, mathematical skills, mathematical thinking and strategies are involved.

Overcoming math anxiety in children and adults is more about being aware of the myths and personal biases of other people’s beliefs. Solving this challenge is not putting more time into studying or banging your head against the wall in your study area. Mathematics is a competency area in school that signals your readiness to enter the working and academic world and be successful. It is not optional, magical, or impossible. It takes perseverance, patience, and a willingness to seek out help. Many times, math anxiety becomes math avoidance, supported by the ignorance of close friends and family, but it can be overcome!

In part 2 of this article series, I examine how to deal with homework issues as they relate to a student who is feeling math anxiety. I will answer the challenges of what to do when a student feels like he can’t understand the textbook, doesn’t know how to even get through last night’s homework, and can’t organize for the next day or ask for help. Knowing how to deal with homework sessions for the parents and student is the first step in finding the cure for this common problem.

By: Terry VanNoy

Article Directory: http://www.articledashboard.com

Terry VanNoy’s class sessions, Math with Mr. V are by appointment only . . . Call toll free 1-877-317-3317 to arrange a free consultation! Help your child feel more successful in his or her math classroom.

So are you feeling better about that math anxiety now!?!?

Have a great day!

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Preparing For The Math Final Exam

At this time of the year a student should be getting ready for their final exams. Hopefully your student won’t be dreading their math final! With that thought in mind, I was reading an article on helping your child or student to prepare for their tests. It’s a pretty good article so I thought I’d share it with you. So here it is:

Math Anxiety: Overcoming Test Fear


In previous articles in this series, I have discussed the math myths our society has extended, and how these misconceptions affect how kids approach the learning challenges in math class. Also, overcoming this anxiety when completing assignments at home is essential in coping with the emotional block of thinking the student “can’t get it” and will “never get it”.

It has been said before that to truly conquer your fear, you must put a name to it and understand it. On many levels, the anxiety that students feel walking in to a math test situation becomes irrational. The honest concerns they may have had about the classroom material that will show up on the test get blown up to major emotional blocks that understandably affect their performance. To ease the intensity of this perception, it is essential to really understand what has led up this point. With the help of parents, classroom teacher, online tutor (any patient listener will do!), students must think about when this problem started. What has happened in the past to form the belief that the fear is insurmountable, unsolvable? What have the true results been on past tests, in other curriculum areas? What steps has the student taken to deal with the problem?

As mentioned in the other parts to this article series, contributing factors are the myths and misconceptions people have about math in general. This is a cultural, societal bias that seems to be more prevalent in math than in other areas of study. Unfortunately, students grow up immersed in this unfriendly environment and start to believe the math myths. Again, with help from a sympathetic listener, students over time should come to realize that fear about math class and math tests are irrational. Concern and nervousness about an upcoming test is normal and can be dealt with. Keeping the anxiety level at a controllable level is the first step to being ready for their upcoming exam.

The next building block to overcoming test anxiety in math class is to be prepared. Of course, this is common sense advice, but it gets forgotten if the student has elevated this concern from a “I’m not ready” level to a “I can’t do it” or “I’ll never get it” level.

In the second article of this series I discussed how to deal with homework issues. If students have improved their use of homework time and maintained higher quality standards for their assignments, they will be better prepared for tests. If they have not been doing their homework because of “math avoidance”, test environments will continue to be a huge challenge.
Given that students are able to dissipate the stress level by understanding their fear, and they have put in the effort on homework, now what can they do on test day? Using smart test-taking strategies is the final piece of the puzzle.

To be a more effective test-taker, students must be able to use the time given effectively. Looking at the clock and worrying about the time will just add to the anxiety level. Here are some suggestions:

1. Take the time to look over the entire test in the first 5 minutes to get a sense of what concepts are covered and what format the test uses.
2. Mark up the easiest problems and the hardest problems.
3. Do the easiest problems first in order to gain confidence.
4. Get to the average level problems next, keeping in mind to move on if feeling stuck.
5. Save the hardest ones for last.
6. Finally, try the ones you skipped. Use smart guessing strategies only as a last resort. Proofread for small mistakes.
7. Feel proud that you did your best!

Students need to be physically prepared to sit down at a test and do their best. Drink adequate water the day before, and bring a water bottle at the test site to stay properly hydrated. The day before the test and the morning of test day, students should have eaten nutritious, high energy foods without too much sugar and salt. (Potato chips and corn chips, high sugar and caffeine drinks are never a good idea!) The student should have had plenty of sleep the night before, also.

As students get ready leading up to the test, they must find out what other resources they are allowed during the test. Will the teacher allow notebooks, note cards, past assignments, or study sheets or problem examples? If so, get them organized and ready; reread or rewrite them as necessary. Work with other students in study groups, or use an online tutor and discuss examples similar to the ones you think will be on the test. This preparation time and effort will pay off!

Math fear is a common experience for all of us. What is not common, however, is letting it handcuff us to the point of freezing up and blocking our ability to solve the problem for ourselves. Suffering in isolation is not the answer; avoiding the subject cannot work; not seeking help won’t get rid of the problem, either. By discussing with others who can listen, students can eventually understand that math anxiety is common and solvable. Using intelligent strategies when doing homework, and putting in the effort to prepare for tests will result in increased self-confidence and overcoming the fear of math.

By: Terry VanNoy

Article Directory: http://www.articledashboard.com

Struggling in your math class? Wanting to get ahead and boost your grades and self-confidence? Personal, private, and focused online math tutoring in a customized learning environment. Click here to see a demonstration of my online classroom

If you’re in the Cherry Hill NJ area Mathnasium of Cherry Hill would love to help your child or student prepare for their final math exam. Please give us a call!

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Help With Solving Word Problems

Word problems can be a source of frustration and anxiety for many students. So I was looking for an article to see if there was any goos advice on this topic and I found the article below on Article Directory .com.

It offers some good ideas and should prove helpful as your student takes on learning math and solving word problems.

Six Word Problem-solving Strategies To Help Reduce Math Anxiety



Many students fear and despise the mathematics story problems (word problems) they encounter in their classes. Math anxiety is a real life experience and is usually made worse by the thought of having to solve a story problem.

The truth is, life itself is made up of a long series of story problems and those whose solution requires the use of our math skills are not difficult once a few simple strategies are learned.

Story problems usually contain key words or phrases that tell what operation(s) need to be performed with the numbers. Learn to look for these word clues:

ADDITION: add (to), sum, plus, more than, increased by

SUBTRACTION: subtract (from), difference, minus, less than, decreased by, how many more?

MULTIPLICATION: multiply, product, times, twice, three (four, five, etc.) times, percent

DIVISION: divide, quotient, share equally

When attempting to solve one of these problems, if the appropriate operation to be used is not obvious – just try something. If the wrong method is selected, one will at least learn what does not work – after all, if something isn’t tried, nothing will be learned.

Here is a basic procedure to follow:

Read the problem carefully – find out what is being asked for. Don’t try to understand the whole problem the first time through – just determine what the main question is.
Go back and re-read the problem to see what information has been given that will be helpful in answering the main question.
Find any word clues that will help determine what operations are needed.
Perform the required operations.
Finally, mentally check the answer to see if it makes sense and is reasonable. Be especially aware of the units (ft., in., lb., oz., gallons, etc.) and be sure the answer is expressed in the correct units.

The following six proven strategies will be helpful in solving story problems:

Draw a Figure or Diagram: This is the basic strategy to use when help is needed to visualize what is wanted in a problem – a sure-fire way to clear out any mental fog that exists. Labeling the figure with all the known information will keep everything straight and avoid getting lost in the words.

Put Data in a Table – Look for Patterns: A table is a great method for organizing information and once the information is in the table, it is a lot easier to find a pattern in the data.

Cut and Try Method: This method involves taking a guess at the answer and checking it against the desired answer and then adjusting the first guess (and any subsequent guesses) to get closer to the desired result.
An example of this method is used in zeroing an artillery piece on its target. An observer gives his best estimate of the target coordinates, a round is fired, the location of the hit is observed and the coordinates adjusted accordingly. The process is repeated until a hit is registered on the target.

Solve a Simpler Problem: Using a simpler version of a problem can be helpful in suggesting a problem solving approach.

A well-known example of this method involves deciding how many fence posts are needed for a fence of given length if the posts are to be spaced at 10 foot intervals. Draw a diagram of a fence with two or three posts, observe the pattern and apply it to the longer fence in the problem.

Work Backward: Solving problems by working backward is exactly what we do when solving linear equations.

For example: the equation 9x – 13 = 32 means that 13 subtracted from the product of x multiplied by 9 results in 32. So we reverse those operations to find x. Add 13 to each side of the equation and then divide both sides by 9.

Dimensional Analysis: Dimensional Analysis is one of the most useful methods for solving story problems. The great thing about specifying the units of the measurements (besides clarifying what we are talking about) is that they act just like numbers in arithmetic operations. All we do to solve a problem is put the units in the right order to produce the correct units for the answer.

For example: If a car traveled 395 kilometers in 210 minutes, what was the average mph?
Put the units in order so that cancellations will result in the desired combination:
Km/min x mi/km x min/hr = mi/hr

Next, plug in the given information and carry out the arithmetic operations.
395 km/210 min x 0.621 mi/km x 60 min/hr = 70 mi/hr or 70 mph

In summary, if students afflicted with “math phobia” will take a deep breath and approach the story problems with calmness and the following tools, life will take on a new beauty and serenity:

Read the problem carefully
Look for the operations key words
Pick a logical strategy to find the solution;

Draw a figure or diagram and label known parts
Put data in a table and look for patterns
Cut and try (take a few guesses and refine)
Solve a simpler problem
Work backward
Use dimensional analysis

Review your answer to see if it is reasonable.

Don’t forget to be neat and logical and have some fun – story problems are just a puzzle to solve.

By: Robert Leatherwood, PhD

Article Directory: http://www.articledashboard.com


  So what do you think? Did you find this article useful? Are you ready to go out and tackle some word problems?  🙂

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Kids Can Learn Math With Fun

What does it take to get a child’s interest?

It has been my experience that having some fun while presenting a challenge seems to pique a child’s interest!

I read this article on the subject of helping a child to learn math which I wanted to share with you.

Getting Kids Interested In Math Is About Fun And Games

When students complain about math homework with comments like, “I hate it!” “It’s too hard,” “I can’t!” It usually means that the child has math anxiety that keeps the negative attitude going due to frustration with the subject matter.

But don’t worry; there’s a way that parents can help their students learn to like math through fun and games. Action games with plenty of cool characters will make math homework and learning complicated formulas fun. Games will also allow better recall of what he/she learned because game characters will be remembered along with the concept illustrated. Puzzles are great for cognitive and memory instruction. They come in many different themes for just about every type of mathematical problem and type. Using a theme, such as rockets, space, animals, and cartoon characters, will let the student learn through relationships between the theme and math problems.

Math trivia will not only help the student learn math concepts but also learn amazing, little known facts. The search results are in…and the best news is brain teasers are beneficial for the mind. Look upon a brain puzzler as a mind gymnasium, by extending and examining the brain, learning ability greatly increases. The more you practice, the more adept you will become. Brain teasers are not merely mindless child’s period of play. They are significant informative instruments to direct your child through the basic principles of math. Kids study better once they can have more fun from the instruction.

Several kinds of brain teases for every kind of learner are available. Irrespective of what grade your youngster is, there are all different types of teasers with varied stages of difficulty to aid in stimulating their mind and help the studying method. Children love to have fun. Therefore, why not allow them to experience merriment with some cool interactional mathematics games? There’s nothing improper with stimulating play and discovery simultaneously.

Play solitarily or with other people; and for a greater challenge they could role play with the computer. Interactive mathematics games are self-paced and they allow for prompt feedback. Zero waiting time to get an exam paper marked to check how good they recognize a math theory. Likewise, you can apply comparable worksheets and solution keys for further exercise. These games are absolutely habit-forming due to having your child desiring to practice on the computer to practice additional math problems.

Apply them within your whole family to do and go over all kinds of mathematics skills they will remember. “By giving a child a three-dimensional interactive learning game, you are incorporating the primary levels of learning: tactile, visual, auditory, and neurological,” says Kathleen Halloran, a retired educator of 34 years.

By: FastSubmitArticles.com

Article Directory: http://www.articledashboard.com

John Ashley is a mathematical educator who developed the mathematickle line of educational math games and books to help children have more fun with mathematics.

So now you know how to get your child interested in learning math!

What do you think?

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Math Puzzles and Anxiety

Puzzles can be a great way to overcome your anxiety about math … or not!  Check out this article I read about sudoku and overcoming math anxieties.  What do you think? No more fears of learning math?  🙂


Math Puzzles And Conquering Anxiety
Ever tried the addictive number puzzle game that is a certified craze worldwide? Sudoku, or Su Doku, is a deceptively game of logic. The rules seem easy. There is a nine-by-nine grid composed of nine three-by-three boxes. Some numbers are already filled in to a few of the 81 squares. The goal is to fill in all the squares so that each row, column and box contains the numbers 1 through 9 only once.
Sudoku has a fascinating history. “Su” means number in Japanese, and “Doku” refers to the single place on the puzzle board that each number can fit into. It also connotes someone who is single. Hence, one way to describe the game is “solitaire with numbers.”

Sometimes Sudoku is misspelled as “soduko” or “sudoko.” Although its name is Japanese, its origins are actually European and American. Unlike many games which spring from one culture and are then absorbed by others, Sudoku’s development represents the best in cross-cultural propagation.

Though this puzzle seems to be very enjoyable for the math savvy, there are still others who seem not to enjoy numbers that much. Generally, when we see numbers, we instantly think of math. Math and numbers which are difficult to avoid as they are everywhere. In fact, many people get nervous at the thought of studying or using math.

Mathematics as a subject is perceived to be difficult, obscure and are only meant for the supremely intelligent. It is almost as though it is normal that one is afraid of math or is no good at the subject. Often, this perception causes people to suffer from math anxiety. Anxiety is stress, tension, and strain on one’s body and mind. Anxiety can be broken down into two types: Somatic or the loss control of body. Some symptoms are sweaty palms, pain in neck or sick to the stomach. The other is Cognitive or loss of concentration. Its symptoms include negative self-talk, feelings of doubt, or mind wanders from test or tasks.

Many students might say that anxiety in class inhibits them or reduces their ability to perform well. In the case of mathematics, they would be correct. Psychological researches have somehow ascertained that math anxiety causes students of all levels to perform poorly in math.

For some students, trouble in math is driven by problems with language. These children may also experience difficulty with reading, writing, and speaking. In math, however, their language problem is confounded by the naturally difficult terminology, some of which, they only hear in math class. These students have an uncomfortable time understanding written or verbal directions or explanations, and find word problems especially hard to translate. A common difficulty also experienced by people with math problems is the inability to easily connect the abstract aspects of math with reality. Understanding what symbols represent in the physical world is important to how well and how easily a child will remember a concept.

Some key methods to conquering math anxiety center on not avoiding the problem. Just because they believe it’s tough, one will presume that it can not overcome the anxiety. Whereas in most cases, it is seen that this is a mind block and one could be really good at math if he put his or her mind into it. Thinking things like “I don’t have a Math mind” can lead nowhere. They are self-defeating games — games you play on oneself. If a student knows what these games are, the student might be able to see oneself playing and actually enjoying them like the Sudoku. The exact cause of math anxiety are not known, but those who overcome it will perform normally and eventually be puzzled no more.

By: Alberto D Martinez

Article Directory: http://www.articledashboard.com

Read about hamstring rehabilitation and hamstring tendonitis at the Hamstring Injury Recovery website.

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Overcome Math Homework Fear

As your child begins to learn math and they are given homework, YOUR attitude and help will aid them in overcoming any math homework fears that they may have.
Terry Van Noy wrote a very good article which I’m sharing with you in order to help you and your child overcome their math homework fears.

Math Anxiety: Solving The Homework Hurdle 


A very common obstacle to any student’s success with their math class is allowing math fear to affect how they handle homework assignments. When it comes to the point of a student thinking they can’t understand even the simplest lessons in class, it translates to some unproductive time at the kitchen table during homework time. What is a parent to do if they see their child stare at the textbook and a blank homework paper, not knowing how to proceed? How do they overcome this emotional roadblock?

The condition commonly referred to as “math anxiety” or “math fear” can deeply affect how a student handles their required homework time. It should more accurately be labeled “math avoidance”. Human beings will always look to escape from things that feel uncomfortable, overly challenging, or even painful. But letting this habit fester over long periods of time creates a huge emotional block and affects school success, especially in math class. 

The very first strategy in helping your child deal with lack of success at the homework table is to explain the value of homework. Assuming the homework assignments given are not just busy work, are scaled to the appropriate level, and are reasonable in quantity (a large assumption, and the subject of another future article!), parents must explain that assignments are an extension of the lesson. The teacher can only go over a few examples, and must require the student to try a few more at home to solidify the concepts. A lot of self-learning happens when the student can take the time to explore the learning objectives on his own, and discover connections within the material.

Homework problems, if appropriate, are a chance to practice skills. Students start with simple examples to lock in the ideas, then should be able to move into more complicated examples. In doing so, a successful homework session can reinforce study habits and self-discipline. If students can finish an assignment regularly, they will feel the rewards of completing a task well done.

A critical key to helping your child become more successful with their homework time is to purposely establish consistency: in location, time, and quality.

Your son or daughter might argue about this, but you must insist their homework be done in the same location, on the same days and during the same time periods. This is a very important discussion to have with your child, but crucial in their success in school. Doing their assignments in front of the TV or behind closed doors in their bedroom is just going to prolong the agony. Establish a public place for the study session: the kitchen table, a side office, a comfortable chair in the living or dining room.

Talk about a regular homework routine: what times during the day and which days; working around family time and scheduled activities, of course. Children should be expected to bring home any assignments or projects they completed at school to show you. This eliminates the “I am already done with my homework” excuse. If finished, your son or daughter should be able to show you and celebrate their successful completion of the task. Reward such quality work, and it will become a habit.

Another aspect to homework consistency will be agreeing on the level of quality of your child’s homework activities. How complete do you expect assignments to be? How much time should you expect it to get completed? Don’t allow sloppy work; poor handwriting, incomplete math problems, a messy heading and missing parts of the assignment. This will require a call to the teacher to set expectations, but it will be well worth the effort.

If your student understands the reason his teacher assigns homework, and there is a consistent routine set up to get it done, the next step is to open up the communication possibilities. You can expect your child to become aware of how successful they are doing in their math class. Encourage them to be clear how to look up current grades, find out when the next exam happens, and when the teacher is available for help. If you can teach your student to be responsible for these communication lines, then your questions at night about their grades, assignments, and tests should be answered more regularly. Any hints about your child not knowing these things are symptoms of “math avoidance”. You want your child to deal with any current frustrations, not escape from them.

Also, do regular checkups about the quality of homework assignments. Ask every week to see the latest problem sets completed or test/quiz review sheets given out as study guides.

Always, of course, make adjustments to the time, place, and quality expected with your child’s homework. Ask the teacher about support opportunities, and spend the time to check everything your student son or daughter tells you. You won’t be sorry! 

By: Terry VanNoy

Article Directory: http://www.articledashboard.com 

: Struggling in your math class? Boost your grades and self-confidence. Click here to see a demonstration of my online classroom!

So there you have it! Some excellent suggestions on helping your child do well with their homework and overcoming their fear of math homework.
Until next time – Have a great day!



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