BDO - From Application Form To Offer

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10 March 2008 - 9:19pm

Okay guys, seen as I've been through the whole BDO application process and been offered a job I thought you might appreciate a bit of information on the whole process!

[B]Application Form[/B] - Pretty standard form, much the same as many other accountancy firms; three 250 word extended answer questions. Just make sure you put some serious thought into your answers - I ended up re-drafting mine about 3 times each. It is worth putting the extra effort in at this stage.

[B]Online Tests[/B] - BDO got back to me two working days after I'd submitted the form (as it says they will on their website) to ask me to do the online tests. As with many other firms they are shl tests. The verbal test is pretty straightforward, no real problems. It is no harder than the verbal practice test on the shl website; although be warned, all the passages are business related. There are 30 questions which you have 15 minutes to answer. I finished with about 2 minutes to spare. You really should be looking to answer all the questions, there not hard.

The numerical test isn't too bad either; there are 21 questions and you get 21 minutes. I answered 20. Some are really straightforward and others you have to think a bit more for. The one piece of advice I would give though is brush up on your currency conversion questions - I had 6 currency conversion questions!! The tests aren't negatively marked so if you're running out of time it's probably worth just guessing the ones you haven't done.

You'll find out as soon as you've finished both tests whether you've passed; it comes up on the screen.

[B]First Round Interview[/B] - I was contacted the next day, after passing the online tests, to invite me to a first round interview. There was one other person there at the same time as me to be interviewed. First of all you'll be taken away by a member of HR and listen to a 20 minute(ish) presentation about the company, how great they are etc. Following that you'll go and have your one-on-one interview with a manager in your specified service line (for me that was Tax). The interview was really informal; she began by running over my application form, asking some basic questions about why I chose my A-Levels as I did, why I chose the university I did etc.

Then she moved on to ask me 3 competency questions. This may vary but mine were: (1) Tell me about a time you delegated responsibility; (2) Tell me about a time you worked as part of a team and what you contributed; (3) Tell me about a time you worked under pressure, how did you cope?

After that there was the standard questions: Why BDO, Why Tax. Finally I was asked why would I want to work for BDO over a Big 4 firm. Then she asked if I had any questions, and that was it! The interview itself lasted for about 45 minutes.

[B]Assessment Centre [/B] - My first round interview finished at midday and BDO phoned me about 4pm to tell me I'd been successful at the first round and that they would like to invite me to an assessment centre. Oh, and before the assessment centre they ask you to complete an online personality questionnaire - it's no biggy and counts for virtually nothing, so don't worry about it. The assessment centre itself starts at 10am and goes on until about 5pm. On the day I went there were 8 others there and we were split into two groups of 4.

The day begins with a quick ice-breaker session; basically you just have to speak to one other person in your group and find out their name, what uni they are at, what they are studying, their claim to fame and their most embarrassing moment. Then you have to stand up in front of the group and introduce the person you were speaking too! Apparently it's not assessed, but make sure you're confident - all 8 of the group exercise assessors are sat in the room when you do it! So it's best to make a good first impression.

Then as I said you get split into two groups of 4. One group does the group exercise whilst the other does the fast-track exercise. I did the fast-track first so I'll talk about that first. Basically it's a test produced by shl and involves 5 sets of cards. Each set of cards has about 20(ish) cards with information on them. Some of the cards have spaces blank and by using the information on the other cards you have to deduce what the missing information/value is. There is absolutely NOTHING you can do to prepare for it, so don't stress - just keep calm and do your best. You're given 30 minutes to do it, but don't expect to finish all of it. Everyone at my assessment day completed 4 sets out of 5 - they don't expect you to finish it. Basically, I found 2 sets really easy and was done with them in about 5 minutes each. The other two were MUCH more difficult and I'm not sure whether I go them right or not - just don't panic. The test counts for very little in the final reckoning.

Then the groups switch exercises - so I went to do the group exercise. I'm not going to say the actual company the exercise is on because that would give some an unfair advantage. Suffice to say it's a high street coffee store. There are two different proposals of how to expand/take the business forward and you have to decide on the advantages/disadvantages of each option, make a recommendation and say how BDO could help the client in doing all of this (so basically know which services BDO offers!). You get 10 minutes at the start to read through the information pack yourself, make notes etc (10 minutes is plenty to read all the info) and then you have 50 minutes to discuss it as a group. No real specific tips, just the general stuff, make sure you contribute your suggestions, support other people, don't interrupt others when they are speaking etc.

Then you get a 1hr break for lunch! A few current trainees will come down for you to talk with etc; it's fairly relaxed, just chill out and get ready for the afternoon!

Post-lunch you get 1hr to prepare a presentation on the stuff you discussed in you group exercise in the morning - you get given back your booklet of info and any notes you made in the morning. It's a one-on-one presentation with an assessor (the same one who assessed you during you group exercise). You're given a flip chart to put down your key points - USE IT! Make sure you split your time between preparing enough notes to make your presentation and writing on the flip chart. I spend 40 minutes preparing and then the final 20 writing on the flip chart.

You're given 30 minutes to do your presentation, but nobody uses all that time - aim for around 15 minutes; it's ample. You'll then probably get asked a couple of questions by the assessor about what you have presented etc. Finally you'll be asked for your assessment of how the group exercise went in the morning and what you would do differently if you were to do it again - remember be constructive - don't slag your other group members off! (although I was sorely tempted!)

Finally is the partner interview. This lasts for around 50 minutes. Now people on my day seemed to have different experiences, for quiet a few it was just a general chat. Mine, however, was a full-scale interrogation! I got asked about 8 competency questions, and why BDO etc. When I answered though he just kept pushing, like why did you do that, wouldn't it have been better to do this etc. The key thing I think is to be strong and stick to your guns, defend what you said/did and why.

The day finished about 5pm and I got a phone call about 20 minutes after I had left to offer me the job! All in all everyone I met was very friendly and helpful.

Hope that was of some use, good luck for anyone who is applying!

10 March 2008 - 9:55pm

Cool, mate you are really good at putting things right. sure you will rock at your chosen company. good luck with it.
thanks for the advice.

10 March 2008 - 11:14pm Premium member

Many thanks Jexxo - an extremely high quality post! I'm sure people will find it very useful :) ..if you have any other information to expart on this forum it would be absolutely great to read it!

Thanks again, and well done!

Ed

10 March 2008 - 11:46pm

thanks for sharing!!! it is really helpful. i was very nervous about my upcoming assessment day, mostly because it is my first ever assessment day. this post really calm me down a lot and also helps me to have some new ideas on how to prepare for the day. i even look forward to the day now.

again. many thanks. wish u all the best.:)

11 March 2008 - 9:40am Premium member

Focus - this might be of use in preparation for your assessment day too - [url=http://www.wikijob.co.uk/wiki/Group_exercise]Group exercise - WikiJob[/url] - ..and take a peek at the 'Application technique' section on our front page too! This is available here - [url=http://www.wikijob.co.uk/wiki/Main_Page]Interview Questions for PwC, Deloitte, Goldman Sachs, Accenture and more - WikiJob[/url]

By the way...feel free to add to these wiki documents if you feel that you have anything extra to add to this information - and yes, this invitation is open to everyone on here!

Good luck Focus!

Ed :D

24 April 2008 - 11:16pm

Hello there,
I know this thread is very old but I'm getting very scared about an assesment day coming up and would very much like someone to talk to me and mainly ask one big question I have.
I am going through the school leavers scheme and was wondering if anyone knows whether the assesment days are competitive. For example is everyone there going for the same job or are there lots of people going for different jobs. For those who applied as graduates were there school/college leavers on your assesment day or not.
My assesment day is at the beginning of next month and I've only ever been for one before and this was with PwC. On that though I wasn't directly in competition with a room full of people applying for the same post as me.
Also I would like people to tell me the average time frame from assesment day to when they heard of their result. I only ask this because I am booking several interviews for other firms over the week after my assesment day and would rather know so I can get those cancelled as BDO is the firm I want to work for,
Anyone who could leave some words of advice or answer any of my questions would be great,
Thanks in advance and thankyou for that brilliant post of what the whole day is about. That in itself has calmed me down a bit. As this is the job that I want it's scarier than anything especially as this is the last hurdle and I'll kick myself if I mess up,
Thank you,
Nathan J Fox :)

25 April 2008 - 12:29pm

Hey,
I have recently received (and accepted!) an offer for a graduate trainee position in London. I don't know specifically about the school leaver scheme, but one thing I can tell you to calm you down is that if you have got to the assessment day stage at BDO, they really want you already - you just need to prove to them that you will fit in at the firm. On my assessment day there were internship applicants and graduates, so I think it can be a mix of people on your day. It is more likely to be applicants for the school leavers scheme, though. So be prepared for this. Don't feel like you are competing with other people, just make sure your qualities shine through.
In terms of how long it takes for them to let you know if you were successful, it depends. If you have you assessment day on say a Monday, the day finishes at 5pm and they will aim to let you know by 6.30pm or earlier. Could be the next day, though. For me it was the same day at exactly 6.30pm. It depends on if they have time to catch up with the partner who did your interview before the day is finished.
If you really want to work for BDO (which I did) just make sure you make this really obvious to the assessors on the day, especially in your presentation and partner interview. If they can feel your passion for the firm and its values, and you perform well in the group discussion and partner interview, then you will be fine.
I, like you, really wanted to get the job offer at BDO, and prepared a lot for it. It all paid off in the end, so I hope you get it.

Good luck, if you have any questions, don't hesitate to PM or reply on this post.

25 April 2008 - 1:28pm Premium member

Hey Nathan,

[QUOTE]I am going through the school leavers scheme and was wondering if anyone knows whether the assesment days are competitive. [/QUOTE]

Yes. It is competitive - but there's no reason why you can't get the job if you do your research and perform well. Be confidence, and use your intelligence at interview. Make sure you have input for any group discussion and ask questions. As per Slickrick, make it clear you really want the job. Employers love hiring people that really want to work for them, as these employees usually do very well.

[QUOTE] My assesment day is at the beginning of next month and I've only ever been for one before and this was with PwC. On that though I wasn't directly in competition with a room full of people applying for the same post as me.[/QUOTE]

You're all in competition but there's more than one job available. Don't worry about the other people, just think of them as potential work colleagues.

[QUOTE]Also I would like people to tell me the average time frame from assesment day to when they heard of their result.[/QUOTE]

This depends on the speed of HR, how much they like you, if they are waiting for other offered candidates to accept/withdraw... they could call at any time from the the afternoon after your interview to three weeks later. If you don't hear anything after a week you should call them and politely ask for feedback and say you're very keen to find out how things went.

Good luck - keep us informed of your progress and don't forget the BDO wikis, here - [url=http://www.wikijob.co.uk/wiki/bdo-stoy-hayward-interview-profile]BDO Stoy Hayward Interview Profile | WikiJob[/url] - and here - [url=http://www.wikijob.co.uk/wiki/bdo-stoy-hayward]BDO Stoy Hayward | WikiJob[/url].

Ed :)

3 May 2008 - 6:50pm

Thankyou ever so much for all of your replies especially the private one!
They made me feel better!
I had an interview for another firm on wednesday and I got rejected - so that really has knocked my confidence - BUT - I didn't particulary want that job - so we'll see how I do at the one that I do want! BDO!
Haha
Thanks once again and I will let you all know how I get on,

Nathan J Fox

P.S. One other question? Does anybody know whether the people who start the TES school leavers programme get any money or bonus' or anything towards company cars? Because I am considering buying a car and this sort of information would be very very handy! I mean I know I don't even know if I'll get the job or not yet - and it may not be too likely looking at my track record BUT could anybody answer this question please!?

16 May 2008 - 4:59pm

Hi,

I've got a final assessment day with BDO Bristol coming up on the 29th. I was wondering whether anyone would be able to give me some more advice on its format.

First of all, thanks to Jexxo for his post because it explains everything to a great degree, but I'm still unsure about what the SHL test is like. Could someone give an example of it, if thats possible?

Also regarding the presentation, anything I could do to prepare? I am really keen on BDO and I do not want to mess it up, hence my asking.

I really messed up my first interview, but I still got through, which was surprising, but I think the senior manager who was interviewing got on really well with me. I did really well at the Deloitte interview (or so I thought) but I didnt get through. Just as well, as I think I'll be happier at BDO. This is just advice to anyone, be yourself at the interview, and show your passion for the work, and the firm, and you should generally be alright.

Any help would be gratefully received.

Thanks

18 May 2008 - 11:39pm

hi doosht20,

i had my BDO interview the other day and it was OK, a long day but OK.

so the SHL test is basically a box containing 6 sets of cards, each set has about 10-20 cards in it. the first set is a practice set you go through with the assessor, the next five start easy and get harder as you proceed. You have 35 mins to complete the 5 sets.

these are logic based tests and are designed to test your logical reasoning, so for example the practice set of cards is all about insurance groups for motor vehicles.

each individual card has details on it:

person name
grade
milage
licence type
type of car

approx the first 17 cards have all these details completed then the last three have some info missing, and you have to use your logical reasoning to understand what the missing info should be.

they examples change and get harder as you move through.

For the presentation main thing I'd say would be to learn fully all the services that BDO can provide a client, (assurance, tax, consulting etc) and be able to give examples of how each of these could be used by the client.

main thing for the pres and the group exercise though is that the assessors are looking for you to demenstrate your understanding of BDO functions and not decide exactly what should be done in your case study.

i'm still waiting to hear back so will tell u more when i hear from them.

bright future!

19 May 2008 - 11:01am Premium member

this is great... many thanks Bright Future! I'll add this to the BDO wiki profile - [url=http://www.wikijob.co.uk/wiki/bdo-stoy-hayward-interview-questions]BDO Stoy Hayward Interview Questions | WikiJob[/url] .

Good luck - let us know what happens next - keep us posted!

19 May 2008 - 6:51pm

I would re-emphasise that this test forms a minimal part of the assessment centre; it is effectively something done to use up time whilst the other half of the candidates do the group exercise. Really, really don't stress about it. There is nothing you can do to prepare and you are not expected to finish all the sets of cards.

21 May 2008 - 12:54pm

thanks guys. really appreciated. i'll post my experience once its done. just out of curiosity anyone applied for business restructuring?

2 June 2008 - 9:56pm

update - turns out I didn't get the job at BDO, i got some feedback and apparently I didn't build enough rapport with the partner that interviewed me. I have to say I was totally gutted when I was told, my heart sank! I was questioning every part of what I did trying to work out how I didn't build rapport.

But I picked myself up and went to my Grant Thornton assessment centre (totally easy btw) and got through, then i had assessment centres for Deloitte and PwC. It turns out I must have done something right as I got job offers from Deloitte and PwC, and I've still got final round of Grant Thornton to go to!

I must say I'm totally chuffed!

The moral of the story is, don't try too hard in the partner interview! Looking back this is what I did at BDO, I was giving him almost model answers for the questions he had, there was no dialog, it was nearly totally one way. I initially thought this was good as I was able to answer all the questions he threw at me without any problems! it turns out thats not what they want to see!

For my Deloitte/PwC interviews I was much more myself, engaging them in conversation, laughing with them and expanding on and around the topic. Some advice I was given by the grads that took us for lunch at Deloitte was to get the partners talking about themselves, trying to relate to them (not sucking u tho!) and just try to get along.

They are after all trying to get a judge of our character to see if you will fit in with the company, the service line you are going for and most importantly they are looking for someone they can put in front of a client and not be embarrassed by the recruits performance!

My top tips, be confident, chatty, curious and comfortable with the situation.

I hope this info help - good luck!

(PS - Deloitte, PwC and Grant Thornton are all aware of this website & forum, be careful, they might just alter their assessment days as a result) ;-)

2 June 2008 - 11:15pm Premium member

Good advice and thanks for the input! ..Nice to hear WikiJob being recognised by those employers - their employees are of course more than welcome to join the debate on the message boards!

All interview processes change from time to time. As and when they do, I'm sure WikiJob users will contribute information just as they have been doing for the last nine months, and continue to do!

13 June 2008 - 3:17pm

thanks bright future that was really helpful good luck with the grant thornton one i've got passed first stage got a numerical test to do now.

7 August 2008 - 12:54pm

Where could I practice questions for the BDO online tests...any tips on it ....

7 August 2008 - 1:02pm Premium member

The GTIOS psychometric test? Pretty straight-forward numerical and verbal reasoning. Take the practice test on the SHL website. The important thing is to answer exactly the questions asked of you, and to work quickly.

3 October 2008 - 4:47pm

Hi guys

I'm doing my application for a graduate job at BDO but there is one question that I'm not sure about what stuff that they are asking for.

The question is about personal responsibility. Ask me to give an example of when I took great personal responsibilities. So what does it mean by personal responsibility, what quality are they looking for in this question and what should I include in my answer?

Thank you very much in advance

15 October 2008 - 1:12pm

Hi Guys,

I was wondering if you can help me about the BDO and Baker Tilly online tests, are they both SHL tests? should I just practice on the SHL site? Failed the KMPG tests :( found them really hard..are these easier? Just panicking as really want to get through to one of them!

Also still waiting for response for GT send application off week ago..is that normally that long or is it likely to be a rejection.

Thanks guys

15 October 2008 - 4:33pm

I found KPMG the hardst of the lot, but got accepted by PwC & Deloitte (now work for Deloitte) so I wouldnt worry too much.

Also since its only he start of the application cycle for 2009 intakes waiting a week isn't anything to worry about. If you are worried there is no harm in giving them a call to get an update.

Something to note though, with the current economic climate the competition for spaces with accounting firms will be a lot harder this year! I even know that BDO have deferred the intake of their December 08 graduates until at least next Sept until they can gauge how many they will need for 2009!

It's going to be tough so make sure your on top of everything!

15 October 2008 - 5:31pm

Thanks for that- that is scary that so many people are going to be deferred to 2009? that must surely mean more competition and fewer places :(

Do you know if BDO or Baker Tilly is harder to get into or about the same?

Anyone have any tips for the tests?? really nervous :(

15 October 2008 - 5:52pm

what do you mean harder? as in who's harder to get into BDO or Baker Tilly?

as far as top 4 vs bdo etc, the application stage is pretty much the same.

advice for the tests...practice a lot! there are lots of online tests out there or get a book with Qs in it. then make sure u practice before u do the initial tests.

3 November 2008 - 11:33pm

Just thought i'd throw in a cheeky update on positions for BDO 2009.

I applied to BDO london and passed the online tests. However, have now been notified that the Assurance intake for London - Sept 2009 is full!! I have since had my application transferred to my 2nd choice which is the Birmingham office

16 November 2008 - 7:52pm

Has anyone got any more information with regards to the BDO assessment centre? Im hinting at the group exercise case study here. I have myn coming up in a couple of weeks and would appreciate any help

21 November 2008 - 12:23am

Hey guys, I just wanted to ask if the interview information in this thread is still relevant? I know for example Ernst & Young have totally changed their approach, so do BDO still show you the presentation and then give (what seems) a short interview? Any more recent experiences would be greatly appreciated! :-)

3 July 2009 - 7:34pm

.

16 October 2009 - 5:12pm

hey guys,

if you pass the aptitude tests, do they tell you straight away? mine said my application is up for consideration. Does that spell trouble?

17 October 2009 - 9:41am

Same here, did the tests and now it says app is under consideration. Does this mean I passed, or it could go either way? Ran out of time on the verbal..

25 October 2009 - 1:54pm

Has anyone had a first round BDO interview recently? Can anyone shed any light on the questions asked?

Also, is it the same format with a presentation at the start of the day?

Many thanks.

28 October 2009 - 7:21pm

I had a first round interview with BDO just yesterday. It was at their London office. I didn't get a presentation, just the interview with someone from the service line I applied to. The interview was so relaxed, professional but relaxed. Ran through my application form, why BDO, a few competency questions, my interviewer did a secondment abroad so we talked about that for a bit. I heard back on the same day.

To be honest I was so impressed when I went, the office is pretty nice and the vibe is just so much more relaxed than say the Big Four. I would seriously consider an offer from them over the Big Four. I don't think the Big Four is all it's cracked up to be, esp. when you're at the start of your career. IMHO. Clever marketing though..

28 October 2009 - 7:35pm

I had my interview yesterday too, and it was as you said, relaxed but professional. I haven't heard back yet, I was told I would hear either on the day or tomorrow as the recruitment lady was at a careers fair today. Did you get an email or a call? Do you know the date for your AC yet?

I agree, I have an offer from a big four firm, but would also seriously consider BDO, as it is still a well known firm to put on your CV, but the more relaxed environment would definitely appeal!

28 October 2009 - 8:13pm

the09, thanks for the post, I've got an interview at the London office on Friday. I was wondering if they asked any commercial awareness questions such as; what stories in the news interest you? or what current issues are affecting BDO? Any more specific info would be much appreciated!

breadhead, what office are you applying to?

28 October 2009 - 8:37pm

The only commercial awareness questions were, how do you keep up to date with business news? What is a story that has interested you recently?

I'm applying for the London office, has a really nice atmosphere, no need to worry! My interviewer was really nice, and the interview was very relaxed.

30 October 2009 - 8:39pm

Had my interview today. Like you said, it was really relaxed and the whole process had a good feel about it. Have you guys heard back yet?

30 October 2009 - 9:03pm

I heard back a few hours after my interview.. no idea if that is the standard response time..

31 October 2009 - 4:47pm

Hey guys, I applied for a summer internship with BDO last year and was unsuccessful, and I was just wondering if I needed to disclose this in the 'Application Details' section of my Graduate Application? (Or do they just simply want you to disclose any previous graduate job applications?)

2 November 2009 - 9:42pm

I heard back 2 days after, so don't worry if you don't hear back straight away. I got through so need to do some research for the AC. Has anyone had one recently?

4 November 2009 - 8:50pm

hey guys,

@ breadhead just wondernig what sort of competencies you were tested on in your interview and what service line were you applying for. thanks

4 November 2009 - 10:59pm

Hi guys,

Similar is Az345, I was wondering whether you could shed any light on the specific competency questions you were asked...or which ones you could remember! I've trawled through a lot of information on BDO, and I've got a general feel of what types of competency questions will be asked, but it's always good to get some up to date information!

Thanks a lot

pancho

5 November 2009 - 12:41am

I applied to audit at the London office. I can't remember most of the questions I was asked to be honest, but I can remember , "tell me about a time when you have delegated", so have a response ready for that! Possibly a teamwork one too, although I can't be sure!

I was asked how I kept up with business news and about a current business story that interested me, so again, have that prepared.

Good luck.

5 November 2009 - 7:33pm

Hi breadhead,

Thanks a lot for the information, the reason I ask, is because I try to create a 'bank' of questions that have been posted around on wikijob, so that I'm fairly well prepared for the range of questions they may ask. Also it helps to try and match these questions against their competencies and values, so you can get a good understanding of what type of qualities they are looking for you to demonstrate in their questions.

Thanks again

pancho

9 November 2009 - 8:55pm

I've just done the online test. Wandering have you guys received the results immediately after you finished the test as Jexxo said? Because the system just shows my application is under consideration. Many thanks!

10 November 2009 - 10:37pm

Hi,

I have been invited to do online tests but it is just showing the numerical resoning tests link. Does this mean that i have not been invited to Verbal Reasoning test? I will take the test tomorrow. The other i want to ask what kind of questions come up in the numerical test?

10 November 2009 - 11:19pm

Hi,

I want has anybody applied for a undergraduate placement at BDO?

11 November 2009 - 10:37am

Hi Shahmeer75, The verbal test comes after the numerical test, so don't worry. I don't think the verval test is very difficult, but I think the numerical test is a little bit chanllenging. And the problem is you can't go back later to the questions you are not sure about, as the system doesn't allow return to previous questions. So try get it right at the first time! Good luck!

6 December 2009 - 8:06pm

Hey guys,

Ive got an assessment day coming up for audit at the london office. From reading the previous posts I realise that I am to learn all the services offered by BDO. Upon doing that I immediately realised that BDO provide many services and so would be quite difficult to recall all of them on the day. Can someone perhaps point out the main ones to focus upon.

Thanks, any help would be well recieved and Im more than happy to help you, having recieved offers from both deloitte and e and y.

14 December 2009 - 11:11pm

I got told about an assessment day today, which is tomorrow. Fun times. I'll let you know how it goes.

- Edit, the AC's were previously full - I got in because someone cancelled last minute!

17 December 2009 - 4:33pm

Hi Yazmina,

Hope the day went well at BDO.

I would be grateful if you could post a detailed response of what the day included, regarding the presentation and how long you had to prepare for it. What were you expected to discuss and what was it about?

Group exercise, what was the task and what were they looking for?

Fast track exercise, what questions came up and how do you prepare for it?

Anything else you feel that may be relevant.

Thank you for your help, I look forward your reply

Prince

23 December 2009 - 6:07am

I had my first interview around two weeks back and haven't heard as of now. Any ideas why ? Is it because of the Christmas break or any other reason?

Anyone else in the same position? Thanks

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