The students took a paper-based test that lasted 2 hours. The tests were a mixture of open-ended and multiple-choice questions that were organised in groups based on a passage setting out a real-life situation. A total of about 390 minutes of test items were covered. Students took different combinations of different tests. They and their school principals also answered questionnaires to provide information about the students' backgrounds, schools and learning experiences and about the broader school system and learning environment.
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Lengthy fasting can be dangerous due to the risk of malnutrition and should be carried out only under medical supervision. During prolonged fasting or very low calorie diets the reduction of blood glucose, the preferred energy source of the brain , causes the body to deplete its glycogen stores. Once glycogen is depleted the body begins to fuel the brain using ketones, while also metabolizing body protein (including but not limited to skeletal muscle) to be used to synthesize sugars for use as energy by the rest of the body. Most experts believe that a prolonged fast can lead to muscle wasting, although some dispute this. The use of short-term fasting, or various forms of intermittent fasting have been used as a form of dieting to circumvent this issue.