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I am using \parts in the document class exam. I have noticed that it will always start the lettering with "a". Is there a way to change this in latex? I have already tried using the following:

\setcounter{part}{2}

I was wondering if there is any way that I could start lettering with "b" or "c".

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    Welcome to TeX.SE. Please always provide a MWE (Minimal Working Example), which presents your problem in a compilable code. IN your case, setting the counter part to 2 will only result in starting the next part after this command with value 3. If you want to change the numbering system, you have to use something like \arabic{\thecounter}. – Jan Jan 29 '17 at 8:25
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You had the right idea, but the counter you want to change is partno not part.

Code:

\documentclass{exam}
\begin{document}
\begin{questions}
\question
What if there were no air?
\begin{parts}

\setcounter{partno}{1}

\part[5]
Describe the effect on the balloon industry.
\part[5]
Describe the effect on the aircraft industry.
\end{parts}
\end{questions}
\end{document}

Yields:

enter image description here

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