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Elements in n=3 or higher can expand their valence shell because it has open d orbitals. So pretty much, an easy way to tell if there's an octet rule exception is if there are open d orbitals in a given atom. n=2 elements cannot expand their valence shell because n=2 does not have any d orbitals. n=3,4,... have d orbitals so exceptions are okay.
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