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© 2015 American Mathematical Society. Let p be a prime and G a subgroup of GLd(p). We define G to be p-exceptional if it has order divisible by p, but all its orbits on vectors have size coprime to p. We obtain a classification of p-exceptional linear groups. This has consequences for a well-known conjecture in representation theory, and also for a longstanding question concerning 1/2 -transitive linear groups (i.e. those having all orbits on nonzero vectors of equal length), classifying those of order divisible by p.