New Team - Some Questions

New high school teams looking for advice should post here.
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jman010295
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New Team - Some Questions

Post by jman010295 » Sat Jun 16, 2012 1:53 am

Hey guys, so for the past couple of years the Quizbowl team at my school has not been that serious as we have struggled to attend 1-2 tournaments and mainly just practice after school for fun. But, this year I am captain and I told my teammates that one summer of hard studying can lead to a trip to nationals because there are some really intellectual kids in the club.

I ordered the "New High School Package" from NAQT in which I got 60 NAQT packets and 3 high-frequency lists (which does not include non-fiction literature). I was just wondering how we are supposed to go about studying by using these lists because I thought it would be really easy to just go on the database and type in a title or author and receive information that comes up to study. But, as I get to the lower frequencies, such as Dumas's The Count of Monte Cristo, very few questions come up on the database. So if you guys could please advice, that would be great.

Also, in terms of mythology, what belief systems are pertinent towards Quizbowl. I know that the canon includes Greek/Roman, Norse, Hindu, Egyptian, and I have even seen Aztec, but are there any other types of mythology that we should know such as Shinto?

If you guys could give us any other tips or advice on how we can be successful in the next year, that would be great. Just to give you an overview, we are pretty decent at History and Science(except for Biology, Math History, and European History, which we are working on), but have huge holes in Fine Arts, Literature, Religion, Mythology, Philosophy, and Social Science. Right now, we are conflicted in the problem of how to actually study for Quizbowl. Should we just go through volumes of packets just to see what is asked or should we actually read textbooks and do as much "real" learning as possible on these subjects? Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

I will be continually posting questions on this thread, so thank you guys in advance for all the help and advice.
Jay
Great Neck, NY

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Re: New Team - Some Questions

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Sat Jun 16, 2012 10:58 am

At this point, just keep reading packets, either to yourself or to one another. You will pick up most of your knowledge early (including "what's actually important in quizbowl?") just by reading dozens of packets as much as you can.
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Re: New Team - Some Questions

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh » Sat Jun 16, 2012 11:21 am

Packet reading is very helpful to figure out what comes up, but you can study however you like--whatever works best for you personally.

*If you're someone who works best listening to others, make sure you listen to packets in practice and keep a notebook of what clues you want to learn. "Practice" means a ton more than it did in my playing days, thanks to the advent of Skype. Check out the Facebook group "Quiz Bowl" for more on that.
*If you're someone who works best teaching others, read packets aloud in practice (or in Skype), and highlight the text of clues you want to learn so you can come back to it after the round.
*If you're someone who works best reading the material yourself, read the free packets available at quizbowlpackets.com, again keeping notes on what clues you want to learn. When you see a topic you're interested in--something in your category that sounds interesting and you'd like to learn more about--go read non-quizbowl material on it.
*If you're someone who works best by putting knowledge to use, write questions. Choose an answer line (say, George Washington), choose a question theme (there are tons of different kinds of Washington TUs; focus on his military career, or on his Presidential actions, or similar narrowish themes), find clues, and order them pyramidally. If you're writing for a tournament, a lot of polishing needs to be done to the question (making sure it is a good length and consistent difficulty-wise with other questions in the set, etc.), but if you're writing for study, you can leave that alone for the moment.

Finally, don't restrict yourself to one method or another. Do anything and everything that A: works well and B: is fun to do.

Good luck!
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Re: New Team - Some Questions

Post by David Riley » Sat Jun 16, 2012 4:45 pm

In addition to the suggestions above, I would add: don't get into a false mindset. For example, Japanese literature may not come up in your school's curriculum, but it is very much evident (some would say over-represented) in quiz bowl. If anyone on your team (I'm including new recruits here as well) is of the mindset "this will never come up" then they won't get very far.
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Re: New Team - Some Questions

Post by The Stately Rhododendron » Sat Jun 16, 2012 7:16 pm

jman010295 wrote: Should we just go through volumes of packets just to see what is asked or should we actually read textbooks and do as much "real" learning as possible on these subjects?
Textbooks are super duper boring. I think if you want real knowledge, you'd be better off reading just actual books and magazines. I've frauded a couple of lit tossups just from the books sections in The Nation and The New Yorker.
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Re: New Team - Some Questions

Post by jman010295 » Sun Jun 17, 2012 2:14 am

Lord Hatefun Complainington wrote: I think if you want real knowledge, you'd be better off reading just actual books and magazines.
Reading all the books that show up on Quizbowl packets also takes up a very long time.

Thanks for all the suggestions and please keep them coming, but can anyone answer my questions about Mythology and how to use the frequency lists effectively?
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Re: New Team - Some Questions

Post by Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant » Sun Jun 17, 2012 2:31 am

jman010295 wrote:Thanks for all the suggestions and please keep them coming, but can anyone answer my questions about Mythology and how to use the frequency lists effectively?
It's a book, but I'm sure Edith Hamilton is the base of many a player's classical myth knowledge. In fact, your school's literature classes might use it.
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Re: New Team - Some Questions

Post by Banana Stand » Sun Jun 17, 2012 2:36 am

In regards to mythology, Greco-Roman and Norse comprise the majority of the high-school canon. Egyptian and Hindu also come up a lot. Arthurian myth is fairly popular and the only other topics from Europe that come up are Celtic and Finnish(Kalevala). Mesoamerican myth is usually Aztec, where there are only a few gods that repeatedly come up. For the Mayans, knowing the Popol Vuh and the Hero Twins will be fine to start. Incan myth rarely comes up. African myth is very scarce outside of the god Anansi. In Asia, Shinto is the most popular and Chinese myth is not frequent. I'm sure there's someone that could go into greater detail for you, but that should be good to start.
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Re: New Team - Some Questions

Post by The Stately Rhododendron » Sun Jun 17, 2012 10:28 am

jman010295 wrote:Reading all the books that show up on Quizbowl packets also takes up a very long time.

Thanks for all the suggestions and please keep them coming, but can anyone answer my questions about Mythology and how to use the frequency lists effectively?
Reading books that come up not only will make you much more likely to get the tossup, but you will also (sometimes) get to read a good book. What I'd do with the frequency lists is to put the answerline in the database and read its wikipedia article. Then, take notes on what seems important (important characters/theories/things depicted in works, for example). If you do this for say, 10 answerlines a day, you'll be able to buzz pretty early on 300 tossups after just one month and become a quizbowl superstar.
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Re: New Team - Some Questions

Post by Sniper, No Sniping! » Sun Jun 17, 2012 10:51 am

jman010295 wrote:
Lord Hatefun Complainington wrote: I think if you want real knowledge, you'd be better off reading just actual books and magazines.
Reading all the books that show up on Quizbowl packets also takes up a very long time to read
Sparknotes is better than not reading the book.
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Re: New Team - Some Questions

Post by Broad-tailed Grassbird » Sun Jun 17, 2012 11:41 am

Lord Hatefun Complainington wrote:
jman010295 wrote: Should we just go through volumes of packets just to see what is asked or should we actually read textbooks and do as much "real" learning as possible on these subjects?
Textbooks are super duper boring. I think if you want real knowledge, you'd be better off reading just actual books and magazines. I've frauded a couple of lit tossups just from the books sections in The Nation and The New Yorker.
You are right about textbooks being boring. It's still the best way to learn certain parts of the canon (Campbell Biology being the best example of that).
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Re: New Team - Some Questions

Post by Mnemosyne » Sun Jun 17, 2012 12:34 pm

I have two preferred methods for lit:

1) Memorize every author/work you can, and then learn about the works by reading packets. Every lit bonus, write down the plot/characters you learn. Every tossup, do the same for the easiest clue you don't already know. It is a slow process, but once you read enough packets, you'll be pretty good across the entire lit canon.

2) Just search an answer line in the database and memorize all the stock clues. I feel kind of cheap doing this, but it works. I find it much harder to remember things this way, though, since so much is being thrown at you at once. If you do number 1, and you're constantly reviewing your notes, you don't really have that problem.

Once you've mastered the basics, you can start picking specific books to sparknote, writing questions, etc.

For Greco/Roman myth, start out with Edith Hamilton's Mythology. You need to know most of it. For Norse, The Norse Myths by Kevin Crossley-Holland is my favorite. It tells just about everything in the Eddas, but it's much more accessible and entertaining. It contains almost 100% of the high school Norse Myth clues, and I used it to write some Norse Collegiate Novice tossups last year (which were pretty much the only ones that didn't get slaughtered by the editors). I'd suggest the Eddas if you're preparing for Nationals or something similar, just to be thorough, but this book does the trick.

For Egyptian myth, you should know Set cutting up Osiris, the ensuing battle between Horus and Set, Ra revealing his secret name, a few other small stories, and then the main symbols/depictions for each God. Just the basics. You can probably find these in a ton of books. You can probably find everything you need in the database, too.

For Aztec myth, learn everything you can about Quetzacoatl. You should also know of Huitzilopochtli, Tlaloc, and Tezcatlipoca. (A one sentence description of those three should suffice for someone just starting)

For Shinto myth, you really only have to know the creation story (Izanagi, etc.) and the story with Amaterasu hiding in a cave for now.

For Fine Arts, the easiest way to get started is to just memorize works. I'm not any good at paintings or understanding music works so I'm not much help there. Operas are basically literature with some arias thrown in. I treat them just like literature, learning characters, plots, etc. Except for operas, it's much more necessary to read detailed summaries of the most frequent ones, since the canon for opera is so much smaller than lit.
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Re: New Team - Some Questions

Post by Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant » Sun Jun 17, 2012 12:45 pm

Also for visual art, if you go on Wikipedia (lol), most articles on artists will have a ton of images within the article and/or a gallery of paintings near the end, often with a link to a larger collection at Wikimedia Commons. Just look at the paintings and titles. Note that this is less useful for media that isn't public domain yet.
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Re: New Team - Some Questions

Post by Great Bustard » Tue Jun 19, 2012 12:48 am

Just curious - are you with Great Neck North or Great Neck South, or some other school? GNS I know has been rather active of late, so I'm curious to hear if GNN is moving in that direction. Anyway, consider coming to the Ridgewood Summer Tournament in Bergen County, NJ in a few weeks. Lots of qb people will be happy to give you all sorts of tips.
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Re: New Team - Some Questions

Post by jman010295 » Wed Jun 20, 2012 10:52 am

I am with Great Neck North and yes, we are moving in that same direction. We have decided to start getting serious and investing more time into Quizbowl because we saw South's success as they finished top 50 at nationals this year. This year, we only lost to them by 5 points in a Regional Quiz Bowl (RQB) match, which is a terrible format. Also, two years ago, we beat them at a local NAQT tournament.

Unfortunately we all have different summer plans and are away for the summer, so we will not be able to attend any tournaments during July or August.

I do have a couple more questions:

1. How would someone go about studying the Bible because my school is mainly Jewish?

2. For the High Frequency Lists, up to how many appearances in the NAQT packets would you study up to? For example, The Flounder by Grass only has appeared 3 times in NAQT packets, so I am not concerned about studying that particular book. I was just wondering up to what number of appearances I should study such as 50, 20, or 10.

Thanks for all the help again.
Jay
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Re: New Team - Some Questions

Post by Great Bustard » Wed Jun 20, 2012 11:13 am

jman010295 wrote:I am with Great Neck North and yes, we are moving in that same direction. We have decided to start getting serious and investing more time into Quizbowl because we saw South's success as they finished top 50 at nationals this year. This year, we only lost to them by 5 points in a Regional Quiz Bowl (RQB) match, which is a terrible format. Also, two years ago, we beat them at a local NAQT tournament.

Unfortunately we all have different summer plans and are away for the summer, so we will not be able to attend any tournaments during July or August.

I do have a couple more questions:

1. How would someone go about studying the Bible because my school is mainly Jewish?

2. For the High Frequency Lists, up to how many appearances in the NAQT packets would you study up to? For example, The Flounder by Grass only has appeared 3 times in NAQT packets, so I am not concerned about studying that particular book. I was just wondering up to what number of appearances I should study such as 50, 20, or 10.

Thanks for all the help again.
Great to hear you're looking to give South, and the other regional and national teams, a challenge! As for the Bible, you probably mean the New Testament, since the Old Testament should be familiar enough. It honestly doesn't come up altogether that often in standard NAQT/History Bowl/NSC, but for when it does, go off of whatever NAQT You Gotta Know / ACE Quizbowl Camp Study Guides / used questions you can find. The quizbowl database at www.quizbowldb.com is your best bet here - there's no specific Bible function, but you can go with religion as your subject and practice that way.
Regarding how deep you need to know stuff - that is largely a function of how good you want to get. But be wary of spending too much time on works like The Flounder until you know the more common stuff. In the meantime, I'll send you (and if anyone else is interested, let me know) my resources guide which helps flesh out study strategies in greater detail. Good luck preparing over the summer!
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Re: New Team - Some Questions

Post by Deviant Insider » Wed Jun 20, 2012 12:29 pm

This should take about two hours to get through.
This should take slightly less time.
This is less important than the first two, but Jews like us have more fun reading it.
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Re: New Team - Some Questions

Post by tuscumbiaqb » Wed Jun 20, 2012 1:37 pm

As for becoming competent at questions about the Bible, I would suggest going ahead and reading the entire New Testament (or at least the gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, and the Book of Revelation). It's not a huge investment of time, and after reading it, you'll probably be able to beat even practicing Christians to these questions.
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Re: New Team - Some Questions

Post by jman010295 » Thu Jun 21, 2012 12:21 am

Thank you all for the constructive feedback. Please keep the suggestions coming as I would love to have more general knowledge about the Quizbowl circuit and studying for Quizbowl such as how exactly I should go about doing it.

Sometimes I end up getting stuck by just doing random questions on quizbowldb and not really structuring my practice or researching the questions I get wrong. Also, sometimes I just look at the frequency lists without actually sitting down and going through them, so I somehow need to be more efficient.
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Re: New Team - Some Questions

Post by dtaylor4 » Thu Jun 21, 2012 12:44 am

jman010295 wrote:Sometimes I end up getting stuck by just doing random questions on quizbowldb and not really structuring my practice or researching the questions I get wrong. Also, sometimes I just look at the frequency lists without actually sitting down and going through them, so I somehow need to be more efficient.
If you neg a question, write down the clue you negged on, and go do research. This way, you won't miss that clue next time.

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Re: New Team - Some Questions

Post by jman010295 » Fri Jun 22, 2012 1:14 am

For some reason looking at the frequency list for Literature turns me off and makes me not want to study for Quizbowl because there is simply so much that I have to do this summer. I always tell myself to study and get in front of the computer with my lists, but it always seems daunting and I end up not accomplishing what I want to. Is there any way to increase my efficiency or my motivation so that this does not happen. I really want to become a better Quizbowl player for next year, but right now this mental block seems to be standing in my way.
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Re: New Team - Some Questions

Post by Urech hydantoin synthesis » Fri Jun 22, 2012 2:49 am

jman010295 wrote:For some reason looking at the frequency list for Literature turns me off and makes me not want to study for Quizbowl because there is simply so much that I have to do this summer. I always tell myself to study and get in front of the computer with my lists, but it always seems daunting and I end up not accomplishing what I want to. Is there any way to increase my efficiency or my motivation so that this does not happen. I really want to become a better Quizbowl player for next year, but right now this mental block seems to be standing in my way.
Last year as a freshman, I, too, tried to study with lists (the NAQT You Gotta Know ones), but I ended up knowing most of the content anyway through packet study. If you look at lit questions individually, I think it would appear much less daunting of a task. Personally, I would go with reading HSAPQ questions, since they are very accessible, very numerous, and provide a lot of useful clues. If you jump between different sets frequently (every few packets or so), that can help reinforce clues that you may have learned, since in all likelihood, there will be several questions that mention clues from the previous set. That said, I still learned about some works through lists, so they aren't entirely dispensable.

Wikipedia and Sparknotes are useful if you can't seem to get deeper clues through packet study, and/or if you want more context so that it's easier to learn harder clues.

In addition, if you go through a ton of packets, you can see for yourself what comes up frequently and what doesn't-- to expand on your Gunther Grass example, Cat and Mouse and Dog Years come up all the time in questions about Grass, whereas harder and more obscure works like The Flounder don't come up with nearly as much regularity and common sense would dictate that you spend a lot less time or no time at all on that work (considering your current skill level). If you get burned out by studying from so many packets, you can do what I did and just play each question to get a feel for what clues and answerlines come up, while only making the effort to learn a few clues per packet. Given the volume of available questions, this shouldn't be a problem.
(Of course, you should only follow this advice if packet study works best for you -- last year, a teammate of mine became one of the best players in the state by making and studying flashcards through the summer, whereas I preferred a more direct packet-study method.)
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Re: New Team - Some Questions

Post by Deviant Insider » Fri Jun 22, 2012 11:25 am

You have now started two threads three months apart asking for advice on how to get better at quizbowl, and you have gotten a lot of good advice. Some of the advice will work for you, and some of it won't. Only you can figure out what works for you. Nobody from this forum is going to come to your house and hold your hand while you learn things.

At this point, you have three options:
A. Learn more
B. Continue playing quizbowl at the level you're at
C. Find a new hobby

99.99% of American high school students will not improve at quizbowl during the summer. If you want to be part of that group, then you have that right. If you don't want to be in that group, then figure out a way to improve and sit down and do it.
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Re: New Team - Some Questions

Post by tintinnabulation » Fri Jun 22, 2012 12:46 pm

jman010295 wrote:For some reason looking at the frequency list for Literature turns me off and makes me not want to study for Quizbowl because there is simply so much that I have to do this summer. I always tell myself to study and get in front of the computer with my lists, but it always seems daunting and I end up not accomplishing what I want to. Is there any way to increase my efficiency or my motivation so that this does not happen. I really want to become a better Quizbowl player for next year, but right now this mental block seems to be standing in my way.
Something that help me osmosis things a little bit is to put a small list of short bits of info (like author-work, composer-work, stock clues, etc.) around my room/bathroom (on the mirror, on the dresser, near the bed) so when I'm standing there for a few seconds, my eyes wander over the information. Over a week or two or three, I can memorize the information with minimal effort. Of course, this is no substitute for real studying, but if you want to learn the title/authors off of the frequency list, this is an easy way to start.
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Re: New Team - Some Questions

Post by Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant » Fri Jun 22, 2012 1:17 pm

Christ, I Know wrote:Personally, I would go with reading HSAPQ questions, since they are very accessible, very numerous, and provide a lot of useful clues. If you jump between different sets frequently (every few packets or so), that can help reinforce clues that you may have learned, since in all likelihood, there will be several questions that mention clues from the previous set.
The value of the Quizbowl Central reader for this purpose cannot be stressed enough.
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Re: New Team - Some Questions

Post by Great Bustard » Sun Jun 24, 2012 1:39 am

jman010295 wrote:For some reason looking at the frequency list for Literature turns me off and makes me not want to study for Quizbowl because there is simply so much that I have to do this summer. I always tell myself to study and get in front of the computer with my lists, but it always seems daunting and I end up not accomplishing what I want to. Is there any way to increase my efficiency or my motivation so that this does not happen. I really want to become a better Quizbowl player for next year, but right now this mental block seems to be standing in my way.
Go to ACE camp (www.acequizbowlcamp.com) in Ohio or Tennesse if you can. They probably still have space. Four Ridgewood kids and I are going to the OH camp (I'll be at TN too), so there will be a greater NYC presence there. Having gone last year, it can be a huge help, and a lot more fun then computer study (though you should do that too).
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