What to do to improve for history

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What to do to improve for history

Postby Empiral » Wed Jul 20, 2016 3:59 am

Since it's the summer and I have a lot of free time on my hands, I have resorted to reading history books. It does kind of get inefficient though. What strategies have you used other than studying old packets - which I do - to improve for history?

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Re: What to do to improve for history

Postby 2017 in amusement parks » Thu Jul 21, 2016 8:12 pm

I generally just use Wikipedia in conjunction with packets. Wikipedia is awesome, and the method works pretty well.
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Re: What to do to improve for history

Postby J. Young » Fri Jul 22, 2016 4:50 am

I use spaced repetition software, but most of my studying is from reading history books.
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Re: What to do to improve for history

Postby RexSueciae » Fri Jul 22, 2016 8:55 pm

Read a book, then read another. This goes faster if you're genuinely interested in the subject.

Develop a canon list of important things to learn. For example, go through every American president and note the important things that happened during each administration, or divide a topic into time periods and list the notable things from each era. Learn those things.

Think about what questions you remember from past tournaments. If you have been missing questions on a particular subcategory, you should study that subcategory.

Wikipedia's good for middle clues, topics with articles that are really in-depth, and questions whose writers are lazy and foolish. Britannica is more reliable.

Packet study is useful to get a feel for a canon and to collect middle-to-late clues, but people who learn their knowledge entirely from packets develop a skewed sense of their subject.
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Re: What to do to improve for history

Postby AKKOLADE » Fri Jul 22, 2016 9:22 pm

There's only three things to do in the digital world: wow look a pie chart; digital style; do a digital history studying.

The best thing you can do is read things about what you want to learn, and take notes of things that are clue-worthy. There's lots of pages about history out there beyond Wikipedia; just find 'em and read em. There's a good thread about textbooks somewhere around here, in addition to this one: viewtopic.php?f=30&t=6928
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Re: What to do to improve for history

Postby cchiego » Fri Jul 22, 2016 9:50 pm

Last week I asked a couple of top quizbowl players this very question. Here's the podcast of the three of us talking about various strategies for improving at history.
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Re: What to do to improve for history

Postby Empiral » Sat Jul 23, 2016 7:45 am

J. Young wrote:I use spaced repetition software, but most of my studying is from reading history books.


What books have helped you the most?

Also, my weakest is at American history, being not American myself. What books would you recommend for the "hot" American topics like the Revolution, the Civil War, and the Reconstruction Era?
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Re: What to do to improve for history

Postby J. Young » Sun Jul 24, 2016 4:39 am

Empiral wrote:
J. Young wrote:I use spaced repetition software, but most of my studying is from reading history books.


What books have helped you the most?

Also, my weakest is at American history, being not American myself. What books would you recommend for the "hot" American topics like the Revolution, the Civil War, and the Reconstruction Era?

Revolution: McCollough's 1776, Ketchum's Saratoga, Fischer's Washington's Crossing, Ketchum's Victory at Yorktown
Civil War: Sandburg's Abraham Lincoln: The War Years
Reconstruction: Foner's Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution
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Re: What to do to improve for history

Postby Skepticism and Animal Feed » Sun Jul 24, 2016 8:47 am

If you want to learn a specific time period that you are not very familiar with, I found it useful to read multiple books on the same topic, and seeing what gets mentioned in multiple books. Also a helpful way to not get misled by the various biases (or pet theories/viewpoints of the author) that books can have.

Ultimately there is no shortcut to the fact that you have to read things to get better.

I could list my favorite books for each time period / region (and I'm pretty sure in old threads I have), but honestly there are a million books on every history subject and probably thousands of them are good for quizbowl purposes - the ones I'd recommend were probably selected for being on a shelf near me or being on sale at the time I was looking. Don't stress out about finding the right book, just get words in front of you and if there's anything the book mentions but doesn't explain look it up online.
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