How do I study for quizbowl in a fun way?

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MalcolmDSouza40
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How do I study for quizbowl in a fun way?

Post by MalcolmDSouza40 »

Hi, I am an incoming high school freshman looking for quizbowl advice. I participated in Middle School Quizbowl from grades 6-8, and was one of the better players on my team, and a bit above average during tournaments. However, High School Quizbowl will obviously be much harder, so I am trying to prepare in advance. Recently, I calculated the NAQT High School Quizbowl subject distribution, and decided to focus on four categories: literature, geography, mythology, and religion. However, because I have a LOT of ground to cover, I want to make sure that I am enjoying this and having fun studying and preparing. I was just wondering if anyone has any ideas for how to study these specific subject areas in a fun way. To give you a little background of things that I don't find particularly stimulating, I don't really like simply just reading questions, packets, or articles. Thanks in advance!
Malcolm D'Souza
St. Charles Preparatory School '24

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Cheynem
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Re: How do I study for quizbowl in a fun way?

Post by Cheynem »

This is a good question, but I wonder if a moderator might want to move this to a more appropriate forum.

Indeed! Moved from Community Discussion to Theory - Mgmt
Mike Cheyne
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nickdai
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Re: How do I study for quizbowl in a fun way?

Post by nickdai »

One of the most common review methods is carding, which is basically putting common clues from quizdb into flashcards and then repeatedly reviewing them. Two guides on how to card can be found here and here. A separate less specific studying guide can be found here.

Carding by itself is not very enjoyable, at least for me, so to get into the more specific topic of how to make studying fun is a different story. Personally I have a hard time focusing or being motivated to study, so I found a few Anki add-ons to help me. Anki is probably my most recommended carding application, as it is extremely versatile and useful (though slightly difficult to learn how to use). You can download third party anki add-ons to aid with studying, which help you gain points or in-game items when you review cards, such as Habitaca, an RPG game, or Pokimanki, a Pokemon game for Anki. Of course, these games still aren’t the most fun compared to other games out there, but at least it’s some added motivation for studying.

I understand that studying isn’t always the most fun, so honestly it really depends on what categories you enjoy. I spent a whole summer trying to learn literature last year but because I did not enjoy it at that time, I couldn’t learn it. Meanwhile, I found religion as a category I liked so I quickly learned that in very little time. You should focus on studying the categories that you enjoy.

This isn’t a really good answer, and there will probably be other responses from more experienced Quizbowlers in this thread, but I hope this can still somewhat be of a help to you.
Nicholas "Nick" Dai
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Black Mountain Middle School '17
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Re: How do I study for quizbowl in a fun way?

Post by whatamidoinghere »

MalcolmDSouza40 wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 5:59 pm
Hi, I am an incoming high school freshman looking for quizbowl advice. I participated in Middle School Quizbowl from grades 6-8, and was one of the better players on my team, and a bit above average during tournaments. However, High School Quizbowl will obviously be much harder, so I am trying to prepare in advance. Recently, I calculated the NAQT High School Quizbowl subject distribution, and decided to focus on four categories: literature, geography, mythology, and religion. However, because I have a LOT of ground to cover, I want to make sure that I am enjoying this and having fun studying and preparing. I was just wondering if anyone has any ideas for how to study these specific subject areas in a fun way. To give you a little background of things that I don't find particularly stimulating, I don't really like simply just reading questions, packets, or articles. Thanks in advance!
A good way (which I used and continue to use to an extent) is to just make quizbowl studying (i.e. just spending time reading Wikipedia/what have you) a daily habit. Especially for literature, if you really like reading books or poems or plays, spending your free time reading is quite useful. Contrary to Nick's views, I don't believe carding is a very good way to enter into studying literature as it is indeed terribly boring, and no amount of add-ons will change that. However, making reading (either wikipedia or books) a natural habit in your free time leads to a lot of improvement, and plus you won't even consider it as time spent studying (which carries a lot of negative stigma).
Avinash Iyer
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vinteuil
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Re: How do I study for quizbowl in a fun way?

Post by vinteuil »

nickdai wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:13 pm
One of the most common review methods is carding
I think most "carding people" will agree with this, exactly as worded: carding is a good review method, but not often the best way to learn.
Jacob Reed (he/him/his)
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Re: How do I study for quizbowl in a fun way?

Post by Subotai the Valiant, Final Dog of War »

I have found that truly engaging with material taught in classes is a great and easy way to become at least above average regionally at most categories, although unfortunately none of the categories you've named are really taught in school (not to worry; this will make you good at the other categories in addition to the specialized studying you do!).

Oftentimes, multiple players on a given school's team have taken a very similar version of the same curriculum. But not all of their curriculum-knowledge buzzes are buzzer races; indeed, quite often they are not. Who gets the question? Usually, the one who thought and cared more about the class.

Try to think beyond the curriculum, look for comprehension, search up terms that aren't super clearly defined, delve into details that are passed by or used as examples that intrigue you, etc. I find that just keeping a curious mind, an open mind, will get you both broader knowledge (since you're going beyond what your class officially is) and will help you remember what you do in class by means of more contact and understanding of the material. And this comes very organically; one has to take the class anyhow, so might as well use that small extra effort to try more while taking it. Of course, every school's classes are different. However, just paying more attention in whatever classes one does have will at least make one a useful player on those categories on one's own team, which is a good starting point.
Daniel, Hunter College High School '19, Yale '23

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nickdai
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Re: How do I study for quizbowl in a fun way?

Post by nickdai »

vinteuil wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:39 pm
nickdai wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:13 pm
One of the most common review methods is carding
I think most "carding people" will agree with this, exactly as worded: carding is a good review method, but not often the best way to learn.
That is my bad. I should have emphasized that in my post. Jacob Reed is entirely correct. My comment was made under the assumption that you already have somewhat of a knowledge basis, but if you still are looking to establish a foundation in the high school canon, rather than review material or develop deeper understanding, Daniel and Avinash’s advice is probably more effective than mine.
Nicholas "Nick" Dai
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Black Mountain Middle School '17
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aurochs-and-angels
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Re: How do I study for quizbowl in a fun way?

Post by aurochs-and-angels »

I would advise against committing to specific subject specialties before Freshman year, as your intellectual interests will be transformed greatly throughout high school in all sorts of wacky and unpredictable ways (especially if you play Quizbowl!). Instead, study whatever interests you in the moment, and see where that leads you.

You say you’re interested in literature. I’d say an accessible, quick, and fun place to start would be reading some of the canon of short stories. Pick a few of the authors at the top of this list (https://www.ranker.com/list/best-short- ... nker-books), and see which ones’ stories interest/bore you. For the ones whose stories you like, read a few more. Maybe browse their wikipedia page and see what else they’re famous for. Find authors of a similar movement/era and explore those, too.

Also, everything is interdisciplinary. If you read Conrad, you might fall into a rabbit hole and start reading about colonialism. If you really enjoy Sartre’s famous play No Exit, you’ll inevitably be sucked into Camus, and find yourself now squarely in philosophy reading The Myth of Sisyphus (hey, that’s some mythology knowledge too!). Basically, authentic engagement with subjects is exciting, never ending, and has the bonus of being enriching in many other aspects of life.

There’s also the itch to just learn a whole bunch of facts to git gud as fast as possible, and there’s certainly fun Quiz Bowl-centric ways to do this aside from flashcards and packets:

1. The NAQT website has recordings of Nationals matches from the last couple of years (https://www.naqt.com/podcasts/). The ones marked “small school” are the best to start with, as they’re the same difficulty as the normal NAQT question sets you’ll play over the year. Early on, you might be bamboozled by the speed of the game / skill of the teams, but you get used to it! Pay close attention to your subjects, and over time you’ll start to acquire a sense for the things which come up a lot. It starts to become especially fun as you improve and start knowing more and more things before everyone else in the game. Also, listening to these while running is the only thing that got me to practice for Cross Country…

2. Protobowl (https://protobowl.com)!?!?!? Protobowl is some website where you can buzz against other people online in real time. Check it out, though it’s only really fun if you make a separate room to practice with your friends/teammates. You won’t gain much genuine knowledge from mindlessly playing this, but it’ll help you gain a decent conception of what regular difficulty high school questions in your categories may look like and clearly was fun enough to get non-Quiz Bowl people from my school to play along some time back.

3. If you bookmark this exact link, (http://www.quizdb.org/?query=&difficult ... igh_school) then any time you hear about or learn something at school, you can immediately search how many times it's been an answer in high school Quiz Bowl and the sort of stuff that’s typically included in questions. This is great in conjunction with what Daniel explained about actually being curious about what you’re learning in school, and is one of these very helpful “daily habits” that can be ingrained that Avinash discussed. If you’re learning about some president in AP US History, famous experiments in psychology class, or a biblical figure in your religious studies course, look them up and see if there’s questions about them! Maybe I’m alone here, but I find searching for a pyramidal Quiz Bowl question on a specific topic a rather fun way to get a quick, albeit superficial, glimpse into the topic’s most salient details.

Also, if short stories aren’t your thing, I would encourage you to dive into reading plays instead. From the first introductory packet in your Freshman year until Senior year Nationals, the same plays will show up again and again. They’re also usually not too long or inaccessible, and you can even watch some of them on YouTube. If you establish a habit of, say, reading a play every week, then you’ll reap significant long term benefits. To start, any/all of these (https://www.naqt.com/you-gotta-know/american-plays.html) are worth buying/renting from the library/torrenting online :)
Kris Noori
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Re: How do I study for quizbowl in a fun way?

Post by alexdz »

Something you can consider, that would also help your teammates, is to do little mini-research adventures on topics you discover. So say, for example, you find out about a mythological figure you want to learn more about. Instead of just reading an article about them on your own, put together a slideshow of like 5-6 slides with important information about them in an organized way. You can bullet point things, include images, etc.

If you can get your teammates doing something similar, and put all your slideshows into a Google Drive or something like that, then you've got a team repository of all kinds of mini-projects that you can look at. Plus because you've actually created something, you're more likely to remember it than from just reading the same information.
Alex Dzurick
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