What/How To Study

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Thenerdyjew
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What/How To Study

Post by Thenerdyjew »

Hello!
I'm new to this forum, and Quiz Bowl in general, so excuse me if me questions appear incredibly stupid.

So basically,
I'm a Freshman, and I have absolutely no idea what to study. My first tournament was yesterday, and I only averaged something like 10 points per game... Most of my points came from what I had previously known before even starting QB.
What should I be studying? I tried studying some literature and some other things on the "You Gotta Know," but they never came up in practice, so I got really discouraged! One of my coaches recommended me to writing questions, but I don't know enough about anything to really write a paragraph-long question on a certain subject. Even more than how I should be studying is WHAT I should be studying. I have no idea what's considered important or not. I could think of a billion things to know: Norse Mythology, Shakespeare, Equilibrium, RNA, World Capitals, State Birds, etc. The list goes on an on. I don't have a problem actually putting in the time to study: the problem is just that I have no idea what to study at all. Bottom line is: how should I study most efficiently and what should I study.
Thank you to all people who reply!!
Ben Cohen
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Masked Canadian History Bandit
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Re: What/How To Study

Post by Masked Canadian History Bandit »

A good way to get a sense of what's asked about in the quizbowl "canon" is by reading older packets:
http://www.quizbowlpackets.com/
http://quizbowl.stanford.edu/archive/

Also, check out the exhaustive discussion on good study material on this very forum:
http://www.hsquizbowl.org/forums/viewto ... f=3&t=8159
Patrick Liao
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anderson
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Re: What/How To Study

Post by anderson »

Although I'm a junior, I was also only introduced to quiz bowl this year, so I'm in a similar position. Most of what I'm going to say probably seems obvious already, but oh well.

For me, pretty much all of my studying has been reading through packets+looking interesting things up on wikipedia. I'm into literature and art, so if I come upon a toss-up about a book, I'll usually look up that book on wikipedia/sparknotes and read through the plot summary, characters, themes, etc. Similarly, if I see a question about a painting, I'll look it up on wikipedia and read about it, its painter, interpretations of it, etc. Just by doing this, I felt that I was decently prepared for my first tournament 2 weeks ago (got 50 ppg and our team went 4-2).

I think the important thing is to mainly study topics that you are interested in. If you hate science, forcing yourself to read articles on scientists/theories obviously isn't a good idea, although if you read enough packets, there are some things that pop up enough times so that you'll get a general knowledge about them anyways. Reading through the You Gotta Know lists that seem interesting and looking into them some more would help, but you should definitely go through some packets. There are enough of them on quizbowlpackets.com to last for a very long time, so yeah. Reading a toss-up and then looking it up in more detail if it seems interesting is, for me, definitely a good way to study.
I haven't gotten any specific books to study for quiz bowl yet, but I imagine reading a comprehensive book on, say, Greek mythology, would be helpful.

As to what you should be studying, reading through enough packets will also give you a general idea (pretty much what the poster above me said). For example, state birds generally aren't useful, since the only time they would be used are in U.S. geography questions, which are fairly rare. In fact, I don't think I've seen a single toss-up on a U.S. state that has mentioned its state bird.

Good luck in your quiz bowl endeavors throughout the year!
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Re: What/How To Study

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed »

Don't forget to attend practice and play tournaments. You will learn things just from hearing questions.

Also get a notebook, and write down the answers to questions you miss. Then look them up. Also write down clues that you find interesting and look those up.
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Re: What/How To Study

Post by Unicolored Jay »

Don't worry about writing questions if you're just beginning. I don't think anyone can write a question using just his or her head anyway. (I look up everything I write on)

The best way to begin studying is to study whatever your favorite subject is (or whatever they are). For example I primarily studied classical music and mythology when I first started because I liked those subjects the most. When you read through packets pay extra attention to any questions on subjects you like, looking up the subject at times to get a better understanding. Books will help as well; I believe someone posted the link to the topic that had a lot of them. I can definitely attribute to my strength in mythology from reading lots of books and online articles on that subject alone.
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Re: What/How To Study

Post by WSchneider »

As for how to study. Don't underestimate the usefulness of textbooks. While you're just beginning, a book on say, classical mythology can go a long way in establishing a knowledge about the subject. While this may not give you a "Power-level" understanding of Dionysus, it will at least enable you to buzz in on the last line of ANY clue in that field. From there you just work up basically
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Re: What/How To Study

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo »

Nothing beats packet study for someone who just wants a basic knowledge of the quizbowl canon and doesn't know where to start. I specifically suggest studying the bonus questions as that can help you on that type and also give you good clues that come up in tossups about those topics too. I personally find answering bonus questions much easier than tossups; i'm at the point where i anticipate the answers coming up now about lots of topics just because i've read/seen so many bonus questions nowadays (i.e. "oh, another bonus on the Grant Administration, well i bet the Credit Mobilier scandal or the Whiskey Ring (or both) are going to be answers, or maybe something harder like the Treaty of Washington").
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centralhs
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Re: What/How To Study

Post by centralhs »

What should I be studying? I tried studying some literature and some other things on the "You Gotta Know," but they never came up in practice, so I got really discouraged!
Don't get discouraged just because the things you studied didn't come up at your very first tournament. They will come up eventually and you will be glad that you learned them.
Also get a notebook, and write down the answers to questions you miss. Then look them up. Also write down clues that you find interesting and look those up.
If only I could convince all of my students to do this! These simple steps are absolutely essential, I think, if you want to increase your knowledge.
Cathy Hirsch
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Re: What/How To Study

Post by Sykology »

Can somebody please recommend a book that would be helpful for someone looking to become the primary mythology player on a high school team? I know very little about mythology, and unfortunately, the same can be said for the other players on our team. Somebody needs to step up and learn about mythology and I am going to try. I am also looking to improve at lit. I know this is a stupid question, but what books would you recommend I read asap? Also, I like fine arts questions and plan to become a better player in that area, is there any good books that cover that subject area in a very macroscopic sense that you could recommend? Thanks.
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Re: What/How To Study

Post by Masked Canadian History Bandit »

Sykology wrote:Can somebody please recommend a book that would be helpful for someone looking to become the primary mythology player on a high school team?
See the link to the thread on useful books on Quizbowl that I linked to in the second post. There are some very useful mythology books mentioned in there.
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Re: What/How To Study

Post by Tale of Mac Datho's Pachycephalosaur »

Take this for what it's worth:
Carangoides ciliarius wrote:Nothing beats packet study for someone who just wants a basic knowledge of the quizbowl canon and doesn't know where to start.
As a relative newbie myself, I hold that the Stanford Archive is probably the best centralized source for questions. However, I learn best from a tournament environment, which is why I prefer to study with teammates. One interesting practice idea (dunno if this actually works or not) is to do a team practice with a tournament packet, then come back to it several weeks or a month later to improve retention. Is seems plausible that it might help, but I haven't tested it out.

Also, I can agree that An Incomplete Education is a decent starter resource. However, the density of relevant material is highly variable from section to section, and sometimes the tone gets in the way of the information. It's good light reading too.
WSchneider wrote:As for how to study. Don't underestimate the usefulness of textbooks. While you're just beginning, a book on say, classical mythology can go a long way in establishing a knowledge about the subject. While this may not give you a "Power-level" understanding of Dionysus, it will at least enable you to buzz in on the last line of ANY clue in that field. From there you just work up basically
Certainly true. My old AP European history text, A History of the Modern World, was a godsend. It's dry and not very pretty, but it is my best friend, especially the condensed timelines in back. You can probably get an old edition cheap (I got mine free because the school was throwing 'em out).

I can't speak to the universal quality, but Dover Publications sells treatises on specific topics very inexpensively, which may be handy for studying specific topics (their science and maths books are large and very academically-toned, but info-dense).

Also, "God Created the Integers," by Stephen Hawking (and for that matter, anything else by Stephen Hawking, Leonard Mlodinow, or Michio Kaku) is good prep for more qualitative science questions. GCTI is more academic (it has original mathematical texts), but somewhat useful.
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