Science Bowl (format discussion)

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tedwilliams1999
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Science Bowl (format discussion)

Post by tedwilliams1999 »

Well science bowl is coming up...any one here taking part in that? We've pretty much been practicing only science bowl, and as a result we get nearly every science and math question at scholastic bowl meets...of course every other category suffers a little.
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Post by theMoMA »

Science bowl is quite possibly the most annoying format in existance. I've played Pat's Press, MN knowledge bowl, and :chip:, but nothing compares to the soul pain that science bowl causes.
sweaver
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Post by sweaver »

Really? Because of the no bounce-back rule? Or the multiple choice format?
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rchschem
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Post by rchschem »

Yes.

Or maybe the rule about pre-emptive answers having to be verbatim what's on the moderator's answer sheet even if they are by all accounts correct. I guess they need to preserve the excitement of reading ALL FOUR CHOICES!
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Post by STPickrell »

It would be nice if a former QB player eventually got the G-14 or whatever it is position at DOE that oversees the program.
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rchschem
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Post by rchschem »

Man. Quiz bowl on the government dole. What a dream job!
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Post by NotBhan »

rchschem wrote:Yes.

Or maybe the rule about pre-emptive answers having to be verbatim what's on the moderator's answer sheet even if they are by all accounts correct. I guess they need to preserve the excitement of reading ALL FOUR CHOICES!
Do they let you answer, say, "D," or do you have to say the specific wording of the multiple choice answer?
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Post by theMoMA »

NotBhan wrote:
rchschem wrote:Yes.

Or maybe the rule about pre-emptive answers having to be verbatim what's on the moderator's answer sheet even if they are by all accounts correct. I guess they need to preserve the excitement of reading ALL FOUR CHOICES!
Do they let you answer, say, "D," or do you have to say the specific wording of the multiple choice answer?
They actually use W,X,Y, and Z for the multiple choice answers, but yes, you can say only the letter. What rchschem is referring to is that if the question is "Who discovered Ganymede?" and the multiple choice option is Galileo Galilei, and you buzz in early and say just Galileo, you are WRONG! Who invented the microscope? Uh oh! Is it going to be "Leeuwenhoek" or "von Leeuwenhoek" or "Anton von Leeuwenhoek"? This is the kind of dilemma that an academic competition should never mandate.

As if it weren't enough to have multiple choice--the worst type of tossup in the world--Science Bowl must go out of its way to make the rules incredibly rigid, unbending, and anti-knowledge. Then throw in the strict you-must-be-prompted rule (a rule that will not, I can tell you, EVER be thrown out because of moderator incompetence, no matter how gross. One time the scorer instead of the moderator prompted our team, then the moderator proceeded to throw out the correct answer because HE didn't prompt us. Another time, the moderator kept forgetting to prompt, and any effort by us to make him prompt us would result in a blurt. This may have cost us two matches at NATIONALS, and almost certainly cost us a berth the playoffs.), the strange point values heavily favoring format over knowledge, and the really horrible answer selection--1/2 of the answers are not things that should be asked about ever (if you need multiple choice just so high schoolers know what it is, you've written a bad question), and you have the worst format in the world.

Also, they make the nationals questions ungodly hard, so you will undoubtedly play 2 or 3 epic 40-34 point matches. My high school team averaged about 100 points in the state double-elim playoffs (harder than the round robin questions) and probably averaged half that at nationals. The questions have such esoteric answer selection that good guessers are at a premium if you haven't been nearly exclusively studying for science bowl. And even then it's important to remember two important things: First, that if you know the answer to a multiple choice question, but are afraid of getting the format wrong for a blurt, wait for the first option to be read to get the format. Example: if you know the answer is Kepler, wait for the first answer to be "Isaac Newton" so you know they're looking for first and last name. Then you can buzz in and say "Johannes Kepler". They generally keep the name formatting the same throughout the multiple choice answers, so this is a safe way to get points.

Another suggestion I have for you is that on a multiple choice question where the answer is a number, they will give them in ascending or decending order USUALLY. If no one on your team knows it, wait til the end of the question, then guess one of the interior (X or Y) options, using your best judgment about whether the answer is more likely to be higher or lower. The interior answers are almost always right. It's a little trick of Science Bowl I like to call Hart's Law. If you have a good feel for whether the answer should be higher or lower, you can get questions like this that would normally go unanswered about 70-80% of the time. It really works.

Then again, I'm more of a quiz bowl kid who knew just enough science to tag along to Washington DC as the 2nd or 3rd scoring option.

Hope this answers any questions you HSers might have about Science Bowl.

At the end of the day, it's a horrible format, but it's still worth it for the competition, the learning, and of course, the chance to go to DC.
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Post by rchschem »

And moderator incompetence abounds. My team lost a match once because the question asked for the name for the Southern Lights. The other team buzzed in pre-emptively and said "Aurora", and it was accepted despite our protest AND that the answer given on the page was Aurora Australis.

So even when you think you have the rules working in your favor, you don't. It's as frustrating as NC Public Library Quiz Bowl, where to paraphrase Einstein, chance favors no one.
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Post by brasso »

That reminds me of the regional competition last year. We played a team twice in the championship double elimination rounds, and both times they managed to beat us by guessing on several tossups and bonuses. But then again, in the morning rounds, when the questions were slightly easier, we beat them by over a 100 points. Science bowl can get frustrating at times but I think that overall it favors those who have an in depth understanding of science, rather than those who simply memorize glossaries.

Quiz bowl science tossups seem to be easier than science bowl tossups as well. Our entire quiz bowl team is also on the science bowl team, and we have also dedicated all of our time to preparing for the science bowl regional. When it was time for a regular scholastic bowl tournament, we nearly swept every team in the science categories.

Does anyone have any tips for science bowl? Certain things that come up more than others, or just some basic strategies. We have been holding weekly practices; physics monday, chemistry tuesday, etc. Thus far we have been working on memorizing hundreds of terms, with the hope that the concepts will stick once the terms are known.
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Post by sweaver »

That's hard to say. Different tournaments seem to have different emphases, some seem to be about 50% biology, others weighted to earth science. They are supposed to be about evenly weighted between the (now 7) divisions, That doesn't always happen, apparently depending on who is writing/editing the questions.
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Post by First Chairman »

Ugh... that would be awfully annoying.

I would also say practice on old questions if they are available. Are they available???

The alternative (may I also say required suggestion) is try to write your own questions based on the practice questions. Don't do it intentionally to stump each other.
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Post by theMoMA »

E.T. Chuck wrote:Ugh... that would be awfully annoying.

I would also say practice on old questions if they are available. Are they available???

The alternative (may I also say required suggestion) is try to write your own questions based on the practice questions. Don't do it intentionally to stump each other.
I believe you can get science bowl questions on the Dept. of Energy site.

http://www.scied.science.doe.gov/nsb/samplqs.htm

I think you can order more, but I'm not sure how to go about it.
Philip Marschall
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Post by Philip Marschall »

Science Bowl is terrible. I had forgotten how not fun the format and the questions are.

The best part of the tournament was the rules meeting before the tournament when the tournament director asked of the audience, "Why doesn't anyone want to come to our tournament?"
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Definitely not "quality"

Post by TheLou »

Science Bowl questions are not the typical format. I agree that the multiple choice component needs to be eliminated.

Any other tips I can get to be competitive at Nationals? (Our team is all freshmen).
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Re: Definitely not "quality"

Post by theMoMA »

TheLou wrote:Science Bowl questions are not the typical format. I agree that the multiple choice component needs to be eliminated.

Any other tips I can get to be competitive at Nationals? (Our team is all freshmen).
If you're all freshmen, you might have problems with things that freshmen haven't taken yet, like physics. I'd consider brushing up on that. But honestly, the teams that are good at science bowl put in so much time with the format that you're at a severe disadvantage already. My advice would be to read this site on glaciers (it will get you easy points for about an hour and a half of work) and then hope for the best. If you make the playoffs, great. If not, don't worry. I played on a damn good team, but we experienced some moderator incompetence, made a few mistakes, and went 2-4-1, missing the playoffs by one tie. Point is, Science bowl is a horrible format that doesn't always reward the best teams, and you've already proven a lot by making nationals.
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Post by First Chairman »

"Proven" or "overcome"? :razz: :cool:
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