What do you think of this study method?

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New York Undercover
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What do you think of this study method?

Post by New York Undercover » Sat Aug 15, 2009 1:00 am

Back when I was preparing for Texas academic challenge state "championship", I decided that since my team sucked at music and I am in orchestra, it was my job to learn as much about composers as I could in a week. I think I did a reasonably decent job considering my qb experience (little to none).. my method for learning was basically to memorize works by composers, and for some, little interesting tidbits of information. Yeah, that's pretty meh but it's worked ok on the HSAPQ packets I've gone through so far (I can usually get a decent middle clue, 20 a bonus, etc). I know this screws me on questions about pieces themselves, and I'll be super-screwed in college, but it is reasonably workable at the stage I am now.
What I first did to study was create a bunch of flash cards, composer on one side, and country of origin and a number of works on the other side. I realized after a while though, that I could figure out a composer just by the layout of the back of the flash card... even if i tried covering some information up, etc, I was often able to identify the flash card itself.
So, I wrote a program. It's decent at doing what I wanted it to do. In a data file, I put all the composers, and under them (essentially in bullets), I put all the clues I wanted to know, and each clue has a weight. The weight determines how likely the clue is to come up first, and I made it a number between 0 and 1 depending on how well I knew that clue (easy clues were .05 or .1, difficult clues maybe .8). Then, in a pretty nice graphical interface, my program randomly selects a composer from the file, and with weight, randomly selects a clue from the list under the composer. If I don't know it, it'll give me another clue, up to 5, after which it just tells me the answer, and then moves on to the next composer.
I know that this is kind of a "fake" way to study, but my memory is pretty bad, and I did decent wiki research for some composers and it didn't work that well in terms of actually remembering stuff. Playing my program a lot at least helped me learn some of the difficult clues. I stopped using it after I started reading packets, but I'm considering starting to use it again, searching through the packets on my desktop for clues I didn't already have, and weighting them based on where they are in the question. I might even do this for authors because it's kinda hard to just suddenly read lots of books.
What do you think? I will continue to read packets, but I think it might be ok for some focused subject practice.

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at your pleasure
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Re: What do you think of this study method?

Post by at your pleasure » Sat Aug 15, 2009 1:12 am

It does not seem terribly efficient for learning new stuff, but it can help to have what you have already learned rienforced. I know that I lose a lot of points to the "aagh, I have heard of this but I can't pull the name" syndrome, and your method may help with that. However, reading a bunch of questions on one thing from the packet archives would also help with said syndrome.
Douglas Graebner, Walt Whitman HS 10, Uchicago 14
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TheKingInYellow
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Re: What do you think of this study method?

Post by TheKingInYellow » Sat Aug 15, 2009 12:21 pm

When our music player was going to miss a tournament, I did this to a certain extent. Worked fine for the short term, especially with a fairly limited-at-the-high-school-level subject, like music. But long term it's probably not the way to go
Graham Moyer
State College 2011
Harvard 2015

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AlphaQuizBowler
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Re: What do you think of this study method?

Post by AlphaQuizBowler » Sat Aug 15, 2009 12:40 pm

There are some programs that will make flashcards for you. Look for one with spaced repition-basically what you're doing with the weighting, but the software has an algorithm that adjusts the spacing based on how well you know it.
William
Alpharetta High School '11
Harvard '15

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cornfused
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Re: What do you think of this study method?

Post by cornfused » Sat Aug 15, 2009 1:06 pm

Greg Peterson

Northwestern University '18
Lawrence University '11
Maine South HS '07

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ClemsonQB
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Re: What do you think of this study method?

Post by ClemsonQB » Sat Aug 15, 2009 2:18 pm

Studying methods like this take a lot of work (which is mainly reviewing what you know), but I've found nothing more effective. I did read packets to get the information to make the flashcards, though.
George Stevens

Dorman High School 2008
Clemson University 2012

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Re: What do you think of this study method?

Post by New York Undercover » Sun Aug 16, 2009 8:53 pm

ClemsonQB wrote:Studying methods like this take a lot of work (which is mainly reviewing what you know), but I've found nothing more effective. I did read packets to get the information to make the flashcards, though.
Well I guess my problem is what I "know". I can read questions about a topic and even research about the topic but I'll forget it soon enough.

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