History Player

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Amethyst
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History Player

Post by Amethyst » Thu Jul 02, 2015 11:25 pm

Hi! I was a science specialist in high school, and I want to branch out in college and start studying history so I can contribute more to my team. How do you guys suggest studying. So far, I've been Quinterest studying and reading older packets. Does anyone know any other ways to study history?
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Re: History Player

Post by 1992 in spaceflight » Fri Jul 03, 2015 12:03 am

Reading biographies and survey textbooks is how I've gained most of my history knowledge (and still gets me points to this day).

I'd recommend minoring (or majoring too, but I'm guessing you don't want to major in history) in history, so that way you would have to take some survey courses.

If you can fit it in, take some advanced courses or courses that pike your interest.
Last edited by 1992 in spaceflight on Sat Jul 04, 2015 2:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: History Player

Post by 1.82 » Fri Jul 03, 2015 12:08 am

Read books.
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Re: History Player

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Fri Jul 03, 2015 12:26 am

Governor General's Foot Guards wrote:Read books.
In particular, it's useful to read books with a relatively large historical "sweep" across an area of focus -- now that you're out of high school (and presumably have outgrown a textbook which purports to merely be about European History or American History or what-have-you), think about what a book on British history, or the Roman Republic, or Europe since 1945, etc. can do for you to buff you up to decent-specialist level on particular segments of history-at-large.
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Re: History Player

Post by The Atom Strikes! » Fri Jul 03, 2015 11:47 am

Start with something like a standard world history textbook, then pick up survey texts that cover broad swathes of history at roughly the country or civilization-level. The good thing about history as a quizbowl topic is that its elements interrelate, so the more you learn, the easier you will find it to remember other things (which is why almost all great quizbowl generalists are also good history players)-- just make sure that you develop a solid framework first.


(An amusing side note: I've found that quizbowl has been invaluable to me in my post-circuit-retirement career as an academic historian. Being able to instantly contextualize just about anything I encountered or read about is really helpful, as is having enough background knowledge about just about everything to ask historians outside your specialization informed questions about their work, which both helps you get more useful information and makes you look really smart.)
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Re: History Player

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Fri Jul 03, 2015 12:05 pm

I'll also endorse rather broad-based survey books as a way of gaining the most important baseline knowledge you need when playing on history questions - senses of place and chronology. Figuring out the "when" and "where" in a history question gets you to the "who" and "what" that the question is asking about much more easily; this is especially pronounced in history questions, where it isn't always easy to make one-to-one mappings of facts to answers (Charlemagne is "associated with" a ton of things - knowing that alone won't really help you unless the answer is just Charlemagne!)

If you don't have the benefit background of something like AP World or AP Euro (and, of course, paying attention to the material in those classes!) or other such broad-based background, I would highly endorse Henry's recommendation of reading a survey of world history before you delve into any specifics. I was fortunate to have both survey books and courses as a background when I started learning history for both points and personal enrichment in earnest, and it's been extremely helpful.
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Re: History Player

Post by Rufous-capped Thornbill » Fri Jul 03, 2015 12:54 pm

The Atom Strikes! wrote: (An amusing side note: I've found that quizbowl has been invaluable to me in my post-circuit-retirement career as an academic historian. Being able to instantly contextualize just about anything I encountered or read about is really helpful, as is having enough background knowledge about just about everything to ask historians outside your specialization informed questions about their work, which both helps you get more useful information and makes you look really smart.)
This was a tremendous asset to myself as well, when I was studying history.

My advice to the OP is to simply read and be curious. As with any subject in quizbowl, it pays off immeasurably to actually make an attempt to learn about a subject instead of going the route of rote memorization of things. There's no one single approach that will lead to premium* improvement, so I've always found it best to read books, play/read quizbowl questions, listen to podcasts and write questions, in varying orders and efforts. Develop that cognitive map of history and soon enough learning the little details that get you good buzzes becomes much easier.

*premium here meaning an approach to learning that leaves relatively few quizbowl blind spots.
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Re: History Player

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Fri Jul 03, 2015 3:24 pm

Amethyst wrote:Hi! I was a science specialist in high school
Keep doing that.
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Re: History Player

Post by samus149 » Fri Jul 03, 2015 6:20 pm

The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote:
Amethyst wrote:Hi! I was a science specialist in high school
Keep doing that.
As your captain next year, overruled, learn history.
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Re: History Player

Post by Banned Tiny Toon Adventures Episode » Fri Jul 03, 2015 7:04 pm

remember, if you learn enough science to make sean mcbride obselete, you mgiht as well force him to learn history
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Re: History Player

Post by Amethyst » Fri Jul 03, 2015 7:14 pm

Haha thanks for all the advice guys. When you guys say survey textbooks, do you have any particular suggestions? I've always enjoyed world history more than American history if that helps. I'd preferably like to study some science as well so I can be a good contributing player and also because it's sonething I've studied for a long time.
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Re: History Player

Post by 1992 in spaceflight » Fri Jul 03, 2015 9:05 pm

Specific world and european survey books I've used for classes have included Major Problems in the History of Imperial Russia by James Cracraft, West Africa by Mendosa, and A History of Modern France by Jeremy Popkin.

I really liked the Cracraft survey book, as it includes articles by major historians and primary texts as well to help you keep what you're reading in your head.
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Re: History Player

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Mon Jul 06, 2015 10:41 am

Inkana7 wrote:
The Atom Strikes! wrote: My advice to the OP is to simply read and be curious.
This is possibly the best advice ever given in the history of the forums.

I don't have much to add besides "read a book". I have a ton of history books I could recommend that helped me become a pretty good history player in my day, but all of them are highly subject-specific: I wasn't fortunate enough to encounter a good survey book outside of my high school textbooks (I took virtually no history classes in college). Honestly I'm not sure any of the books I could recommend are truly unique: there's a million books out there on every subject. I could list the ones I happened to read, but the ones I didn't read are probably just as good. If you're looking to totally nail down one specific area of history, I like reading two books about the same thing and seeing what is mentioned in both books, as a way to figure out what's important and what is just a pet interest of one author, but probably that takes up too much time.

Quizbowl does skew towards asking about individuals, battles, pieces of legislation, etc., and the trend in modern academic history is talk about long-term economic trends or the lives of everyday people, so you can probably get a bit more mileage out of reading older history books if you can find them. I liked to hit up used bookstores where for $5 each you could get a bunch of history books written in like the 1920's or 1930's. They were cheap and clue-dense.

Oh, Wikipedia is a great resource. You can use it as a "survey" book, and then it has links for total deep dives into third bonus parts. There are a lot of caveats to using Wikipedia as a resource (the link in my sig says more), but the short story is that Wikipedia articles are factually accurate, they just tend to be biased or skewed so its hard to tell what is actually important about a given thing by reading the Wiki article. If you cross-reference Wikpedia with other sources you can "unskew" the article and learn a bunch of facts.
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Re: History Player

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Mon Jul 06, 2015 1:27 pm

The Atom Strikes! wrote:(An amusing side note: I've found that quizbowl has been invaluable to me in my post-circuit-retirement career as an academic historian. Being able to instantly contextualize just about anything I encountered or read about is really helpful, as is having enough background knowledge about just about everything to ask historians outside your specialization informed questions about their work, which both helps you get more useful information and makes you look really smart.)
I keep meaning to record a discussion about how quizbowl is useful in academic careers, so I'll keep this in mind.
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Re: History Player

Post by Knickerbocker glory » Mon Jul 06, 2015 2:17 pm

One thing I've found (and loved) about history in quiz bowl is that there's just so many ways that a particular thing can be asked about. As Will stated, you can't really develop one-to-one associations between clue and answer line, because history is so interconnected that there's many different ways to ask about the same thing. As a result, memorizing stock clues or flash carding only gets one so far while studying history—you actually have to understand the many different ways that historical events and figures influence each other. As a writer, I try to write questions that reward understanding of history rather than name-associations, and the great thing about writing lots of history is that I can be quite creative and bold in my answer line selection that's just not possible in other subjects. So my advice for studying history would to be to read a ton—slowly, but surely, you'll build up a framework and internal timeline, which will serve you a lot better than a bunch of stock clues that you can't see the significance of or the relationships between them and other things.
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Re: History Player

Post by That DCC guy » Wed Jul 08, 2015 7:22 pm

Seriously, Wikipedia is your best friend when your a history player. But yeah picking up on what Bruce said a lot of the things he mentioned are 100% true especially the part about the Internal timeline. Also writing history tossups is a great way to learn new information. A thing I did when I was still learning a lot of history(Freshmen, Sophomore, and Junior years) was I would constantly just look up things I wasn't sure about to make sure it was cemented in my brain. For example if I wrote down something for Richard I and then a few weeks pass by and I forgot it, so I would look up the Wikipedia article on Richard I and read the whole thing till I found the piece of information I was looking for. It may sound like common sense but if your constantly doing that, and backing up your already cemented information it really helps.

Also I suggest you try to get a general interest in history as well, because if you come into this thinking I'm only doing this for Quizbowl. You generally won't be as motivated into learning history if you don't have any other motivation for it.

I can't stress this enough and I know it will seem very obvious, but the more time you put into studying the more you'll get out(This applies to all aspects of Quizbowl).Don't take shortcuts they won't do you any good. The number one thing in being a good Quizbowl player is work ethic not IQ.
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Re: History Player

Post by acrosby1861 » Fri Jul 17, 2015 12:03 am

Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote: Oh, Wikipedia is a great resource. You can use it as a "survey" book, and then it has links for total deep dives into third bonus parts.
That DCC guy wrote:Seriously, Wikipedia is your best friend when your a history player.
I agree with the parts on reading Wikipedia. Click the links if you're reading something you like. It'll help. Some of the stuff I've gotten in clutch situations came from stuff I saw in Wikipedia articles. (And at the time, Wiki was just my last resort option.)

Also, if you have another history player on your team, maybe you can split up the work 50-50. Like one person gets U.S. and Euro while the other person gets Current Events and everything else. That way, you have more time to concentrate on what you're responsible for knowing. (But the other person has to study too...)
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Re: History Player

Post by Banana Stand » Sat Jul 18, 2015 2:30 am

If you want a good overview of military history, I highly recommend Paul K Davis' "100 Decisive Battles: From Ancient Times to the Present". It gives short yet comprehensive introductions to a lot of important conflicts and sparked my interest in a lot of eras in history that I had barely known about. His book "Besieged: 100 Great Sieges from Jericho to Sarajevo" is also a great read, though slightly less useful than Battles because many of the sieges discussed in the book are pretty obscure and rarely come up in the canon. With both of those you'll definitely have a solid foundation to work off of for military history, and you'll learn a good amount of political history from them as well.
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Re: History Player

Post by gustavadolf » Sun Jul 19, 2015 8:33 am

While we're on the subject of military history, Strategy and Tactics of Great Generals and Their Battles is a really great book--it's only got fifteen or so battles, from Napoleon to the Korean War, but it spends a whole chapter dissecting each one and what happened on a minutely tactical level. You shouldn't ever miss a Waterloo tossup after reading this book.
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Re: History Player

Post by Important Bird Area » Mon Jul 20, 2015 5:14 pm

I split the posts about quizbowl and academic careers into a new thread.
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Re: History Player

Post by Cheynem » Mon Jul 20, 2015 5:58 pm

I've done well on some history tournaments, but I think I may have played my best performance at this last CO History--I really felt in a groove with most of the American history questions. A lot that was due to having written a ton of history questions, for high school and college, so that helps. The other thing I did in the months leading up to CO was write up lecture notes for my Intro to US survey course which required me to look at textbooks and get a good sense of chronology/people/events. I realize this is not exactly revolutionary, but I really do think the best way to really improve that PPG is to write questions and chew on some surveys (as well as perhaps doing something to remember what you read in those surveys--by either writing questions or writing notes). You don't necessarily even have to go back and study the things you wrote either--a lot of times the act of writing is what is helpful to remember.
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