How to Get Better at Science

New high school teams looking for advice should post here.

How to Get Better at Science

Postby NLiu » Fri Jun 13, 2014 10:21 pm

This is a question that's plagued me for a long time because as opposed to the other two "Big Three" categories, Lit and History, the subcategories of Science seem to cover so much more different ground; Chemistry and Physics are a lot different then, say, European and World History, or Brit vs. American lit. In addition, many high school students don't get to advanced science topics (e.g. at the AP level) as early as they do corresponding levels in histories (AP Euro and World are offered freshmen and sophomore years at many schools).
So, I guess my question is, how ought one go about becoming a "science" specialist, in a similar way that one becomes a "lit" or "history" player of a decent consistency and depth? What resources ought one to use, and what sort of general things are helpful? Is science something that one player can/should feasibly cover alone?
N. L.
St. Joseph High School
Tenure 2011-2012
NLiu
Lulu
 
Posts: 36
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2012 6:38 am

Re: How to Get Better at Science

Postby vinteuil » Fri Jun 13, 2014 11:04 pm

In high school, I got the vast majority of my science points from textbooks.
Jacob Reed
Yale '19
East Chapel Hill '13
"...distant bayings from the musicological mafia"―Denis Stevens
User avatar
vinteuil
Yuna
 
Posts: 983
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:31 pm

Re: How to Get Better at Science

Postby Euler's Constant » Sat Jun 14, 2014 11:31 am

vinteuil wrote:In high school, I got the vast majority of my science points from textbooks.


I feel that reading, and more importantly understanding, textbooks depends on having a certain level of intuition, that often requires more formal (in class) training and practice (working through problems) especially in math and physics to develop. That being said textbooks can serve as good introductions to new material.

In my opinion the best option (if available) is to take courses in the subjects you want to get better in. There is a high overlap between the material taught in most courses in the sciences at the high school level and the quizbowl canon, and if you get stuck on something you have the extra resource of the teacher to aid you.
Nicholas Wawrykow
Saint Joseph('s) High School (IN) '13
Yale '17
User avatar
Euler's Constant
Lulu
 
Posts: 62
Joined: Fri Dec 30, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: How to Get Better at Science

Postby Borel hierarchy » Sat Jun 14, 2014 11:35 am

Euler's Constant wrote:
vinteuil wrote:In high school, I got the vast majority of my science points from textbooks.


In my opinion the best option (if available) is to take courses in the subjects you want to get better in. There is a high overlap between the material taught in most courses in the sciences at the high school level and the quizbowl canon, and if you get stuck on something you have the extra resource of the teacher to aid you.


man it's almost like high school quizbowl questions are written on things people are supposed to learn about in classes
Andrew Wang
Illinois 2016
User avatar
Borel hierarchy
Tidus
 
Posts: 568
Joined: Sun May 23, 2010 10:03 am

Re: How to Get Better at Science

Postby Sima Guang Hater » Mon Jun 16, 2014 3:47 pm

HMS Audacious wrote:man it's almost like high school quizbowl questions are written on things people are supposed to learn about in classes


Andrew's sarcasm aside, the prevailing trend in science writing nowadays is to write using clues that people learn in high school, college, or graduate classes. This is a good thing, since that means science questions are amenable to textbook and class notes attack. The key is to actually have enough of an interest in the subject to want to read said textbooks and/or notes. Here's a list:

http://www.qbwiki.com/wiki/How_to_become_a_good_science_player#Study_Your_Notes_from_Class

It's all readable if you've taken the corresponding AP or pre-AP classes (...well, the physics might be a little deep). I think the thing that helped me the most was actually writing questions, since most of the things that show up in leadins at the NSC or NASAT level aren't going to come up in your introductory or AP-level classes.
Eric Anshi
Penn Imperial Civil Service Exam 1042
User avatar
Sima Guang Hater
Auron
 
Posts: 1711
Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 1:43 pm
Location: Kaifeng

Re: How to Get Better at Science

Postby Sima Guang Hater » Tue Jun 17, 2014 11:33 am

I forgot to say this earlier. Disclaimer: I'm technically a member of the Center for Excellence in Education, a former employee of the Art of Problem Solving, and the leader of the burgeoning Science Syndicate (like the music mafia. I'm trademarking that).

One thing you may consider doing is trying to get your school to administer the Olympiad qualifying test for each of these subjects, and then training for those tests, rather than directly "training" for quizbowl. Plus, making the finals of biology, chemistry, or physics olympiad is a HUGE boost to your future college application AND to your quizbowl ability. A lot of very good science players in QB made it far in these things (I don't have to name names, you know who you are).

Chem Olympiad:
http://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/educa ... ocess.html
http://www.artofproblemsolving.com/School/chemwoot.php training program which is really good

Physics Olympiad:
http://www.aapt.org/physicsteam/exams.cfm

Biology Olympiad:
https://www.usabo-trc.org/
http://staff.bbhcsd.org/rundol/USABO/US ... 20Keys.htm (Old tests)
Eric Anshi
Penn Imperial Civil Service Exam 1042
User avatar
Sima Guang Hater
Auron
 
Posts: 1711
Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 1:43 pm
Location: Kaifeng

Re: How to Get Better at Science

Postby Progcon » Fri Jul 04, 2014 10:47 pm

I'm not sure how much you want to take my word for this because I'm only a senior in high school, but reading packets is super helpful. I came into quizbowl with a mediocre science background (I was in AP Bio when I started quizbowl), but I had 0 chemistry and physics classes in high school at that point. Reading packets, Protobowl, wikipedia, etc . are super helpful. I had no idea what Ampere's Law was before quizbowl, but I watched a lecture on Youtube from Georgia Tech and I understand the Maxwell equations a little bit better (enough to 20 most bonuses on them and related formulas like Lenz' law).

Like everything else in high school, the tossups have a pretty set canon. For example, in astronomy (not my best science category, I must say) there will often be tossups on blackholes, white dwarfs, planets, etc. There will never be a tossup (at least on an average high school set) on a non Milkyway/Andromeda galaxy, and the constellations seem pretty standardized as well. Look for patterns in the canon.

Go on quinterest and click Study. Then get 5 science questions in a specific category--say Biology. Read those, and take notes on all the new clues in a notebook or something. For example: Here's what I have on coagulation/blood clotting:

-International Normalized Ratio
-Christmas factor, Factor 8, von Willebrand Factor
-hindered by Bernard Soulier syndrome and hemophilia
-platelets
-fibrogen converted to fibrin
-cascade

Those clues appeared in a lot of HS tossups when I searched "clotting". Do that for the new topics.

Science seems daunting, but it's manageable. That said, don't expect to 30 bonuses on stuff unless you REALLY know it.
Harris Bunker
Grosse Pointe North High School '15
Michigan State University 2015-
MSU Academic Competition Club President 2016-
User avatar
Progcon
Rikku
 
Posts: 322
Joined: Fri Dec 20, 2013 8:24 pm
Location: Michigan

Re: How to Get Better at Science

Postby Borel hierarchy » Sat Jul 05, 2014 2:13 pm

Remember, it's all about memorization. Being able to understand the formulas and stuff is worthless, and clues about charts aren't worth ur time

I think the Nernst and Arhenius Equations should be part of every tournament
Andrew Wang
Illinois 2016
User avatar
Borel hierarchy
Tidus
 
Posts: 568
Joined: Sun May 23, 2010 10:03 am

Re: How to Get Better at Science

Postby MaestroExtraordinaire98 » Fri Nov 14, 2014 9:16 pm

Go out there and learn some science. It may seem like a lot of effort is required to learn science well (and to an extent, that is true), but becoming a great science player has its merits. Science is a weak spot for many teams, especially for those around the novice high school level, so having a solid footing in science can boost your team quite a bit.
Like what those above me have said, studying from textbooks is probably the best way to have a thorough understanding of a particular subject. For biology, I'd especially recommend Campbell Biology, as it is a great text for those looking to succeed at around the high school and college levels. As the Mukherjesus mentioned, studying for the USABO is also a great way to get good at quiz bowl biology, and although I have not taken the exam before (I plan to this year), most of whom I have spoken to about the USABO have told me to use Campbell. If you study the text for its details and diagrams, you can convert that knowledge into loads of points at tournaments (and on the USABO for that matter). :party:
That's why I think quiz bowl is such an amazing extracurricular activity: it's one of the few that you can get really good at without specifically devoting tons of time to (provided that you are learning through other means).
Ujwal Punyamurtula
LASA '17
Kealing Middle School '13

"The French taste for Faulkner was less a compliment to American literature than an indication of some terrible 'crisis in French taste and reason'".
User avatar
MaestroExtraordinaire98
Lulu
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Jun 17, 2014 7:48 pm


Return to New High School Teams

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 1 guest