What to do to improve for history

New high school teams looking for advice should post here.
Post Reply
Empiral
Kimahri
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2016 3:52 am

What to do to improve for history

Post by Empiral » Wed Jul 20, 2016 3:59 am

Since it's the summer and I have a lot of free time on my hands, I have resorted to reading history books. It does kind of get inefficient though. What strategies have you used other than studying old packets - which I do - to improve for history?

User was reminded to add a signature. -mgmt

High Dependency Unit
Rikku
Posts: 399
Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2012 6:45 pm

Re: What to do to improve for history

Post by High Dependency Unit » Thu Jul 21, 2016 8:12 pm

I generally just use Wikipedia in conjunction with packets. Wikipedia is awesome, and the method works pretty well.
Michael Borecki
Middlesex Middle '13,
Darien (co-captain) '17,
Bowdoin College '21
NHBB Regional Coordinator
www.ctquizbowl.org

User avatar
J. Young
Wakka
Posts: 100
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2015 4:21 am
Location: Old Virginia

Re: What to do to improve for history

Post by J. Young » Fri Jul 22, 2016 4:50 am

I use spaced repetition software, but most of my studying is from reading history books.
Justin Young
Longfellow MS '16
McLean HS '20

RexSueciae
Rikku
Posts: 318
Joined: Sun Dec 29, 2013 12:24 am

Re: What to do to improve for history

Post by RexSueciae » Fri Jul 22, 2016 8:55 pm

Read a book, then read another. This goes faster if you're genuinely interested in the subject.

Develop a canon list of important things to learn. For example, go through every American president and note the important things that happened during each administration, or divide a topic into time periods and list the notable things from each era. Learn those things.

Think about what questions you remember from past tournaments. If you have been missing questions on a particular subcategory, you should study that subcategory.

Wikipedia's good for middle clues, topics with articles that are really in-depth, and questions whose writers are lazy and foolish. Britannica is more reliable.

Packet study is useful to get a feel for a canon and to collect middle-to-late clues, but people who learn their knowledge entirely from packets develop a skewed sense of their subject.
Vasa Clarke

Maggie Walker '14
Virginia '18
William and Mary '21

User avatar
AKKOLADE
Sin
Posts: 15021
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2003 8:08 am

Re: What to do to improve for history

Post by AKKOLADE » Fri Jul 22, 2016 9:22 pm

There's only three things to do in the digital world: wow look a pie chart; digital style; do a digital history studying.

The best thing you can do is read things about what you want to learn, and take notes of things that are clue-worthy. There's lots of pages about history out there beyond Wikipedia; just find 'em and read em. There's a good thread about textbooks somewhere around here, in addition to this one: http://www.hsquizbowl.org/forums/viewto ... =30&t=6928
Fred Morlan
PACE President, 2018-19
International Quiz Bowl Tournaments, co-owner
University of Kentucky CoP, 2017
hsqbrank manager, NAQT writer (former subject editor), former hsqb Administrator/Chief Administrator, 2012 NASAT TD

User avatar
cchiego
Yuna
Posts: 780
Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2008 7:14 pm
Contact:

Re: What to do to improve for history

Post by cchiego » Fri Jul 22, 2016 9:50 pm

Last week I asked a couple of top quizbowl players this very question. Here's the podcast of the three of us talking about various strategies for improving at history.
Chris C.
UGA '09, UCSD '12, UPenn '19
Greater Pennsylvania QuizBowl
http://gpqb.wordpress.com

Empiral
Kimahri
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2016 3:52 am

Re: What to do to improve for history

Post by Empiral » Sat Jul 23, 2016 7:45 am

J. Young wrote:I use spaced repetition software, but most of my studying is from reading history books.
What books have helped you the most?

Also, my weakest is at American history, being not American myself. What books would you recommend for the "hot" American topics like the Revolution, the Civil War, and the Reconstruction Era?

User avatar
J. Young
Wakka
Posts: 100
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2015 4:21 am
Location: Old Virginia

Re: What to do to improve for history

Post by J. Young » Sun Jul 24, 2016 4:39 am

Empiral wrote:
J. Young wrote:I use spaced repetition software, but most of my studying is from reading history books.
What books have helped you the most?

Also, my weakest is at American history, being not American myself. What books would you recommend for the "hot" American topics like the Revolution, the Civil War, and the Reconstruction Era?
Revolution: McCollough's 1776, Ketchum's Saratoga, Fischer's Washington's Crossing, Ketchum's Victory at Yorktown
Civil War: Sandburg's Abraham Lincoln: The War Years
Reconstruction: Foner's Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution
Justin Young
Longfellow MS '16
McLean HS '20

User avatar
Skepticism and Animal Feed
Auron
Posts: 3148
Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2004 11:47 pm
Location: Arlington, VA

Re: What to do to improve for history

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Sun Jul 24, 2016 8:47 am

If you want to learn a specific time period that you are not very familiar with, I found it useful to read multiple books on the same topic, and seeing what gets mentioned in multiple books. Also a helpful way to not get misled by the various biases (or pet theories/viewpoints of the author) that books can have.

Ultimately there is no shortcut to the fact that you have to read things to get better.

I could list my favorite books for each time period / region (and I'm pretty sure in old threads I have), but honestly there are a million books on every history subject and probably thousands of them are good for quizbowl purposes - the ones I'd recommend were probably selected for being on a shelf near me or being on sale at the time I was looking. Don't stress out about finding the right book, just get words in front of you and if there's anything the book mentions but doesn't explain look it up online.
Bruce
Harvard '10 / UChicago '07 / Roycemore School '04
ACF Member emeritus
My guide to using Wikipedia as a question source

Post Reply