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On Note Taking

Posted: Sun Dec 04, 2016 7:11 pm
by bretthogan43
I couldn't find anywhere else in this forum that note taking is discussed in depth, so I'll start with this.
I keep a notebook right by my side whenever I'm doing anything quizbowl related, including taking notes while packet reading as well as during practices and matches and then pore over my notes intensively before practice begins on Wednesdays. But I honestly don't know the dos and don'ts of it. Typically I write down a word or two and then go and Google/Wikipedia search whatever it is I'm unfamiliar with, and come back and write a bunch of information on whatever that topic is. My notes generally look like this:

Greco-Prussian Wars- included the Battle of Thermopylae
Vitamin K- found in green vegetables, lack attributed to hemophilia

What I don't know is if this is too much or not enough specificity (compared to anybody else's notes), or whether anything I've written so far will be helpful in matches later on. I'm hoping to get a few pointers from any of you seasoned veterans out there. Thank you.

Re: On Note Taking

Posted: Sun Dec 04, 2016 7:36 pm
by DeepakM
I think your meticulous attitude towards note taking is awesome! I'd suggest using Quinterest as a resource along with wikipedia/Google to give you context about which clues would be more likely to come up, since wikipedia sometimes overemphasizes facts that are relatively insignificant in quizbowl. While those facts are still good to know, since you asked if such notes would help for later, to have the greatest impact in playing, using Quinterest would be very important. My strategy when reviewing a concept I missed is, understand what I missed via a Google search, learn about any important related topics, then read through Quinterest and make sure I'd be able to buzz relatively early on any tossup on gat answer line, barring college Nats Ofc.
That being said, this method only works marginally, as in, you'll need to do this a lot to be able to buzz well in a whole category, and there is often overlap in clues. Therefore, focusing on reading books or narratives would be the most helpful. For example, reading a book on classical battles woulld ensure you could answer a lot more Tossups than Thermopylae and at the same time give you more context in understanding history as a whole. Taking notes on that book would be a far more comprehensive resource. Similarly, when learning science, it's easier to attack the canon in large swaths, i.e. Learning about circuit elements as a whole is more efficient than learning capacitor, since you'll have to come back to resistors and whatnot soon enough. Also, carding-already extensively discussed on forums-is a supplement for putting your notes on steroids.

Re: On Note Taking

Posted: Sun Dec 04, 2016 10:27 pm
by Couch's Kingbird
Seconding carding and Quinterest- I use a combination of the two a lot to not only get a good sense of clues that come up, but retain them too. Really, though, what's "not specific enough" or "too specific" depends on the player- there's really no "right" way to take notes. For example, I know people who take in-depth notes for every clue that comes up in a tossup, or are like me (and you) and write down a few words to look up later.
Personally, I find writing down short notes to remind myself of different clues works the best for me; much quicker and concise, and keeps practice moving. And again- studying topics more in-depth (e.g. reading a poem for literature or looking up authors on Quinterest) will always be much more useful than only learning clues that come up in one or two questions in practice.

Re: On Note Taking

Posted: Sun Dec 04, 2016 11:05 pm
by Skepticism and Animal Feed
What you do is exactly what I did during my playing career.

However, I believe the more common approach, which I've seen most elite players do, is writing down only the answer to every single question you hear. Then they go afterwords and look up everything that came up (or at least the stuff that they haven't heard of or didn't do well on) and learn all the clues about that. I think this is a better approach because you learn all the clues about whatever it is that came up, not just one specific clue that may or may not come up again.

If I could live my life over again that's what I would do.

Re: On Note Taking

Posted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 8:55 pm
by The Polebarn Hotel
Personally, I write down every answerline, who on my team got it (or if someone on the opposing team got it), and whether or not it was power. Usually I am able to scrawl down some clue that I didn't know, maybe something that showed up in the first few lines, that I found interesting or potentially relevant later. I think this helps put things into context and pin down areas that could use some studying. Often, clues that come up in tossups are interrelated somehow, and Wikipedia can act as a springboard to research many different topics based on one clue. Note-taking is definitely a great strategy, though, and I think everyone should do it to some capacity.

Re: On Note Taking

Posted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 9:42 pm
by stitz
Everything in this thread is great advice, but I know, especially in practice, I love using my notebook as a way to sort out negs. Anyone I play with can contest to the fact I neg a ton in practice and I find it is actually almost as easy to remember a clue you have negged on as it is one you powered. So that being said, in practice when I neg I make note of the neg, what I negged it with, and what the correct is answer is with clues and stuff.

Also, I know for me I stopped writing down every answerline because I found myself too busy writing and not listening to the next tossup after bonuses, so I went to just writing down bonus parts I didn't know and writing down tossups I should have gotten with clues, etc. There is really no wrong or right way to keep a notebook, just whatever system works for you.

Re: On Note Taking

Posted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 10:16 pm
by DeepakM
Oh yes negging certainly improves retention rate. A good number of my best buzzes are derived from clues I've previously negged in practice or, unfortunately, during an actual tournament..