Nature of Studying

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Adventure Temple Trail
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Re: Nature of Studying

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Sun Feb 10, 2013 9:55 pm

The Eighth Viscount of Waaaah wrote:I think most people go through a phase where they think "stock clues" are equivalent to "clues I've heard before." Stock clues are clues that are recycled over and over again, disproportionately to their importance, and often in lead-ins even though overuse has made them familiar to many. One example might be the thing from To Kill a Mockingbird about that person who drank cola out of a paper bag.
I would argue that the word has basically lost all meaning, since almost no one uses the phrase to mean anything BUT "clues I've heard before" anymore (if they ever did). And if that clue really is far too familiar to people other than yourself, I'd like to see empirical evidence which bears out that your example is in every or almost every tossup on To Kill a Mockingbird (which is an important event of early clue-level importance in To Kill a Mockingbird and therefore wouldn't make sense much later in a high school question) - it's also true that good players who learn a clue can get mistaken about how frequently it recurs even if they do think it's "stock" in a non-personal sense, and I think your example fits under that header.
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zelsc2014
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Re: Nature of Studying

Post by zelsc2014 » Mon Feb 11, 2013 12:39 am

To be honest, I am kind of surprised why someone would do nothing but asscociate words with answer lines, isn't quiz bowl about learning stuff. As an average quiz bowl player who wants to actually learn things and get better, I am curious as to whether or not reading sparknotes is a decent way of becoming a more elite player. I enjoy actually reading books and stuff, but I feel like that is not as effecient as taking notes and notecarding online summaries, and watching historical documentaries. During the summer and on vacations, would it be more advantagous for me to read several books and college packets or would it be more advantagous to simply research the things that come up. Any help would be greatly appreaciated
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AKKOLADE
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Re: Nature of Studying

Post by AKKOLADE » Mon Feb 11, 2013 4:50 pm

Angstrom wrote:I don't quite understand this sarcastic paragraph, but it seems you think I want to make easy quiz bowl harder. I don't think "less stock" is the same thing as "harder". Is that what you're saying? Because Science Bowl does a good job of being gettable at the high-school-curriculum level and not being stock. That's the whole point of this thread, I think - that easy and not-stock IS attainable, and HAS been attained - by someone else.

And I don't think we should say that the only parts of high school quiz bowl that we're allowed to try to make less stock are national tournaments.
Non-stock does not necessarily mean the same thing as harder. A definition of "stock" where it means "clue that always comes up but has no real importance to its subject" describes something that's bad and should be avoided.

A definition of "stock" where it means "clue that occurs in a few tossups over a(n assumed) 3-year span" isn't inherently bad. You'd like lead-ins to be more unique than giveaways, but you're also limited to some extent. You can't go wildly using clues from organic chemistry for regular season difficulty questions at the high school level, because 99% of high school students will have no exposure to ochem. You will also have different writers who learn things on different terms come up with the same information and incorporate it into their questions; if it's good information and it hasn't been run into the ground, then it should be fine to use as a clue as long as it meets other normal guidelines of good writing.

But the word "stock" has slowly lost its meaning over the past 5-10 years, as noted by others. If we're using the latter definition I made up above, then it's essentially meaningless, and avoiding stock clues would almost certainly require introducing harder material to replace easier, but more commonly seen, clues to address a problem experienced by a vast minority of players.
Fred Morlan
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conquerer7
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Re: Nature of Studying

Post by conquerer7 » Mon Feb 11, 2013 7:41 pm

Fred wrote:You can't go wildly using clues from organic chemistry for regular season difficulty questions at the high school level, because 99% of high school students will have no exposure to ochem.
This thread has really gone far off the original intent (probably was a bad idea to drag in science bowl), but I don't think anybody ever addressed my original point, and it fits in nicely right here.

Tons and tons of science tossups, at the regular high school level, use as leadins and second clues things that no high schooler would ever get real exposure to (or could possibly understand) unless they're practically done with a college degree. For those tossups, effectively the only way to study is by getting the gist off of wikipedia, which most of the time is just a mess of equations without any explanation -- in which case I have nothing but the tossup itself to learn from. Meanwhile, the actual books I've read are too introductory (i.e. not graduate level; no particle physics or Clebsch-Gordan or...) to help in any significant way.

Combine this with the fact that it's really hard to write good science tossups unless you're an expert -- and that becoming an expert in an area of science takes years, while reading a book to master a lit answerline takes a week or two. That leads to a lot of outright clue lifting, which is rampant in not just housewrites, but also everywhere non-nationals. And that leads to a level of repetition of early clues far greater than any other subject. (I won't complain about the enormous profusion of science history clues and questions, which are definitely easier for people to write, but often frivolous; that's another huge thread entirely)

It's possible to write questions only using clues that are 1) actually learnable for real or 2) intuitively understandable, though that would require a small loss in cluespace. (I've heard CATT accomplished this nicely) Does anybody agree with me that this is a good idea to try?
How about correct answers like 1:1 orbit/spin resonance or tidal locking?
Ugh, I really don't want to branch this thread off again, since this wasn't the main point. The first is basically a fancy term for "we always see the same side" and the second is the mechanism, which involves tidal bulges which result from the tidal force. My point was that no matter how well you write a quizbowl bonus*, you cannot distinguish somebody who only knows the sentence "The tidal force makes tidal bulges which eventually cause tidal locking which causes 1:1 orbit/spin resonance, which makes the same side of the moon always face us.", which people were saying was good (i.e. not word pairing) knowledge, with somebody who knows the exact mechanism of how it works, how long it takes, why it's happened to the moon already but not the Earth, where else it might be happening, and the relevant equations. With a multiple choice tossup, you can do all these things.

*at least, as far as i know
Kevin Zhou
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