What to study for middle school quizbowl? Help

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What to study for middle school quizbowl? Help

Post by quizbowlgal » Mon Jan 26, 2015 7:06 pm

My main subjects are science and lit, but what plagues me is how do you know WHAT in those fields to study? There is an immense amount of stuff to study in middle school quizbowl alone, but how do those players who score like 100 ppg (ex: William Golden, John Phipps) "know" exactly what is important? I already do the obvious, take down notes from practice, look them up at home, write questions, and most often I just look up things that seem to come up a lot. Frequency lists have helped me with lit, but for science? How do I know exactly what comes up most and what to study? Any good resources?
I am genuinely interested in science and lit and I am willing to put in any effort necessary, but I feel like at this point I'm kind of lost as far as studying goes.
I would appreciate any tips/ input, thank you!

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Re: What to study for middle school quizbowl? Help

Post by Banned Tiny Toon Adventures Episode » Mon Jan 26, 2015 9:34 pm

books are generally just good. If you read for the sake of learning science then you're bound to learn things. Books I had read from the library in middle school have gotten me quizbowl buzzes even at the collegiate level whether it's a textbook or a super image heavy book meant to teach kids about minerals or dinosaurs or something
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Re: What to study for middle school quizbowl? Help

Post by Large Adult Song » Mon Jan 26, 2015 10:11 pm

The Man Whose Pharynx Was Bad wrote:super image heavy book meant to teach kids about minerals or dinosaurs or something
These are important. Because questions are partially designed to reward information you should've learned in class, MS questions naturally require less understanding of a subject in order to get points. For example, a chemistry tossup would focus more on applications and history than the actual underlying science; literature distribution focuses more on American and classic novels than Latin American or Japanese works. Thus, it's much more advantageous to have a vast but shallow knowledge of the world than a very deep one in a few particular subjects.

Some resources that will easily raise your PPG by a decent amount:

Any DK visual encyclopedia;
Any world or U.S. atlas;
Great Illustrated Classics- these are abridged, but contain most of the plot and themes that you'll need for a buzz;
TIME for Kids Almanac- the Countries of the World(I would assume that this is still a thing) section has lots of useful, quick factoids;
Wikipedia(!!!)- because of the limited scope of MS sets, the introduction to any Wikipedia page is usually sufficient for a mid-tossup buzz. Take note of which answerlines come up often, and just sift through the intros when you have the time.

If you really want to go hard, look at old packets(I believe all the CMST and SCOP Novice sets are online). There are only a limited number of clues for a given answerline to be asked in MS quizbowl, so simple clue recognition will help with trigger buzzes, which can be important as MS tossups are fairly short. If you look at the three-digit players, you'll see that they often power even before a pronoun is read; this is a result from knowing the scope of the MS canon and recognizing clues common on the high school level which would be considered difficult for middle school.

Of course, as you move onto high school, you'll need a deeper knowledge of topics, and your studying habits should change. It's a good idea to start this early- use the resources above, but don't be afraid to venture into the New High School Teams and Theory subforums for advice on high school, which will often apply to MS as well.
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Re: What to study for middle school quizbowl? Help

Post by Couch's Kingbird » Tue Jan 27, 2015 12:11 am

Reading helps. Reading definitely helps. For MS lit reading a site like Sparknotes should be enough (that's how I studied for MS lit, at least). Reading old MS packets definitely helps too, as the MS canon is not that broad and there are many topics/clues that will come up a lot. I know Middlesex, for example, practices (literally- seriously literally) every day before and after school on old sets- hearing clues/topics over and over again tends to reinforce them in your head. After a while, you'll recognize important works that come up often- Don Quixote, The Canterbury Tales, To Kill a Mockingbird, etc.
Anyways, reading middle school level science textbooks helped me with science last year- although it's definitely not as in-depth as what you would need for high school level questions.
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Re: What to study for middle school quizbowl? Help

Post by bdavery » Tue Jan 27, 2015 11:01 am

If you have a Windows computer or iPhone/iPad, use the Fact Mountain apps for US Presidents, 19th-century American literature and Great Paintings. http://www.factmountain.net The US Presidents app got my younger kids enough history points to make the National History Bee finals last year.
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Re: What to study for middle school quizbowl? Help

Post by Gonzagapuma1 » Tue Jan 27, 2015 2:19 pm

bdavery wrote:If you have a Windows computer or iPhone/iPad, use the Fact Mountain apps for US Presidents, 19th-century American literature and Great Paintings. http://www.factmountain.net The US Presidents app got my younger kids enough history points to make the National History Bee finals last year.
Do not do this.
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Re: What to study for middle school quizbowl? Help

Post by High Dependency Unit » Tue Jan 27, 2015 2:53 pm

Gonzagapuma1 wrote:
bdavery wrote:If you have a Windows computer or iPhone/iPad, use the Fact Mountain apps for US Presidents, 19th-century American literature and Great Paintings. http://www.factmountain.net The US Presidents app got my younger kids enough history points to make the National History Bee finals last year.
Do not do this.

Seconded-there are a ton of really good, free ways to get better. A fairly basic encyclopedia will be incredibly helpful, but wikipedia is the absolute best if you can figure out how not to get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of material on there. And reading any middle school packets (cmst especially) or high school novice (Scop novice) is very helpful. High school novice questions are also good because it'll make the middle school questions you play on seem easier (and you'll do better on them), because you're practicing on tougher sets, but you obviously don't want to jump straight into those. But seriously, the most important thing to do is to practice, and you can easily do that for free.

And everything David Song said is really good advice.
Michael Borecki
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Darien (co-captain) '17,
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Re: What to study for middle school quizbowl? Help

Post by cshi100 » Wed Jan 28, 2015 9:28 pm

I don't know if I'm really qualified to say something, but what I have seen many great players do, like Phipps, is take notes on missed tossups/bonuses, to review after tournament. Obviously, this requires actually attending tournaments, which I believe is the greatest way to "study."
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Re: What to study for middle school quizbowl? Help

Post by quizbowlgal » Wed Jan 28, 2015 9:55 pm

But how do you know what is considered important, in science specifically?
Thank you to all who have replied!

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Re: What to study for middle school quizbowl? Help

Post by Monstruos de Bolsillo » Wed Jan 28, 2015 10:03 pm

If a topic comes up over and over again, it's probably a good idea to learn more about it, and it's probably considered important. If it is part of the curriculum in most schools, it will probably be asked about in some way.
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Re: What to study for middle school quizbowl? Help

Post by High Dependency Unit » Wed Jan 28, 2015 10:03 pm

cshi100 wrote:I don't know if I'm really qualified to say something, but what I have seen many great players do, like Phipps, is take notes on missed tossups/bonuses, to review after tournament. Obviously, this requires actually attending tournaments, which I believe is the greatest way to "study."
You can also do this during practice and when you're reading packets, you can stop to look stuff up. This is something everyone should be doing.
Michael Borecki
Middlesex Middle '13,
Darien (co-captain) '17,
Bowdoin College (club president) '21
NHBB Regional Coordinator
www.ctquizbowl.org

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Re: What to study for middle school quizbowl? Help

Post by Couch's Kingbird » Wed Jan 28, 2015 10:19 pm

Also, for science tossups in middle school, I found that reading middle-school level science textbooks helped. And, like everyone in the thread already said- read packets and take notes. Quinterest is a great site if you want to look up tossups about specific topics; for lit, Sparknotes helps too.
Julia Tong
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Re: What to study for middle school quizbowl? Help

Post by Banned Tiny Toon Adventures Episode » Wed Jan 28, 2015 11:34 pm

quizbowlgal wrote:But how do you know what is considered important, in science specifically?
Thank you to all who have replied!
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Re: What to study for middle school quizbowl? Help

Post by vishdog101 » Sun Jan 24, 2016 12:58 am

I believe that the best way to study is to read packets. I basically read all the MS sets on http://quizbowlpackets.com and then proceeded to begin reading the HS ones(I'm about 25% of the way through-trying to finish by May 2017). The HS sets are much better if you're trying to get the tossup quicker, as many many of the mid tossup clues appear in the first line of MS packets, or heck, sometimes even as bonus material, where your team could get twice, maybe thrice the amount of points in comparison to the tossup. I went from unranked to about 5th in Dallas(Fall Season, still haven't played in the Winter/Spring seasons for this year) just from reading packets, covering up the answers, and trying to guess them. I still missed the three digit mark(60 PPG) as it was my first tournament, and I didn't even know squat about [author], never mind beating the buzz on a [another author] tossup(I was Lit, just like you). Point is, you need to either (A) Become a generalist or (B) Have a deep knowledge of the canon. You're obviously trying for (B), and I recommend Buzzstrong by David Losson to start mastering the canon-it helped me buff up Lit and History, and has a good deal of info about the foundations of the game itself. Good luck, and have a great season!!

Please don't reference answers to questions in this year's sets. -mgmt
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