Lists

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Lists

Post by collbarbshock » Thu Apr 17, 2008 6:33 pm

Lists seem to be one of the most effective ways of memorizing pertinent information. Any recommendations of certain groupings of information that would be applicable to a geography/history/current events player (excluding the NAQT lists)?
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Re: Lists

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Thu Apr 17, 2008 6:51 pm

WRONG!
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Re: Lists

Post by MLafer » Thu Apr 17, 2008 6:53 pm


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Re: Lists

Post by The Atom Strikes! » Thu Apr 17, 2008 6:55 pm

Lists really aren't all that useful for these subjects, as their early clues aren't rife with the sort of pairings that are useful in other cases (ie: author/artist/musician-work). Instead, I'd recommend reading history books, looking at detailed maps, and reading The Economist to master these topics.
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Re: Lists

Post by quizbowl » Thu Apr 17, 2008 7:35 pm

I think Charlie is being a little harsh. Lists can be helpful when you need to learn information quickly. However, Henry hit on the main helpful thing with those subjects, history books and maps. Wikipedia is also a very useful resource. But if lists are what you want, Stanford has assembled some pretty good ones.

http://ai.stanford.edu/~csewell/culture/

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Re: Lists

Post by Deviant Insider » Thu Apr 17, 2008 7:39 pm

Look in an almanac.
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Re: Lists

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Thu Apr 17, 2008 7:43 pm

I'm only being harsh because lists are pretty much the weakest kind of quizbowl studying. It's pretty difficult and cheap to memorize lists as opposed to actually read up on things, study the topic via reading good packets, or otherwise internalize the material in a more meaningful, deep way that allows you to build cognitive maps about stuff (pardon my sounding like Jon Magin).
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Re: Lists

Post by asdf » Thu Apr 17, 2008 8:09 pm

Write questions on things you put on lists.
I no longer use lists because they don't help you power much in NAQT.
Writing pyramidal questions do help you power. Especially if you've read through a bunch of packets, because then you know what the canon is.

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Re: Lists

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Thu Apr 17, 2008 8:12 pm

Exactly right.
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Re: Lists

Post by Galstaff, Sorceror of Light » Thu Apr 17, 2008 8:18 pm

I personally think the best way to use a list is to look up whatever's included in greater detail (writing questions on the material is also helpful, to echo some posts above). They're much more of a starting point than a learning tool (especially in history). Music, art, and lit can be different, particularly in bonuses, but lists should still be a starting point. This also depends on how you classify a "list:" to use lit as an example, would you only include straight author-work or would you also count author-work with some bio, characters, and occasional plot summary? The second type is distinctly more useful; I got 4 or 5 music questions at PACE NSC last year by reading an ACE music list that provided multiple works and brief bios. While I'll admit that 2 of my teammates and I greatly benefited from lists our freshman year, it's not a long-term method by any means.
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Re: Lists

Post by magin » Thu Apr 17, 2008 8:27 pm

I don't think there's anything terrible in studying lists; however, studying lists tends to be both boring and ineffective (in that it's hard to link one name with another name without any context). I studied lists in high school, and learned of the existence of many books, works of art, and events, but never learned what they were. Almost all the answers I know now come from outside reading or writing pyramidal tossups and clue-dense bonuses, not from memorizing lists. So, practically, I think that using lists works to expose players to topics that come up, but to learn those topics, list memorization is absolutely ineffective.
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Re: Lists

Post by Quantum Mushroom Billiard Hat » Thu Apr 17, 2008 8:34 pm

I have come across one list that still gets me points on tossups: world capitals. Though I now can usually answer questions about countries based on other things, it helps to know that almost all geo questions on countries will end with "FTP, name this country with it's capital at _____." If you know every capital (and the question gets to the end), you can buzz at "at" and win the buzzer race most of the time.

I find it very sad that so many people do not know geography especially well. A lot of the geo tossups I have heard recently lasted until near the end of the question.

EDIT: Just to be clear, knowing a country's capital does not equate to having good geography knowledge.
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Re: Lists

Post by AKKOLADE » Thu Apr 17, 2008 9:17 pm

Lists can be useful as an absolute starting point, but I suggest that the best way to use lists is as an idea of what to study. E.g. a list of notable _____ War battles will point you towards the right ones to learn about.
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Re: Lists

Post by AlphaQuizBowler » Thu Apr 17, 2008 9:25 pm

Charlie,
Every time list learning comes up, you seem to bitterly oppose it. I don't know why this is. At the level of quizbowl that you're at, lists are definitely ineffective, but for those of us who aren't top scorers at HSNCT, we can use them to improve.

List learning is a good starting point for quizbowl. If someone wanted to be a lit specialist and had no outside knowledge, they should memorize the first 100 names on the NAQT list before reading them. This provides them with a foundation and a familiarity with the works that helps them memorize further information about them.

Also, for the humanities, unless tournaments eliminate toss-ups and bonuses on artists, authors, and musicians, having an extensive knowledge of lists of creators and creations will guarantee points and maybe powers on at least that part of the distribution.
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Re: Lists

Post by The Time Keeper » Thu Apr 17, 2008 10:03 pm

AlphaQuizBowler wrote:
List learning is a good starting point for quizbowl. If someone wanted to be a lit specialist and had no outside knowledge, they should memorize the first 100 names on the NAQT list before reading them. This provides them with a foundation and a familiarity with the works that helps them memorize further information about them.
Keep in mind that I'm differentiating "lists" from extensive notes and the like here.

Diving straight into reading/playing packets and studying the answers that come up and things related to them is a million times more beneficial than binary list memorizing on remotely worthwhile questions. Actually reading those works is of course by far the best, especially because of its non-quizbowl benefits, but I suppose might not be time-efficient for someone strictly focused on improving at quizbowl from a low starting point.

Sure you can get powers on artists and the like by simply associating their names with their minor works, and that will happen on its own as you play/study/read, but no one interested in actually knowing things should be satisfied with that being the extent of their knowledge on subjects they don't completely hate, and it isn't necessary to lay that kind of very basic foundation before trying to get more real knowledge of those things.
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Re: Lists

Post by AlphaQuizBowler » Thu Apr 17, 2008 10:36 pm

But I think that with memory, the familiarity helps when hearing questions. For example, a player is more likely to remember the clues (hard ones included) to a Grapes of Wrath question if he has studied famous authors and associated Steinbeck-Grapes of Wrath than if he has never heard of the work.
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Re: Lists

Post by asdf » Thu Apr 17, 2008 10:42 pm

AlphaQuizBowler wrote:But I think that with memory, the familiarity helps when hearing questions. For example, a player is more likely to remember the clues (hard ones included) to a Grapes of Wrath question if he has studied famous authors and associated Steinbeck-Grapes of Wrath than if he has never heard of the work.
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Re: Lists

Post by AlphaQuizBowler » Thu Apr 17, 2008 11:00 pm

Writing Questions=Time Consuming

When I'm writing questions for learning purposes, I tend to look up a lot of information, enough for 2-3 questions on a topic. I could memorize about 300 binary author-work in the same time period. At a beginning level of quizbowl, the 300 works get a lot more points than the gaining of thorough knowledge about one thing.
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Re: Lists

Post by aestheteboy » Thu Apr 17, 2008 11:36 pm

My experience has been that actually reading a work or writing questions about it won't always guarantee that I get the question; it's pretty easy to forget, say, the names of the minor characters in a book, unless I'm constantly thinking about quizbowl when I read it (which I definitely don't want to do). At a certain point, I'll probably find that I need to write questions and read books to improve, but so far, for me, lists/notes + paying attention in classes + reading questions has worked well enough. Basically, doing anything intellectual helps you get points (again, even studying simple lists) - it's just a matter of efficiency.
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Re: Lists

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Thu Apr 17, 2008 11:52 pm

I think lists work just fine, especially for mid-range teams looking to get a leg up. I read questions from them as well, and i've exhausted the NAQT "You Gotta Know" lists with great results in NAQT tourneys.

I've had several students who, on their own, have essentially memorized information without me even requesting that they do so. I can't tell you how many times it's gotten us questions right that we otherwise had no business getting.

But yes, we practice with real packets as often as possible, usually two full packets per practice session. Of course those are better but, well, they cost money and are much more time consuming.
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Re: Lists

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Fri Apr 18, 2008 8:21 am

Actually, there are tons of free packets on the internet that you could use in practice.
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Re: Lists

Post by Byko » Fri Apr 18, 2008 10:21 am

For a lot of teams that don't have experience, are just starting out, or tend to play a LOT on speed-oriented formats, lists can be a good starting point. They can also be useful sometimes in coming up with ideas for writing questions--by no means am I saying to use them to write the actual question, but from my experience, coming up with answers to write questions about can be difficult, especially if you're writing questions en masse.

Question writing is definitely good for building depth of knowledge...once you know what good pyramidal questions look and sound like and how to write them. Practice doesn't make perfect: perfect practice makes perfect. Bad question writing will not be really that helpful, but good question writing definitely is. However, I know that, for many teams at this point in time, good question writing is very difficult and time consuming.
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Re: Lists

Post by Tegan » Fri Apr 18, 2008 10:31 am

I will extend much love by agreeing with many. If your goal is to compete with the mid Atlantic powerhouses et.al from other parts of the nation, then lists are going to leave you short. but, if you are trying to transition from bad quizbowl to better quizbowl, it may be a quick way to give you a foot up on most teams in the nation. A team that studied nothing but lists, and had them down cold, would almost certainly be a top 100 in the nation without batting an eyelash. To go beyond that, you need to do some more serious studying, serious reading, and you need to go beyond list knowledge.

A slightly above average team knows Ernest Hemmingway wrote Death in the Afternoon, Old Man in the Sea, For Whome the Bell Tolls, and Farewell to Arms.

An above average team knows this, plus a few short stories he wrote (like "Hills Like white Elephants")

A slightly better team knows a few characters from these works.

All of this involves list knowledge.

The teams short of elite have studied cliff notes, and have a better understanding of characters, plot, setting, etc.

The really elite teams have players who have read these works, and have an intimate understanding of all these things, plus some minor characters, exactl locales, times, etc.

As an example, based on my experience.

edit: if I wrote spelling questions, we would all be winners!

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Re: Lists

Post by The Atom Strikes! » Fri Apr 18, 2008 3:43 pm

Although I may take some flack for this, I actually have found Wikipedia to be a very useful source of information. It efficiently summarizes almost all of the information on most subjects that come up in High School and low-mid level college questions. As well as an efficient summary of information, Wikipedia helps with Magin's cognitive-map-building: links to other articles allow one to fully understand the circumstances and events surrounding a particular item, and their importance. Of course, I do not endorse the use of Wikipedia for question writing.
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Re: Lists

Post by Stat Boy » Fri Apr 18, 2008 3:51 pm

Byko wrote:perfect practice makes perfect
You just quoted verbatim the motto that was the "Oriole Way" in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. +1000 points.

I'm sure there are some people who can benefit from lists at first, but hearing questions helped me more than lists ever could.
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Re: Lists

Post by cvdwightw » Mon Apr 21, 2008 2:02 pm

Stat Boy wrote:I'm sure there are some people who can benefit from lists at first, but hearing questions helped me more than lists ever could.
As someone whose entire high school "studying" experience involved hearing questions (well, except for that one horrible packet-writing attempt), I completely agree with this statement. If your team knows next-to-nothing about music, e.g., there's this dude named Bach and a dude named Beethoven and this other Mozart guy and they all kind of wrote stuff, then list-memorization may be a way to associate these guys with their most famous works and thus get 10 points against similarly-poor music teams. However, once you have this cursory understanding, it becomes easier to associate more obscure works with those composers through the thought process "I hear WORK X - it's by guy who did FAMOUS WORK Y - it's COMPOSER Z" by hearing questions, because that is the order those works would come in the question. In general, I find "OBSCURE WORK X - is by COMPOSER Z" to be much harder to recall than an intermediate association with a more famous work.

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Re: Lists

Post by Terrible Shorts Depot » Thu Jun 05, 2008 10:46 pm

I agree with Henry and disagree with Charlie.

I find that Wikipedia is a very valuable source. While it is not always accurate, it is quick and relatively in depth. While it is always more valuable to read Their Eyes Were Watching God, you don't always have time to do so. While something like Benet's is more accurate than Wikipedia, it also weighs a lot and doesn't allow you to do things like this: Their Eyes Were Watching God-->Zora Neale Hurston-->Franz Boaz-->Margaret Mead-->Coming of Age in Samoa-->Samoa. In short, be smart about you Wiki-ing. It is usually pretty good, but double check the facts, and if possible, look up stuff elsewhere also.

Lists are valuable on some level. They are boring, unfun, and "lame". Questions that are clear designed with list memorizers in mind (eg anything about Nobel Prizes) are dumb. But, lists can be very valuable. It is definitely worth it to memorize stuff like world capitals and US presidents. Even though we all wish the we knew enough to get Millard Fillmore off of clues like, "He founded the University of Buffalo," we sometimes can't and only are able to get him off of "13th president". Basically, one shouldn't have a binary or ternary knowledge of an answer, but sometimes that's all one has. Strive for more. In short, it is worth it to memorize some suff, but one should try to have deeper knowledge.
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Re: Lists

Post by gabjoh » Sat Jun 14, 2008 8:49 pm

I don't really like that one, it's at least 10 percent inaccurate, which is a pretty big error, in my opinion.
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Re: Lists

Post by cornfused » Sun Jun 15, 2008 1:41 am

gabjoh wrote:
I don't really like that one, it's at least 10 percent inaccurate, which is a pretty big error, in my opinion.
What, got a problem with "both Yemens" and the listing of both "Benin" and "Dahomey?"

EDIT: I suppose Yugoslavia and Transylvania too.

EDIT EDIT: But it's still useful.
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Re: Lists

Post by Stat Boy » Sun Jun 15, 2008 10:45 am

Also, "Algier" and "Algeria" both come up, as do noted non-countries Guam and French Guiana.

On a side note, I can recite all 12 verses of that song.
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