National Tournaments Preparation

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DoWon.Kim
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National Tournaments Preparation

Post by DoWon.Kim » Sat Sep 10, 2011 2:06 am

I've been playing quiz bowl for a bit more than a year and feel that I have a pretty good knowledge of the high school canons from tournaments like NAQT IS-sets and HSAPQ mACF formats. But when I read PACE sets or hear past HSNCT questions, they are drastically difficult. I have not yet attended a national tournament yet, though I plan to this year. How should I prepare? Do the questions in PACE and HSCNT have larger, more obscure canons or are the clues more difficult?
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Re: National Tournaments Preparation

Post by Tower Monarch » Sat Sep 10, 2011 8:43 am

DoWon.Kim wrote:I've been playing quiz bowl for a bit more than a year and feel that I have a pretty good knowledge of the high school canons from tournaments like NAQT IS-sets and HSAPQ mACF formats. But when I read PACE sets or hear past HSNCT questions, they are drastically difficult. I have not yet attended a national tournament yet, though I plan to this year. How should I prepare? Do the questions in PACE and HSCNT have larger, more obscure canons or are the clues more difficult?
The answer to the last question is probably both. Many (if not most) NSC or HSNCT tossups will have the same answer lines that come up in IS and HSAPQ sets, but, to account for the better field, early clues require much deeper knowledge. It follows that the way to prepare for those early clues is to dig a bit deeper on the canonical answers you already know, whether it be by reading about them (ideal) or by studying HS-level bonuses (ok) or by studying college questions on them (probably the most efficient way). For bonuses, pretty much the same thing is happening: "regular" hard part difficulty becomes the nationals middle part difficulty and some expansion will happen in the hard part.

I think your best bet in figuring out the HS nationals canon would be to incorporate lower level college tournaments like MUT, Novice and Fall into your normal practice and study routine. Most of the canon expansion that occurs between HS "regular" and nationals level comes from the college canon, usually just short of college's "regular difficulty."

Short answer, read through, in practice and/or on your own, the last few years' ACF Falls and other college sets, and use archives like Torrey Pines' Database (presumably you already do this), Jerry's grapesmoker qbdb and Carlo Angiuli's acfdb to see what harder questions look like for the canonical answers you already know.
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Re: National Tournaments Preparation

Post by Guile Island » Sat Sep 10, 2011 9:15 pm

If I remember correctly, ACF Fall is supposed to be around High School Nationals difficulty. As the above poster said, college tournaments should be read and even attended if you want to do well at High School nationals.

A good thing to study for nationals is less famous works. For example, the only Steinbeck works that could be tossed up in regular HS difficulty would be stuff like Of Mice and Men or The Grapes of Wrath. But at Nationals, you might hear a tossup on a lesser known Steinbeck work like Tortilla Flat or The Red Pony. (This is merely an example, I'm no authority on which Steinbeck works come up more than others).
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Re: National Tournaments Preparation

Post by No Electricity Required » Sat Sep 10, 2011 10:16 pm

King of Carrot Flowers wrote:If I remember correctly, ACF Fall is supposed to be around High School Nationals difficulty. As the above poster said, college tournaments should be read and even attended if you want to do well at High School nationals.

A good thing to study for nationals is less famous works. For example, the only Steinbeck works that could be tossed up in regular HS difficulty would be stuff like Of Mice and Men or The Grapes of Wrath. But at Nationals, you might hear a tossup on a lesser known Steinbeck work like Tortilla Flat or The Red Pony. (This is merely an example, I'm no authority on which Steinbeck works come up more than others).
From what I've been told and from my experience playing/reading nats sets and reading/practicing on ACF falls, HS nationals are a couple notches above ACF fall. MUT might be closer to HS nats difficulty, but it might be a bit tougher (it's been a while since I've looked at one of them).

Edit: Statistics say similar things: State College's PPB on 2010 ACF fall was 26.94; after plenty of months to improve they put up 22.75 at HSNCT and 23.35 at NSC. Same thing for Dorman A: 24.80 on fall; 21.46 and 22.12 at the two nationals--that's not a huge difference numerically, but given the expected improvement its pretty telling. Edit again: And Dorman put up 23.68 on MUT if you want to compare that too.
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