Improving Myself as a Player

New high school teams looking for advice should post here.
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LoneWolf6
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Improving Myself as a Player

Post by LoneWolf6 »

Hello everyone, I am incoming freshman hoping to join my high school's quiz bowl team. I was wondering if anyone here could give me some advice on becoming a decent or above average quiz bowl player. I have read the stuff on the NAQT website and studied the you gotta know lists from the NAQT website, but I was wondering if there was any in-depth way of studying because the lists were slightly brief. I'd really appreciate if anyone could give me some advice or redirect to a forum on how to intensively study for NAQT literature and history. I really appreciate any help anyone can give me and thanks for responding.

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Ammar
Hawken School '17

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Re: Improving Myself as a Player

Post by Sniper, No Sniping! »

If you happen to be acquainted with any players on the Hawken team (or better yet, any former players, like Anirudh Dasarthy or Eric Xiao, both class '12), ask for pointers from them on what you should do to ensure you have a high shot of making the team since different schools have different standards for team/club admission, different processes, etc. And who better to ask then the people you personally know who've done it?

As an aside, I didn't know Hawken still had a quiz bowl team.
Thomas Moore
Lancaster Fisher Catholic HS c/o 2014
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vinteuil
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Re: Improving Myself as a Player

Post by vinteuil »

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=14009#p255194

Can someone please sticky some version of that?
Jacob Reed
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Banned Tiny Toon Adventures Episode
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Re: Improving Myself as a Player

Post by Banned Tiny Toon Adventures Episode »

read a book
Andrew Wang
Illinois 2016

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Corry
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Re: Improving Myself as a Player

Post by Corry »

I never found NAQT's You-Gotta-Know lists to be particularly helpful. I dunno, I guess I just found reading lists to be kind of boring.

If you're starting from absolute scratch, reading textbooks is generally a pretty good place to start. While textbooks vary wildly in quality, I've found that "AP-level" textbooks (basically anything with size 11 font or less) can generally give a pretty good summary of a particular subject field. Last year, I managed to become a halfway decent US History player simply by reading the textbook from my AP US History class.
Corry Wang
Arcadia High School 2013
Amherst College 2017
NAQT Writer and Subject Editor

Jason Cheng
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Re: Improving Myself as a Player

Post by Jason Cheng »

If you've studied the You Gotta Know lists on NAQT.com, you have more exposure to quiz bowl than most other freshmen trying out for your school's team. That's definitely the case with Arcadia, except add "and sophomores, and juniors, and probably seniors."

The only way to get better at the metagame of QB is to actually play quiz bowl. Since that comes after you actually make it on the team and start competing, the only thing you've got right now is your level of knowledge, and the only way to improve that is by learning more things. Getting better at quiz bowl literature usually entails learning about authors and their works, reading summaries of those works, and then reading the works themselves.

Partially because our school is the only public high school in the city, Arcadia gets an average of around 110 applicants every year, which we thin out with a written test and then buzzer rounds. When I ran the tryouts for the '12-'13 year, I looked for peripheral, deep knowledge that people would pick up if they had the intellectual curiosity and ability to remember it (3 or so of the literature questions I wrote were parodied on The Simpsons; there were written fine arts questions on the Venus de Milo and "Flight of the Bumblebee," etc.). I'm not an expert in quiz bowl, skill- or school-wise, by any means, but if your goal is to make it onto your school's team, following that general ideology is your best bet.
Jason Cheng
Arcadia High School 2013
UCSD 2017
PACE
http://www.socalquizbowl.org

allisonmurner
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Re: Improving Myself as a Player

Post by allisonmurner »

I started a lot like you my freshman year. I tried a lot of Question Databases and archives, but my favorite thing to do was use Wikipedia. Sometimes I went on and picked one of the Articles of the Day, and read pretty in depth on that. Sometimes I just jotted down a couple topics from practice the day before and went home and read the article on that. Of course, you've been warned by every english teacher that "ermahgerd, Wikipedia is all wrong and everyone lies!!" but if you read with any sort of wariness then you'll be able to catch any of the fake stories, if they're even there.

Also, this archive has proven very useful.
http://carloangiuli.com/acfdb/search.php
If I feel particularly weak on a certain subject, I search for that word or phrase and read all the questions on it. There tend to be a few specific clues that are used over and over in questions, and as you read 4, 5, or even 15 questions on the same subject, they'll become ingrained in your mind.

Or if you just want an easy day of quiz bowl, you can just narrow the search on that database by subject and read random questions in your subject area.

The most important thing about Quiz Bowl though, is just constantly surrounding yourself with it. Read a lot! Watch Jeopardy (which, despite it's mostly pop culture and trash questions, is entertaining and mildly helpful), write down the questions you miss in practice, and read, read, read!
Allison Murner
University of Kentucky Quiz Bowl Team

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Re: Improving Myself as a Player

Post by The ChatSack Triple-Play »

allisonmurner wrote:I started a lot like you my freshman year. I tried a lot of Question Databases and archives, but my favorite thing to do was use Wikipedia. Sometimes I went on and picked one of the Articles of the Day, and read pretty in depth on that. Sometimes I just jotted down a couple topics from practice the day before and went home and read the article on that. Of course, you've been warned by every english teacher that "ermahgerd, Wikipedia is all wrong and everyone lies!!" but if you read with any sort of wariness then you'll be able to catch any of the fake stories, if they're even there.

Also, this archive has proven very useful.
http://carloangiuli.com/acfdb/search.php
If I feel particularly weak on a certain subject, I search for that word or phrase and read all the questions on it. There tend to be a few specific clues that are used over and over in questions, and as you read 4, 5, or even 15 questions on the same subject, they'll become ingrained in your mind.

Or if you just want an easy day of quiz bowl, you can just narrow the search on that database by subject and read random questions in your subject area.

The most important thing about Quiz Bowl though, is just constantly surrounding yourself with it. Read a lot! Watch Jeopardy (which, despite it's mostly pop culture and trash questions, is entertaining and mildly helpful), write down the questions you miss in practice, and read, read, read!
A couple mostly-true things that have been and will probably be beaten to death by certain people on these forums:

Straight-up memorizing clues will get you some nice stats through about HS regular difficulty, just because the canon on any given subject is pretty small at this level, but with anything much harder than that (HFT, nationals, college, etc.) you'll start to plateau. ACFDB and that thing Jerry did do their job well, which is allowing easy access to past questions and/or clues. However, it is extremely hard to compete when you only know the clues and the team across from you knows both the clues and what they actually are/pertain to - good quizbowl is designed with this tenet partially in mind. This is why ProtoBowl gets slammed so much - due to its fast-paced nature (even more so than an actual game, since there are no bonuses) actually looking up that eponymous whatsit someone else buzzed on is discouraged, so you just mindlessly buzz on it the next time you see it. This is known as 'fraud' for a reason - it's not a good tactic if you want to go very far.

Also, Wiki is really inconsistent at times in terms of depth and/or actual notoriety of the facts it provides within their discipline, although it does usually serve as a good jumping-off point for finding things in greater depth (via the sources list) provided you're not looking up obscure short stories of William Carlos Williams or something silly like that. If you just want to know what something is, though, you're probably okay.

And finally, why hasn't this been linked to yet?
Sasha Malone
Gatton Academy '14 / WKU '18

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Jem Casey
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Re: Improving Myself as a Player

Post by Jem Casey »

I'm pretty new to quiz bowl myself, but as literature and history are my main interests I might have some advice. For the former, reading wikipedia plot summaries and so forth is always good, but I'm sometimes surprised by how poorly the details of plots and characters stay with you afterwards. The best way, then, to actually remember the names of characters and key plot points is to read the actual text. Now obviously, reading Les Miserables and Infinite Jest, or most even somewhat hefty novels for that matter, may be more trouble than its worth, but poetry and plays are also important and pretty quick to get through (this summer, i've been reading public domain plays on my kindle at a rate of about 1 per 2 days).

As for history, reading old questions is a great way to find areas that you're weak in and get more in-depth information about familiar terms. By reading high school history questions on good ol' quizbowldb.com, with supplementary wikipedia of course, I transformed myself from someone who didn't know what the mughal empire was to a fairly strong history player in about three months.
Jordan Brownstein

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