Studying History and Art

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Jeje Lalpekhlua
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Joined: Sat May 20, 2017 10:00 am

Studying History and Art

Post by Jeje Lalpekhlua »

Hello All:

So, I am a freshman and I have played 3-4 tournaments, comfortably getting 40 - 60 PPG. I want to take the next step and become an all-state player. In addition to my strengths in geo, American History, and current events, I would like to start getting deep knowledge on ancient history, medieval history, and world history. I am also very interested in art, and I would like to acquire deep knowledge in visual art.

What books/studying habits would you recommend for each of these subjects? I am not sure how deep I should go, or what things really matter when it comes to quiz bowl. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Abhinav Karthikeyan - he/him/his
Richard Montgomery HS '21
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Re: Studying History and Art

Post by AGoodMan »

Many people have spoken on questions like this, but my personal take at least for history at the HS level would be something like this:

1. Read packets.
- This helps you gauge what kinds of things come up again and again.
- I believe Max Schindler said this once, but don't just read tossups - also read bonuses! It is common for medium or hard parts of a bonus to come up as a early clue in a tossup.
- You already seem to be a solid HS player. But don't blindly start out by reading super hard sets like Penn Bowl and ACF Regs. First, acquire a solid foundation by close reading sets like HFT, BHSAT, PACE, and ACF Fall. If RM has access to old SCT D2 and HSNCT sets, those would also be good. Aim to be able to at least '20 bonuses in your categories in those sets. Since you like history, NHBB is also good.
- Also check out EFT, EMT, MUT; don't worry right now about learning about every hard history part on those sets, though.
- I think Eric Xu once said this, that he sometimes peruses old SCOP Novice sets to make sure he can 30 every bonus in the categories that he is studying. Do this for your categories of history and art.

2. Read books.
- Honestly this is something I need to grow in using as a study method, but there is no better way to acquire a large-picture understanding of the history of a region or era than reading a book about it.
- There have been infomative threads on books that are helpful for quiz bowl.

2b. Go explore on Wikipedia.
- For me, this is a super enjoyable way to find about new things and find more specific information that you can't gain from reading general history books (unless you're reading biographies or books on very specific topics).
- Wikipedia also makes it easy to search for subtopics relevant to the thing you're learning about. For example, if you search up Charles I of England on Wikipedia, there will be many relevant links that come up, such as "English Civil War," "Long Parliament," "Bishops' War." Read about those things too; enjoy the descent down the rabbit hole.

3. Do whatever helps you remember the things you've read. There are various methods of this:
- Some people write questions. This is good because it helps you think about translating raw historical knowledge into quizbowl clues. You also tend to remember the clues that you yourself used.
- Some people take notes. Personally, I create pretty detailed Google Docs notes as I read Wikipedia articles and other knowledge sources. It forces me to use my own words to express the knowledge I'm reading about, which I find helpful in memory retention.
- Some people flashcard (Quizlet, Mnemosyne, Anki, etc.). How to flashcard effectively probably requires another thread by itself, but it's pretty universally agreed that carding is quite helpful at the HS level especially.

Good luck!

*edited for minor grammar things
Jon Suh
Wheaton Warrenville South High School '16
Harvard '20
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Re: Studying History and Art

Post by acrosby1861 »

AGoodMan wrote:Since you like history, NHBB is also good.
I agree with this. There's a lot of history overlap between NHBB and quiz bowl. It'll help a lot.
AGoodMan wrote:2b. Go explore on Wikipedia.
This can help, too, especially if you feel like you just need a broad overview of what you want to cover.

(edited because I left something out the first time around)
Last edited by acrosby1861 on Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
Arianne Crosby
Los Alamitos High School '17
UC San Diego '20
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Location: Berkeley, CA

Re: Studying History and Art

Post by nsb2 »

First of all, this is a great question! Here are some general methods (other than the ones Jon covered) I used to go from a good player at the end of junior year to a really good player in my senior year:

1. Plan out your studying time for national tournaments (both those happening this season and future seasons) and set targets for subject areas. In my case, I started studying seriously around October-November 2016; I spent about one to two months studying literature, about two or three months studying fine arts, and a month or two on history. The targets don't need to be objective (e.g. get a certain number of points at a tournament) -- in fact, it's better to make them subjective (for example, to learn most of the high school canon for a subject).

2. Divide the subjects you want to study into blocks, and then review them at certain points in the year. I briefly discussed this in my previous point, but focusing on one subject over a few weeks or months consolidates your knowledge and helps you remember clues for a long period of time. In your case, you might want to focus on art for, say, three months, then history for two months, then spend a month reviewing your knowledge and learning clues from tools like QuizBug or QuizDB.

I would also third Jon's suggestion of Wikipedia, particularly for history but also for details on paintings and music you might not find elsewhere.

I'm something of a fine arts specialist myself, so feel free to PM me about that (or about my general experience gaining knowledge in high school quizbowl).
Pranav Sivakumar
Barrington Station MS '13, Barrington High School --> IMSA '17
UC Berkeley '21
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Re: Studying History and Art

Post by kingofcroutons »

I'm kinda interested, how much do you guys study per day? On normal days I study probably around 1-2 hours, but on days before tournaments, I study around 3-4.
Keaton Martin, Woodford County High School '21
Rather Wild Indeed
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Re: Studying History and Art

Post by Rather Wild Indeed »

kingofcroutons wrote:I'm kinda interested, how much do you guys study per day? On normal days I study probably around 1-2 hours, but on days before tournaments, I study around 3-4.
I really enjoy history so even if I'm not studying exclusively for quiz bowl by reading packets etc., I'm reading some book that helps me gain some real knowledge. I also procrastinate doing my homework by reading questions... its becoming a bit of a problem ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
Rishik Hombal
Hoover HS 2014-18
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