Help studying

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Kidgenius2002
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Help studying

Post by Kidgenius2002 » Tue Jul 31, 2018 1:32 pm

Hey everyone,
I just wanted to get an idea of how you study for quizbowl. Based on research I've done I have concluded that the overall strategy to improve consists of:

1. Reading/annotating packets
2. Making flashcards
3. Writing questions
4. Going to practice and tormurnaments.

Is that all there is to improving, or are there strategies that I am missing? Additionally, while reading packets how do you annotate them? For example, it took me over a day to just do one packet as I would go through and read Wikipedia articles, and any other article about my subject(s). Is this the standard? Also, when making flashcards, what is the general structure of them? Are they similar to regular flashcards where you include:

1. Name
2. Date
3. Definition/relevenat info

What do you guys do? Thank you in advance.

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Re: Help studying

Post by A Very Long Math Tossup » Wed Aug 01, 2018 2:33 am

Kidgenius2002 wrote: For example, it took me over a day to just do one packet as I would go through and read Wikipedia articles, and any other article about my subject(s). Is this the standard?
Not sure about standard, but that sounds pretty good to me. Going on long wiki walks is a great way to learn things in-depth. I also usually search on Quinterest/QuizDB to see what else people have used for early clues.
Kidgenius2002 wrote: 1. Name
2. Date
3. Definition/relevenat info
There's no reason to know specific dates. The only time (non-terrible) questions use dates is so that players can pin down a general time period (e.g. "FTP, name this 1898 battle that...").

Other people can probably give better advice about flashcards. Carding has never really been my style; I'm more of a notebook person.
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Re: Help studying

Post by jesposito » Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:43 am

How flashcards are structured really depends on the subject and the answer line you're trying to get at.

Literature:
If I wanted to make flashcards on One Hundred Years of Solitude, I would make one flashcard that says "One Hundred Years of Solitude is by" "Garcia Marquez (Colombia)", then I would follow this up with about 10 or so flashcards with specific clues, base facts learned from wikipedia and more indepth clues from sparknotes or quizdb. I usually put two clues on each flashcard, as it makes it quicker to get through the flashcards for me, but you can put one clue on each if you would like. I would suggest not going over two clues however, as I find I tend to ignore the clues at the end of the flashcard because I already know what book is being talked about. On the flipside of each of the literature cards, I'll put the book title and the author's name. For example, one of my flashcards is "One man in this novel dreams of a city of mirrors, and a band of gypsies arrives annually in this novel, including Melquíades" "One Hundred Years of Solitude (Garcia Marquez)". For books that'll only come up in bonuses (at least at the high school level), you only need two cards, one for the book title, author and country, and one flashcard with a very brief summary of the book. A good way to get a very brief summary is to look up bonuses on quizdb and copy one in that describes the book well.

History:
History is a little more straight forward. Again, for things that'll be tossed up, like the Battle of Gettysburg, I will make 10 or so flashcards (10 isn't a concrete number, I usually just keep going until I can power the questions on quizdb pretty regularly) with clues, and on the flipside I'll just put "Battle of Gettysburg." The first flashcard should be the most basic facts you can think of for the Battle of Gettysburg, the generals who fought, who won, where it was. Then, get into the clues that'll come up earlier. A surefire way to almost always power history stuff like that is to flashcard the wikipedia page itself (the part that has the summary of the battle). If you do it right it won't take that long, and it'll get you powers for sure. However, only do it for very common answerlines, otherwise it's unnecessary and a waste of time. For things that'll only come up in bonuses, one flashcard and a brief description works. With history, there'll probably be a lot of clues found at multiple places in your flashcards (Battle of Hastings on a William the Conquerer flashcard, William the Conquerer on a Battle of Hastings flashcard), so that'll help with memorization.

Religion/Mythology/Philosophy/Social Science/Geography:
Very straight forward, just read packets and wikipedia pages, make flashcards. Pretty simple, you might have to change your techniques between subjects but it's intuitive.

Science:
I cannot help here! I'm sure many of the same methods I've described above can work with science, but as I don't study it I do not know. Sorry!

Software to Use:
Anki is a very good free software that'll help you retain information through its daily flashcard reviews. However, I prefer to pay the $10 a year for Quizlet pro. It has the same system of daily flashcard reviews, I can share my sets with my team, and its mobile version is free (Anki's is $25 I think). Daily review of flashcards is very important to remember all of this information, without it, you'll just forget. Getting a software to automate that for you will make your life so much easier and you won't regret it.

Hope this helps! As of right now I have about 6,000 flashcards and I've only been studying for a year. This is all just my personal method and experience so if anything doesn't work then experiment until you find something right for you!
Joe Esposito
Aurora, Ohio, 2019
Ohio State University, 2023

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Re: Help studying

Post by joshxu » Wed Aug 01, 2018 9:31 am

I strongly recommend Quizlet over paper flashcards. Quizlet has many different study modes, and it will keep track of how well you do on each flashcard, and you can isolate any card(s) you want. Additionally, making online cards is much more efficient. I was able to make 10000 cards on Quizlet last year, whereas I would likely only be able to make a third of that on paper.
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Re: Help studying

Post by Fuddle Duddle » Wed Aug 01, 2018 9:40 am

jesposito wrote: Anki is a very good free software that'll help you retain information through its daily flashcard reviews. However, I prefer to pay the $10 a year for Quizlet pro. It has the same system of daily flashcard reviews, I can share my sets with my team, and its mobile version is free (Anki's is $25 I think). Daily review of flashcards is very important to remember all of this information, without it, you'll just forget. Getting a software to automate that for you will make your life so much easier and you won't regret it.
There's an open source mobile version of Anki available for free here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... anki&hl=en (it's what I use to card on my phone).
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Re: Help studying

Post by AGoodMan » Wed Aug 01, 2018 10:34 am

Anki is a great software and many players better than me have used it to great success. I personally prefer Mnemosyne, but I guess to each their own. Here is my personal philosophy on flashcarding:

UPDATE (7/23/2019): I now use Anki instead of Mnemosyne. Both are still great, but I find Anki to have more useful features.

I prefer to have one clue per flashcard, because I like to think of each flashcard as a way for me to remember one clue in a tossup or bonus. Additionally, the answerline of the flashcard is what you will remember. Say you're studying the opera Madame Butterfly for the first time. One might make cards like:
Q: In this opera, Pinkerton rents a house for 999 years
A: Madame Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini
This is certainly a helpful card, and when you first start out learning about Madame Butterfly, it may be helpful to have a bunch of cards with the answerline being just the opera itself to have a grasp of the set of clues that may be asked about the work. But in quiz bowl, it's often not enough to just map all your information to the name of a work or its creator. You may encounter bonuses on character names, settings, and other details of a work like Madame Butterfly. And if my cards all have answerlines simply being the opera itself, I may not have internalized other details about the work deep enough to be able to pull them during gameplay. Bonuses asking about characters (Pinkerton, Cio-Cio San, Suzuki, Sharpless, etc.) are fair game, and you should prepare for that in your studying. So instead, I might make a card like this:
Q: This operatic character rents a house for 999 years.
A: Pinkerton in Madame Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini
Note that the same set of information appears in this card as in the earlier example, except that Pinkerton is now part of the answerline, and is something I must actively recall every time I review the card. And every time I review the card, I force myself to mentally go through all three elements of the answerline: character (Pinkerton), work (Butterfly), and its creator (Puccini). Say the answerline of the flashcard you want to remember out loud. It might sound a little weird, but it helps with retention.

You can do this for history too. Instead of just:
Q: At the battle of Shiloh, this commander said, "lick 'em tomorrow though."
A: Ulysses S. Grant
Instead, I might make a card like this:
Q: [Name both] At this battle, this commander said, "lick 'em tomorrow though."
A: Ulysses S. Grant at the Battle of Shiloh
Again, the key is to vary the answerline of your flashcard so you don't just remember the work/war/author/battle well, but other important and related topics related to that that answerline. If you're learning about Heracles, don't just make like 60 cards with the answerline as Heracles. Make cards that ask about his wives, the gods he fought, his labors, etc.
Q: Heracles fought this river god to marry Deianira
A: Achelous
The above is better than:
Q: This hero fought Achelous to marry Deianira
A: Heracles
If I was studying Greek mythology for the first time and I only carded Heracles as part of the answerline and not Achelous, six or seven times out of ten, I may not be able to pull Achelous in a game situation (even though Achelous is still part of the flashcard).

I heard cloze deletion is also a good tool for deep learning every part of a flashcard but I have never tried it myself.

I'm still working on figuring this out, but I would generally recommend not carding very similar topics within the category in a relatively short timeframe; i.e. don't be like me and card battles of the Nine Years' War and the War of the Spanish Succession on the same day! More likely than not, all the information will get jumbled in your head. To this day, details of 1st Bull Run and Antietam are very difficult for me to distinguish because I was overzealous and carded both battles concurrently.

What kind of clues should you card? I generally do a mix of deep reading Wikipedia/books, and then taking notes on the information. Then I check my notes against packets to see what I should really, really know, and also to see how certain clues are phrased.

Lastly, I would suggest notetaking and flashcarding. It might be cumbersome to read books/Wikipedia/packets, take notes, and then make flashcards from your notes, but I find that multistep process to be helpful in digesting and learning the information (some people can just read stuff and recall it well, like Andrew Yaphe or Robert Chu, but that is certainly not me.) I actually think I learn the material while taking those notes, and the flashcards are there to help with memory retention. And make sure to re-read through your notes at some point, because to quote Jordan Brownstein:
Jordan Brownstein wrote:i sometimes find that i can click through flashcards by just sorta recognizing the shape of the words, but don't know the clue "deep' enough to actually buzz on it in a game
Hope that helps a little bit. Note that it's my personal take on flashcarding and is therefore not a universal guide whatsoever.
Last edited by AGoodMan on Tue Jul 23, 2019 10:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Help studying

Post by west neg, new york » Wed Aug 01, 2018 11:56 am

AGoodMan wrote: Lastly, I would suggest notetaking AND flashcarding. It might be cumbersome to read books/Wikipedia/packets, take notes, and then make flashcards from your notes, but I find that multistep process to be helpful in digesting and learning all that information (some people can just read stuff and recall it well, like Andrew Yaphe or Robert Chu, but that is certainly not me.) I actually think I learn the material while taking those notes, and the flashcards are there to help with memory retention. And make sure to re-read through your notes at some point, because to quote Jordan Brownstein:
Jordan Brownstein wrote:i sometimes find that i can click through flashcards by just sorta recognizing the shape of the words, but don't know the clue "deep' enough to actually buzz on it in a game
Hope that helps a little bit. Note that it's my personal take on flashcarding and is therefore not a universal guide whatsoever.
One of these things is not like the others :razz:

Edited to actually contribute to the thread: I'll throw my support behind Anki. I don't use it for quizbowl purposes, but it's been a godsend for medical school, which is a lot of the same kind of quick associative recall that quizbowl likes to test. The spaced recall algorithm is also great--you don't waste time reviewing stuff that you have down cold, and it gives you a nice natural stopping point for saying, "okay, I've studied enough today."
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Re: Help studying

Post by John Ketzkorn » Thu Aug 02, 2018 11:19 am

AGoodMan wrote: Lastly, I would suggest notetaking AND flashcarding. It might be cumbersome to read books/Wikipedia/packets, take notes, and then make flashcards from your notes, but I find that multistep process to be helpful in digesting and learning all that information (some people can just read stuff and recall it well, like Andrew Yaphe or Robert Chu, but that is certainly not me.) I actually think I learn the material while taking those notes, and the flashcards are there to help with memory retention. And make sure to re-read through your notes at some point, because to quote Jordan Brownstein:
Jordan Brownstein wrote:i sometimes find that i can click through flashcards by just sorta recognizing the shape of the words, but don't know the clue "deep' enough to actually buzz on it in a game
Hope that helps a little bit. Note that it's my personal take on flashcarding and is therefore not a universal guide whatsoever.

Flashcards are an okay way to get your bearings straight if you need to drill yourself on a lot of things. I find carding can be cumbersome, especially if you're anything like me, and have no idea what's important so you end up making a lot of superfluous cards.

If I had to start all over and I wanted to card, I'd probably start with bonuses and make cards that would help me at least twenty bonuses in my category and then start working my way up from the bottom of tossups: making sure I could last line almost all the things in my categories; then after I'm comfortable with that, making sure I could pre-ftp things; then making sure I could get things shortly after power; right before power; last line of power, and so on.

I don't recommend doing all the strategies. I recommend finding one or two main strategies that work and sticking to them (using other strategies only when you feel like mixing things up). Try out carding in some sort of manner (possibly the way I've described above) and see if you like it / see if it actually makes you more knowledgeable on your subjects, if it does and you enjoy it, great! If it doesn't, don't feel like it's the only way to improve. Reading packets, taking notes, carding, wikipedia, books, etc. are all fine ways to study. You can use a mix, but by no means feel obligated to commit yourself to all of them or to ones you don't enjoy doing.

That being said, I highly recommend going through a database at some point to look at questions of the answerline(s) you were just studying, regardless of what method you use. You need to "quizbowlify" your knowledge.

Tl;dr: don't feel obligated to use every study method. Use the suggestions here to find something that works for you and stick to it. The only necessary step is translating your understanding into quiz bowl clues and (hopefully) translating clues from quiz bowl into a deeper understanding.
Michael Etzkorn
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Re: Help studying

Post by VGTheOne » Tue Feb 26, 2019 10:38 am

AGoodMan wrote:
Wed Aug 01, 2018 10:34 am
Anki is a great software and many players better than me have used it to great success. I personally prefer Mnemosyne, but I guess to each their own. Here is my personal philosophy on flashcarding:

I prefer to have one clue per flashcard, because I like to think of each flashcard as a way for me to remember one single clue in a tossup or bonus. Another important thing that I've come to learn about flashcarding is that the answerline of the flashcard is what you remember. Say you're studying the opera Madame Butterfly. One might make cards like:
Q: In this opera, Pinkerton rents a house for 999 years.
A: Madame Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini
This is certainly a helpful card, but I personally found that I would only remember the answerline of the flashcard well, but often forget character names or other specific elements of the opera. This is a problem if you encounter a bonus on Madame Butterfly that asks you not only the title/composer, but also specific elements of the opera. So instead, I might make a card like this:
Q: This operatic character rents a house for 999 years.
A: Pinkerton in Madame Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini
And every time I review the card, I force myself to mentally go through all three elements of that answerline: character, work, and its creator.

You can do this for history too. Instead of just:
Q: At the battle of Shiloh, this commander said, "lick 'em tomorrow though."
A: Ulysses S. Grant
Instead, I might make a card like this:
Q: [Name both] At this battle, this commander said, "lick 'em tomorrow though."
A: Ulysses S. Grant at the Battle of Shiloh
The key is to vary the answerline of your flashcard so you don't just remember the work/war/author/battle well, but other important and related topics around that answerline. If you're learning about Heracles, don't just make like 60 cards with the answerline as Heracles. Make cards that ask about his wives, the gods he fought, etc.
Q: Heracles fought this river god to marry Deianira:
A: Achelous
The above is much better than:
Q: This hero fought Achelous to marry Deianira
A: Heracles
If I only carded Heracles and not Achelous, nine times out of ten, I would not be able to pull Achelous in a game situation (even though Achelous is part of the flashcard).

I heard cloze deletion is also a good tool for deep learning every part of a flashcard but I have never tried it myself.

Lastly, I would suggest notetaking AND flashcarding. It might be cumbersome to read books/Wikipedia/packets, take notes, and then make flashcards from your notes, but I find that multistep process to be helpful in digesting and learning all that information (some people can just read stuff and recall it well, like Andrew Yaphe or Robert Chu, but that is certainly not me.) I actually think I learn the material while taking those notes, and the flashcards are there to help with memory retention. And make sure to re-read through your notes at some point, because to quote Jordan Brownstein:
Jordan Brownstein wrote:i sometimes find that i can click through flashcards by just sorta recognizing the shape of the words, but don't know the clue "deep' enough to actually buzz on it in a game
Hope that helps a little bit. Note that it's my personal take on flashcarding and is therefore not a universal guide whatsoever.
This was a very helpful post and helped me create many effective cards. Thank you!
Vishnuu Gopi
Jasper High ‘20, Club Officer
Plano West Senior High School '22

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