Nationals Event Discussion

MIScioly1
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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby MIScioly1 » May 20th, 2018, 8:03 pm

(I liked the calc questions spread out across the test!)
There were calculus questions on the test? I thought that was generally frowned upon in Scioly :?:

Unless you just mean calculation problems lol
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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby Unome » May 20th, 2018, 8:15 pm

Herpetology (31): 3/10. 34 stations and 1:30 for 2 questions per station. I don't really know what happened here; the test was way too easy for Nationals and I'm guessing we made a few mistakes that dropped us down to the bottom half of teams. It really is disappointing to put so much time into an event, medal in it at MIT, but bomb it at Nationals. If I could redo this event, I have no idea what I would do differently. Taking the test itself was really boring and tedious, usually the adrenaline of the competition makes the time pass fast and makes you forget about everything except for the test itself. I constantly found myself trying to stay focused and keep working or checking my answers, and it really irked me that the proctor prided himself on how challenging this test was, when every question asked the most stale and basic questions in existence. Overall, I have no idea what to think about this, from blaming myself for not being good enough to wondering what there was even to be done when anyone is infallible to a few ID mistakes and this in itself shouldn't determine your skill level.
This basically exactly describes what I think of the test. I spent the second half of most of the stations sitting on the tables to rest my feet because we had absolutely nothing to do, despite going very slowly on most stations. Also would like to second an earlier comment about incredibly vague answer choices (that one about the habitat of Trionychidae stood out to me as well, and I think there was something similar about Malaclemys).

The only reason I gave it even 5/10 is because the station rotation was well-designed.
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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby ScottMaurer19 » May 20th, 2018, 8:19 pm

Herpetology (2): 1/10. The Nationals Herpetology test was very disappointing. The proctor was insistent upon how “challenging” his test was, when in fact it was exceedingly too simple for a Science Olympiad Nationals test. The test was made up of 34 stations, each of which only had TWO questions: One was identification, and the other was either a multiple choice question or a fill in the blank (only 2 stations were different: a rest station and one with two trivia questions). The multiple choice and fill in the blank questions were very baseline and simple (“what is the diet of this specimen?” “what does the animal do when in a cool environment?”). These questions are very basic, and each answer easily found even on the specimen’s Wikipedia page. Frankly, someone could have printed out the Wikipedia page for each specimen on the list and could have performed well. Additionally, some of the questions that were multiple choice in fact had multiple correct answers (ex: asking what the habitat of soft shell turtles are, two of the possible answers being “brackish environment” and “freshwater”, when in fact the Chinese soft shell turtle can live in brackish waters and most others live in freshwater). Limiting the answers to multiple choice when the answers are complex and nuanced limited our ability to prove our knowledge and research, and, in fact misrepresented many of the samples. Many teams could have lost points on these sorts of questions (as there were many examples of this on the test, most of them relating to habitats). However, the most egregious part of this test was how the proctor mistakenly provided the answers to the identification portion. He cited the images he provided, many of the being urls which had the NAME of the specimen inside of it. He did a very poor job of sharpie-ing out the specimen’s name and thus provided the answer. This test was too simple for this level of competition, and was evidently poorly run. A Herpetology test like MIT, which had in-depth biological, ecological content that required intensive research and knowledge would have been much more appropriate for Nationals. On the Nationals test, we weren’t asked to identify sounds, know about evolutionary history, specific anatomy of reptiles and amphibians (barring 1 question), or provide detailed information on every specimen. Months and months are slaved into researching and learning this event, and all of this felt wasted after taking this test.

Rocks and Minerals (9): 8/10. This event was run very efficiently and had great samples. However, the questions were on the easy side and were strikingly similar to last year's test.

Experimental Design (10). 7/10. Plenty of materials, allowed for interpretation and creativity with the given topic. Seemed better than years before.
I agree with both herp and mission analysis even if I can't complain too much.
Mission was dissappointing. If you'd like to know more about why, see the mission thread.
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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby Justin72835 » May 20th, 2018, 8:24 pm

(I liked the calc questions spread out across the test!)
There were calculus questions on the test? I thought that was generally frowned upon in Scioly :?:

Unless you just mean calculation problems lol
There was one calculus free response and one calculus multiple choice. They're always super fun when they come up, even if they are frowned upon by Science Olympiad :D .
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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby RestingDoll » May 20th, 2018, 8:27 pm

(I liked the calc questions spread out across the test!)
There were calculus questions on the test? I thought that was generally frowned upon in Scioly :?:

Unless you just mean calculation problems lol
There was one calculus free response and one calculus multiple choice. They're always super fun when they come up, even if they are frowned upon by Science Olympiad :D .
Technically, the hydrostatic force problem didn't need calculus if you had the integrated form of the equation.

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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby MIScioly1 » May 20th, 2018, 8:55 pm

There was one calculus free response and one calculus multiple choice. They're always super fun when they come up, even if they are frowned upon by Science Olympiad :D .
Oh I agree, very fun. I think they are frowned upon because Scioly assumes that many people will have not taken calculus until they are seniors. I decided not to put calculus on my hovercraft test for that reason, even though I rrrrealy wanted to :)
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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby syo_astro » May 20th, 2018, 9:05 pm

There was one calculus free response and one calculus multiple choice. They're always super fun when they come up, even if they are frowned upon by Science Olympiad :D .
Oh I agree, very fun. I think they are frowned upon because Scioly assumes that many people will have not taken calculus until they are seniors. I decided not to put calculus on my hovercraft test for that reason, even though I rrrrealy wanted to :)
Ahemmmmmmm, you probably know very well why I checked, demanded that you didn't, and you know how much coaches complained that the tests were still too hard;P (which, there was a lot of variation, some too easy, some too hard...).

Sorry for irrelevant post, go back to nats stuff (it was cool to see some of you...and almost saw some of you:P). Note: I did not actually write any of the astro test, but this was my first time at nats. I should be there next year too!
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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby The48thYoshi » May 20th, 2018, 9:46 pm

Since I did this last year, might as well do this again.
Division B:
Anatomy and Physiology (1): I'm not going to lie, this is the hardest anatomy test I've taken all season. I felt liked we guessed for half of it and was feeling terrible as I walked out of the exam room. The test was originally meant for 50 minutes, but I believe the ES's extended it to 60 minutes after walking around and seeing that no one was done yet :D . Even though the test was incredibly difficult, it managed to stay on topic within the constraints of the rules. However, I would have preferred for the questions to not be completely multiple choice, and having the questions with multiple answers expressed as so would be quite helpful. Overall, I'd give it a 9/10

Disease Detectives (1): The test this year was more challenging than last year's test. While the two tests were around the same length, the formatting of this test was very different from the other tests I have seen at nationals. Some of the questions I had never seen before such as filing out a chart regarding the index case of an outbreak. However, like last year, the focus on foodborne diseases was once again lost, and the test overall was still fairly easy. Even though the difficulty of the test did not increase much compared to last year, the ES gave 40 minutes to complete the test, making it much more challenging. Overall, I'd give it a 6.5/10

Herpetology (4): The test, while it didn't seem very long, was much harder than I had anticipated. There were questions on stations where I had no clue about (especially the Ensatina and Eumeces stations). While the test did include an audio, it was included in a way such that it was very easy to guess it (they had an image and asked if the audio was from the same family). I feel like we had guessed at least 30% of the test. Overall, I'd give it an 8/10

Microbe Mission (1): I said it last year and I'll say it again: the test is far too easy for the national level. The formatting was identical to last year and even 2011 and 2012. Karen Lancour is a really nice proctor and made the experience enjoyable. The test essentially followed the training handouts on the soinc webpage, however, and did not include any nationals exclusive topics. Overall, I'd give it a 6/10 again.

Thermodynamics (13): I have nothing to say about thermo other than I severely under-prepared. Throughout most of the season, the test portion was essentially trivial and way to easy. The test at nationals was a good mix of easy and difficult questions and I have nothing negative to say other than that leaving the probes in the device impacted accuracy as the water heated up the probe to thermal equilibrium. Good job pikachu and company, you ran this event very well. Overall, 9/10.

This was my last national tournament in Division B, and while it was disappointing that we were unable to keep the championship for a third year in a row, I had a blast and I am proud of us, as a team. Congrats to Solon for a dominant performance, with 7 first place finishes.
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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby pikachu4919 » May 20th, 2018, 10:41 pm


Thermodynamics (13): I have nothing to say about thermo other than I severely under-prepared. Throughout most of the season, the test portion was essentially trivial and way to easy. The test at nationals was a good mix of easy and difficult questions and I have nothing negative to say other than that leaving the probes in the device impacted accuracy as the water heated up the probe to thermal equilibrium. Good job pikachu and company, you ran this event very well. Overall, 9/10.
Hi there! It wasn’t really “[me] and company” since I actually was not at all involved in the writing of the test, nor was I involved in the planning of the water testing strategy, but that’s OK, you don’t need to change your post to reflect that. I was just a general volunteer helping out the supervisors as best as I could, but I’m sure they would appreciate your feedback! As for the probes, I believe (and this is my personal opinion - it may not necessarily reflect the intentions of the supervisors) those were left in the whole time because they were timed and set up to track the temperature for the entire cooling time, essentially to make sure the final reading at the end of 30 minutes was more accurate than us using a clock or a stopwatch or something of that sort to check for the passing of 30 minutes. I do understand your concerns, but yeah, none of that was really my idea in the first place. I’m glad you overall liked how the event was run despite some of the things that could have been better!
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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby Tailsfan101 » May 21st, 2018, 11:31 am

Crime Busters (35): This was a great test. There were many unknowns to test, as expected, but they seemed to be well-rounded. The test theme was nice (a break-in at S.T.A.R. Labs), and I appreciated the questions. (Boy, I was amazed when my partner and I were almost done testing, and the ES says "You've got about 35 minutes left". It sure gave us a lot of time to work on the analysis.) 8/10

Disease Detectives (37): Gosh, I was sure stressed taking this test (by myself). Due to a late starting time, we only had 41 minutes to take the test. However, the questions had great variety, and seemed to cover almost all important aspects of this event. The only thing missing was foodborne illnesses... 7/10

Road Scholar (44): This test was a bit long, but the test itself was amazing. I appreciated the storyline (Hawking, Newton, and Einstein exploring Wyoming) and the questions were spot-on, covering pretty much everything this event has to offer. The one thing I disliked was how there were so many exams/answer sheets, which proved to be a bit confusing. 9/10

Microbe Mission (46): Definitely the worst test I took. The goggles were not needed at all, and spelling errors were all over the test. The ES's never announced when you were supposed to start your station, and the station rotations were confusing. However, the questions themselves covered the important aspects well, and showed a nice variety. Unfortunately, my first stations event was less than desirable... 5/10

Thankfully, the keynote speaker was much better (and much shorter) than last year's.

EDIT: Oh yeah, and I remember my friend telling me that the Thermo ES saying there was a Tailsfan on our team.
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