Nationals Event Discussion

axolotl
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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby axolotl » June 2nd, 2019, 6:12 pm

Unfortunately, the same was not true about the Herpetology test. Although I was fortunate to get the result I wanted, it's still important to address the persistent issues with this event at Nationals. The test was written by the same proctor as last year, and it was significantly easier than any other Herpetology test I've taken this season. Two very easy questions with 100 seconds to answer is far too slow-paced for national-level competition, and last year this was evident in the large number of ties and very close scores that could be seen in the distribution graph. All of the questions on both years' tests were on-topic, but there weren't nearly enough of them to fairly differentiate teams. A good ID-event test should have even the top teams struggling to finish stations on time and include questions that go beyond basic anatomy, habitat, diet, etc.
herp: SOnerd said it well - basically, overestimating students is always better than underestimating them, the score distribution should not be concave down

widi: models should be graded on color of the materials and preferably a larger area to build within for those of us with larger hands, because the test is about building it accurately, not the ability to orient things correctly within a tiny space

expd: appreciated that it was in impound block, but we really need chairs especially at 7am in the morning...honestly having us work on the ground would've been more comfortable for me personally

fossils: super great experience - the test was fast paced and on topic, with stations that were pretty straightforward and accurately tested knowledge!
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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby builderguy135 » June 2nd, 2019, 6:23 pm

oof ok so

Fossils (5th) - the test was on the easier side, with many questions being multiple choice identification. the specimens were nice. 8/10

Potions (5th) - the test was pretty weird tbh. there was like nothing on the chemistry aspect besides the balancing equations. we ended up guessing on a lot of the test.the lab was really straightforward so imo it just came down to who did better on the test

Battery Buggy (9th) - event went well. proctors were nice.

Thermodynamics (25th) - the device part was run well, no complaints about that. the test was like really short sooooo

Glider (37th) - big oof. we kept on hitting the walls so that was a rip. the timers were friendly although i did hear one of the other timers keep on saying "i started early" or "i started late" and stuff
yeah timers for glider was definitely a problem...
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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby isotelus » June 3rd, 2019, 6:17 am

Here's my take on the events at nationals this year

Sci Quiz Bowl (10th): The format was very different from the invite, and instead of being split in parts based on subject the questions were randomly assorted into 150 questions. Not necessarily a bad thing, tho there were some semi random questions (a programming logic question in the beginning?). Overall, I feel like the test was too easy overall (just with a lot of random questions thrown in), especially for a nats test. Wish I had done well enough to make it to the finals round, but we didn't place too low. The proctors were nice and ran the event well. (8/10)

Parasitology (1st): It was kind of strange that the test wasn't in stations, but it wasn't a big deal. Me and my partner went through the test at an alright speed, and after looking, a few questions were definitely recycled from the FM Invite, but overall not too many. I think the test could've been better if a little longer, but it wasn't bad at all. It was a bit too easy for a nats test, but it was run well. (6.5/10)

What are you Trying to Tell Me (?): The test was difficult and kind of confusing. I was able to complete it, but for certain parts, not having background knowledge on some topics would have made you not able to do anything. It was run well but I wish they would release the rankings and raw scores so I could see how I did. Proctors were nice and there were no problems. (9/10)

As builderguy said, it really did feel like an invitational instead of nationals, but for my first year, it was still an amazing experience. Our dorms (in Mews Hall) were fairly nice, with good meeting rooms, food was really great (Appel Commons), and the campus was nice. Overall, a great nationals for my team and I.
'19 Season B: Fossils, ELG, Solar System
'19 Nationals B: Parasitology (1st), Sci Quiz Bowl (10th), WAYTTTM (7th)
'20 Season C: A&P, Degen, PMod, Orni

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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby jimmy-bond » June 3rd, 2019, 6:52 am

For all you codebusters, how did you do? (time and how many questions answered)

We got 3rd with a time of 5:57 (yikes). However, I'm pretty sure we got everything else (unless there was a dumb mistake) right except one patristocrat that was 600 points. I was surprised we placed because of the time and missing 600 points. Just curious how everyone else did. Congrats to everyone that placed.
We got 16th with a little over 3 minutes on the timed. The rest was downhill. We’re illiterate in Spanish, so we missed the xenocrypts. I forgot to study up on RSA, so we missed those too. I believe we missed easy stuff due to time, like the Affine decryption (I got a=18 so at that point, I stopped) and the cool-looking Baconian. Finally, we missed 1 Patristocrat, so we’re talking about thousands of points going down the drain.

Congrats on placing!
Last edited by jimmy-bond on June 3rd, 2019, 7:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby Unome » June 3rd, 2019, 7:14 am

A lot of people are saying it felt like an invitational - anything more specific about why? I didn't notice anything particularly different in that sense.
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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby izzanom » June 3rd, 2019, 7:54 am

Potions (10): I was super happy with my placement though the test overall was kinda weird. It hit most of the bases, but I was surprised that there weren’t any serial dilutions or pollution maps. There was no dedicated section to metals which was weird as well. It was a little disappointing to see that the majority of the problems were VERY specific multiple choice or fill in the blank questions. The lab (cabbage juice indicator) was very easy and pretty dissapointing compared to last years wack serial dilution. First demonstration lab I’ve seen this year, but it was kinda lame ngl. The proctors were super cool tho and needless to say I enjoyed my last run with my fav event (7.5/10)

Disease (15): Compared to other tests, this test was super easy. Aside from the really strange table setups, there wasn’t much challenge. The proctors also spent WAY too much time talking to us wasting a whole ten minutes. However my partner and I still finished ten minutes early. Last years test was MUCH better. Expected more from nats. (2/10)

Density (17): Stations stations stations. Omg. The proctors were really cool (especially you east lol). The test had 12 stations (4 min each) and they included lots of questions and labs. Stations had lots of questions or a lab. Some labs were difficult to complete in the allotted time (lookin at you shaving cream) but overall pretty good for having to carry a partner lol. (8/10)

Water Quality (41): Yikes. We got penalized for not wearing goggles while testing the salinity. Rookie mistake. Stand-alone the test was good and we got microscopes to indentify real specimens. However knowing that it was a repeat test is dissapointing. (3/10)

Overall: As builderguy said, this nats felt like an invitational rather than nats. The food was good (we ate at appels) and the campus was beautiful. The opening ceremony was SO long and unnecessary so that was super aggravating. Nevertheless, this nats was an amazing experience and I hope that our team make it next year. (9/10)
Can't help but agree with the comment about Disease Detectives. We got 13th but after talking with the team that got sixth it was clear that the point difference was not especially big. I'm kind of confused about the direction they're taking the tests seeing how historically they've followed the same format for years (my partner and I practiced in the upcoming weeks with the past nats test). Last year it seemed to be half of this years format and half of the older format. Does anyone know if this new type of test is gonna stick? I hope it doesn't

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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby TheSquaad » June 3rd, 2019, 8:17 am

A lot of people are saying it felt like an invitational - anything more specific about why? I didn't notice anything particularly different in that sense.
For our team, there were two main factors that made this feel less like nationals than previous nationals.

First was the campus. Last year, the events were largely centralized in one single cluster, so wherever you walked, you were surrounded by Scioly competitors. This year, all the events were basically spread out along one mile-long road. Traffic was cutting through all day, which physically interrupts the going-ons of nationals and reminds you that it’s just an event at Cornell—there are still other things going on outside Scioly. Also, at least for our team, the homeroom was at the opposite end of campus of most of our events, so people hardly went there. We were essentially just building-hopping between events, and that feels much more invitational-esque. It seemed as though nationals was simply borrowing the space; it didn’t control it like at CSU or Wright State. Not the fault of the organizers or anything, but if traffic was cut off or the homerooms more centralized, it’s possible that some of that feeling would have been alleviated.

The second part was the post-competition. There was no formal banquet like previous years; that was a huge bummer. Additionally, at CSU and Wright State, we were in massive stadium-style auditoriums that really focalized around the awards stage, and going up to get medals felt like everyone had your eyes on you. This year it was in a gym. No elevated seating, just straight rows front to back. We could hardly see the stage as team members went up to get medals. Plus, it felt as though they rushed through the awards. Taking everyone off stage for photos to speed things along had the alternative effect of making each event take only about a minute. People weren’t forced to wait around until all the competitors had gotten their medals; unless there was a special award, they left the stage before the audience could truly see them all together. And they could only see them on the screen, so it didn’t feel like we were really there, celebrating the medalists; we were just viewing them. Combined with the completely non-fitting music, and the awards ceremony was just way less hype. Again, the tournament organizers didn’t do anything bad (apart from the music). They were restricted by what venues were available, but that issue was never so prominent at CSU or Wright State.

Essentially, nationals wasn’t nearly as grand as previous years. It felt like we were in and out; much more like an invitational.
Last edited by TheSquaad on June 3rd, 2019, 8:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby daydreamer0023 » June 3rd, 2019, 8:35 am

After a slight hiatus this year from posting on the forums, I'm finally getting around to posting again...after my last tournament as a competitor...time to join Division D... :'(

That said, I was fairly satisfied with how my events were run:

Circuit Lab (8): This was by far my favorite test of the day. I really liked that there were a variety of question difficulties, as well as circuit design questions (which I was personally pretty miserable at) in addition to the standard "solve this circuit" questions. The lab was a good challenge as well. The only serious quibble I really have with anything was that the lab's directions could have been better worded - we got the gist of the lab and think we more or less correctly managed to draw the diagrams/determine the ideal values of the resistors needed...only to find that all the resistors at the station were nowhere what we needed. Apparently we were supposed to create the closest approximate to the requested voltages we could manage...oh well. What happens happens. :/

Forensics (9): Standard fare content-wise. Can't say much more or less about it. I spent at least 10 minutes fighting with the candle, first trying to get it to light, then to get it to stay lit (it stayed lit for about 30 seconds or so before the flame went out...which happened to be the time I managed to get the fiber into the flame). I've never been good at fibers anyways. :P

Protein Modeling (10): I was the protein builder both for the on-site, so I can say that the difficulty of the onsite went up by a lot from States. I heard the test was harder for my partners as well...but then again I don't know bio to save my life. Knowing the points would be close, I was surprised we did as well as we did.

Anywho, if anyone has any questions about any of the events I did, feel free to PM me and, if it encompasses my knowledge/skills base, I will try my best to follow up with you. :)
"I am among those who think that science has great beauty. A scientist in his laboratory is not only a technician: he is also a child placed before natural phenomena which impress him like a fairy tale." - Marie Curie

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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby TheWood » June 3rd, 2019, 8:53 am

Experimental(2nd): The topic was certainly unusual this year. I do feel like there was only one real experiment that anybody could do and that everyone did the same thing. Our team stumbled a little during experimentation because we couldn’t tie the string to the thumbtack, but overall we managed to recover. I do feel like that our analysis was subpar compared to usual,and that’s probably the reason we lost to Carmel. Overall, the experiment seemed a bit too simple and one dimensional, but the actual coordination and running of the event was decent.

Codebusters(2nd): Our timed question time was 2:52, which is pretty slow compared to our practice solved time~ (1:20-2:00). However, I guess the timed question was just particularly difficult because almost everyone I talked to solved the question slower than they expected. For the test itself, I thought it was well written. There was one error, but besides that, it was a varied and comprehensive test.

Geologic Mapping(26th): lmao I did not know any geomapping. My partner and I were kind of randomly lumped into the event. However, from my previous knowledge, the test seemed comparatively very simple, especially in comparison to many of the national invitationals. I think 2-5th were all within one point, which shows that the test was definitely too easy. Also, I’m mad that I went out to buy colored pencils, and it didn’t even show up on the test.
Last edited by TheWood on June 3rd, 2019, 9:13 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Nationals Event Discussion

Postby sciolyperson1 » June 3rd, 2019, 8:55 am

A lot of people are saying it felt like an invitational - anything more specific about why? I didn't notice anything particularly different in that sense.
For our team, there were two main factors that made this feel less like nationals than previous nationals.

First was the campus. Last year, the events were largely centralized in one single cluster, so wherever you walked, you were surrounded by Scioly competitors. This year, all the events were basically spread out along one mile-long road. Traffic was cutting through all day, which physically interrupts the going-ons of nationals and reminds you that it’s just an event at Cornell—there are still other things going on outside Scioly. Also, at least for our team, the homeroom was at the opposite end of campus of most of our events, so people hardly went there. We were essentially just building-hopping between events, and that feels much more invitational-esque. It seemed as though nationals was simply borrowing the space; it didn’t control it like at CSU or Wright State. Not the fault of the organizers or anything, but if traffic was cut off or the homerooms more centralized, it’s possible that some of that feeling would have been alleviated.

The second part was the post-competition. There was no formal banquet like previous years; that was a huge bummer. Additionally, at CSU and Wright State, we were in massive stadium-style auditoriums that really focalized around the awards stage, and going up to get medals felt like everyone had your eyes on you. This year it was in a gym. No elevated seating, just straight rows front to back. We could hardly see the stage as team members went up to get medals. Plus, it felt as though they rushed through the awards. Taking everyone off stage for photos to speed things along had the alternative effect of making each event take only about a minute. People weren’t forced to wait around until all the competitors had gotten their medals; unless there was a special award, they left the stage before the audience could truly see them all together. And they could only see them on the screen, so it didn’t feel like we were really there, celebrating the medalists; we were just viewing them. Combined with the completely non-fitting music, and the awards ceremony was just way less hype. Again, the tournament organizers didn’t do anything bad (apart from the music). They were restricted by what venues were available, but that issue was never so prominent at CSU or Wright State.

Essentially, nationals wasn’t nearly as grand as previous years. It felt like we were in and out; much more like an invitational.
Moreover, for builds, a lot of the strictness I experienced at previous national tournaments wasn't really there. Although events like buggy and roller were run really great, events like mystery weren't great - the prompt was a tunnel, and measurements weren't precise. Especially with scores this close, I expected more precise measurements of the devices built, at least up to the tenths (not just .0 and .5). Volunteers were often confused as well. In addition, the car used to test the tunnel was far from standardized - each one rolled slightly differently, and they actually switched their main "standard" car with ours, because ours rolled easier. These factors made me feel like events like this were just put together in the last second - and I'm sure competitors in events like WaQua and Parasitology felt this too.

For boomi, I really don't have any complaints - however, for previous years, the room it was held in was "grander" - held in an auditorium of some sort. Even at Cornell Invitational, the auditorium was at (Uris?) Hall, where they had a formal auditorium with seats. However, it was instead a large room, for a lecture almost, with no auditorium seats, etc. Obviously details like this wouldn't have any change in tournament results - to me, all that matters is how they were run, not where they were ran, or how formal they ran it. The supervisors and debriefers obviously still ran the event perfectly smoothly and normally.

Last point - volunteers. A lot of them were fairly inexperienced - it was as if any div C grad could just submit the volunteer form and go and help with events. Although events like buggy had the same, great volunteers as before (shout out for running Buggy better than I've ever seen it run!), some volunteers were obviously volunteering for like, the first time.

I have to disagree with some others above, though. Awards and opening really felt like nationals; even the seating labels were glued(?) onto the track field. Obviously, a fair bit of things went wrong (next slide!) but I liked the overall theme (except the classical music) of the ceremonies.
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Team (Nats) - 3rd '18, '19
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