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Re: Should SO exams reward preparation or critical thinking?

Posted: May 17th, 2014, 8:42 am
by gneissisnice
It depends on the event.

Back in my day, many events were not allowed resources at all; I did Heredity, Water Quality, Food Science, Ecology, and a few others without a single resource because the rules were different. That meant that the events could focus more on facts and memorization. Now that pretty much every event allows some form of notes, the amount of content questions they can ask is limited because it's a real possibility that everyone will just have that information on their notesheet. To provide any real challenge, they have to design the events to be based off problem solving and critical thinking more than memorization, since anyone can go in and do well on a content test if they have good enough resources.

I think the best written events are a mix of both. You have to know your stuff very well, but you also have to be able to apply that knowledge to answer questions. By design, ID and lab events are already like that. For Rocks and Minerals, you get access to a whole binder, but it's useless if you don't have the skills to identify a mineral by sight because of the sheer amount of minerals you need to know and the short time limit to ID.

Re: Should SO exams reward preparation or critical thinking?

Posted: May 17th, 2014, 2:15 pm
by knittingfrenzy18
I'd reiterate. Depends on the event.

Building events, obviously, are based on how much preparation has been done.

Meanwhile, there are what I like to call the "practice events", in that they're not study events or building events, or even lab events, like Metric Mastery and WIDI. Those are definitely preparation-based. CJAP is what I like to call the "dumb" chemistry event, it isn't really about knowledge.

Then practically all the other study events should be knowledge based.

Re: Should SO exams reward preparation or critical thinking?

Posted: May 18th, 2014, 8:03 am
by Unome
It depends on the event.

Back in my day, many events were not allowed resources at all; I did Heredity, Water Quality, Food Science, Ecology, and a few others without a single resource because the rules were different. That meant that the events could focus more on facts and memorization. Now that pretty much every event allows some form of notes, the amount of content questions they can ask is limited because it's a real possibility that everyone will just have that information on their notesheet. To provide any real challenge, they have to design the events to be based off problem solving and critical thinking more than memorization, since anyone can go in and do well on a content test if they have good enough resources.

I think the best written events are a mix of both. You have to know your stuff very well, but you also have to be able to apply that knowledge to answer questions. By design, ID and lab events are already like that. For Rocks and Minerals, you get access to a whole binder, but it's useless if you don't have the skills to identify a mineral by sight because of the sheer amount of minerals you need to know and the short time limit to ID.
Except for Anatomy, where you can always get in a content question that competitors won't know ;)

Re: Should SO exams reward preparation or critical thinking?

Posted: May 18th, 2014, 4:18 pm
by elephantower
I don't know why there would be a dichotomy here...imo both of the types of events you've described sound pretty terrible. To me, SciOly should be about complex problem-solving using in-depth knowledge.