How Hard is it to Win Nationals???

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How Hard is it to Win Nationals???

Post by Destiny24 » April 22nd, 2016, 8:04 pm

I was wondering just how hard it is to place in an event at nationals, and how much people have worked to achieve that title?

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Re: How Hard is it to Win Nationals???

Post by Magikarpmaster629 » April 22nd, 2016, 8:14 pm

From what I've heard, if you have time to post on the forums, you won't be medalling at nationals...

That being said, I think it depends on the event; also being in division B with a lot of motivation to study helps a lot.
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Re: How Hard is it to Win Nationals???

Post by zyzzyva980 » April 23rd, 2016, 12:22 am

Magikarpmaster629 wrote:From what I've heard, if you have time to post on the forums, you won't be medalling at nationals...
I have 1489 posts and a silver medal from nationals (curse you Infinity_Flat :P). It's not like I went to a powerhouse school, either. We were this school from Kansas making its national debut. I still believe that I would've gotten my gold the next year had the Remote Sensing test not been completely out of left field for everyone involved.

Let's dispense with the aura that the top teams are made up of 15 mental demigods with superhuman knowledge and the ability to work 20 hours a day without food or sleep. Scioly is a team sport, and the reason those teams like Solon and Troy do so well is because they're so consistent across all of the events. But they can be upset in each and any individual event. There's no reason you can't get a national medal if you work hard enough at it. Teams from small, unknown schools across the country do it all the time. Why can't you?
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Re: How Hard is it to Win Nationals???

Post by Unome » April 23rd, 2016, 10:19 am

Completely agree with Z; in fact, I'd say that rather than posting more inherently decreasing your ability (note that, if you include all of the time Z spent on the sassy games when he was a competitor, he has more total posts than anyone else on the site) the more prolific posters tend to be better competitors (to a certain extent, and if you disregard the people that post primarily in Posting Games). I'd go ahead and make a rough estimate that about half of all active posters on the forums who have gone to Nationals have medaled there.

Now, as for actually doing so, that would depend on how well you've done in competitions, especially high level ones (although for builds it's easier to compare). Seeing as you're from Missouri and in Div B, you can probably get a good opinion on your chances by talking to people on your team who have medaled (or generally have experience) since they'll know more about how good you actually are in your events.
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Re: How Hard is it to Win Nationals???

Post by sciolyFTW_aku » April 23rd, 2016, 11:49 am

Unome wrote:Seeing as you're from Missouri and in Div B, you can probably get a good opinion on your chances by talking to people on your team who have medaled (or generally have experience) since they'll know more about how good you actually are in your events.
*cough cough*

Anyways, IMO, winning nationals is really hard. You have to be extremely motivated (either by your passion, or... um... passion) and you should have a mentor guiding you. I know some people say that if you study and work really hard for that event, you'll do well, but in reality, you have to have someone that's experienced helping you throughout the way. @Destiny24, knowing you, you do really well in your events, but in order to win nationals, you have to eat, breathe, sleep SciOly :P
B-)

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Re: How Hard is it to Win Nationals???

Post by JoJoKeKe » April 23rd, 2016, 11:52 am

I've never won a medal at the national competition (I've only attended once), but I do know several people on this site who have medaled and are still quite frequent posters on the forums.

It seems to be that many of those who are posting on the quiz and event threads are very committed to learning more and doing well in his or her event. While there isn't a direct correlation to posting more and earning a medal at Nationals, those who do post more seem to have a high level of commitment to an event (which does have a direct correlation to medaling).

I know that I've already performed to a much higher standard comparatively to last year, and know that I'll prove myself at the national competition this year, whether I medal or not.
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Re: How Hard is it to Win Nationals???

Post by Unome » April 23rd, 2016, 12:03 pm

sciolyFTW_aku wrote:
Unome wrote:Seeing as you're from Missouri and in Div B, you can probably get a good opinion on your chances by talking to people on your team who have medaled (or generally have experience) since they'll know more about how good you actually are in your events.
*cough cough*

Anyways, IMO, winning nationals is really hard. You have to be extremely motivated (either by your passion, or... um... passion) and you should have a mentor guiding you. I know some people say that if you study and work really hard for that event, you'll do well, but in reality, you have to have someone that's experienced helping you throughout the way. @Destiny24, knowing you, you do really well in your events, but in order to win nationals, you have to eat, breathe, sleep SciOly :P
In my experience the dedication is necessary, but not to the degree that you say. Although I didn't win an event, I did get 3 medals last year, and while it did take a lot of effort (roughly 10-15 hours per week, plus some stuff over the summer that I didn't keep track of), it's not really necessary to eat breathe and sleep SO; I only used about 1/2 of my total free time on SO (which granted was quite a lot of free time since I didn't, and still don't, do any other clubs).

I use parentheses too much :P
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Re: How Hard is it to Win Nationals???

Post by sciolyFTW_aku » April 23rd, 2016, 12:13 pm

Unome wrote:
sciolyFTW_aku wrote:
Unome wrote:Seeing as you're from Missouri and in Div B, you can probably get a good opinion on your chances by talking to people on your team who have medaled (or generally have experience) since they'll know more about how good you actually are in your events.
*cough cough*

Anyways, IMO, winning nationals is really hard. You have to be extremely motivated (either by your passion, or... um... passion) and you should have a mentor guiding you. I know some people say that if you study and work really hard for that event, you'll do well, but in reality, you have to have someone that's experienced helping you throughout the way. @Destiny24, knowing you, you do really well in your events, but in order to win nationals, you have to eat, breathe, sleep SciOly :P
In my experience the dedication is necessary, but not to the degree that you say. Although I didn't win an event, I did get 3 medals last year, and while it did take a lot of effort (roughly 10-15 hours per week, plus some stuff over the summer that I didn't keep track of), it's not really necessary to eat breathe and sleep SO; I only used about 1/2 of my total free time on SO (which granted was quite a lot of free time since I didn't, and still don't, do any other clubs).

I use parentheses too much :P
That was partially a joke (to those of you who eat, sleep, and breathe SciOly, hats off), but you do have to keep a lot of effort into the event, as you were saying. I also don't do anything except SciOly, as if right now (I should be studying math for ARML, but SciOly rules 8-) ).

EDIT: In addition to working hard, you have to go into depth in your events. For example, for those of you who do Anatomy, studying the training handouts and powerpoints on soinc.org isn't enough; you have to take notes from other in-depth websites, textbooks, etc.
B-)

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Re: How Hard is it to Win Nationals???

Post by Magikarpmaster629 » April 23rd, 2016, 12:48 pm

I'm not saying posting here makes you less likely to medal at nationals, but that you need to be putting all of your free time into studying. I've never medalled, or even been to nationals, but that's what the competition seems like.
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Re: How Hard is it to Win Nationals???

Post by samlan16 » April 23rd, 2016, 2:23 pm

I'm a national medalist in Food Science (6th place), and I can tell you from experience that it takes serious dedication. Like Z, I did not compete with anyone like Solon, though my school had been to nationals before.

Even though I competed in 2012, the first year the event had been in for a while, the competition at all levels was stiff. The event was structured differently at the time than it is now: rather than repeating 1-3 dairy recipes at competition that you optimized at practice and taking a test, competitors had to know about 10 food test procedures (including using a homemade viscometer- yes, chem events can be build events), an optimized cupcake recipe derived from experimentation, and a ton of stuff about random ingredients and macromolecules. The rules were written somewhat empirically, so you never knew what would be thrown at you at competition. I remember that at nationals, we had to copy an entire lab report for our cupcakes, complete ~5 food tests, and take a fairly long test (can't remember if it was 50 or 100 questions).

My partner and I each ended up studying 10-20 hours per week after state; additionally, we brought study materials to the opening ceremony, skipped part of the expo, and studied for a pretty large chunk of the bus ride to nationals. We went into the subject so far that we both needed to start learning some organic chemistry and ended up memorizing several amino acid structures. Our 2" binder that we brought was so full that we could barely close the rings. Even with all that prep work, we still did not win gold.

In retrospect, part of the reason that we did not win was because we were studying hard, but not intelligently. Rather than spending most of our time learning new material and reinforcing it, we spent most of our time reinforcing easy stuff that we already knew. The other part was that our attitudes were conflicting: I saw nationals as the fruit of our team's success, was excited about getting to go, and thought the only way it could be any better was if I got a medal; my partner was mortified about going home empty-handed and put her nose to the grindstone to the point that it was bleeding.

That all being said, if you really want to medal (or even win- best of luck), you need to 1) pick one or two events that you are both passionate about and good at, 2) carve out ample time to study or practice, 3) make sure that your teammates are on the same page as you are about winning, and 4) spend all that time that you made for yourself practicing the event(s) that you picked. When practicing, make sure that you are going deep into every topic covered by your event, since the general rules reign supreme at nationals and you will see several things not explicitly stated in the rules. Also, make sure that you are not shying away from the hard stuff and repeating everything that you nailed earlier.
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