Things went pretty well for me this year-- still quite surprised about fossils, though...
Fossils (8th) - I really enjoyed this test but wasn't planning on getting anything above 20th place
. There seemed to be a lot of critical thinking involved with the rate of sedimentation questions, magnesium/calcium questions, etc.
If I must be honest with myself I have no clue how I received 8th place. Of course, I started on the speed identification station and left two of the 10 points questions blank, as I couldn't remember what the specimens looked like after I had moved to another station. I wasn't sure how to do the rapid burial/prolonged burial thing but I must have inferred how to do it correctly.
I felt embarrassed on the microscope station as I literally couldn't see any fossils lol. I still have no clue what the specimens were under the microscope- I put foraminifera and porifera because those were the most logical guesses...
Picture This (17th) - I personally didn't enjoy this event at nationals. My partner and I had over 2,500 words practiced but those ended up being almost entirely useless. As Jaol already said, words like "critical thinking" are almost never practiced. While I will admit we had a rough start to our 4 minutes and could have received ~8-9th place the words were still silly (I got batholith, though!).
Invasive Species (24th) - This was a very good test. I really enjoyed it, but I was also quite stressed out as the time constraint was something I had not frequently practiced with for Invasives. It also made me realize that there is still a lot that I need to add, and that there is surely room for improvement for myself.
Green Generation (37th) - I received this event 1 month ago so I wasn't expecting to do to well. I enjoyed the bioremediation station, and had the definitions of all the words on my cheat sheet, but it was difficult to match it to the correct picture while stressed out. However, this was the only event where there were some questions in which I thought: "I have no idea."
In all I learned a lot from this national competition. Meeting others with similar goals and interests is very inspiring to me, and my improved performance from last year definitely encourages me to study more.