Fast Facts is an event in Division B for the 2017 and 2018 seasons, and was previously run as a trial event. In this event, competitors are tested on general science categories. The event was previously run in 1985 as Facts in Five, though with slightly different parameters.
Fast Facts is run in three rounds, each being six minutes long. Each round consists of an answer sheet (see trial rules for an example and blank copy) containing a five by five grid with different science categories listed in the column headers and letters listed in the row headers. Each team's answer sheet for a round will be identical, i.e. the same categories and letters will be used. During the six-minute round, participants will attempt to fill in the grid with science terms corresponding to each category and beginning with the listed letter (with certain restrictions, e.g. surnames must begin with the relevant letter, synonymous terms used across a round will only be scored once according to the more specific term, etc).
Points are awarded based on the number of grid spaces filled accurately, with extra weight on having multiple grid spaces in the same column or row filled accurately. The total score is a summation of the individual round scores, with several specific tiebreakers set out in the rules in the case of ties.
Scoring increases exponentially across each column or row (e.g. completing five cells in one column/row yields 25 points, as compared to significantly less for five cells in different columns and rows), so it is advantageous to focus on completing entire columns or rows if possible. Having two students with different areas of specialty and splitting up each round based on the categories can also be helpful.
Preparing for this event
There is no one exact way to prepare for this event, as each competition will be different from the last. A helpful thing to do study is to make lists of categories that will probably be tested; then study and memorize vocab, important people, theories, etc. from each category.
Often, a category in a Fast Facts test is another Science Olympiad event, so studying vocabulary terms from almost any other event is equivalent to studying for Fast Facts. In addition, competitors are often quizzed on different types of organisms. It is therefore helpful if one of the competitors also compete in an event like Invasive Species or Microbe Mission.
One way to study is to have lists of terms for categories from A-Z and then fill out flashcards: One side is the category, and the other side is the all of the terms from A-Z. These are then paired with 26 cards that only have the letters A, B, C, D, E, etc. written on them. This way, you have the freedom to study in many ways. You can take five categories and five letters and simulate a test. You can also run through a category by shuffling the letter cards and reciting the category terms that begin with the shown letters. Another way is to combine both of these, having multiple categories (Rocks, Minerals, Stars, etc.) and letter cards from A-Z, reciting all of the terms for those chosen categories.
This is obviously not a comprehensive list - it is intended as an example of possible categories to prepare for.
- Elements (periodic table)
- Units of measurement
- Famous scientists
- Famous scientists from a certain century
- Famous scientists in a certain field
- Stars or constellations
- Moons of the solar system
- Rocks and minerals
- Anatomy (bones, muscles, etc)
- Amphibians and Reptiles
Due to the broad nature of this event, the Question Marathons for this event can be a good source of additional possible topics. Please see the above table for links to the 2017 and 2018 question marathons.
Example Score Sheet
|Letter v / Category >||Famous Scientists||Dinosaurs||Natural Disaster||Type of Land-forms||Microbes|
|Total Letter Score|
|Total Category Score|
Example Answer Key
Example Answer Key