- 1 Cheesy Pie's Advice on Events
- 1.1 Div. B
- 1.2 Division C
- 1.3 Trial Events
- 1.4 Advice For Competition Prep
- 2 Other Info
Cheesy Pie's Advice on Events
Self-explanatory: Advice on events from me to you. What else could it be? Yeah I'm so mean... xD
Bottle Rocket 
Use a backslider. And make a wind resistant rocket. My first year doing this saw somewhat strong winds - and a rocket falling apart due to it. I also heard somewhere that you should place the fins at a 20-30 degree angle. I'd also recommend using 3 fins. Less mass to lower its height. On the event Wiki, it says to have the center of gravity above the center of pressure, so I'd also recommend that. Another piece of advice is, if you have the winding fins, place the bottom of the fins facing towards the wind. Then the rocket will spin in the right direction and propel itself upwards, not downwards.
Above all, make sure that your rocket is legal by the event rules. You want to be able to compete, right?
Can't Judge a Powder 
I'd recommend that you split the work up between you and your partner. One of you writes, the other tests. I have VERY messy handwriting, but near-OCD for correct measurements. My partner has MUCH neater handwriting than me. So she did the writing, while I did the testing. I am recommending this method because we used it and got first at regionals. Also, look for really superficial things, like the bag number. We SERIOUSLY got that question. (Who cares about the bag number? There's no way of knowing if you're correct about it.)
Both of you can add last-minute notes.
This is a tough event, not because the questions are exponentially difficult, but because you get so little time to answer the questions. At the Illinois 2011 Regionals, there were 13 stations, with only 3 minutes per station. Yet fellow SciOlyers consider me lucky. I know that you and your partner will not have time to answer every question, but as long as you've tried, don't fret. My partner and I couldn't answer at least a fifth of the questions, yet we got first in the event. Her mother's quote: "You don't have to outrun the bear, just the other people." It means that even if you do badly, you shouldn't fret a lot. With time issues like this, there is a HUGE chance that the others failed at least as badly.
The event allows you to bring notes - as long as they're in a 3-ring binder - and one field guide. The Fossils Wiki has 3 good recommendations of field guides. I used the Smithsonian one because it was the first fossils field guide I could find. Unfortunately, I had to get all my notes together at the last minute because I was procrastinating. I, personally, would not recommend you procrastinate. Then you could get more notes - and more notes means more points in the event! And more points in the event means a better chance of winning.
Reach for the Stars [2012, 2013]
Make your notes concise. Since you can only use two pages worth of notes, format them so the text is small and a lot fits on the page - small margins, spacing, and font size. Also, only research what you don't know. For the vast majority of info, read random astronomy books I-don't-know-how-many-times - I did, and got first in 2012. I would recommend DK books, and college textbooks. Also, use the Internet for what you can't find in affordable books. Inform your partner on what you know so that they don't fail on anything (in globular clusters, core collapse does not have to do with black holes). A red-filter-flashlight can just be a regular flashlight and a sheet of transparent red plastic or tissue paper, and you don't always need it. But bring one just in case.
As for books, I would recommend DK Universe as a starter. For more in depth, use Space: From Earth to the Edge of the Universe and Discovering the Universe Eighth Edition. These are expensive textbooks, though. Whatever these books do not have, use the Internet or other books for.
Rocks and Minerals [2012, 2013]
Do a lot of research, and do not procrastinate. This event is similar to Fossils, just on inorganic geology. However, you should research important rocks or minerals to your state - they will put that on the tests.
Water Quality 
COMING SOON :( (sorry...)
Storm the Castle 
Your first step is to decide what type of trebuchet to use. I almost used a FAT, or Floating Arm Trebuchet, but then my partner switched it to another style. You can find a full list on the Wiki. Then decide your material. I'd recommend wood; it is strong but easy to carve. If you're using wood, buy the cheapest wood you can find. The mass of the trebuchet does not matter. When you have a design idea and material, sketch a detailed scale model. When you know the size of your trebuchet, build it! Measure as precisely as possible. After building, test and graph! That's mainly what matters; you're not graded on your trebuchet's appearance, but on its effectiveness.
Keep the Heat 
Take detailed notes in tiny print. Also, either have one person do the building and one take notes or divide them evenly (work together on both). My partner and I need to do the former; I am not allowed to do building events anymore :/.
Background knowledge. And do as much research as you want - you can bring a COMPUTER into this event. Or two. But that means that you can make your notes as large as you want.
Circuit Lab (2014)
Research. And talk to your partner. (More later.)
Designer Genes (2014)
You have just one sheet, so small margins and small text. Have one partner do the first column and the other do the second. If you get to Nationals, split up the third column.
Have one partner do the first "block" and have the other do the second. Review each others' notes so that you can answer more certainly.
I had only two weeks to prepare for this event, so I did not do well. But since you only get one page, tab your field guide and follow the general info cramming rules (small margins and font).
And remember, FGSL (Field Guides Save Lives).
Water Qualtiy (2014)
I wouldn't know; I got put into this event 1 month before Regionals.
Green Generation 
Try having one partner do part A and the other do part B. In Division C, there's part C, which is parts A and B in an experimental format. In the 2013 rules, the experimental portion was also for B, so prepare for it.
A general understanding of science is the only real preparation for this event, thanks to the wide range of topics. You can never predict what the questions will be, so don't depend on one topic.
Advice For Competition Prep
Study, get your notes together, make a packing list, bring a map, bring some cash (and maybe earplugs - at our 2011 Regionals, we sat between the Division B awardee of the Spirit Award and the second-loudest Division B team.)
I go to Naperville Central High School, and I am on varsity SO. I dance 4 days a week, but I wish it were 7 days. I do ballet 3.5 hours per week, modern 1.5 hours a week, jazz 1.5 hours per week, and company at least 2 hours a week. I am also on chess team, and though we are still in tryouts, I am probably going to be in the top 4.
- Fossils - 1st
- Can't Judge a Powder - 1st
- Bottle Rocket - N/A (rocket broke)
- Reach for the Stars - 1st
- Rocks and Minerals - 4th
- Water Quality - 5th
- Storm the Castle - 3rd
Alternate at States, in Green Generation (1st) and Pentathlon (3rd).
2013 Events (Regionals, States)
- Reach for the Stars - 2nd, NA
- Rocks and Minerals - 1st, NA
- Keep the Heat - 1st, 5th
- Entomology (only at invites) - 18th
- Boomilever (only at invites and got put into it 10 minutes before the event) - 23rd
- Circuit Lab
- Designer Genes
I actually got moved to Varsity as of 2/3/14, and my events are (Regionals/States):
- Entomology (8th, ?)
- Water Quality (7th, 13th)