List studying

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List studying is a technique of improving in quiz bowl by memorizing information presented in list form. The list can either have a specific order (such as a chronological list of US presidents) or it can be a collection of flashcard-like items (such as naming the author from a given title). List studying is sometimes contrasted with actual learning, such as reading a textbook or taking a class.


List studying can be advantageous for learning a lot of keyword associations in a short period of time. It can also be effective for learning basic knowledge, such as well-known titles and authors.

List studying has major problems, though, in comparison to other study activities. Lists tend not to provide any sort of framework or context for the data on the list, making the contents harder to remember. Good tossups usually use descriptions rather than merely stating keywords in the early clues, rewarding players with real knowledge over players who solely engage in list studying.

Notable proponents

  • Brendan Byrne - as he describes in his Quiz bowl memoirs of a Robot
  • Wheaton North famously has a "Two- and Three-Word Clues" list all players were expected to know. The list consists of descriptions matched to the only common quizbowl answer they identify ("Danish philosopher", "Norwegian playwright", etc.).
  • Max Schindler - [1]
  • NAQT - as seen in the promotion of their frequency lists.

See also