You can’t study for a TV quiz show. Or at least, that’s what I used to think.
Now that I’m actively applying to appear on as many cash quiz-paying quiz shows as I can, I’m watching more of the shows on YouTube and starting to notice certain sets of knowledge which keep coming up.
As a quizmaster of many years myself, I should know this but then I’ve always tended away from mainstream quiz stuff and gone more for material that asks the relative size of various animals’ cocks, and so on.
Anyway, these sets of knowledge, sometimes known as chestnuts, are relied on by quiz writers looking to bulk-out their question databases and are things like:
- US state capitals
- The periodic table
- Succession of English/British monarchy
- Succession of Conservative Party leaders (other parties too, but the recent chequered nature of the Tories = tricky questions that you think you ought to know)
- Shakespeare’s plays
- Classic Horse Races
- Who wrote which opera
You’re never going to win a competitive quiz on this knowledge alone, you need to have some depth in other areas but in just about every episode of every TV-quiz I’ve watched so far, there is something from one of these lists.
So, I’m thinking: it shouldn’t take too long to rote-learn some of these which won’t guarantee me a million pounds, but should throw me a safety net now and again when I might otherwise be in trouble.
For instance: right now I would be screwed if I got ANY question on the periodic table. I’m just not interested in that stuff.
Q. What element is represented by the chemical symbol Na?
A. I divven’t na
Next job is to find some useful mnemonic devices. So far I found this page for memorising US State Capitals which has some useful ideas:
(Iowa [Des Moines] Picture you borrow some coins. You keep saying to yourself, “I owe dem coins, I owe dem coins.” I + owe = Iowa. Dem + coins = Des Moines.)
And as for the periodic table, there’s always Tom Lehrer:
LEt me know in the comments if you have any other good ways of remembering such lists of info.