How's my Luck now?

Reflections, views and descriptions during my stay at IIM Lucknow from July 2004 to March 2006

Location: India

Friday, April 29, 2005

In defence of quizzing - I

This is a topic on which I have wanted to write for a long time...


The motivation to write something like this comes from the attitude of many people not interested in quizzing towards it and towards quizzers. One of the incidents which still rankles in my mind may serve as an illustration of the kind of attitude I am referring to.

This incident happened at the Times Ascent Quiz (Manipal round) in 2000 or 2001. After the KREC team narrowly missed out on the first place, we were already a bit disappointed. But as the chief guest (I think he was the Vice-Chancellor or some such official of the MAHE) gave away the awards and was asked to speak a few words, what he said amounted to this: "It is good to have such contests, but memory is not everything. We should have contests testing the intelligence and abilities of a person more wholly than such a question-answer format. Students should learn things, not memorize", and so on. After an entire day's quizzing, this was quite embarrassing to the quizmaster and the participants. We had all been furious at the time. But now I feel it was just ignorance about quizzing on the part of the chief guest that prompted him to say what he did.

I do not believe that quizzing is a worthless activity, and the following is my defence of this statement.

Arguments against quizzing

Let us look at some of the most common arguments offered against pursuing quizzing, whether
as a hobby or as a profession.

1. Inordinate emphasis on memory
Most people advocate this argument. A hobby like quizzing will not lead to overall development of a person's personality. It lays too great an emphasis on memory. Quizzes are nothing but tests of memory, wherein it is seen how fast you can recall answers to particular questions. One can thus become a good quizzer if one is blessed with good memory, regardless of any other attributes. Quizzing cookbooks and question-banks would easily serve the purpose of preparation for quizzes.

2. Limited or no utility
The questions in quizzes are about trivial information which carries no importance in a person's daily life. It does not help one in any practical way to know the things that quizzers seem so happy to know. Some basic general knowledge is good, but quizzers take it too far.

3. Passive activity
Quizzers like to know about things, but it is really the experience that counts. "I would rather visit a place than just read about it and memorize the details", "I would rather play the sport than just know the rules and the all-time greats"...

4. Shallow expertise
This is a serious allegation. Quizzers are jacks of many trades, and masters of none. They may dazzle you with a lot of information from different fields, but go a little deeper in any field, and they would be shown up to be lacking.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

great article. a fitting reply to all those who scoff at us quizzers

12:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home