Nightmare Categories

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SkeeBallRaif
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Nightmare Categories

Post by SkeeBallRaif » Mon Aug 27, 2012 1:02 pm

Hello folks--was curious about this question so I wanted to toss it out to the group, especially those who have been on the show.

Almost everyone has their "nightmare" categories. That probably doesn't need any more elaboration, but to be clear, I mean an area where you know in your heart you are significantly weaker when compared to most J!-ers.

So, for those of you who have been on the show, or who are studying now in the hopes of someday being on the show, I'm curious about two things:

1) What were / are your nightmare categories; and,
2) How did you prepare for them in advance?

Thanks--very interested to hear, as I'm trying to develop an approach for my own nightmare categories in the event I ever make it on the show.

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MarkBarrett
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Re: Nightmare Categories

Post by MarkBarrett » Mon Aug 27, 2012 1:21 pm

My nightmare categories are Business & Industry or Word Origins

To prepare for those 7 years ago I did nothing. Who merged with who? This company name comes from? The stock ticker symbol for? No thank you. Word Orgins? I could have driven myself crazy and wasted a ton of time even attempting any preparation for those.

Instead I mostly limited my preparation to studying the order of English royalty and world capitals. Those weren't nightmares, but they were not strengths. Since I already had a familiarity with much of the names associated with those it was easier to make myself stronger in those categories.

Anything non-presidential about U.S. office holders is very weak for me as my constant drops in TD games prove. For getting ready for the show I spent some time looking at the current cabinet members.

I think it's easier to prepare for some nightmare categories than others. Getting up to speed for J! purposes in opera, art and ballet can be done with little effort. Sports and movies can be harder. Shakespeare can be done, but you have to have a good understanding of what J! uses and doesn't.

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Re: Nightmare Categories

Post by Vanya » Mon Aug 27, 2012 1:23 pm

Opera, ldo.

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Re: Nightmare Categories

Post by SwanShadow » Mon Aug 27, 2012 1:53 pm

Stephen Liebowitz, a four-time champ whose run began with the game immediately following my fifth win, had a recurring nightmare prior to our 1988 ToC: That Alex would reveal the game board, and all six categories would be titled "Things Stephen Doesn't Know."

I lived that nightmare in my second round UToC game. :lol:
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Re: Nightmare Categories

Post by TenPoundHammer » Mon Aug 27, 2012 3:02 pm

Happens to me every day.
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Re: Nightmare Categories

Post by khiddy » Mon Aug 27, 2012 3:14 pm

My nightmare used to be world capitals (especially in Africa), until I realized that certain countries were simply never going to come up, or if they did, there would be enough context to suss out the correct answer (e.g., wordplay).

Shakespeare was a slog, but I've got him fairly conquered thanks to Charles and Mary Lamb.

Nowadays, it's English royalty.

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Re: Nightmare Categories

Post by zerobandwidth » Mon Aug 27, 2012 3:36 pm

In one of my first playthroughs of Jeopardy! on the Wii, I got categories related to artists, opera, and baseball. I wagered stupidly in the other three categories, trying to make up the gap, and t ended up as the first game I lost to the AI players. I shake my fist at you, Katie and Samuel!
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Re: Nightmare Categories

Post by Peggles » Mon Aug 27, 2012 4:02 pm

I reviewed some math and science.

If I were going on the show today, my nightmare would be today's pop music and culture. I wouldn't try to cram for the pop music category because then I'd be forced to listen to it.

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Re: Nightmare Categories

Post by BobF » Mon Aug 27, 2012 4:34 pm

I used to teach SAT Prep for Princeton Review, and, along with improving students math skills and vocabulary skills, they improved their general test-taking skills.

That might seem like a really odd non-sequitur here, but there are some lessons from SAT Prep I would certainly carry over to Jeopardy! if I should be fortunate enough to receive THE CALL, and they mostly have to do with how to handle a question based upon its relative difficulty.

One: Avoid and/or clam on categories I'm weak at.

Two: Bet the house on the daily double in round one as that is likely to be the easiest of the 3 daily doubles, and there's usually time to recuperate.

Three: On daily doubles in DJ, the higher the clue appears on the board, the higher my wager should be. I'd likely bet the house on a $400 daily double, but be really conservative on a $2000 daily double.

Now, as for what to study, if you have zero interest in a topic, you're not going to retain things, so just accept the fact that there will be categories you will be weak in. Also, since there are only 12 categories on the show (13 if you count Final), the odds are fairly high you will spend a ton of time studying something that won't come up. I like the one guy's idea to boost your knowledge in an area where your knowledge is kind of middling.
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Re: Nightmare Categories

Post by Woof » Mon Aug 27, 2012 4:38 pm

Celebrity marriages
Prime Time Sitcoms :roll:

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Re: Nightmare Categories

Post by CoachP » Mon Aug 27, 2012 8:05 pm

History and Geography (as evidenced by second-guessing myself on FJ, luckily I went with my first instinct). They have been the bane of my trivia existence ever since I started playing Trivial Pursuit.

After I got The Call, I bought an Atlas, and also started looking at a History Channel website called This Day in History (or something similar). I felt that reviewing a continent every so often, and looking at that website daily was about the right amount of studying. It may or may not have helped. Ultimately, being relaxed is the best tactic, and pray that if you are on the show, you don't get a board full of your weak categories, because it really can be luck of the draw.

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Re: Nightmare Categories

Post by Budphrey » Mon Aug 27, 2012 9:37 pm

I find that literature is a surprising weak point for me, especially novels since 1900 (except those by a certain Indiana native).

Also, I feel incredibly lucky that 21st-century pop culture was a negligible presence in the games I actually played — as opposed to the Beatles, Frankie Avalon and 1970s history.
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Re: Nightmare Categories

Post by Magna » Mon Aug 27, 2012 9:50 pm

My nightmare board would be something like Hockey and Basketball Greats, Cable TV Series, Popular Movies from Two Years Ago, Historic Newscasters, The Novels of Patricia Cornwell, Atomic Theory, and Rap.

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Re: Nightmare Categories

Post by earendel » Tue Aug 28, 2012 7:35 am

My nightmare board would include the following categories: Opera, Celebrity Marriages, Entertainment Awards and Potent Potables. Anything pop culture related is right out as well.
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Re: Nightmare Categories

Post by Spaceman Spiff » Tue Aug 28, 2012 9:08 am

Nightmare category? Anything read by a celebrity (or, for that matter, any video clue by anyone other than the Clue Crew or Alex).

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Re: Nightmare Categories

Post by Judy5cents » Tue Aug 28, 2012 11:27 am

Bodies of water, be it rivers, lakes, or seas.

Word puzzles I can never unscramble the letters or find the word within the word in time to ring in.

Sports. I watch the Super Bowl for the commercials.

Math & Chemistry.

Opera.

Canada

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Re: Nightmare Categories

Post by bpmod » Tue Aug 28, 2012 11:30 am

Judy5cents wrote:Sports. I watch the Super Bowl for the commercials.
I wouldn't watch anything for the commercials.
Judy5cents wrote:Canada
That seems to be most Jeopardy! contestants' nightmare category.

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If I had 50 cents for every math question I got right, I'd have $6.30 by now.

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Re: Nightmare Categories

Post by Judy5cents » Tue Aug 28, 2012 3:42 pm

Mostly I watch the Superbowl as an excuse to eat junk food and drink beer.

In one of my games, the nightmare category wasn't just Canada--it was Canadian Maritime Provinces. I remember looking at it and thinking I wouldn't know any of them. And I didn't.

I forgot to mention my greatest nightmare category-Before & After. Another one of those categories where there's not enough time for me to figure out what they're going for.

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Re: Nightmare Categories

Post by SkeeBallRaif » Tue Aug 28, 2012 4:04 pm

This has all been really illuminating. I appreciate the advice to just forget about your nightmare categories and instead focus on your middling categories. The thing I worry about is that there are two categories where I am dreadful that come up all the time, the former more than the latter: Poetry, and the Civil War. I'm in "can't venture a decent guess" territory on both of those. But they seem to come up frequently enough that I worry about ignoring them entirely.

Beyond those two, I'm not crazy about Celebrity Marriages (I'm almost always 0-for or 1-for in that category, though it is fortunately relatively rare), Rivers (though that's really studiable), or Old Movies.

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Re: Nightmare Categories

Post by SkeeBallRaif » Tue Aug 28, 2012 4:05 pm

Budphrey wrote:I find that literature is a surprising weak point for me, especially novels since 1900 (except those by a certain Indiana native).
Ha, non-Vonnegut literature isn't my favorite either :D

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