Best ways to study 3-5 letter words

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Best ways to study 3-5 letter words

Postby JasonV12 » Fri Apr 03, 2009 3:31 pm

I am having trouble finding a way to study the shorter words beneficially. I know my threes and am working on the fours, but there are too many now to just learn them by playing. In zyzzyva's cardbox you can easily find things even though you may not know them and they will instantly go to cardbox 4-5 and you won't be seeing them much any more... Also, on sites like aerolith or jumbletime, it is too easy to guess words even when you do not know them. I have been having trouble just using lists to look at more and more lately... Any ideas?
Jason Vaysberg, 17, MN
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Re: Best ways to study 3-5 letter words

Postby JasonV12 » Fri Apr 03, 2009 3:34 pm

For an example of the zyzzyva cardbox thing, the word BOTT would show up in order on my screen, I wouldn't know the word, but I would easily see it from it pretty much giving it away...
Jason Vaysberg, 17, MN
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Re: Best ways to study 3-5 letter words

Postby ar-raqis » Fri Apr 03, 2009 5:43 pm

I agree about your issues, particularly for words shorter than 5. I usually finish Aero 4-letter quizzes with 50-100 seconds to spare, JT with even more time to spare, and very rarely miss one, despite the fact that I'm unsure of as many as 3-5% of the words. And you're right about the cardbox as well -- I'd prefer much different settings (for how long to wait until seeing a correctly-answered word again) for 4s and 8s.

Here's what I'm trying to do now, for reviewing the 4s: run through a few hundred of them a day (there are only ~4000 so I should be done in a few days). Mark down in a separate text file (or mark as missed in quiz, saving the quiz in place each time) the words I'm unsure of -- for me, that's maybe 150-200. The definition of "unsure" I'm using is, roughly speaking, that I might pass it up in favor of a slightly worse (1-2 pts of equity) play in a tournament game due to the risk that it wouldn't be good. Then, once I have that list, I'll run through it a few times until I know all the words cold. If I were to try this again in a few months, I'd want to start from the beginning, generating a new list of "unsure" words. The problem for me is not that I haven't seen all the 4s many times over in my life; it's that words keep drifting from "sure" to "unsure" over time.

With the 5s, the percentage of words that I'm unsure of is significantly higher, and there is a significant proportion of words that I've never seen or seen only once. Also, there are more of them (~9000) and they aren't gimmes to anagram as much as the 4s are. For those I might consider using the cardbox, adding them by playability; I know that works for some. Or I could try a variant of the quiz I used for the 4s, but less monolithic: dividing the words up into segments by playability (using Quackle or the CT SuperMemo tool under Words/Study Tools) and then quizzing on the sublists of obscure stuff. I usually find that I have to take special care not to equate "missed" with "don't know," or even "wouldn't find over a board," for words shorter than 6 letters, just as I have to take care not to equate "got right" with "know." (The first word I missed in the 4s quiz was ROSY!) Mark as correct/missed both get used a lot.
Quinn
is a bad example and will have NOCAKES# today
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Re: Best ways to study 3-5 letter words

Postby CharlesReinke » Sun Apr 19, 2009 3:11 pm

I have the same problem with the 4's and 5's. I know the fours well enough to get them easily while studying and to know definitely whether one that is played on me is good or not, but I have passed up on some while playing simply because I'm not 100% sure of the validity of the word, and losing a few points making another play is much better than losing a turn on a phony. My solution is just to keep reviewing the fours until they're completely solid in my brain. Since I've only been actively studying fours for about half a year, I'm not sure how effective this will be.

Fives are different because it's much less likely that the combination of letters will only yield one logical word, like BNNU (BUNN is the only thing that could possibly be in there). I think the best way to learn the fives would be to do them systematically (by probability or playability) like most people do with bingoes. Right now I'm just aerolithing them and getting ~95% on the daily challenges, but there's still a fair amount of guesswork involved for me. Many of the fives I get in Aerolith I wouldn't even see over the board. Learning them systematically would be the best way to get away from that problem.

I like Nathan's (ar-raqis) suggestions, because it makes you ask yourself, "do I really know this word?" If somebody weren't willing to study all the fives (because many of them are common, everyday words that don't really need to be studied), only studying the ones you're "unsure" on would be a good way to go.

-Charles
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Re: Best ways to study 3-5 letter words

Postby sjackson12 » Sun Apr 19, 2009 3:32 pm

I've got the 3's and 4's down, for 5's I exported a list in zyzzyva that aren't part of another quiz (i.e. not high fives or jqxz fives), and I'm going through it and deleting all the words I already know. Then I'll quiz myself on that list. It's going to take a while just to do all the deletions.

For fives I would also suggest you do the same in me in at least doing high fives and jqxz fives first, as these are far more valuable than other fives in terms of scoring well.
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Re: Best ways to study 3-5 letter words

Postby JasonV12 » Sun Apr 19, 2009 6:21 pm

Thanks for all the responses... My only question is how do you quiz yourself on your own list on zyzzyva? I have been trying to figure this out...
Jason Vaysberg, 17, MN
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Re: Best ways to study 3-5 letter words

Postby Locke » Sun Apr 19, 2009 10:34 pm

It's not exactly intuitive at first. But I posted a brief explanation here--hopefully it helps.

http://www.cross-tables.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=56&p=429#p429

Best of luck.
Andy Murphy, 32 - Greensboro, NC.
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Re: Best ways to study 3-5 letter words

Postby sjackson12 » Mon Apr 20, 2009 2:30 pm

JasonV12 wrote:Thanks for all the responses... My only question is how do you quiz yourself on your own list on zyzzyva? I have been trying to figure this out...


When you setup a new quiz select "In Word List" from the drop-down menu and find the text file with your words in it.
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Re: Best ways to study 3-5 letter words

Postby sjackson12 » Wed Jun 03, 2009 1:51 pm

To update, I no longer study 3's, and I only do 4's in aerolith. I always get 100%, and I think what you want to look for is that you are not simply guessing some of the words by brute force.

For fives, I still think it's a good idea to study jqxz's and "high fives" first. Those are the most valuable and are generally easier to remember then the rest of the fives.
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Re: Best ways to study 3-5 letter words

Postby aibretty » Sun Jun 28, 2009 1:46 pm

this thread is probably dead, but just to throw a completely different method out there:

When I was first learning the 3's-5's (and 6's from there). I would start with the 2's-to-make-3's, then fill in the 3's from there. Then do the 3's-to-make-4's, then power-tile 4's, then fill in from there. Then for the 5's, I did 4's to make 5's, power-tile 5's, then studied them in descending order by total word value.

Zyzzyva, while a wonderful tool, just isn't great for these shorter lists, especially if your brain works anything like mine.
Brett Haughney
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