Survey: Learning the TWL 5s

Share methods for learning the dictionary.

Survey: Learning the TWL 5s

Postby dacrON » Thu Feb 10, 2011 2:31 am

I have always been curious how people study the fives. There seem to be a lot of ways, given that the # of racks is much smaller than the 7s/8s. So some questions for all of you:

1) How well do you know the 5s? (haven't studied, dabbled, just high5s, seen them all, decently, cold, etc.)

2) How did you learn them? Do you recommend this strategy to others?

3) If yes to (2), how long did it take? How has your retention been? Do you have to review them a lot?

4) Any other thoughts you have on the topic?
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Re: Survey: Learning the TWL 5s

Postby Yarn Chief Sr » Thu Feb 10, 2011 6:53 am

Funny, I just started going over the 5s again. Like the 4s, I just loaded 'em all up into Zyzzyva and am plowing through. In the past, I'd separate power 5s from the rest, but this time around I'm doing all 6495 racks at once, irrespective of what tiles they have. I first went through the 5s in, I think, fall 2007. It was overkill for someone at my rating then. But right now, I have nowhere to go but mastery of that and the rest of the 7s and 8s (and the occasional review, of course).

I find my 5s retention is pretty good, especially for obscure stuff that I'll never play. :) Or never think I'll play. I got a certain champ to challenge GLEBE anyway.

I'm 73 questions in and at 90% right now. Words missed are: AGISM (got SIGMA), DOPAS (forgot the 4 -- APODS/SPADO), CARSE/ESCAR/SERAC, LOTOS/SOTOL, RELET, TACHE/THECA. Wrongly guessed CASER, CHETA, and RETEL (silly!).

5s are fun. Funner than 4s in the way that 8s are funner than 7s. They're definitely not funest anyway. :)

One 5 I just came across that's highly unplayable and I doubt I'll remember unless I say it here: PROSS (!).
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Re: Survey: Learning the TWL 5s

Postby medropout » Thu Feb 10, 2011 8:01 am

I'd say I know 99% of the fives. I'm nearly always at 100% with plenty of time left on jumbletimes. I usually miss a couple as they rotate through my cardbox because I try to do it quickly with the first thing that jumps into my head. I've certainly seen every 5 many times, but I still occasionally play phonies and challenge good ones.

I learned them about a year ago over the course of several months. I broke them up into sections of about 100 by probability order, quizzed until I got them all right, then dumped them in cardbox 0. As far as maintenance goes, I try to jumbletime somewhat regularly, and I play Scramble on facebook with min word length = 5. I'm due for a serious review, where I'll probably flashcard through the whole set quickly and write down anything that I feel I only got because it's the only logical answer.

Would I recommend my study method? Eh... I have no doubts that there are more efficient ways to study, and there's a really good case for learning things by playability. However, I consider myself a very methodical person, and I at least like knowing what I don't know. So if I just learned #3242, I can work out whether the suspicious word just played is more probable than that word, and if it is and I've never seen it, I can "safely" challenge. Also, I learned all the fives before I studied more than a few bingo stems, which it seems most people believe is the wrong order to go in if you're looking for the quickest payoff.
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Re: Survey: Learning the TWL 5s

Postby njdevil44 » Thu Feb 10, 2011 9:29 am

1) I know the TWL 5's decently. I would say cold, but some of them are hard to keep straight (like BOUSY, which I incorrectly challenged last month in a tourney).

2) I learned probably 90% of the 5's just from playing thousands of rounds of online Boggle over the decade before I started Scrabble. Then shortly after my first tourney I found I was playing phoney 5's like WROKE# and that I needed a solid review on them, so I just went through all of them (from ENTIA/TENIA/TINEA to MUZZY) on Zyzzyva about this time last year until I got them to around cardbox 6 or 7 (so 2-3 months), at which point I switched to JT/Aerolith for maintenance while I learned other, newer words. If you have the decade to kill, you could use my method, but I find Boggle with its fast pace has honed my general anagramming skills and word knowledge. For example, I never forget SELAH/S and SERAC/S, because they're just S/HALES and S/CARES backwards, which is practically free points in Boggle (if one's there the other must be).

3) My retention seems to be pretty good; I'll sometimes make a couple of mistakes on JT, especially if I'm going fast and trying to beat wanderer15 and foundring for the top time. In practice I've challenged off quite a few phoney 5's in tourneys (LOVEY#, INLAW*, and TONDU* stick out right now), and received a challenge on SPRUG.

4) I've found that because of the geometry of the bonus squares, 5's are very useful to have down. JQXZ and other "high fives" are most important since they can score 30+ very easily, but there are certainly some good vowel dumps and rack balancers to know as well.
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Re: Survey: Learning the TWL 5s

Postby TheLamb » Thu Feb 10, 2011 6:42 pm

There are fewer fives than bingos, but I find the fives are a lot harder to remember. I think it's because they are so much easier to solve and they are so "uninteresting" that they never actually make an impression. Like, it takes two seconds to solve GLIFF on Aerolith, because there is only one possible solution. But in a game, you could easily doubt yourself on it, since it never made an impression in study.

So yeah, I am a lot more likely to forget a five than I am a bingo. As for studying them, I've had many many attempts to integrate them all into one study program. But I never follow them through. Now I'm just stuffing them into my cardbox like I do with bingos. I'm also trying the "group by consonants" method, since it's worked well for bingos.

Also, I think Aerolith is great for short words (4s and 5s).
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Re: Survey: Learning the TWL 5s

Postby jrbrooks » Sat Feb 12, 2011 12:12 am

1. I would say I am about 95% on the 5's. I have seen them all, and they are all in my cardbox, but they have a way of slipping out of my memory over time.

2. I added them to Zyzzyva at around 20 words per day until they were all there. I think this was a pretty good strategy, and for the most part, it has worked well for me (although I did play *FOGEY the other day unsuccessfully).

3. This method took around 6 months or so. I have my cardbox set up a little differently than most when it comes to frequency, but needless to say, I still see many 5's every day. Sometimes I will see a word, like BAFFY, for example, and it will be in Cardbox 6 or something ridiculous. Of course, I can solve it, because BAFFY is the only logical anagram for those letters. But, if someone were to play it in a game, I would challenge it immediately. When I come upon a word like that, I just manually put it back into Cardbox 1 so that my brain gets hit with it a few more times.

4. I think most people probably have some kind of silly way to remember words, but I like to come up with little stories when a combination of letters have several anagrams. For instance, the combination of AGLOR... I made up the sentence, "It is our goal (ARGOL) to have Jon Gorrell (GORAL) and Al Gore (ALGOR) visit Key Largo (LARGO). Obviously, you don't know my friend jon Gorrell, so this wouldn't work for you.... but you get the picture. The fact is, I do not know the definition of any of those words, so making silly sentences is how I make due.
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Re: Survey: Learning the TWL 5s

Postby dacrON » Tue Feb 15, 2011 3:25 pm

well now I'll never forget his name :)

FOGEY is good...?
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Re: Survey: Learning the TWL 5s

Postby jrbrooks » Tue Feb 15, 2011 11:30 pm

LOL no, it was challenged off.
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Re: Survey: Learning the TWL 5s

Postby dacrON » Wed Feb 16, 2011 1:19 am

Have you checked zyzzyva lately? FOGEY seems to be there. Unless I am missing something.
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Re: Survey: Learning the TWL 5s

Postby jrbrooks » Wed Feb 16, 2011 2:20 am

You are 100% right. The word I played unsuccessfully was *LOGEY.

It's kind of funny, because after I replied to your post, I went to work out. In the midst of said workout, I started thinking... man, I thought my method of remembering FOGEY/FOGY/FOGIE was that there were lots of "old people", or fogies out there, so the word could thus be spelled any way I chose. So then I started second guessing myself and getting mad at my memorization tool, when in fact, I was just mis-remembering the other game.

LOGY, on the other hand, is only good as LOGY/LOGGY. I did remember there were two spellings to this word, and I knew *LOGIE was definitely no good, so I just assumed *LOGEY was the other one. As it turns out, I was wrong. Gah, I need more practice!!!

As a side note, here are the -OGEY words:

BOGY/DOGY/FOGY/LOGY/POGY
BOGEY/DOGEY/FOGEY/POGEY
BOGIE/DOGIE/FOGIE/VOGIE

So in other words, the B/D/F words can be spelled any way, while the others have only 1 or 2 variants.
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Re: Survey: Learning the TWL 5s

Postby CharlesReinke » Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:32 am

I have probably seen all the fives, but racks with more than five solutions are tough for me. I've only studied them by doing the daily quizzes on Aerolith (aside from the power tile 5's) so there's a chance that after three years there are still words I haven't seen. I'm sure it would be better to just go over them in Zyzzyva. But I would rather study bingos.
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Re: Survey: Learning the TWL 5s

Postby soccerguy » Wed Feb 16, 2011 7:03 pm

Back before Zyzzyva I searched for an online anagrammer, searched for all the 5s, and copied and pasted them into Microsoft Word. I took out all of the 5s that were 4s with an S on the end, all of the 5s that started with an S, and all of the 5s that I already knew. After that, I printed it off and read it many many times. I played many games online (Yahoo! Literati at that time, but once the TWL06 update happened I switched to ISC) and would put a checkmark beside a word once I'd played it. My goal was to put a checkmark beside every single word. Once every 2 months I made a narrowed-down version of the same list, where all words with checkmarks were removed. Eventually I got it down to like 20 words, and at that point added the 5s starting with S. I never completely got through those, but it was something low for unplayed 5s in the end.

I playfully dislike Michael Thelen for making study so easy for everyone now. I worked my ass off to learn the words when I was studying hard. But hey, when I get back to studying again (once school's over), I'll be Zyzzyvaing, Aerolithing and all that just like everyone else. Gotta keep up with the times!
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Re: Survey: Learning the TWL 5s

Postby jrbrooks » Wed Feb 16, 2011 8:39 pm

What made you decide to eliminate all the words that started with an S?

And by eliminating all the words that took an S, did you ever have trouble remembering which 4's took an S? (For example, FLAK is good but *FLAKS is not).
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Re: Survey: Learning the TWL 5s

Postby njdevil44 » Thu Feb 17, 2011 11:04 am

soccerguy wrote:I playfully dislike Michael Thelen for making study so easy for everyone now. I worked my ass off to learn the words when I was studying hard. But hey, when I get back to studying again (once school's over), I'll be Zyzzyvaing, Aerolithing and all that just like everyone else. Gotta keep up with the times!


I realize this part is probably half-facetious, but I think Zyzzyva, Aerolith, and JT are great resources precisely because they makes studying easier for everyone. I think a lot of people find word learning to be one of the more tedious aspects of improving one's Scrabble game, so anything that streamlines that process is going to improve retention and upward mobility of tournament players in our ranks (I started with Boggle, so obviously learning words is what I like best, but I'm an odd duck). It's certainly not a free pass to 1900 and a major tourney win, but anything that helps retain players and encourages them to improve their game is a great asset to our community.
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Re: Survey: Learning the TWL 5s

Postby soccerguy » Thu Feb 17, 2011 3:58 pm

jrbrooks wrote:What made you decide to eliminate all the words that started with an S?

And by eliminating all the words that took an S, did you ever have trouble remembering which 4's took an S? (For example, FLAK is good but *FLAKS is not).


4s with S on the end added needless volume to an already arduous task. As for 5s starting with S, you will very rarely lose a game by not knowing one of those words, since most of the time your S is likely going to be used with a longer word. I only added them in after getting to know the others that were far more likely lose me games by missing them.
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Re: Survey: Learning the TWL 5s

Postby soccerguy » Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:00 pm

njdevil44 wrote:
soccerguy wrote:I playfully dislike Michael Thelen for making study so easy for everyone now. I worked my ass off to learn the words when I was studying hard. But hey, when I get back to studying again (once school's over), I'll be Zyzzyvaing, Aerolithing and all that just like everyone else. Gotta keep up with the times!


I realize this part is probably half-facetious, but I think Zyzzyva, Aerolith, and JT are great resources precisely because they makes studying easier for everyone. I think a lot of people find word learning to be one of the more tedious aspects of improving one's Scrabble game, so anything that streamlines that process is going to improve retention and upward mobility of tournament players in our ranks (I started with Boggle, so obviously learning words is what I like best, but I'm an odd duck). It's certainly not a free pass to 1900 and a major tourney win, but anything that helps retain players and encourages them to improve their game is a great asset to our community.

It was facetious, and yes they are great tools. I'm very thankful for them.
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Re: Survey: Learning the TWL 5s

Postby CharlesReinke » Sat Nov 12, 2011 10:35 pm

Bit of an update (and a bump) here...

After being frustrated with always missing one or two 5s in Aerolith, I ended up biting the bullet and studying them all in Zyzzyva. No fancy cardbox stuff for me - I just made a quiz of all the fives in random order, and then did the entire quiz. At the end, I quizzed myself on all the words I had missed (thanks to Michael Thelen for the "quiz from list" feature!). I repeated this until no words had been missed. It took about three months off-and-on, with a break for Nationals in the middle, and studying nothing else in the meantime.

I think this was successful because I didn't guess on words that I didn't know. It's too easy to do that in Aerolith because it doesn't care how many wrong answers you enter as long as you get the right one in the end. Anyway, I'm playing way more fives now, and I rarely get anything other than 100% on the 5s in Aerolith, although I do still find myself struggling on racks with lots of solutions.
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