Advice from Aaron Chang

First of all, I am so sorry to all of the eighth graders who were supposed to compete this year. The fact that many won’t be able to spell at the national level is really disheartening, and my heart really just goes out to everyone who lost their last chance to compete this year. However, even though the National Spelling Bee has been canceled, learning words and root patterns can still be as efficient and easy as ever. 

Studying the genera of the dictionary can be dull at first, but it still is kind of interesting. While Scripps has been quite kind with using these types of words, mostly using “lowercase” genera, like mollienisia, or scaevola. However, some bees, like SASB might be a little bolder, and use the “uppercase” genera, like Keteleeria, or Dasyuridae. Strategically, if you are competing in Scripps, your best bet would be to focus on lowercase genera, as Scripps seldom uses an uppercase genus. If you believe that studying uppercase genera for Scripps is necessary, I would recommend sticking to words such as Hosackia, rather than much harder words that they won’t likely use in the coming years. However, there isn’t a surefire way to know what words will be used, of course. Studying uppercase genera isn’t a waste of time if you are preparing for Scripps, however working on lowercase genera and predictably “Scripps-esque” words is probably a bit more worth your while. In terms of lowercase genera, I would warn you to beware words that end in both a long e sound and the letter e. This includes but isn’t limited to words like iresine, coelogyne, atragene, cryptocoryne, and callirrhoe. 

Stay safe and happy studying! ;)

By: Aaron Chang

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