(For reference: I won the 2011 Houston National Open in apologetics. Somehow.
From what I heard in Texas, the official policy when I was competing was boxes-only. I believe the rules then stated that the only things you were allowed to use during prep were (specifically) a box
of 4x6 cards and a Bible. The NCFCA rules currently state:
During prep time speakers may use only Bibles and previously prepared 4x6 cards from their file box(s), and may write notes on additional 4x6 cards. No outside sources may be brought into the room other than a Bible, previously prepared 4x6 cards, and blank 4x6 cards.
The wording has been modified somewhat, but it still seems to imply that a file box is the official means of transporting your cards. It's probably the best one, anyway, so you might as well be safe and use a box.
I went the "hard" route and actually had a separate set of file cards with an outline and verses for each topic (usually 3-6 cards per topic.) I organized my box by the order in the official topics document, with dividers for the five categories and then subdividers for the three question types. Each set of cards was held together with a paperclip.
This meant the procedure after drawing my topic was: first, determine the category. (This isn't too hard if you have a good feel for the categories.) Flip to that section. Second, determine the question type. (This is easy - each of the three types of question is phrased differently, so you just look for whether it says "explain the meaning and significance of", etc.) Flip to that subsection. Then flip through the card sets until you find the one you're looking for and pull it out. With a little practice this all takes less than ten seconds.
There were a couple of "special" things I did:
1 - I made an index card on which I marked how much I liked each of my card sets. I'd review this before each round to refresh my memory so I could draw a good topic.
2 - Each card set was marked in the upper-right-hand corner with an organization code, to help me refile it quickly. For example, Category 1 General Question 3 would be 1:GQ3. (Credit for this idea goes to the Stand Firm apologetics club in Nebraska, BTW.) This was invaluable if my box accidentally fell over, etc.
This system worked great when I had all (or almost all) of the cards, although it wouldn't help much if you're splicing a lot from generics. Anyway, it worked for me.
_________________Abe bimuí bithúo dousí abe
- "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free"COG 2016 generics-only sourcebook
- NCFCA/Stoa (thread)Factsmith research software
- v1.4 currently available (thread)Loose Nukes debate blog
- stuff to read with your eyes.