basics

How Do I Start At Quizbowl?

1. Look at some questions.

We recommend the 2014 LIST tournament as a good starter set. Test yourself on the questions in those Word docs, or just browse through to see what topics they ask about. Imagine high-school students competing to buzz in on those questions. That’s what quizbowl is.

(If you want more questions, you can check out Ted Gan’s packet index. That post is a great guide for new teams that want practice questions.)

If this quiz game looks fun to you, then your next job is to get a team.

2. Get a team.

Grab some students you know, or start a new club at your school. If your school has a trivia club, then try reading some practice rounds of quizbowl with them and see how they like it.

A quizbowl team in a tournament can be any number of people, but you’ll usually want to have at least 4 or 5 people. What’s more important is that you have a crew of people to practice with. A usual quizbowl practice is just to read questions and answer them, with or without buzzers. If the players are answering a lot, you should split them into teams and play off against each other. If the players are not answering much, we recommend a discussion-style practice — ask the players about what they know, and look things up together on the questions they don’t know.

3. Join our lists.

Short of checking our website regularly, the best way for new teams to discover tournaments nearby is to sign up for our mailing list. We will email you about quizbowl events and only quizbowl events.

Players might also want to join the Ontario Quizbowl Facebook group. That one will have tournament announcements and general chatter about quizbowl at both the high school and university levels.

4. Find another quizbowl school nearby.

It helps a lot to work with another school when you first start on quizbowl. You’ll be able to visit their practices and see how they work, and you might want to set up scrimmages or coordinate travel plans.

In Ottawa, there are plenty of quizbowl schools, but in other cities they might be more difficult to find. The following high schools in Ontario played quizbowl in 2014-15:

  • Ottawa: Bell, Colonel By, Earl of March, Glebe, Lisgar, Longfields-Davidson, Merivale
  • St. Catherine’s: Sir Winston Churchill
  • Toronto: East Scarborough
  • Hamilton: Westmount
  • Waterloo: Waterloo Collegiate

Most tournaments are hosted at universities. These Ontario universities all held quizbowl tournaments in 2014-15:

  • McMaster
  • Waterloo
  • Ottawa
  • Carleton

You can also check the “upcoming tournaments” listings on our website or on this tournament database.

If this doesn’t find you much, then you can always look into other kind of quiz tournaments. We recommend History Bee and Bowl, but Reach for the Top is cool too.

5. Go to tournaments.

Even if you don’t have a full club or team, you can go scorekeep at any quizbowl tournament, or you can play it short-handed if you’re brave enough. People will be really glad to meet you.

Good luck! We love new schools, and we hope you love quizbowl as much as we do.

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