Texas Quiz Bowl FAQ

What is Quiz Bowl?
Can more than four players play on a team?
Can a school have more than one team in a competition?
Can a team have less than four players?
How is quiz bowl different from other academic competitions?
Who plays quiz bowl?
What benefits do students gain from quiz bowl?
What is a typical tournament like?
Are there opportunities for school recognition?
How long has Texas Quiz Bowl Alliance been hosting tournaments?
Are we ready to play in a tournament?
What is a Quiz Bowl match like?
What types of questions are asked in quiz bowl?
What are tossups like?
What are bonuses like?
Where can I get a sample packet of questions?
How do I prepare for competitions?
How often should we practice?
What practice materials do you suggest?
Where can we find the official competition rules?
When is the next tournament?
How can I find out more about quiz bowl?

What is Quiz Bowl?
A Quiz Bowl competition is one in which two teams of four players face off to answer academic-centered questions for points. The team with the most points at the end of the match wins.

Can more than four players play on a team?
Yes, a team can have one or two alternates for a full roster of six. Substitutions are allowed at the half, but only four can play at once. Your starting lineup can change in every match.

Can a school have more than one team in a competition?
Yes, but a player may only play for one team in a given competition. If Johnny is assigned to the roster for Houston High B, he is not allowed to play for Houston High A in the same tournament. Each team is required to submit a roster during the registration process.

Can a team have less than four players?
Yes, if a school is short of players, two or three players may play as a team.

How is quiz bowl different from other academic competitions?
Many academic competitions require students to take written tests. Some team competitions are just the sum of student scores on written tests. Quiz Bowl teams are more than the sum of its parts. Quiz Bowl is a dynamic team competition matching one team against one other team. All questions are directed to the competitors by a neutral judge. The students compete with each other to answer questions quickly and accurately. Over half of all available points reward teamwork. Quiz Bowl is the most team-oriented and most enjoyable academic competition available.

Who plays quiz bowl?
Quiz Bowl caters to students in need of an outlet for their intellectual energy. Quiz Bowl students are motivated. Quiz Bowl students aspire to attend top colleges and universities. They are curious about the world around them and want to learn about things they may not be able to learn in school (e.g. Opera, Modern Physics, or Japanese Literature).

What benefits do students gain from quiz bowl?
Quiz Bowl challenges students to overachieve. Successful quiz bowl students lead by example, prioritize, effectively communicate, and think critically on the fly. A winning quiz bowl strategy requires patience and discipline — a student does not have to answer every question, he can focus on the subjects in which he is strong and rely on his teammates to answer the questions in other subjects. Teams must work together under a time crunch; efficient and effective communication is required on bonuses. Students are required to integrate critical thinking into their play; students must figure out where a tossup is heading and whether to buzz in a split second. Successful quiz bowl students go above and beyond expectations. They quickly learn that they are capable of great learning feats with hard work and are empowered to accomplish success beyond what may be thought possible.

What is a typical tournament like?
Tournament registration begins at 8:00 and an introductory meeting starts around 8:45. The first matches start at about 9. Each team plays six preliminary matches over eight rounds. A lunch break is taken after round 6. The top teams in each division (middle school, junior varsity, varsity) are seeded into single-elimination brackets to determine a champion. Depending on the size of an event, winners of each division are declared between 3 and 5:30 in the afternoon.

Are there opportunities for school recognition?
Absolutely. Texas Quiz Bowl tournaments provide the opportunity for schools to qualify for two different High School national championships (HSNCT, PACE NSC) and a middle school national (MSNCT). For 17 years, Texas Quiz Bowl has sponsored a high school state championship. There have now been seven state championship events at the middle school level. Texas Quiz Bowl is the organizing sponsor of the All-State team that represents Texas at the National All-Star Academic Tournament.

How long has Texas Quiz Bowl Alliance been hosting tournaments?
Texas Quiz Bowl hosted its first event on October 2, 1998. Since then it has hosted more than 200 events. It is the longest tenured Quiz Bowl facilitator in the state of Texas.

Are we ready to play in a tournament?
Yes! The best way to learn about quiz is to play quiz bowl. The best way to energize a team and get your students excited about learning is to bring them to a competition.

What is a Quiz Bowl match like?
There are 20 tossup questions per game (10 per half). Each tossup question is available to all students, though each team only gets one guess per question. Students buzz in to signal they wish to answer a tossup. A team that gets a correct tossup earns the opportunity at a three-part, 30-point bonus.

What types of questions are asked in quiz bowl?
You can expected questions from a number of academic disciplines in a quiz bowl. Literature, Science, Mathematics, Arts, Music, Religion, Mythology, Philosophy, History, Geography, General Knowledge, Current Events, Pop Culture, and Sports are all subjects of questions which appear in quiz bowl matches.

What are tossups like?
Each tossup is worth either 15, 10, 0 or -5 to a team. If a student answers a question before the (*), he or she will earn 15 points for his or her team. A five point penalty (-5) will be taken if a team interrupts a question with an incorrect guess. Here is a sample tossup available from a packet on the NAQT website:

The “Blue” branch of this river begins at Lake Tana while the “White” branch starts near Lake Victoria. The Aswan High Dam is found along this river that flows into the (*) Mediterranean Sea after passing through Cairo, Egypt. For 10 points, name this African river, the longest in the world.
answer: Nile River

What are bonuses like?
A team that gets a correct tossup earns the opportunity at a 30-point bonus. There is no bounce-back on a bonus; the only team that may score on a bonus question is the team that got the corresponding tossup. Here is a sample bonus available from a packet on the NAQT website:

These insects of order Lepidoptera [LEP-ih-DOP-tuh-ruh] include checkerspots, viceroys, and the painted lady. For 10 points each—
A. Name these insects that go though a caterpillar stage before growing wings.
answer: butterflies or butterfly
B. Butterflies experience this stage between larva and adult, similar to moths’ cocoons. They often fasten themselves on leaf bottoms or twigs.
answer: pupa [PYOO-puh] or pupal stage (or chrysalis)
C. Like other insects, this part of the butterflies’ body is broken into segments called coxa [“COCK-suh”], trochanter [TRO-kan-tur], femur, tibia, and tarsus [TAR-sis].
answer: leg

Where can I get a sample packet of questions?
Sample question sets for various age levels are available here through NAQT.

How do I prepare for competitions?
You can play practice matches. You can learn lists of common works of literature, art works, or music pieces. Your students can specialize in those categories, or in social studies, sciences or mathematics.

How often should we practice?
You should practice as much as your students want to practice. Some teams practice every day. Some teams practice once a week.

What practice materials do you suggest?
NAQT Frequency Lists for Art, Literature, Music, and Non-Fiction

Where can we find the official competition rules?
At the rules page of the Texas Quiz Bowl website.

When is the next tournament?
Check out our calendar for information about upcoming tournaments.

How can I find out more about quiz bowl?
Check out our website: texasquizbowl.org

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