New Middle Schools

So you’ve decided that middle school quiz bowl is something that you and/or your students want to pursue. Where do you begin to get involved?

Can more than four players play on a team?
A team can have one or two alternates for a full roster of six, though four play at once. Substitutions are allowed at the half, and your starting lineup can change in every match. If a school is short of players, two or three players may play as a team.

Do we need a buzzer set to practice or to participate in a tournament?
No. Buzzers are not required to bring to our tournaments, nor are they necessary for practice. We advise having practice participants say “buzz” instead of hitting the table or similar ways of signaling which don’t make it easy to determine who buzzed first. Vocalizing allows a practice moderator to differentiate voices. For those considering purchasing buzzers, Texas Quiz Bowl recommends Anderson Buzzers and buzzersystems.com.

How often should we practice?
There’s no single answer to this, as student availability varies widely. You should practice as much the team wants to practice. Some teams practice every day; some practice once a week.

What practice materials do you suggest?
NAQT, our primary question provider, offers a discounted package for new middle school teams that includes three full regular-season tournaments, last year’s national championship set, and additional study materials. There are also used question sets for this difficulty level at the Quiz Bowl Packets Archive middle school section.

Should we expect to win immediately?
As you might expect, joining an established quiz bowl circuit can be humbling at first. Nearly every program started this way, learning as they went. Success generally follows as students gain more playing experience and studying under their belts.

Should we start building with eighth-graders or younger students?
While you may not have much choice regarding what players you have at your disposal, the most tried-and-true path is to start with a very young group that will be able to grow and improve across several years. There is no substitute for commitment to studying and practicing.

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

How do you study for quiz bowl?
You can play practice matches. But elite teams don’t simply improve with group practices and playing tournaments. Preparation outside the framework of gameplay and classwork makes a significant difference. 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. Building a diverse, balanced team is an essential component of quiz bowl success.

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