What is Quiz Bowl?

Quiz bowl is a game in which two teams compete head-to-head to answer questions from all areas of knowledge including history, literature, science, fine arts, current events, sports, and popular culture.

The defining feature of quiz bowl is the use of a “buzzer system” (or, more formally, a “lockout device”) that lets players interrupt the reading of a question when they know the answer. That element adds a dimension of confidence, anticipation, and rapid recall to what is primarily a game about knowing facts. Those “tossup” questions are answered individually, but doing so earns one’s team a chance at a multipart “bonus” question. Bonus questions are worth more points and allow collaboration, but are generally more difficult.

Organized quiz bowl competitions are available in most states and at most grade levels; it is particularly popular at the high school and college level, though middle school, elementary school, and community college events exist as well.

Quiz bowl tournaments can be intramural events designed for students at a single school, or interscholastic meets. There exist tournaments based on athletic conferences, states, counties, cities, and most other conceivable groupings of teams.

NAQT is a company run by former players and coaches that provides tournament questions, practice questions, rules, and guidance to all manner of quiz bowl tournaments, from casual competitions among fraternities to intense state championships for teams that have been holding daily practices.

For schools interested in serious competition, NAQT runs annual national championships at the middle school, high school, community college, and collegiate levels.

There are a myriad of ways in which one can get involved with quiz bowl: any school (or homeschool group) can start a team, local tournaments can always use extra readers, and NAQT is always trying to recruit new writers. If you’d like to find out more about quiz bowl, please don’t hesitate to drop us an e-mail at naqt@naqt.com or to give us a call at 1‑888‑411‑6278 (“NAQT”). We look forward to hearing from you!