Buzzword competitions occur in four divisions:
- Middle School, for players who are eligible under the NAQT Middle School Eligibility Rules.
- High School, for players who are eligible under the NAQT High School Eligibility Rules and are not eligible under the NAQT Middle School Eligibility Rules.
- College, for players who are eligible under the NAQT Collegiate Eligibility Rules (including community college students and graduate students) and are not eligible under the NAQT Middle School Eligibility Rules nor the NAQT High School Eligibility Rules.
- Open, for players who are not eligible for any of the other three divisions.
Although the first three divisions require enrollment in a school or homeschool for eligibility, Buzzword is not a school-based competition and players do not represent their schools.
All NAQT eligibility rules are based on a competition year that runs from August 1 through July 31. For Buzzword seasons that start before August 1 and end on or after August 1, eligibility is based on the start date of the season. Therefore, if a Buzzword season were to begin on July 1 and run through September 1, a player who is in eighth grade for 2019–2020 and ninth grade for 2020–2021 must play in the Middle School Division for the entire season. Players taking gap years must play in the Open Division (unless their schooling sufficiently overlaps the competition year).
A given player can only be eligible for one division per Buzzword season, regardless of education/enrollment status. For example, middle school players may not choose to “play up” (even if they are also enrolled in high school classes).
All NAQT rules pertaining to notification of dual enrollment apply to Buzzword. Check the eligibility rules for your division for details. Dual enrollment never results in a player having a choice of division to play in.
Divisions are independent of the levels used for seasonal play. Levels are about difficulty; divisions are about school enrollment. Any player may play any level, including multiple levels, but only in the division appropriate to their school enrollment (or lack thereof).
Buzzword requires an NAQT website account, and is therefore limited to players who are at least 13 years old.