Frequently Asked Questions About Writing for NAQT
This page addresses common questions asked about writing questions for NAQT.
What do I need to include with my application?
- Three tossups, three three-part bonuses, and four more questions that can be any combination of tossups and three-part bonuses. (That is, you can submit five of each, six tossups and four three-part bonuses, seven tossups and three three-part bonuses, four tossups and six three-part bonuses, or three tossups and seven three-part bonuses.)
- Your background in quiz bowl, unless you’re sure we already know it. This should be a sentence or two along the lines of “I played for Ames High School in Iowa from 2008 to 2012 and am now attending Harvard University, but I don’t play quiz bowl there.”
- Whether you are at least 18 years old, and if not, your birthdate. You must be at least 18 years old or be turning 18 no later than October 31 of the year in which you apply, but regardless, we need this information explicitly.
- Whether you have graduated from high school. The answer needs to be yes, but we want to hear it explicitly.
- The state(s) in which you live, regularly stay, and/or are a legal resident.
- Whether anyone has seen the sample questions other than you and NAQT. The answer needs to be no, but we want to hear it explicitly.
It is not necessary (or helpful) to provide a full résumé or formal cover letter. We review applications on an essentially blind basis, looking only at the sample questions and an even vaguer description of the applicant’s background in quiz bowl than the one we mentioned above (with an intermediary removing identifying information and details of the background).
Do NAQT writers have to write specific numbers or types of questions?
NAQT does not have any minimum requirements, though we do offer incentives for meeting certain criteria, and if you don’t write for a long time we may inactivate your account. We also don’t require our writers to write in any particular categories or at any particular difficulty levels—you can write whatever you’re comfortable with.
Can I have my teammates look over my questions and provide suggestions?
The sample questions you submit to NAQT must be completely fresh—no teammates or anyone else may have seen them. We want to see what you can do on your own.
It is fine to develop your question-writing skills by working with others, but such questions can never be submitted to NAQT.
What category/ies and difficulty level(s) should my sample questions be?
Write the best questions you can, whatever category they might be in and whatever difficulty they might be.
NAQT is particularly in need of science questions, so if you can write excellent science questions it is to your advantage to show that off, but we’d rather see a strong literature question than a mediocre science question.
Should I indicate the intended difficulty of my sample questions?
You may, but you don’t need to.
Should I include pronunciation guides in my sample questions?
You may, and if you do a good job that could be a point in your favor, but you don’t need to.
Should I include power marks in my sample questions?
You may, but you don’t need to and it won’t affect our assessment of your questions. (NAQT writers don’t place power marks; editors place them later on in the process.)
Does previous writing experience help my application?
It will help in the sense that it will likely have made you a better writer, but we do not directly consider previous writing experience—only the sample questions you send us.
I’m still in high school. Can I just write middle school questions?
No. NAQT only accepts writers who are at least 18 and have graduated high school, regardless of what sort of questions they want to write.
I’m going to turn 18 just after the application window closes. Can I apply anyway and, if hired, wait to start until after I turn 18?
Yes, if and only if you turn 18 no later than October 31 of the year in which you apply.
How are writers paid?
Writers are paid by check or Zelle on a quarterly basis. Writers regularly earning over $100 per month may elect to be paid monthly. If a quarterly payment would be under $25, it is carried forward until the total amount due to the writer exceeds $25 or the writer leaves NAQT.
Writers are classified into “tiers” based on the typical quality of their questions. Writers in higher tiers are credited with payment for a question as soon as they write the question; writers in lower tiers are credited with payment for a question when the question is accepted by a subject editor. Writers are reviewed periodically for potential classification into a different tier.
I work with another quiz bowl organization; does that preclude me writing for NAQT?
Probably not, but write to firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your situation.