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You have practiced, and are about to attend your first tournament. What should you expect?


Find out what question set is being used for the tournament. (Ask the TD if unsure.) Make sure you read some packets from a recent version of that tournament in practice. Some tournaments have quirks, and some writers have pet topics that they like to ask about, so you might get a sense of this from old tournaments.

Practice on harder tournaments. If you are going to attend a novice-level tournament, then don't just read novice questions. Read regular (and even harder) questions, because some of the late clues in these tournaments are early clues in easier tournaments, and might help players buzz in earlier.

Make sure that you are having some practice under game conditions, with buzzers (if possible), strict timing rules, scorekeeping, and so on. This might help the players--especially new players--be more comfortable at the tournament.


Please be on time. Quiz bowl tournaments are notorious for running late, so don't contribute to this by showing up late. If you know you're going to be late, call the TD ASAP. (And especially if something comes up and you can't make it or have to drop a team, let the TD know ASAP.)

Don't do things that will slow the tournament down. Go from one match to the next as quickly as possible. Don't talk or chat between questions. Tournaments run as fast as their slowest room, so if one team or room is always slowing things down, that will slow down the entire tournament.

It's a competition, but it's friendly. Let players--even students on the other team--know if they get a good buzz. Be respectful of your team, the opposing team, and the staffers who have given up a day to make this possible.

An all-day tournament can be exhausting. While there is a lunch break, it might be worth it to bring snacks to hold off a post-lunch crash o fatigue. Healthy snacks like dried fruit or nuts may be better than sugar-filled snacks that might cause a sugar crash.

Keep score. It's helpful to know what the score is at any given time, so somebody on the team should keep score, if it's not too distracting for them. It's also useful to have multiple people keeping score to serve as an error check on the official scorekeeper.

Unlike other competitions, it's fine to take notes during the tournament. (Obviously, don't flip back through your notebook during a game, but it's fine to write things down.) This is a good strategy for getting better, so that you can study things that came up and didn't know.


Enjoy yourself. Take a break after a long tournament. Especially if you traveled to attend the tournament, take some time to see some sights, or at least eat together as a team.

At some point, do a post-mortem analysis of the tournament. This is easier to do if you've taken notes. What were things you should have known, or buzzed in earlier on? What came up that you weren't expecting? Were there any good buzzes? (If this tournament used NAQT questions, you should be able to get a copy of the questions from the TD. If not, you might have to wait until the end of the year to see he questions, after the are posted to the archive.)

Start practicing for the next tournament!

Attending tournaments: FAQ
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