Academic Quiz Bowl

Academic quiz bowls are fun and challenging.

An academic quiz bowl is an easy way to expand your knowledge and enjoy a little friendly competition. However, did you know how many different kinds of quiz bowls there are? From Battle of the Brains to the Academic Challenge, you've got plenty from which to choose. Still, the National Academic Quiz Tournament (NAQT) remains one of the most recognized options in the United States.

What Is an Academic Quiz Bowl?

Find out more about quiz bowls held by both high schools and universities nationwide.

General Information

Are you unfamiliar with quiz bowls? These competitions, controlled by a buzzer system, are available to both high school and college students. Teams of four to five players compete in liberal arts topics such as geography, fine arts, science and math, mythology, history, and literature. In addition, some questions also cover popular culture topics or even cover advanced subjects like computer science.

About the National Academic Quiz Tournaments

The National Academic Quiz Tournaments, LLC was founded in 1996 and is available at both the college and the high school level. Since this type of academic quiz bowl features national levels of competition, a central U.S. post formulates questions and the competing teams separate into divisions.

NAQT Setup

The National Academic Quiz Tournaments use similar diverse subject matter to other quiz bowl competitions.

  • NAQTs usually feature 26 toss-ups with 9-minute halves.
  • Toss-ups are usually assigned 15 points when answered before a specific mark.
  • The National Academic Quiz Tournament permits timeouts and player substitutions.

Divisions of Collegiate Teams

There are multiple collegiate divisions of the National Academic Quiz Tournament.

Division I Open

Students taking three credits of coursework in a university degree program compete on this level. No more than four players compete at one time.

Division I Undergraduate

The Undergraduate Championship eligibility requirements state that all members of the team must be undergraduate students and have not competed in four years of NAQTs.

Division II

Developed in 1998, this division plays separately from Division I and gives less experienced first and second-year players a chance to compete amongst themselves. Division I and Division II plays separately except for when there are fewer players at the Sectional Championship Tournaments (SCTs) level.

Community College Level

During the month of February, community colleges hold the Sectional Championship Tournaments (SCTs). Eight teams progress to the next level for the National Academic Quiz Tournaments and compete against Division II teams.

How to Sign Up

  1. Check out the active online quiz bowl communities. NAQT suggests The Quizbowl Resource Center.
  2. Determine in what quiz bowl style you will play. By choosing state-level competition styles, you'll prepare your team for larger competitions while practicing. You can find out more at NAQT, which recommends that teams try every style.
  3. Get a coach. This is essential at the high school level, and college teams may benefit from expert coaching as well. Before asking around, confirm whether or not administrators have a stipend available to compensate team leaders.
  4. Recruit players. They'll need to commit to practicing between four to six hours per week, and they should have varied interests for a well-rounded group.
  5. Get your practice material, which can be purchased from NAQT, often at a discount. They also offer starter packages.
  6. Find funding to cover the costs of practice materials, transportation, and travel/lodging.
  7. Purchase a lockout system. This piece of equipment allows the system to signal which player pressed the buzzer first, and gives an advantage to teams that practice using this system. NAQT can provide suggestions according to your requirements.
  8. Create a study schedule. According to the NAQT, almost every nationals-level teams dedicates time to studying trivia and reading up outside the classroom.
  9. Go to tournaments. Official NAQT tournaments are posted on their website, and you will find announcements on online forums and newsletters (see number one).

Practice Your Quiz Skills

Get a look at some great quiz-related sites.

  • NAQT Samples: Get quiz bowl practice right on the National Academic Quiz Tournament website, which includes an Intercollegiate Championship Packet, an A-Level Invitational Series Packet, and a High School National Championship Packet.
  • Q Unlimited: Practice for high school quiz bowls with these monthly quiz bowl questions. Aspiring National Academic Quiz Tournament participants can also check out questions geared towards middle and elementary-aged children.
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Academic Quiz Bowl