How can I get better at Quiz Bowl?

Improving at quiz bowl is simply a matter of motivation and hard work. You must be motivated enough to push yourself to learn both in and out of the classroom and the practice room as much information as possible that could come up in quiz bowl. The hard work comes from taking the time to not only read about things, but think about how that knowledge might be tested in quiz bowl. What facts seem well-known and might come up as a giveaway? What are some lesser-known clues that might come up earlier in a question? It is also important to be able to have enough confidence and intuition to buzz-in on these questions before your opponent

Fortunately, there are plenty of free resources for improving besides the obvious step of paying attention in class and participating in practice. This page contains a number of links to some of the major resources for getting good at quiz bowl available online.

The Essentials 

Quizbowl Packet Archive
An archive of tens of thousands of questions from almost every quizbowl tournament since the 1990s available for free download. Question sets are organized chronologically and divided into “High School” and “Collegiate” sections. This is the ultimate source for practice material for both team practices and for motivated individual players who want to learn new clues and see what comes up.

A searchable and browsable database of quizbowl questions that is useful for finding questions from a certain subject, set, or difficulty. Has been recently updated with new questions and a new interface.

NAQT’s You Gotta Know lists
NAQT’s series of lists and summaries for common topics that come up. It contains frequency lists for works of art, music, literature, and non-fiction, and short summaries of specific themes such as “deserts,” “Civil War battles,” or “Norse gods and goddesses.” Though players should not attempt to memorize the information presented in these lists, they can serve as a springboard for further study.

Guides to Improving 

GPQB’s own Ryan Bilger, a 2015 graduate of Emmaus High School, offered some thoughts on how to study for quizbowl.

Missouri Quizbowl Alliance’s Charles Dees has an excellent overview of tips for improving as an individual and as a team.

NAQT has a good overview of how to learn things for quizbowl with some additional links to other sources.

Some other potential ways to learn things from the QBWiki.

The quizbowl forums have specific forums with discussions on general theoretical questions in quizbowl that include studying strategies and a forum targeted to new teams.

NorCalQuizbowl’s Niki Peters has a very extensive guide on improving targeted at high schoolers.

PACE’s Colin MacNamara has a broad overview of how to improve a team for coaches that’s similar to the guide we put together for GPQB.

One of the classics from former quizbowl player Raj Bhan on How to Get Good at This Game.

Potentially Useful Additional Links 

A multiplayer quizbowl application. Its settings are highly customizable, and players can change anything from the difficulty to the question distribution. As the lobby is often filled with tough competition, players are encouraged to set up private rooms. Be warned that Protobowl is not a substitute for real quiz bowl–it contains only a small subset of questions and the frequent repetition can lull players into a false sense of competence. Use with care.

The Culture Guide Index
A somewhat disorganized but useful assortment of all kinds of topics. It is somewhat like a collegiate version of NAQT’s You Gotta Know lists, though frustratingly lacking in certain subject areas. A good starting place to start looking things up, though a bit advanced for most high schoolers; it is most useful for collegiate teams


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