How to Raise Your Score in an Academic Team

(This is a strategical guide for competing on an academic team, not a reference or study guide and should only be followed at practices with your classmates, not at real competitions)

Academic team, also known by various other names (e.g Quiz Bowl), is a family of games of questions and answers on all topics of human knowledge that is commonly played by students enrolled in high school or college, although some participants begin in middle or even elementary school.

So you probably aren't among the top 5 in the practices held for academic team competitions wherever you play it. But A-team (academic team) isn't just about who has the more knowledge, think about poker (it isn't all about who has the best cards), you can make a considerable amount of points by using your environment as a reference guide.


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    Get to know your opponents. Sun Tzu in the Art of War wrote "Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories". Assign every opponent a field of study where you notice they get the most right answers. Once you've done that, get to know their personalities, some of them might be impulsive and shout an answer out loud even before they have been called to answer. In that case if you notice a quick change in their facial expression, you may be able to buzz at the same time as them and once they have said the answer (which is most likely correct due to their expertise in the field), if you end up being called before them, you should be able to use their answer in your favor. (Have in mind this takes a lot of practice, you can't just go for every single question)
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    Listen to your surroundings. This is very important. Many times your A-team partners will be discussing out loud about the probable answer to a question that just have been asked. Focus on everybody that might say a probable answer specially the person who has the more expertise on the field that the question belongs to. Most of the time the answer will pop up just after the question has been asked: e.g Person A asks Person B: "Isn't that (insert possible answer)?" In these moments you have to be fast and buzz right away because that's most likely the answer.
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    Get to know your strongest field. You have to be very aware of the question that is been asked and if it is on your strongest field. But don't relax after the question has been asked if you don't know it, you have to be active all the time looking at your partner's faces and listening to their voices (remember to keep track of these in multiple choice questions while they are giving the choices and the facial expression of the person with the expertise on the field might give you the answer)
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    Be fast. This is probably the key to success in getting many points.Don't even think about whether you know the answer or not on easy questions because that's what a lot of people do and they end up being too late. The faster you are the better because you will buzz ahead of everybody but do this only on rounds where questions are usually easier and you will be getting more points than the rest(at least listen to the first sentences and try to figure the answer as fast as you can).


  • Don't expect to get every single answer right with these tips. Most will require your personal judgement and ability in order to use them for your benefit.

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