Knowledge Bowl (known by various other names, such as Quiz Bowl
) is an academic competition between schools.
A typical Knowledge Bowl meet consists of 5 rounds: 1 written round and four oral rounds. Each school fields a team of at least 4, but up to 6 members, only four of which can compete at any one time. As a meet opens, teams are given a multiple choice test to take with the four members of their choosing. Following this, the teams are placed, in order of their performance, into different rooms, usually with three teams each.
Once again, each team selects four starting members for the round, and they are each given a buzzer. After the reader reads a question, teams have 15 seconds to buzz in, and then 15 additional seconds to answer after they buzz. Members of a team may talk about who will answer a question, but they may not discuss the answer to the question. The score is read after every twenty questions, and after half of the questions have been read (generally, this is twenty-five questions) substitutions can be made with the extra members of the team.
After each round, the total score from each round is added up for each team, and rooms shift accordingly. For example, if a school answered 48 correctly in the written round, and then 8 questions correctly in the first oral round, their score would be 56. The rooms would be rearranged, with the three top scores facing each other, then the next three, etc.
At some meets, after the preliminary rounds, there is a final round between the top three schools.
Questions are a test of the competitors' knowledge of various subjects. The questions are drawn from almost every subject in school, and also a few from popular culture. The questions range from being extremely obvious to being ridiculously difficult and abstract. Some are math problems, and some involve the classification of sentence types. To do well, one needs a wide breadth of knowledge.
The questions used at a meet are pristine questions, that haven't been seen by any team before (there are practice questions). There are different questions for each round, and all teams (regardless of which room they are in) hear the same questions in a given round.
Practice isn't as important here as with other competitions. Practice can help teams get a feel for when to buzz (you can buzz before a question is finished if you think you know the answer) and of what questions are like, but it is impossible to study for the meet.
You should try knowledge bowl if your school has a team.