Organising a quiz?

March 22, 2011 in Housekeeping

Are you organising a quiz in the near future? Would you like to have it included on the tablequiz.net calendar?

I’d had several requests of late but these have reached me in a higgledy-piggledy fashion: some arriving in my email, others posted as comments on various pages etc.

So, I’ve now created the ‘Running a quiz?‘ page, through which anyone can submit their quiz details to the site’s calendar.

If you’d like some advice on how to put the quiz together, click the continue.

Back in my youth, I was one of the founders of the NUI Galway Quiz Society, which I’m glad to see is still going strong.

As well as hosting quizzes, the society gave itself the aim of promoting and enabling quizzing in the wider student population.  My own contribution to this aim was a guide to ‘Writing a quiz’. This was created in 2003 but, smart phones aside, quizzes haven’t changed that much in the interim, so I’ll reproduce it here for you to read – and perhaps even use. 🙂

Writing a quiz

A suggested guide by John Nolan

Folks often ask us here at Quiz Soc to prepare quizzes on their behalf. They’re putting on a fund-raiser or they have an intervarsity weekend and a quiz would fit their needs perfectly.

A lot of people get all shivery at the thought of writing a quiz. Why? Remember this isn’t a concerto you’re working on!

Just bear in mind two things:

  • Make the Quiz entertaining. Basically, this would mean varying the questions or type of questions. For example, eight rounds of General Knowledge will not keep the crowd on the edge of their seats.
  • Make the Quiz accurate. The audience has got to have confidence in the correctors to do the right thing. However, if the correctors have been given the wrong answers in advance, trouble’s a brewin’ ….

Making the Quiz accurate just involves being thorough. Don’t just put down questions you’re “pretty sure” you know the answers to. Either use only questions you’re sure about, or better still, have some form of reference handy when you’re compiling the quiz. A few Quiz books or a computer hooked up to the web will do nicely.

As for making the Quiz entertaining, I would advocate simply varying the rounds. With this in mind, it’s useful to decide beforehand what your round topics will be. For this, it’s useful to come up with a Quiz template and use that each time, with a little variance included. It’s no good doing an entertaining quiz and then repeating it twenty times!

Here’s a sample of a themed, ten round quiz:

  1. Yesterday’s news / On this day
  2. People / Names / Places
  3. Sport
  4. Decades / Kids TV / The Simpsons
  5. Pictures / “Dingbats” / “Invisibles”
  6. General Knowledge
  7. Entertainment [Films / Music / TV / Books / All of these]
  8. Science / Geography / History / Nature
  9. Audio [Songs / Intros / Cover versions]
  10. Odd one out
  11. Tie-breakers [Random stuff / Food & Drink / “Millionaire” questions]

Finally, on the night, be prepared. Have ample supplies of pens, paper, answer sheets, and staff. I know this hasn’t much to do with writing the quiz but bad presentation and a slow moving quiz will distract from the assuredly high-quality questions you have set for the competitors.

After that, best of luck with your Quiz!

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