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This page describes some of the things you should consider when setting the format of a quiz.
Please feel free to discuss these ideas or add ideas of your own in the quiz-zone forum.
HOW MANY QUESTIONS? HOW MANY ROUNDS?
One of the first things you should consider is how many rounds you should have and how many questions will be in each round.
The number of questions you include overall will depend on how much time you have available - both for preparing them, and for delivering them and marking them during the actual quiz. For a standard pub quiz, there are likely to be between 30 and 100 questions overall. Any more and it may become tiresome with most teams having no chance of winning towards the end. Any less and it would be too short and make people wonder why they bothered.
It is always a good idea to have a variety of subjects in different rounds (e.g. Music, Sport, History, General Knowledge, etc.) to suit people with different interests and of different age groups, and also to stop the general knowledge experts from winning every week! So, if you are planning on, say 60 questions overall, it would probably be better to split this into 6 rounds of 10 questions rather than 3 rounds of 20. Or you could maybe have 4 rounds of 10 questions and a bumper round of 20 questions on General Knowledge to finish with?
By using the Generate Quiz Rounds feature on quiz-zone you can automatically generate sets of questions by entering criteria (e.g. 10 questions on Science and Nature) and print these out either in basic or PDF format. For more ideas about compiling questions then please look at the Setting Questions page.
Finally, you should also make sure you can deal with the possibility of a tie break situation where two or more teams finish with the same score overall. The simplest way to do this is ask one or more tie break questions where no-one is likely to know the answer straight off, but where anyone can make and educated guess, and the team who gets closest to the correct answer wins. An example of a tie break question is "In what year was Coca Cola first sold in bottles?"
When setting the format of a quiz, you will also have to decide who marks the answers and when. There are usually two main options here - marking all the answers for every team yourself, or asking each team to swap their answer sheet with another team so they can mark each others.
The first option is likely to take longer although it has the advantage of you being able to mark all teams questions consistently. If you do choose this method then it is probably best to mark a few rounds together so as to not waste time on collecting and handing out answer sheets. Plus it might also be handy to have at least one table round to keep the teams busy while you are marking.
The second option of asking teams to swap their answer sheets and then marking them as you read out the answers is likely to be quicker, but this won't guarantee consistent marking as some teams may be more lenient than others. For example, if a correct answer is "The Jackson 5", then some teams may mark "The Jacksons" as correct while other teams may mark it as incorrect. If you have questions and answers like this where you can see a potential problem, then you should make it clear when reading out the answers as to whether you allow 1 point, 0 points or 1/2 a point, otherwise you'll have to deal with queries as and when they arise.
ENTRY FEE & PRIZE MONEY
If you have any say on the entry fee and prize money, then some things you may have to take into account are...
Don't make it too expensive to enter?
Some people enter pub quizzes just for the fun of taking part even though they think they have got no chance of winning. If you make the entry fee to high, then it may put people off and may also take a lot of the fun out the quiz.
Don't make the prize money too high?
If the main aim of your quiz is that it is to be fun and enjoyable then don't make the prize money too high so that things could get a bit serious. If the prize money is really worth winning you could have to deal with situations where teams are arguing over unfair marking and you'd also have to ask yourself if the prize money might be worth some people cheating in an attempt to win it.
Should entry fee be per person or per team?
Whether you have the entry fee as, say, £1 per person or £5 per team, is up to you, although do beware that if you go for the second option then this is likely to disuade small teams who may otherwise have joined in the quiz just for fun.
Have a maximum number of people per team?
Having no limit on how many people are allowed in a team may make things a little unfair. For example, a team of 7 people will obviously have a big advantage over a team of 2 people. People may be put off being in big teams by the fact that prize money will have have to be split more ways meaning smaller individual wins than if they were in a small team, but it may be an idea to have a limit on the number of people in a team. If you have a limit of, say 5 people, then this shouldn't discourage large groups of friends taking part as they can simply split into two or more smaller teams. Another idea to help balance things up is to subtract points from teams scores depening on how many people are in that team. For example, a team of 4 may get a -2 penalty, a team of 5 may get -4.
As well as having standard rounds, you might find that adding a few special rounds will make your quiz more popular and more enjoyable. A few examples for these types of rounds are given below, but if you have any experience of other rounds that are different from the normal 'question and answer' rounds and that have proved popular, then feel free to either discuss these in the quiz-zone forum or e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org
These are rounds which are handed out on sheets of paper to each team, usually at the start or early on in a quiz, and are not handed in or marked till later on. Examples of these types of rounds are picture rounds (e.g. where you have to identify a series or famous people), dingbat rounds (where you have to identify phrases from visual clues), lyrics rounds (where you have to indentify songs given a line of their lyrics) or film quotes rounds (where you have to identify films from famous quotes that appeared in them). Having rounds like these should keep people busy and entertained at breaks in between normal rounds or when questions from other rounds are being marked. You can find plenty of examples of these types of round on quiz-zone, as well as many others (cryptic quizzes, anagrams, etc.) which should prove popular table rounds.
The rules of a wipeout round are simple in that it is a normal question and answer round, but where teams don't have to put an answer to each question. If a team leaves a question blank that is fine, but if they put an answer which is wrong then they're points for this round are wiped out and they score 0. Wipeout rounds should be used towards the end of quizzes and should consist of several questions where the answer isn't obvious, but that there a few possible guesses. An example of a good question for a wipeout round is "What relation is Supergirl to Superman?". If a team didn't know the answer but were a few points behind the leaders of the overall quiz they might choose to gamble and put down a guess. Plus there will also be the chance that a team who is doing well overall would think they know the answer and could put down a wrong answer and so score 0 for that round, also giving other teams a chance to catch up.
These rounds involve a series of general knowledge questions where the answers are all linked in some way and the final question is to guess the link between the answers. You can find plenty of examples of connections rounds on quiz-zone and they can prove to be very popular as they get everyone thinking about the possible connection as well as answering the individual questions.
For quizzes running on a regular basis, a rollover round can prove popular and can help get people coming regularly to your quiz. A rollover round is where you have a series of questions and if a team answers all of these correctly then they win the rollover prize money. If no team wins this then the money rolls over to the next quiz where the rollover prize money will be increased. It may help your quizzes popularity if once in a while the rollover prize money is quite high, so you should make these rounds difficult to win. Good rollover rounds should start off easy, but towards the end should include a few difficult questions which people are unlikely to know, but could guess at. This will increase tension as the answers are read out and one or two teams being close to winning and maybe waiting to hear if their guess to the final question was right to see if they win. An example of a good question to use towards the end of a rollover round might be "Which author made a surprise appearance during a U2 concert at Wembley in 1993?".
Music rounds can prove to be very popular and entertaining in quizzes. These usually involve the quiz master playing 5 or 10 seconds of music from a song (usually the intro) and then the quiz teams trying to guess what the song title is and/or who sang it. If you were running a quiz regularly then you could maybe alter this round slightly for each quiz. For example, one week you could might have songs by one hit wonders, and another week you could have songs from films where the teams have to identify the film. If using any rounds of this type, you should make sure you don't use any unlicensed material.
Here are some other ideas you may want to consider using to make your quiz a bit more interesting...
These would be cards which are handed out, one to each team at the start of the quiz, then each team can choose which round they want to play their joker in and score double points on that round.
You could have a small prize for the best team name, or maybe you could have a joke question "e.g. why did the chicken cross the road?" in the quiz where the answer which gets the biggest laugh gets a small prize.
A small prize for the team which finishes with the lowest score overall? Or even for the worst team name?