Killing the atmosphere

We’ve written before about different methods for marking answer sheets. Our method at QuizQuizQuiz quiz nights is always to mark them ourselves. The Quiz Master or assistant will do all the marking: compared to other methods, it’s quicker, more accurate, and crucially (for the purpose of comparison in this blog post) helps with the atmosphere of the quiz.

One of the reasons why we like to mark is that it helps us create more suspense, and from there more excitement, at the answers.  As we wrote in a previous blog post: “Many of our questions require teams to think very carefully about answers – and are designed to make them feel clever when they come up with the correct answer. Often they will not be 100% sure that they have the correct answer until we announce it. Now, if they are marking another team’s paper then they may see that this other team put the same answer as them. They will be much more sure they are right with this confirmation, and when the correct answer is read out they will cheer much less if at all. Multiply this to every team, and a guaranteed spontaneous cheer from the entire room could disappear completely.”

I went to an excellent quiz the other night at a local pub – but it was suffering from a lack of teams over the summer (we were one of only 5 or 6 teams playing compared to the usual 12-16 that they said they normally have). To make matter worse the QuizMaster did things in a rather unusual way. She took the answer sheets in to mark herself (which we approve of!), but then she handed them back out complete with ticks and crosses BEFORE reading out the answers. This meant that the only source of suspense for us was waiting to hear what the correct answers were for the ones we had got wrong. There was no sense of suspense or excitement on the several (for it was a well written quiz) questions where we were making carefully deduced guesses but weren’t sure if we had plumped for the right answer. Of course we knew we had (or hadn’t) before the answers were read out, so it wasn’t very interesting at that point.

Maybe I am being harsh, but these things do matter!


2 replies
    • admin
      admin says:

      Essentially yes. The main point from this post (and the previous one linked in the post) is that it is better for the atmosphere and suspense at revealing answers if all answers are given out before the teams don’t know how they’ve done or what others teams have put.

      There are different approaches, and reasons to do it differently – it just felt that the method used at the quiz described in the post was really wrong.


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