How long is a piece of quiz?

When people book a quiz night with us, they can book us, as long as we have availability, for whenever they like and for as long as they like.

But that is not to say that we don’t have a good idea of how much time a good quiz should take up. We can make a 20 minute quiz great and we can make a three hour quiz great, but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be a bit better if they were closer to the optimum length.

I’m going to carry on with my theme of comparing quizzes to other forms of entertainment. How long is a good gig? Generally if you get less than an hour, you feel short-changed, and if it’s over two hours, you’re running out of puff. There are exceptions, of course. I saw Leonard Cohen last month and the old genius played for three hours (including a 20 minute break) and it was all magnificent. But, two things 1)  to my chagrin, I had to leave a minute before the end of the final song of the 3rd encore, otherwise I would get caught in the crowd leaving and definitely miss the last train home. As it was I only just made it (as you can tell, I’m finding it hard to forgive myself) 2) Leonard Cohen is a legend of 20th century culture who I and 20,000 other people felt privileged to be in a room with. QuizQuizQuiz QuizMasters are all excellent at our job, but we don’t presume to hold such personal sway!

We provide entertainment. When a gig is entertainment (as opposed to recital/masterclass), it has an optimum length (1 1/2 hour- ish), as does a film (between 1 1/2 and 2 1/2, and even 2 1/2 is pushing it, take note The Hobbit etc). A masterful work-of-art film, watched by real fans and buffs, may take longer to unravel, but again, we know, as QuizMasters, we are not creating a work of art.

Furthermore, a quiz is a participatory experience – it is more mentally draining than a film or a gig. 3 hours of quiz could give anyone brainache!

What else? Booze. We’ve written before about the role of booze in a quiz. it’s unavoidable and it’s also perfectly welcome. But I think we all know a room full of people drinking for 2 hours has a very different atmosphere and attention span to a room full of people drinking for 3 hours.

I’m pretty happy running a quiz for anything between an hour and two and a half hours, but I do think 1 1/2 – 2 hours is optimum. This gives time for a real momentum, a real test of different subjects, a spread of scores to develop, for the cream to rise to the top, for any quietness and reticence at the start to be completely overcome, but it also means that people don’t begin to get quiz fatigue.

We do often get asked to do longer quizzes, sometimes people will book us from 7 to 11, but we are usually able to persuade people that is a bit long.

The thing is, people may be used to slow and steady quizzes with long gaps between rounds where the marking is done, lots of general awkward spaces, and 3-4 hours time being just enough time for, say, 100 points. Because of the way we run our quizzes, with the speed of marking and emphasis on pacing and flow, we can probably fit in more in a shorter space of time (while also giving people plenty of time to think).

All the timings I have given have not mentioned breaks. Breaks are also an important part of the evening. Again, there is probably an ideal of one break, of 15 to 45 minutes, depending on what food people have. More than one break, for whatever reason, can shatter momentum, as can one break which is too long. However, if I’m doing any quiz of over an hour and a half, even if a break is not written in to the evening, I’d recommend one – and usually put one in, if only to avoid a mass cigarette/loo/fresh air exodus at a point where a sudden, temporary emptying of people will affect the momentum of the quiz (and indeed my control of that momentum).

So, what’s the optimum? Honestly. Notwithstanding “we’ll fit into any schedule”, true though that is.

I like a quiz that starts at 7 (with people hanging around and having a drink or two for half an hour or so beforehand), breaks for half an hour at 8, finished by 9.30. Perfect. It’s amazing how many event planners see things exactly the same way. I’ve probably done more quizzes that fitted that precise time frame than any other. Within that time, I’ll be able to fit in up to 9 rounds of different lengths, pacing and format, including picture rounds and buzzers, and there will be 100+ available points. That seems like plenty!

How long is the quiz you run, or take part in? Could it be longer or shorter, and how do you maintain people’s interest for the length of time?

 

The younger generation

I’m almost 35. Not young anymore. Not long since I was young, but not young like the young folks anymore. This is fine. I can’t play football anymore, can’t play cricket without my whole body aching for a week, but it’s fine. It’s not the issue here.

I’m talking about quizzes here. What difference does my age make to my ability to run quizzes? Well, it depends who it’s for, doesn’t it? We run quizzes for all ages, from Primary School children to venerable pre-rock’n’roll quizzers, but the heaviest weighting is, as it has always been, the mid-to-late twenties. When I started running quizzes for QuizQuizQuiz, I was in my mid-to-late twenties. It was quite rare to be running quizzes for people significantly younger than me. This has changed.

What’s more, we run more and more quizzes for students and interns, people who are nominally adults but really are a whole generation younger than me. Can my quiz master skills cope with this?

First of all, once I hit 33 I didn’t start exclusively listening to opera, watching Ingmar Bergman films and complaining that it’s not like it was in the good old days. I still have relatively “young” tastes, if they were ever young. I’m into pop music (of a sort), modern films, watch things on TV other than ‘Antiques Roadshow’ and hang out on street corners drinking alcopops. So, in a sense, and especially as it’s my actual job, it really shouldn’t be that hard for me to know what works in a quiz for folk a few years younger than me.

But I am noting a few more challenges, as the gap gets wider year by year. I do think it’s particularly marked because there has been the most remarkably accelerated rate of change in media, communication and culture in the, say, 15 year gap between me and the intern quizzer. Just remember, when I left school, hardly anyone was using the internet (I don’t think I’d even heard of it, though I was the kind of kid who thought these computers were just a flash in the pan), there was certainly no facebook or twitter, about 10% of people had a mobile phone, most of us still had 4 (not even 5!) TV channels, Top of the Pops was still a popular show and the way to find out about what was in the charts, I could go on … some of it is trivial, some of it is pretty significant, impacting on the whole way people grow up, what they know, what they like, how they understand the world.

So, what you really want to know is, are the kids any good at quizzing? Yes, pretty good, and in some ways you don’t have to alter that much to get the tone and the content right. I haven’t yet had anyone shouting out “Hey grandad, this is so square …” or whatever the whippersnappers say these days.

There’s obviously a chance of getting it wrong by referencing something they’ve no idea about, whether it’s The Fast Show or Menswear or England putting in a decent performance at a major football tournament, but, actually, that’s pretty straightforwardly avoided if you give it enough thought beforehand. [Don’t get me wrong, it is important to avoid that, important not to think you have a shared cultural background and what you were watching/listening to when you were growing up is the slightest relevant to what’ll be fun for them]. It’s actually the opposite that is more the problem, though – in avoiding stuff that you worry may not be suitable, there may be a tendency to play it safe, make it too easy, even patronise them.

For a start, there’s certainly no particular reason why their general knowledge, geography, history, politics etc won’t be as strong as anyone else’s, or their ability to think quizzily and work out puzzling questions. Indeed, their tendency to drink a little less than the more experienced quizzer can mean their heads are a little clearer for trickier questions.

It’s when it comes to “culture” that it can be trickiest, whether that’s Video Games, TV, Films or particularly Music. Because I don’t know exactly what they know, what they’ve experienced, how they take it all in, and can only work it out approximately, there’s a real danger of asking something which just seems like the simplest, most pointless thing in the world. “Here’s a question about one of those video games you all seem to spend all your time playing.” “Yes, but what you’re asking us is like asking us what is 2+2”. It can be like that if you’re not careful.

And the same applies to pop music – I don’t just know what the big hits were of my era, I know which songs were kind-of hits, tunes you’d remember but might not be too sure who they’re by, and that’s what makes a good question. I know what old bands people my age might know about, too. It takes a fair bit of research and experience to get a music round right for younger people – will they know Frank Sinatra, the Stone Roses, will they know the Strokes, say, whose first album came out when a current university student was about 7? Yes, they know the modern chart-toppers, the songs that are everywhere, but the skill is going a little deeper.

It’s an interesting, and growing, challenge. The gap in age will continue to grow between me and the average corporate quiz participant. As a company, we’ll take on new, possibly younger, quiz masters, every now and then, and we’ll think more and more conscientiously about making sure our round formats and questions are tailored to the audience, whatever their age. Quzzing is certainly not a young man or woman’s game, so I don’t think I’ll have to hang up the spikes just yet – maybe now is a good time to take inspiration from the Rolling Stones and look forward to entertaining the kids of quiz for another four decades.

 

Pub Quiz Cheating

Here is a video of a talk given by our QuizMaster Jack at an event in Leeds recently on the topic of pub quiz cheating.

The event was Bettakultcha, in which  a dozen or so speakers talk on different topics for just 5 minutes – and none of the 400+ audience know what the topics are going to be in advance.

If you are interested in the topic, you should read our post from last year on Pub Quiz Cheating.

All About the Music

Music is a large part of pretty much every quiz night we run. We always have background music suitable for each round; we test teams on film and TV themes and various other questions involve music in some form. I play music before a quiz starts and during whatever breaks take place.

However, this post is, specifically, about putting together what is nearly always one of the most enjoyable rounds, the Music Round. More than any other round, the Music round serves a dual purpose, as both quiz competition and straight up rabble-rousing entertainment. Frankly, not every question within the music round needs to be a test – if it gets a roomful of people singing along to some mid-90s hip-hop one hit wonder, well that’s just fine.

I nearly always include a music quiz round, and my music round is nearly always heavy on clips of popular music. There can be a little bit of variation between our quizmasters on this – some might, occasionally, include music inside a larger, more general Entertainment round, some might include significantly more pieces of classical music and, say, songs from musicals. It always depends on the participants, of course. But I, for the most part, like a good solid “Name the artist” (with one or two variations) music round.

I really look forward to the music round in each quiz event. Most other rounds I’ll have mostly planned in advance, but I pretty much choose my musical clips on the night, thinking about what will work at that particular moment. Having said I really enjoy the music round, that isn’t necessarily because I actively like the music I’m playing! Sometimes quite the opposite.

It would be a big mistake if I actually played music I was into – failed singer-songwriters, 90s Scottish indie, 60s garage bands, and several Bob Dylan songs, that would be my music round. And it would be rubbish.

When I started running quizzes, I felt I had to remind myself of that. So I would deliberately start the quiz with something I loathed, just to separate my own taste from what I was playing – ‘It’s All Coming Back to Me Now’ by Celine Dion was usually the thing. Right, the only way is up from there, I’d think.

In putting together the music round, there are a few different reactions I’m looking for over the course of the round.

– I know that one, that one’s easy

– Ooh I have an urge to sing along to the chorus of this one

– Ooh, this one’s tricky, it could be this or that

– I’ve no idea about this one, oh actually is it …

– This is a really nice song actually

-Hmph, these songs aren’t from my era, oh no hang on this one is, this is the good stuff

– I recognise the song but I don’t quite remember the band

– What is this ridiculous nonsense?

– Is it Tamsin Archer or Tasmin Archer?

Those are just some of the reactions I’m hoping for – I want a good range of eras and styles (the temptation can be to stick to 80s/90s but I’d say one should try to fit in at least one from pretty much every decade, including this one), I want some sing-a-longs, I want the odd slow number, I want a horrible novelty song, I want time-specific dance moves.

The majority of my ideal music quiz round is ‘Name the artist’, but there are some other things thrown in – things like Rewinds, recognise the song from the 1st Note, Missing Link and Mystery Year. The first two of those work really well because, invariably, people think that is going to be very difficult but it turns out to be very gettable. Though the first note of ‘Come on Eileen’ does sound a lot like the first note of ‘Summer Lovin”.

The Mystery Year question, with which I usually finish the music round, is quite often the highlight of the whole quiz. I don’t know exactly why (well I do actually), but teams will always have debated at great length where they were when they first heard the songs from the mystery year, and someone will be convinced it was her first year at Uni so it must be 1986 and someone will be convinced it was the year his baby sister was born so it must be 1987, and when I announce the answer, the howls of delight/anger are something to behold.

So, that’s the music round. Not cleverly worded questions, but plenty of thought, not deep intellectual knowledge, just a good recollection of the songs you grew up with.

New Adventures in Quizzing

Whatever else one can say about running quizzes for a living, it’s not that often that you find yourselves risking life and limb to bring knowledge and entertainment to the people.

However, my first corporate quiz of the year, in Eastbourne, turned into an awfully big adventure. First of all, the journey itself turned unexpectedly into a bit of a blizzard, and then, when we arrived at Eastbourne, though there was no snow lying on the ground, there was a howling gale, sheets of rain, and there was our venue – at the very end of Eastbourne Pier (the client had certainly chosen somewhere spectacular!).

We braved our way down the walkway, and after finding a couple of locked doors, made our way into the extremely nice venue and began to set up. After a while we were joined by the quiz organisers and we awaited the participants.

Suddenly, I was ushered over and informed that the pier was to much of a safety risk, and, if I agreed, the venue for the quiz would be changed to a nearby hotel.

Now, usually, we’re pretty scrupulous about making sure the venue which the client has chosen suits the needs of the quiz, and in this case, we were using the venue’s equipment, rather than our own, so I was hesitant, but assured that the hotel could provide a good sound system.

And so it proved – the slippery walk back along the pier gave merit to the decision to change venue, and I very quickly set up in a spare function room of the hotel for over 100 people.

The sound was good, the quiz was only a little delayed and seemed to be a success. It was a good example of how flexible one occasionally has to be. Admittedly, I’ve never been instructed to change the venue of the quiz before at the last minute, but the timings, the numbers, the difficulty level, the subject, the quality of sound can all be altered at very short notice, and it is up to us to adapt and still provide a high quality, seamless, professional service.

Even though this was my first quiz of the year, there wasn’t thankfully, too much ring rust and I managed to get through the Battle of Eastbourne Pier unscathed.

Jokers in Quiz Nights

This post is all about why we don’t use jokers in QuizQuizQuiz Quiz Nights. And by jokers we mean a device with which a team can get extra points (usually double points) for a round in the quiz.

Jokers are ideally suited to 10×10 style quizzes – quizzes in which there are 10 rounds of 10 questions. Or it could be 8 rounds of 8 questions or whatever. But for jokers to work fairly (if indeed jokers are not inherently unfair) each round needs to be worth the same number of points, each round needs to be of equal difficulty, and really each round needs to be on pre-specified subject area. And in our view these restrictions make for a boring and inflexible quiz.

Here are some of the reasons why jokers don’t suit our quiz night format:

1) our rounds are of different lengths so double points on one round is a greater advantage on one round than another (and our round lengths can change on the fly – in order to adapt to timings, and other factors).

2) our rounds have different formats (so we can’t even say “double points for first 5 qs in a round” as 5 questions in one round may mean 15 points and and in another round may be just 5 points).

3) it would mean having to reveal round titles beforehand, which takes away something from the element of surprise, as well as setting in stone what rounds we do, when we might want (or need) to adapt. And adaptability is a key part of the recipe for a QuizQuizQuiz quiz night.

4) there is no possibility to create a difficulty curve during the quiz: start nice and easy (read our thoughts on preventing cheating in quiz nights to understand about this), add in some real meat in the middle of the quiz, and then end with a good mix of easy and hard (depending, partly, on how drunk everyone is).

Sometimes our new quiz night clients will have only ever been to quizzes with jokers, and will feel that they are an essential part of the quiz night experience. So we ask our clients to trust us to get the format right for their event (after all, our professional expertise and experience is partly what we are being paid for). Sometimes this means trusting us that jokers (or another format variation idea) don’t work. Sometimes this means that our clients explain to us why a particular theme or format suggestion has come up – and then it is our job to turn that idea into a format, round or feature during the quiz night.

In the 2000+ company, charity, and pub quiz events we’ve run over the years we’ve dabbled with many format variations, and we continue to evolve our formats, but generally we have a very good feel for what works and what doesn’t.

So there we go – jokers just don’t fit our format. And indeed any format variations need to be carefully prepared, as an added gimmick or format tweak can have a significant impact on the success of a quiz night – and often in ways that are not necessarily obvious unless you spend your life thinking about how to make quiz nights better (which is, of course, what we do).

 

Stadium Gigs

Last month I played Murrayfield Stadium. Oh yes. QuizQuizQuiz has really hit the big time now… Sadly, I wasn’t spreading the word of quiz to 60,000 adoring fans, but for 200 or so people in a corporate suite.

We quite often run quizzes in rooms at stadiums. Indeed one of the first ever QuizQuizQuiz quiz nights, back in 2003, was at St. James’ Park in Newcastle. Running quizzes at places such as Old Trafford (Cricket and Football), the Emirates, Hampden Park etc. can be a nice vicarious thrill, and, in any case, 200+ people is a pretty large number for a quiz.

I think the most people I’ve ever run a quiz for is just over 300, and we ran a quiz for over 800 people once upon a time with around 120 teams in the Corn Exchange Shopping Centre in Leeds.

Is that too big? What kind of difference does the number of people or teams make?

Theoretically, there’s no limit, but the main inhibiting factors are space, sound and vision, engagement with teams, and, of course, marking.

Big enough venues with really good sound systems, where you feel like you’re fully in touch with all the teams and you know you’re engaging them can be hard to find. And obviously, if you want to mark sheets yourselves, as we do, the more teams, the more good markers you need. [We can run a quiz night using keypads, which to some extent removes the marking factor, but the vast majority of our quiz events rely on pen and paper, at least to some extent, and thus need marking by hand].

Personally, I love running quizzes for massive crowds – the cheer is louder, the sense of occasion is bigger. In some ways it is less intimidating than just running a quiz for a few people, where you can see and hear what everyone is thinking. It’s pretty important, though, that the venue is a good, open space, without lots of nooks, crannies and corners – both in terms of considering sound and people seeing screens, but also in terms of people staying fully involved.

Likewise, whatever the venue, we need to conduct a thorough check that the sound in the venue is good before we start, and this is particularly vital for a big venue.

Any venue and any number can provide it’s own challenges, though. Sometimes we have our own portable equipment, sometimes we plug into a venue’s own, and, with experience, I’ve got the hang of getting the sound right, speaker placement, where teams should be sat etc. I’d like to think that if we ever were asked to put on a quiz for a stadium full of people, we’d find a way to make it work.

Stadium quizzing might just be the next big thing. Comedians are the new rock stars. Maybe QuizMasters will be the new comedians. Or perhaps not. It’s a nice thought though.

Ties and Climaxes

We try extremely hard to ensure that all of our quizzes have an exciting climax. Sometimes it is pretty obvious to everyone which team has won, because they have been doing well all the way through, but even then you can try and build in a bit of suspense by at least making the top few teams feel that they are still in with a shout. I often say something like “the top three, in no particular order are…” partly to build suspense, but also just to make sure I haven’t accidentally missed out a team when reading out the rest of the scores.

However, even then, it is difficult announcing second place without the winners starting to  celebrate even before they have been announced (because obviously they know they have won). This is even harder when you have prizes to give out for third and second places. I’ll return to this topic of climax  when I’ve put it all in a bit of recent context…

I had a very interesting situation at the corporate quiz night I hosted yesterday for a law firm, and some of their clients and contacts, in Lewes. It was a very close quiz overall, but one team was about one point per round better than anyone else.

They were leading the pack by about 5 points going into the final round. Our normal final round has an (very straightforward) element of gambling involved, and the leading team went for broke, and unfortunately it went a bit wrong. So they did very badly on the last round, while other teams did rather well in general. So they were caught, and indeed overtaken at the death.

Now – I could see on the scoresheet that I had three teams tied on 75 points (incuding the team that had been leading all the way through) and one team had won on 76 points. There were prizes for first, second and third place, and no easy way to divvy up the 2nd and third prizes between three equal teams.

I was quite pleased with the tie-break game I came up with in the heat of the moment…

As it happened we had been running a buzzer round as part of the quiz, so I already had the buzzer set up, so it made sense to use them for a buzzer quiz play-off. However, I didn’t want to announce the winners and then do a play-off between the other three teams – a play-off for 2nd and 3rd place is not a good enough climax for a quiz night.

So – I explained the scores to the crowd (without telling them who had won) and invited one person from each of the top four teams to play on the buzzers at the front. I declared that the winning team (even though they didn’t know who they were) would play in the buzzer play-off, and we asked five questions on the buzzers which was enough to separate all of the tied teams to sort out 2nd and 3rd place.

So we had done an exciting buzzer play-off, the winners (who actually did poorly in the final buzzer contest) still didn’t know they had won, the leaders throughout the quiz had done very well on the buzzers (but may have thought this was academic as most teams, themselves included, thought they had won already…).

And then I was able to announce the final results to genuine excitement, and we managed to finish the quiz on a high, rather than a slightly anti-climactic 2nd-3rd play-off.

Well, I thought it was quite good!

Have you ever had interesting or unusual tie-break situations to resolve?

 

Crowd Control and Rabble Rousing

Some audiences can be extremely difficult to manage, and require a Quiz Master (or indeed any other entertainer / speaker) to use all the tricks of the trade and force of presence and personality to keep things under control.

I recently ran an 80s themed quiz for a very exuberant group of 120 sales people, 30s-50s, and 80 % men. The room was tightly packed, everyone had been drinking for a couple of hours before the quiz started, and noise levels were very high. Most of them hadn’t seen each other for a couple of months as they work all over the country, and there was a great deal of general machismo, back-slapping, guffawing and gentle-to-aggressive sales person banter going on amongst colleagues.

After the quiz, our client said: “I’ve never seen this group so effectively engaged and entertained for so long. Normally they are impossible.”

Before the quiz, this is what our client had said: “It must be stressed that you can expect everything from this group. Literally. I have seen a professional comedian leaving the stage almost in pieces and saying this was the most difficult group he had ever handled. Don’t get me wrong – they are a good bunch, but with lots of energy and will let it be known if they don’t like something. So I usually pre-warn all entertainers.”

We have a section in our QuizMaster bible called “Crowd Control and Rabble Rousing”. I’m not going to divulge many QQQ trade secrets (!), but the key is to manage every aspect of the quiz and be in full control the whole way through. The crowd need to know you are in charge, but you hope to do that in a way that allows them to let their hair down. You hope to have plenty of singing along and shouting and cheering, and but at the same you want to try and ensure that for participants it feels entirely spontaneous (and generally, it will be). However, if you get it right as a QuizMaster then you should be able to know, almost to the nearest millisecond, exactly when the crowd will react and when. If you can get them singing and shouting and cheering (preferably extremely loudly!) on your own terms then that is a good result..

And above all, you have to keep the pace up, and try not to give the exuberant crowd any breathing space to get bored or wander off.

When we work with celebrities as quizmasters they often start very well, but lose energy, concentration, momentum, and thence the crowd as the quiz goes on. Running quizzes is not easy, in particular this type of event is never easy. Auto-pilot is out of the question. Experience in running all sorts of corporate quiz events plays a massive part so that you know what techniques to use for a particular event.

So it is all about this vital combination of Crowd Control and Rabble Rousing – you have to try and do both. The former without the latter is a recipe for boredom for the participants, and the latter without the former is a recipe for disaster and misery for the entertainer.

So there we go. This particular event went very well, and (without bigging ourselves up too much more!) is a good example of why our clients come back to us for their company quiz nights – because they know we’ll get it right, whatever the circumstances.

Fast Work

It’s obviously very nice when people come to you at the end of an evening and compliment you on the quality of the quiz. It’s particularly gratifying when they pick up on one of the elements that (we think) distinguishes a QuizQuizQuiz quiz from many other quizzes.

One of the most common things people commend us on is not even the quiz master him/herself, but the speed of our marking. When we run a quiz, it is imperative, however many teams there are, that the sheets are marked and the scores for the round ready to be announced by the time the quiz master has finished reading out the answers. So there is immediate feedback on performance when it is fresh, relevant and still exciting, no dead air, no time to wander off and become disinterested. What’s more annoying at a gig than the band spending minutes tuning up between songs?

Over the years, we’ve developed and trained a crack team of superfast, super-efficient markers at our QuizQuizQuiz Fast Track Academy (or something like that!). From a quiz for three teams to a quiz for sixty teams, we’ll make sure we’ve enough competent people to deal with it and keep the quiz running smoothly. Up to around eight teams can, if needs be, be handled by an experienced quiz master on his or her own with no delay to the quiz (though a helper is probably preferred so that the QM doesn’t get too frazzled), up to around twenty by one fast marker, after which it gets exponentially trickier.

Occasionally, a client might simply expect that teams swap sheets at the end of a quiz, as is common practice at pub quizzes. We never do this at a QuizQuizQuiz event. It allows inconsistency, foul play, all kinds of grounds for querying, makes players work when they should be having fun, and is, simply, not as professional. It is also no quicker, if not indeed slower, than having one good marker doing all the sheets.

So how do we keep the quiz flowing with fast marking?

Well, we encourage the teams to be legible, to remember to put their team name at the top, and we cajole them to get their answers in well within the time limit so that the marker can get a headstart.

We want our marker to have a tidy table in front of them and a good system, to know exactly what the round is out of, to be familiar with the questions and to know what variables might be allowed. Indeed the marker has to make their own answer sheet (with help from the quiz master if required) to become really familiar with the answers.

We want them to be unflustered and neat, to be able to communicate clearly with the quiz master at all times, to check their working and, of course, to be competent at basic maths. At the same time part of the skill of our professional quiz masters is to pace the quiz and the giving out of answers in a way that is both natural but also appropriate for allowing the scores for the round to be ready on time.

I remember the first time I attended a QuizQuizQuiz pub quiz, I was amazed at the speed of the marking, but once you get used to doing it, it’s really not that exceptional, just a good, solid system. Sure – it’s more expensive to have a helper, but we think it makes our quizzes better and we are happy that our clients recognise this as well in the quality of our quiz events.

Likewise, I gave a friend who was running a quiz this week a few tips, and the first thing he thanked me for was the instructions on having a helper doing the marking.

To me, it’s a vital part of a good quiz experience.

How does it work at your regular pub quiz? (either that you attend or run?)