Quiz Help and Advice

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This page is for new or inexperienced Quiz Masters looking for some sound advice. Maybe a friend has asked you to do a one off charity quiz night or you've been asked to do a quiz for your work place. Maybe you're a Pub Landlord and you're looking to liven the place up a bit. Whatever the reason, I'm going to explain to you in a clear and concise way how to structure your quiz and what to look out for and how to run a quiz successfully and correctly.

First things first, advertise the quiz night well in advance. Put up posters, email and text all your friends and family. Post it on Facebook too. Make this the first thing you do, it's the most important.

Quiz Questions

You will obviously need a quiz. You have 2 options. Make it yourself or buy one ready made. Obviously we would be happy if you bought one from here, our quizzes are priced well below anybody else's so I recommend you do, ours are a lot more fun too. I've seen quizzes on the internet for sale at ten pounds and they are nothing more than a list of very difficult questions, boring in other words. Let me point out that the downloadable quizzes on this website do not have a logo or any other identifiable text on them, the quiz will look like you made it. They're only three pounds each and include picture handouts, brain teasers, game show rounds, themed rounds, tie breaker questions as well as easy questions and answers. Tap on Pub Quiz Pack on the right to have a look, the first one is only one penny!

If you want to make one yourself then be prepared to spend the best part of a day making one. If you want to make an easy quiz then I have hundreds of free quiz questions for you to use, just click on the easy quiz questions link I've put on the right for you. If you have the time and you want a more challenging quiz then buy a few quiz books, make sure to choose the quiz questions from several sources in case some of your audience have the same quiz book.

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Essential Quiz Material

Be prepared. You will need plenty of working pens, test them before the quiz starts. It can get pretty annoying if lots of people keep shouting out that their pens don't work.

Answer sheets. They will need something to write their answers on. Header the answer sheets with "Team name..." and "Score.." Header each round and provide the question numbers underneath each one to keep it tidy.

Print off the questions and answers for yourself and also print off the first 20 questions without answers to give to late arrivals so they can catch up.

Get some prizes. I give a prize for 1st, 2nd and last place too. The last prize can be something funny like a coconut or a tin of beans.

Is it going to be noisy? If it is then you will need some sort of P.A. equipment and a microphone. If you can't borrow one then you will have to buy one. You can actually buy one cheaper than hiring one believe it or not. I use a guitar amp. Only 15 watts and it's served me well in all kinds of pubs. It's small, light, easy to set up and you can put it anywhere. You can pick up a very good new guitar amp for as little as 80 pounds and a good second-hand microphone for about 20 pounds. Don't buy too cheap!

How to host a quiz

Don't be nervous, dress smart, feel good and be professional. Smile a lot. Introduce the quiz by saying "Good evening welcome to (name of the pub or work place) quiz night, my name is, and I'm your quiz master for the evening. We have a prize for 1st, 2nd and last place. If you come in the middle then you get BFH." (bus fare home). Have a laugh, tell the odd joke but don't over do it unless you're a really good comedian.

Pub Quiz Rules

Most important. Lay down the quiz rules before you start.
1. Don't shout out any of the answers, even if they are wrong.
2. Only write down one answer to each question.
(Explain that if they write down more than one answer, when it comes to marking the first answer will be taken)
3. Spelling is not important unless it's a spelling question. Why? Because other quiz teams could be petty and mark a right answer wrong just because it has a silly spelling mistake. Don't forget it's a competition.
4. Ask everyone to turn off their Wi-Fi, flight mode would be ideal but not everyone will be happy not being able to receive phone calls. Also see if you can turn off the venue's Wi-Fi for the duration of the pub quiz too. Explain that if other quiz teams see someone staring at their mobile they will assume that they're looking up the answers so please don't look at your mobile devices until the end of the quiz to avoid arguments.
5. Apart from all that make all the noise you like. You want there to be a good atmosphere so try and avoid it getting too quiet by playing some background music.
6. It's important to tell them that there will be breaks after each round so that they can get a drink, go to the toilet, have a cigarette or all three. Ask them to please don't use the breaks as an excuse to use their mobile devices, if anyone is seen surfing the web on their mobile phones then their team will lose 10 points.

This brings us onto another subject, the prizes. If the prizes are small then people are less likely to want to cheat. I strongly urge you to never offer cash prizes because this will attract the wrong crowd and cause arguments because people will become a lot more competitive. It won't be a fun quiz anymore! From experience I can tell you now that the prizes can be total garbage as long as the quiz is fun to play.

How to call out the Questions

Speak slowly and clearly. Read out the question, pause, then read it out again. You will find that after doing a few quizzes that you will end up repeating most of the questions because there is always someone not paying attention. Some people have a bad habit of always asking you what you just said. It's better just to repeat every question.

After each round ask them if they need any questions repeated.

Marking a Pub Quiz correctly

Tell everyone to make sure they haven't forgot to write their team name at the top. Ask them if anyone needs a few more minutes before we mark them.

The quickest way to mark the quiz is to let them mark each others. Go around the room and swap them yourself. I personally swap the answer sheets as far away from the team as I can get. You don't want them interfering with the marking process and you don't want them to know what their score is.

Get them to mark each round separately and to put a circle around the total score for that round. Then at the end add up all the circles and write the total at the top. Ask them to get somebody else at their table to double check the adding up.

Collect all the quiz sheets and put them into reverse order. Look at the bottom two scores and the top two scores. If they are very close at the top double check the marking very carefully, don't rush this bit.

Read out the results from last place to first place and ask for a round of applause for each team as you read out their score. Thank them for coming and that you hope they enjoyed the quiz. You should get a round of applause if you did it right. Remind them when the next quiz is and say "thank you and goodnight."

You may have a tie breaker situation so make sure you have some tie breaker questions ready. Good tie breaker questions are impossible questions like, "how many miles is it to Jupiter?" The team that gets closest is the winner. The best way to do a tie breaker is to give the teams their quiz sheet back and get them to write the answer on the back.

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I write regular articles on my Pub Quiz Blog full of interesting trivia you can use in your pub quizzes. Simply tap the "G+" logo at the bottom of any page when you fancy a good read.

If you want to make a serious career out of hosting pub quizzes I've written another article with some sound Pub Quiz Advice to help you find more work and how to go about it. Tap on the advice button located at the top of every page of this website.