About Quiz Bowl

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Why Quiz Bowl?

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We might be biased, but quiz bowl is the perfect place to show off your knowledge in a thrilling competitive setting. If you enjoy scouring encyclopedias, have fun testing your knowledge against friends, and are well-versed in capital cities, obscure history, scientific discoveries, or 18th century poets, then this is the community for you!

Quiz bowl provides the ideal platform to pursue learning for learning’s sake and to gain true knowledge of a subject. You will become part of a nationwide community perfect for those looking to grow and challenge themselves. Getting started is easy – practice materials are low cost, and teams can be founded at nearly any school or institution, if they don’t already have one. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to take on leadership roles – in your club, on your team, and even with us here at the AQBL.


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In a typical game of quiz bowl, two teams go head-to-head, competing to answer questions about a variety of topics. While the rules might change from organization to organization, games typically include two types of questions: tossups and bonuses. Tossups are read to both teams and players use a buzzer system to answer. Clues in a tossup are structured pyramidally, meaning the first one is the hardest and the last clue is the easiest. Bonuses have one to three parts in a range of difficulties. They are read only to the team that answered a tossup correctly, and the whole team works together to answer. For both types of questions, points are awarded for correct answers, but you can lose points by giving an incorrect answer while a tossup is being read.

Most gameplay occurs in regional tournaments, where a field of about 20 teams is broken into groups of six, called pools. The teams within each pool play each other round-robin style. The winners of each pool play each other in another round-robin to determine the champion!

Whether you’re a beginner or a reigning champ, there’s usually a tournament in your area for your skill level. If you want to test your abilities on a larger stage, there are also a few national tournaments.


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Quiz bowl asks questions over a wide range of subjects, namely literature, history, and science. Less frequently covered (but just as fun!) subjects include: fine arts, religion, mythology, philosophy, current events, and “trash,” the colloquial name for sports, popular culture, and other miscellaneous questions. If you’re interested in a subject, chances are that there are at least a few quiz bowl questions on it.