Rules and Guidelines

Following you will find a beautiful list of the rules that you really need to know. After each one, I’ll go into a bit more detail of the hows and whys, the things that you don’t have to know, but might find interesting or helpful.

If any of the quizzing-related words are confusing to you, see if they are in the Quizzer’s Dictionary. Or if you prefer to read the original unparaphrased rule book, find the complete up-to-date Rule Book here.

General Rules:

  • In each quiz, there are twenty questions.
    • An error on questions 16 through 20 will result in A and B questions, however. For example, one team errors on question 17. The next question will be read as ‘question 17 A.’ The point of these questions is to give the other teams a fair chance at getting a few more points.
    • In elimination quizzing (Saturday afternoon), a quiz may also go overtime if any of the teams tie. Three questions are added in an overtime quiz. If the teams are still tied, another overtime may be added. This can continue infinitely, but it is highly unlikely that that will happen.
  • Each question can only be read once.
    • Repeat the question, out loud or in your head, as soon as you jump so you don’t forget it. The quizmaster can’t help you!
  • The quizzer who is called forward has thirty seconds to answer the question.
    • This sounds shorter than it is. Thirty seconds is a good deal of time to think. But just the same, be mindful of the quizzer who is answering and remain silent and deadpan, even if you know the answer and they are blundering it.
  • The quizzer who is answering must remain ‘within context.’
    • Context is defined as five verses before the verse in which the answer is found and five verses after. Moving outside this ‘bubble’ will result in being called incorrect.
  • Any deity that the quizzer cites must be correct.
    • This means that, for example, saying ‘Holy Spirit’ when Jesus was the answer will result in being called incorrect. The Deity Rule looks like an umbrella: God is at the top; you can always start with God and not be incorrect because Jesus and the Holy Spirit are God as well. Lord refers to both God and Jesus. Under the Jesus part of the umbrella is Jesus Christ, the Lord Jesus Christ, Christ Jesus, etc. Finally come the Holy Spirit, or Spirit.
  • Quizzers may not communicate in any way from the time the quizmaster calls ‘question’ for the last time until points are given for that question.
    • This includes looking at each other. Any other form of communicating is distracting to the other quizzers.
  • Each team may have two one-minute time-outs in each quiz.
    • Only one of these timeouts may be taken after question 18. Otherwise, in an intense quiz, it could take a very long time. The time-outs need not be used if you don’t need them. Only the captain of the team may call a time-out. The co-captain may only call a time-out if the captain is no longer on the bench.
  • If one member of a team gets an error, the rest of the team is not allowed to jump on the next question.
    • This gives the other teams a chance. It is called a ‘toss-up’ question.
  • If a team errors on a toss-up question, both offending teams must remain sitting for the next question, which is directed to the remaining team, which has not made an error in the last three questions.
    • This is called a bonus. Errors do matter in quizzes, and we try to keep them to a minimum. But if you get one, that is O.K. The best quizzers get a lot of errors before they start getting lots right.
  • When a quizzer answers four questions correctly, they may not jump on any further questions.
    • This is called quizzing out. The exception to this is a bonus question, on which the quizzed out quizzer may jump and answer.
  • When a quizzer answers three questions incorrectly, they may not jump on any further questions.
    • This is called erroring out. Upon erroring out, the quizzer leaves the platform and sits with their coach. They may still participate in the team’s discussion at time-outs.
  • A quizzer may not jump between when the question is called and when the quizmaster begins reading the question.
    • Doing so results in a foul. The quizzer who fouled may not jump on that question.
  • The captain of each team has the privilege of challenging the quizmaster’s decision on a question if they disagree.
    • DO NOT challenge just so your team can get more points. That is rude. The point of challenging is to keep the quizzes fair for all teams. If the quizmaster calls a quizzer on your team right and they should have been wrong or vice versa and you notice, your team’s captain should challenge. If the quizmaster calls a quizzer on another team wrong and they should have been right or vice versa, challenge.
    • After a challenge has been brought forward by a team captain, each of the other team captains have a chance to give input. This is to be done in a respectful manner. The quizmaster then converses with his table staff (the answer judge and maybe even the score keeper) and reconsiders the decision. The final decision of the quizmaster will stand. The challenge may be accepted or overruled by the quizmaster.


Points added:
  • Each team starts with twenty points.
    • Cynically speaking, this is so that a team can lose points right off without going below zero. Points may be deducted for a quizzer who is late for the quiz, so be careful!
  • Each correct answer is worth 20 points.
  • Bonuses after question 16 are worth 10 points.
    • Bonuses anywhere else in the quiz are worth the full 20 points.
  • A quizzer who answers four questions correctly with no errors receives a 10 point bonus.
    • This is called ‘quizzing out without error.’
  • The third, fourth, and fifth quizzers on a team to correctly answer a question each earn a 10 point bonus for their team.
    • This is called third quizzer in, fourth quizzer in, and fifth quizzer in, respectively.
Points Deducted:
  • Errors between question 17 and 20 result in a 10 point deduction.
  • Two or more errors by one quizzer results in a 10 point deduction for each one.
  • Each team receives two free errors.
    • They may not both be taken by the same quizzer.
  • Three or more team fouls result in a 10 point deduction each.
    • It is hard to get a team foul. Just follow the rules, and you’ll be fine.
  • If a team captain challenges twice or more and they are overruled, there is a 10 point deduction.
    • This is why I told you to be cautious about challenging. It is only to keep a quiz fair.

This list was adapted from Southgate’s amazing Spectator Guide. It was too good to not use.