The key to a successful quiz night is preparation. An excellent quiz should always include interesting questions with popular subjects. You can either create your own quiz or buy from an established supplier. There are a great number of free quiz questions online, nonetheless it can take quite a long time to write a good quiz and make sure the answers are accurate so it may be worth investing in a pre-made quiz online.
I find the best round to start out a quiz with is a picture round. The reason behind this is because it doesn’t need the quiz master to be reading out questions. They may be given out in advance to let people know the quiz has started and give the quiz master the opportunity check they are prepared.
If the quiz has been run in a pub picture round sheets could be provided as you go from table to table asking if people are joining – if they are take their money and give them an answer sheet and picture round.
The questions in a quiz need to be challenging, accurate, guessable and interesting. There is no point in setting a question that everyone will know the solution to. When I write a quiz I make an effort to make sure that a lot of people / teams will get at least 50% correct, but I never want anyone to get 100%. I also want the answers to be guessable, so at least those taking part have the opportunity of getting it correct, even if they’re uncertain. Another good tip for writing quiz questions is to try to keep carefully the questions interesting. If someone doesn’t know the answer, they should need to know.
Finally – and crucially – quiz questions must be accurate! I once visited a pub quiz and there is a question along these lines: What is the name of the barrister living at No. 10 Downing Street (at that time Tony Blair was PM)? The solution given was Cherie Blair, but there was a small uproar as some teams had answered Cherie Booth – the name she used professionally. This illustrates how badly considered questions can cause problems. In case a team lost by won point for this reason they would have already been quite upset (in the end, a pub quiz is a serious battle!)
The quiz master must be confident to speaking to numerous people, explaining the guidelines and reading the questions clearly, and it always helps to add a little bit of humour and banter, particularly when owning a pub quiz. The quiz master’s decision should always be final, never giving directly into cries of “that has to be worth half of a mark!!”
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The format of a quiz is entirely up to you, and can vary depending on the event. A pub quiz can be quite dissimilar to a night in with friends. For pub quizzes, I find the best format is this:
1. Go to each table in the pub asking if they’re joining the quiz and if they are charge them (I find ï¿½1 is fine) and hand them an answer sheet and picture round
2. After ten minutes or so announce (with a microphone when possible) that the quiz is about to start and explain the guidelines of the quiz, e.g. no cheating with mobiles!
3. As you prepare, explain the rule for the round (e.g. answer trains have the solution to the question you start with last letter of the previous question) and read out the questions. Read them twice
4. Allow a couple of minutes between rounds to allow teams to discuss the answers
5. After round 3 pause for 10 minutes or so to take questions and invite punters to refill their glasses
6. Read out the questions to the remaining rounds, including the tiebreaker
7. At the end allow a few minutes for final checks and questions from participants before asking them to switch answer sheets with a team sitting nearby
8. Read through the answers
9. Get each team to shout out their results. I believe this increases results than having teams approaching to provide results – it’s more fun and informal
10. Keep a note of everyone’s score before declaring the winner. When there is a tie you may use a tiebreaker question (see next tip)
A format similar can also work for social or fund raising events, but obviously for a night in it can be a many more informal (and I wouldn’t charge your friends!)
You can get a free of charge general knowledge questions quiz here.
A tiebreaker question can be asked by the end of the quiz in case of (you guessed it) a tie. In a pub quiz or event with many teams I believe the easiest way to resolve who won is to get each team to nominate a member to answer the tiebreaker. However, they must get up before everyone, toss a coin to see who will answer first, and then answer the questions by using everybody else shouting their opinion. This produces a far more entertaining end to the evening and of course, everyone gets to shout their opinion!
Giving out the prize can be another part of the entertainment. There are many ways to do this, from just providing them with a set prize (maybe ï¿½20, or perhaps a free drink each) or encouraging them to bet the winnings. You could get them to choose their prize from three envelopes, or keep these things risk their prize money with a double or nothing bet – this is often anything from the coin toss to a Bruce Forsyth style Play Your Cards Right gam