RGS quizzers are put through their paces

Keen quizzer NANCY MANNERS reports on how our new RGS quiz team members rose to the challenge of their first big battle, with the promise of many more to come

OUR brand-new quiz team took on our first ever competition in the Schools Challenge, a quiz format which follows the same rules as University Challenge, with the questions set in rounds.

Each round comprises a starter and three team 'bonus' questions, normally with a common theme.

Quizzers Isla Horsman, 14, Seraphina Bell, 14, Isobella Watson Emmanuel, 15, and myself, 15, were put through our paces on every topic, from geographical features to historical figures, etymology to mythology, art movements to composers.

It was a test of our lightning reflexes, with starter questions to buzz for, and teamwork, with bonus questions to confer on.

Run throughout the UK, Schools Challenge, which includes junior and senior divisions, is open to all students aged 5-18 years old.

We took on an experienced team from Tonbridge School and fought a close battle, the final score being 280 to Tonbridge, and 200 to Ripon.

We are all sure our quiz team has a bright future, and we can’t wait for the next challenge!

*See some of the questions our quiz team faced, below. Although the answers are provided here, be honest – how many would you have answered correctly?


For the starter, on which there must be no conferring, the first person on either team to press his or her push-button must answer IMMEDIATELY (within 2 seconds); if the question is interrupted, the question-master should not complete it. The first person to press the buzzer should NOT caIl out the answer before he/she has been identified by the question-master; if any competitor persistently ignores this instruction or attempts to discourage his/her opponents through verbal asides, the question-master has power, after one warning, to eliminate him/her from the team for the rest of the match.

If the team-member who pressed answers correctly, his/her team scores 10 points, and has the opportunity of answering the three bonus questions. If the starter is answered incorrectly, or the team is judged to have conferred, their opponents have the opportunity to re-hear the whole question, if necessary, and answer it, also without conferring. If they answer correctly, the bonus questions are theirs.

Each bonus question is worth 10 points. The team should confer on bonuses, since the question-master must accept the first answer he/she is given; in case of disagreement, the captain should decide on the answer. A maximum of 10 seconds should be allowed for conferring - less at the question-master’s discretion. If a bonus question is not answered correctly, it is passed to their opponents, also for 10 points. However, the team which wins the starter must have the first opportunity to answer any bonus questions remaining in the set. Should a team answer starter and all three bonus questions correctly they receive an extra 10 points, making a possible total of 50 points per round.

Note: the only time the bell/buzzer system is used is on starter questions.

Each match lasts for 30 minutes. When time is up, any round that has been started must be completed. In the event of a tie an extra period of 5 minutes will be added. A further tie will result in one or two more bonus questions.