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World Bible Quizzing

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The World Bible Quiz Association is an independent ministry that sponsors quizzing across denominational lines. Teams are comprised of four active quizzers with one substitute. A quiz is 20 questions long, and each question is worth 20 points, with a few exceptions. If a team gets a question wrong, that team will sit out the next question, which will be for the other two teams only. If one of those two teams gets the question wrong, the following question is a “free question” to the remaining team, worth 10 points. The WBQA uses jump seats that consist of hard and/or soft pads which trigger a buzzer when the quizzer leaves the seat. The first quizzer to “jump” and trigger their buzzer may answer the question.

The Quiz

A WBQA quiz consists of 20 questions. Each question is worth 20 points, with the exception of free research paper questions, awarded to a team when both of its opponents err on consecutive questions—these are worth 10 points. When a team answers a question incorrectly, that team must sit out for the next question while its two opponents may answer a new “toss-up” question. If another team errs, then the remaining team is given a free question.

All teams must be allowed to jump on questions 18, 19 and 20. Thus, if a team errs on questions 17 (or 18, 19 or 20) the toss-up question to the other two teams will be called question 17A. Thus, it is possible for a regulation quiz to contain as many as 28 questions, if all A/B questions are used.

In the event that two or three teams tie, or no team answers question 20, 20A or 20B correctly, the quiz will advance to question 21 until a team can answer a question correctly and/or break a tie. Any errors after question 15 will cause a loss of 10 points for the team.

A quizzer who answers four questions correctly “quizzes out” and leaves the quiz. If he or she answers those four questions without an incorrect question, he or she quizzes out “without error” and is given 10 bonus points. A quizzer who answers three questions incorrectly “errs out” and must leave the quiz. This results in a 10-point loss for their team.


Each toss-up question to two or three teams is worth 20 points. All free questions are worth 10 points. Occasionally a team can be awarded 10 bonus points in any of the following events:

It is also possible to lose points. The things that will cause a team to lose points are the following:

Individual Scoring

Individual scores are tracked in addition to team scores. A quizzer is awarded 20 points to his or her individual score for each 20-point question answered correctly. Free questions do not count toward individual scores. Each error subtracts 10 points from the individual’s score, even when it does not subtract from his or her team’s score. WBQA tournaments form standings based on each quizzer’s individual scores by taking a quizzer’s average score from the tournament’s preliminary round robin.

Types of Questions

A WBQA question packet contains 30 questions. As few as 20 may be asked in any given quiz. Each packet must contain a total of 6 memory questions, 3 situation questions (depending on the material; epistles do not contain situation questions), and 2 reference questions. The rest of the questions are regular questions. Once a quizzer jumps, he or she has 30 seconds to answer the question.

Regular Questions All regular questions are asked in the following way. The quizmaster will say, “Question #__, Question”: and then begin reading the question. All regular questions must be taken word-for-word from the text. They cannot use any word that is not contained in the text, except a form of the verb “to be” when necessary, and an interrogative. The interrogative can be placed anywhere in the question, as long as it is grammatically correct. They also must contain a unique word or phrase (a “key word,” one not found anywhere else in the text) within the first five words of a question; if they do not, they must be referenced. If a quizzer jumps before the question is completed, the quizzer does not have to complete the question, but only give all the information contained in the question and answer. For example, if the question is “Who so loved the world?” and the answer “God,” the quizzer need only say “God so loved the world” to be correct. If a quizzer does choose to complete the question, the quizmaster will confirm whether the question is correct. If the quizzer gives the wrong question, even if he or she is in the right verse, he or she will be counted wrong. Conversely, if the quizzer gives the correct answer but does not give all the information contained in the question, the quizmaster can confirm that the answer is correct. If the answer contains a pronoun, and the quizzer gives only the pronoun as the answer, the quizmaster will ask him or her to clarify.

Memory Questions The most common type of specialty. Normally anywhere from 4-6 are asked in a quiz. There are eight types of memory questions:

With the exception of quotes, all memory verses are read word by word, with a distinct pause between each word. Quotes are read like this: Quote Book, chapter __ verse __. Memory questions are the only type that must be answered word-for-word perfect. If a quizzer quotes the correct verse but not word-perfect, the quizmaster will ask him or her to quote it again. The quizzer can quote the verse, changing any words he or she chooses (as long as they do not change the verse’s meaning), as many times as he or she is able within 30 seconds.

Reference Questions Reference questions are questions that appear more than once in the material. There are two types of reference questions: Chapter Only and Chapter Verse. Chapter Only questions ask a question from a specific chapter, and Chapter Verse questions are from a specific verse. Both types are read like this: Question number __, Question __: According to Book, chapter __… If it is a Chapter Verse, the verse will also be read after the chapter. If a quizzer jumps before the quizmaster completes his or her reference, the quizzer must finish it as well as answer the question.

Situation Questions These are asked only in years where the material is a story (a Gospel or Acts). A quote is read, and up to three questions can be asked about that quote. Some examples are: Who said it, to whom, when, where, how, why, about whom, in reply to what, in response to what, the reply, the response. No more than three of those questions can be asked about any one quote. The quizzer must complete the quote and then answer the questions asked about it. In WBQA style, the quizmaster will confirm whether the quizzer has correctly completed the quote.


Jumping speed Since World-style questions cannot contain words not found in the verse, it is much easier for World quizzers to study key words and phrases than some other competitions. Almost NEVER will the quizmaster complete the entire question before a quizzer jumps (except on a free question, when only one team can jump and it is wise to wait the full question). This results in much faster jumping than some other quiz competitions. Skilled quizzers will normally jump after hearing only 2-3 words, or 3-5 syllables on a regular question. A jump after more than 4 syllables is considered slow.

Memory questions’ key words are often on the second or third word, and even on the first. Skilled quizzers will usually jump on the second word at the slowest for FTV or FT-type questions. For questions requiring multiple verses (FT2V or FT3V, FT&N or FT&2) quizzers will jump on the first word, or even the first sound out of the quizmaster’s mouth.

Reference Chapter Only questions are often key on the first or second word of the question, since there is only a single chapter to take the question from. Most skilled quizzers will jump at that pace. On Chapter Verse questions, most quizzers will jump upon hearing only the reference, and simply quote the verse.

Situation questions’ key words are usually the second or third word, depending on the type. Many skilled quizzers will jump at that pace—some risky ones will even jump on the first word.

Study methods In addition to memorizing and thoroughly knowing the material, knowing key words is essential to quizzing well in WBQA-style quizzing. It is often helpful to study a question concordance, an alphabetical list of questions from the material, to learn unusual key words and phrases.

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