A Guide to Owning a Successful Quiz Night
April 21, 2021
The key to an effective quiz night is preparation. An excellent quiz should include interesting questions with popular subjects. It is possible to either create your personal quiz or buy from an established supplier. There are a lot of free quiz questions online, but it can take quite a long time to write an excellent quiz and make sure the answers are accurate so that it may be worth investing in a pre-made quiz online.
I find the best round to start a quiz with is really a picture round. The reason for this is because it generally does not need the quiz master to be reading out questions. They could be given out before hand to let people know the quiz has started and present the quiz master the opportunity check they are prepared.
If the quiz is being run in a pub picture round sheets could be given out as you go from table to table asking if people are joining – if they’re take their money and present them an answer sheet and picture round.
The questions in a quiz should be challenging, accurate, guessable and interesting. There is absolutely no point in setting a question that everyone will know the solution to. When I write a quiz I try to make sure that a lot of people / teams will get at the very least 50% correct, but I never want one to get 100%. I also want the answers to be guessable, so at the very least those taking part have the opportunity of getting it correct, even if they’re not sure. 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 wish to know.
Finally – and crucially – quiz questions must be accurate! I once went to a pub quiz and there is a question along these lines: What’s 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 is a little uproar as some teams had answered Cherie Booth – the name she used professionally. This illustrates how badly thought out questions can cause problems. In case a team lost by won point due to this they would have already been quite upset (after all, a pub quiz is really a serious battle!)
The quiz master must be confident to speaking to a large number of people, explaining the rules and reading the questions clearly, and it always helps to include a little bit of humour and banter, especially when running a pub quiz. The quiz master’s decision should always be final, never giving in to cries of “that’s got to be worth half of a mark!!”
The format of a quiz is entirely your decision, and can vary depending on the event. A pub quiz can be very different to a night in with friends. For pub quizzes, I find the best format is this:
1. Head to each table in the pub asking if they’re joining the quiz and when they’re charge them (I find ï¿½1 is fine) and hand them a remedy sheet and picture round
2. After ten minutes roughly announce (with a microphone if possible) that the quiz is about to start and explain the rules of the quiz, e.g. no cheating with mobiles!
3. As yoursite.com prepare, explain the rule for the round (e.g. answer trains have the answer to the question beginning with last letter of the previous question) and read aloud the questions. Read them twice
4. Allow a short while between rounds to permit teams to discuss the answers
5. After round 3 pause for ten minutes or so to take questions and invite punters to refill their glasses
6. Read aloud the questions to the remaining rounds, including the tiebreaker
7. At the end allow a couple of minutes for final checks and questions from participants before asking them to exchange answer sheets with a team sitting nearby
8. Read through the answers
9. Get each team to raise your voice their results. I think this increases results than having teams coming up to provide results – it’s more pleasurable and informal
10. Keep an email of everyone’s score before declaring the winner. When there is a tie you can use a tiebreaker question (see next tip)
A format similar can also work with social or fund raising events, but obviously for a night in it can be a lot more informal (and I wouldn’t charge friends and family!)
You can get a free of charge general knowledge questions quiz here.
A tiebreaker question could be asked at the end of the quiz in the event of (you guessed it) a tie. In a pub quiz or event with many teams I believe the easiest method 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’ll answer first, and 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 could be another the main entertainment. There are many methods to do this, from just giving them a set prize (maybe ï¿½20, or perhaps a free drink each) or encouraging them to bet the winnings. You can get them to select their prize from three envelopes, or ask them to risk their prize money with a double or nothing bet – this is often anything from a coin toss to a Bruce Forsyth style Play Your Cards Right gam