A Guide to Owning a Successful Quiz Night

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 own quiz or buy from an established supplier. There are a great number of free quiz questions online, nonetheless it can take a long time to write a good quiz and make certain the answers are accurate so it may be worth buying 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 before hand to let people know the quiz has started and present the quiz master the opportunity check they are prepared.

If the quiz has been run in a pub picture round sheets can be given out as you go from table to table asking if folks are joining – if they are take their money and give them a remedy sheet and picture round.

The questions in a quiz need to be challenging, accurate, guessable and interesting. There is absolutely no point in setting a question that everyone will know the answer to. When I write a quiz I try 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 the very least those taking part have the opportunity of getting it correct, even though 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 need to know.

Finally – and crucially – quiz questions should be accurate! I once went to 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 is a small uproar as some teams had answered Cherie Booth – the name she used professionally. This illustrates how badly thought out questions can cause problems. If a team lost by won point for that reason they would have been quite upset (after all, a pub quiz is a serious battle!)

The Quizmaster:
The quiz master must be confident to speaking to a large number of people, explaining the rules and reading the questions clearly, also it always helps to include a little bit of humour and banter, especially when owning a pub quiz. The quiz master’s decision should be final, never giving directly into cries of “that’s got to be worth half a mark!!”

The format of a quiz is entirely up to you, and can vary with respect to the event. A pub quiz can be very different to a night in with friends. For pub quizzes, I find a very good 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 �1 is okay) 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 approximately 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 beginning with last letter of the prior question) and read out the questions. Read them twice

4. Allow a couple of minutes between rounds to allow teams to go over the answers

5. After round 3 pause for 10 minutes or so to take questions and allow punters to refill their glasses

6. Read out the questions to the rest of the 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 raise your voice their results. I think this works better than having teams coming up 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 can use a tiebreaker question (see next tip)

A format similar can also work for social or fund raising events, but obviously for a night inside 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 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 think the best way to resolve who won is to get each team to nominate a member to answer the tiebreaker. However, they need to get up before everyone, toss a coin to see who will answer first, and then answer the questions by making use of everybody else shouting their opinion. This makes for a more entertaining end to the evening and of course, everyone reaches shout their opinion!

Giving out the prize could be another portion of the entertainment. There are what is your patronus to do this, from just giving them a collection prize (maybe �20, or a free drink each) or encouraging them to bet the winnings. You can get them to choose their prize from three envelopes, or ask them to risk their prize money with a double or nothing bet – this could be anything from a coin toss to a Bruce Forsyth style Play Your Cards Right gam