Quiz bowl is a game in which two teams compete head-to-head to answer questions from all areas of knowledge including history, literature, science, fine arts, current events, sports, and popular culture.
The defining feature of quiz bowl is the use of a “buzzer system” (or, more formally, a “lockout device”) that lets players interrupt the reading of a question when they know the answer. That element adds a dimension of confidence, anticipation, and rapid recall to what is primarily a game about knowing facts. Those “tossup” questions are answered individually, but doing so earns one’s team a chance at a multipart “bonus” question. Bonus questions are worth more points and allow collaboration, but are generally more difficult.
Organized quiz bowl competitions are available in most states and at most grade levels; it is particularly popular at the high school and college level, though middle school, elementary school, and community college events exist as well.
Quiz bowl tournaments can be intramural events designed for students at a single school, or interscholastic meets. There exist tournaments based on athletic conferences, states, counties, cities, and most other conceivable groupings of teams.
NAQT is a company run by former players and coaches that provides tournament questions, practice questions, rules, and guidance to all manner of quiz bowl tournaments, from casual competitions among fraternities to intense state championships for teams that have been holding daily practices.