Quiz Bowl Terms

Game Terms

Tossup (TU) – Longer, paragraph-style questions that make up half of a Quizbowl game. Players from either team can buzz in on a tossup at any time and try to answer it, without help from their teammates, for 10 or, occasionally, 15 points. If one player on your team incorrectly answers a tossup, then everyone on your team is forbidden from answering it at any point and your team typically loses 5 points.

Bonus (B) – A bonus is a three part question that may be answered by the team that won the tossup. Each part of a bonus is tied to a common theme and is worth 10 points. Teams may confer, or talk among themselves, while trying to answer a bonus.

Power – When a player buzzes in on a tossup before a certain point and is awarded 15 points instead of 10. Only certain questions sets contain powers.

Neg – A neg occurs when someone incorrectly answers a tossup before it is finished being read. It typically results in your team losing 5 points and the remainder of the negging team being barred from buzzing in on a tossup. No point penalty is assessed if the other team has already negged.

Organizations and Tournaments

ACF – The Academic Competition Federation, or ACF, is a group of people who organize several tournaments a year, including ACF Novice, Fall, Regionals and Nationals. With the exception of ACF Novice, all of ACF’s tournaments are packet-sub. All ACF tournaments are 20/20.

Collegiate Novice – Aimed at giving true novices a chance to familiarize themselves with the game, it is designed as the easiest tournament of the year and has strict restrictions on who can play. No team is required to write a packet for this tournament.

ACF Fall – This is the ACF tournament that is run in the fall. A packet-sub tournament, ACF Fall is designed to be somewhat easier than regular difficulty, but harder than ACF Novice.

ACF Regionals – Along with SCT, ACF Regionals is the flagship regular difficulty tournament of the collegiate quizbowl season. A packet sub tournament, it is designed to be appropriate for teams of all skill levels.

ACF Nationals – ACF Nationals is the national championship run by ACF. It is typically viewed as the most prestigious tournament of the collegiate season.

NAQT – National Academic Quiz Tournaments or NAQT is a company that produces both high school and college level questions. Tournaments using NAQT sets at the college level (SCT and ICT) are timed and feature packets with 24 power-marked tossups and 24 bonuses. Packets produced by NAQT are known for having shorter questions and relatively high levels of trash and geography questions.

SCT – SCT is the regular difficulty college tournament that NAQT provides sets for. Run at various sites across the country, teams that do well at an SCT may qualify for ICT, NAQT’s national tournament.

ICT – The Intercollegiate Championship Tournament is the annual national tournament run by NAQT for college quizbowl teams.


Packet – The set of tossups and bonuses that a single game of quizbowl is played on. Generally a packet consists of 20 tossups and 20 bonuses (20/20), along with tiebreakers.

Question Set – The set of packets used by a given Quizbowl tournament.

Trash – Non-academic subjects that come up in Quizbowl. Trash encompasses everything from popular music and sports to current events.