For many years there was only one "College Bowl," but now players have a choice of formats, all of which adhere to the same basic playing procedures but which distinguish themselves principally on the basis of question derivation and difficulty. All the formats listed below involve two teams of four players competing individually for tossups; the team whose member correctly answered the tossup then wins a bonus question. Graduate student participation may be limited. Most tournaments do not officially belong to the national organizations, but usually they will use rules based on either ACF or NAQT.

CBI - College Bowl Inc., the original "College Bowl" that started it all off with televised competitions back in the 1960's (?), CBI went bankrupt eventually, but re-emerged. Their question quality is, pardon the pun, 'questionable'.

NAQT - National Academic Quiz Tournaments was founded by CBI and ACF alum for the purpose of supplying questions. NAQT games are timed, with nine-minute halves. They are also somewhat more difficult than CBI questions. No packet submission is required. Sometimes, tournaments which require packet submissions use the
NAQT rules.

ACF - The Academic Competition Federation was founded in 1991, died, then was reborn under new leadership. ACF games are distinct from both CBI and NAQT in three ways. First, questions are written by the players, who submit packets to the tournament director. Second, those questions tend to be more difficult (and long-winded), sometimes much more so. Third, rounds are untimed. Although writing questions significantly increases the workload involved with tournament attendance, many feel that the best questions are written in this way and that the activity of question-writing may improve team members' playing abilities. ACF rules are the basis for many invitational tournaments around the country, which are officially independent of the national group. Graduate participation is unlimited.

Question Writing

Stanford Question Writing Guidelines - Seminal work on how to write a good packet.

The Michigan Memorandum of 1995 - Written four years after the Stanford guidelines as an update. See also the 2002 version.

The SZCZicago Manual of Style - Yet another guide to writing questions. With so many different guides, one wonders why question quality still sucks?

Stanford Packet Archive - Great place to get practice packets for free.

The Carleton Frequency of Mention Database - The good people at Carleton College decided to try and figure out what material commonly came up in Quiz Bowl packets. The result is this database which tries to track the frequency of appearance of titles of works of Art, Literature, and Music.


Yahoo Quiz Bowl Group - The online home of quiz bowl aficionados. The place for finding tournament announcements, results, and insipid debates over question quality and such.

Quiz Team Lexica List - A few years back UMD posted a humorous 'lexicon' of Quiz Bowl terminology. Soon thereafter many schools followed. This site is Dave Hamilton of UMD's rating of each site. A lot of the links are broken, but the ones that work are hilarious. See Oxford, CMU, and VA Tech for some of the best.

Penn Bowl Quiz - An automated Java based quizzer that fires questions at you. You might learn a thing or two.

The Maize Pages - The Yellow Pages of Quiz Bowl, and a portal to other quiz bowl resources, including a list of all the national champions in every format to date.