Each of the nine ESDs (Educational Service District) in Washington State hold regional Knowledge Bowl competitions. Regional competitions are held between November and early March. Each ESD decides the format that will be used in their respective regions and how many regional competitions will be held.
The regional tournaments that determine which teams will advance to the state tournament typically take place in February or early March. The number of teams each ESD region is alloted for the state tournament varies with the number of schools that compete at each division (based on Washington Interscholastic Activities Association classification) in each ESD region. The top 18 teams in each division (top 9 in 1B division) advance to the state tournament.
The format for the state tournament begins with a written round of 50 multiple-choice questions with a 35-minute time limit. Up to six team members may participate in the written round. This is followed by four Preliminary oral rounds of 50 questions each, setting the stage for the Semi-Final and Championship rounds, also oral rounds of 50 questions each. Only four team members may compete in the oral rounds. For this purpose, substitutions are allowed at the half-way point (after question 25) of each oral round.
High schools field teams of students who compete with each other by answering questions. The questions cover topics which include subjects they will probably study during their high school careers (such as math, science, history, language skills, literature, music, and geography) as well as other topics of a general nature or current events.
Practice meets consist of a written round of 60 questions, and three oral rounds of 60 questions each. We power match teams so that the most powerful teams compete with each other during the meet.
After four months of practice meets one or more regional meets are held where the competition groupings are based upon school size according to the State WIAA division. The regional meets are played under the same format as practice meets. The highest scores ranked in order by school size determine placement from this area to the State Tournament.
A team typically consists of six members, and all six team members are allowed to work together on the written round. The questions are multiple choice, and the team members must agree which answers they believe are correct, and mark them on the answer sheet. Their score for this round is equal to the number of questions the team answers correctly, and no points are deducted for wrong answers (so guessing is OK).
Three teams compete directly with each other during an oral round. The questions are read aloud by the reader/judge, and time is kept by the timer. The reader/judge and timer are usually adult volunteers, and often sometimes coaches. A team is allowed to have 4 members “in” at one time, and may make substitutions with the other two members at certain times during the oral round, or between oral rounds.
As the question is being read, anyone may “buzz in” to indicate that he/she would like for the team to attempt an answer. The reader stops, and the team is recognized. They have 15 seconds to discuss the question or answer and for the captain to begin their response. If correct, one point is awarded. (Again, no points are lost for incorrect answers, so we do make guesses.) After an incorrect answer, the other teams have a chance to respond. This continues until all 60 questions have been read.
WA State Knowledge Bowl Coordinator: Chris Cloke firstname.lastname@example.org