Clue Density

The goal of a tossup is to provide as many helpful clues as possible; the easiest way to make room for more clues is by cutting down on excessive wording that isn't providing clues! In this lesson, we discuss how wording can be condensed, using two example tossups that were taken from the fall 2015 Provisional Writer Program. Example 1: This man once asked to borrow a pinch of [...]

2016-08-30T13:11:00-04:00August 30th, 2016|

NHBB Cultural History

The following is a guide to how NHBB writes its cultural history questions. It's presented to NHBB writers as a means of explaining the job, and is presented to players more for "how to prepare for NHBB competition" purposes than any sort of real writing lesson. Somewhere between 15 and 25% of each NHBB packet is cultural history. Our full list of cultural history topics is Science & Technology, [...]

2016-08-30T12:58:31-04:00August 30th, 2016|


This lesson discusses what it means for a tossup to be pyramidal and dissects an example tossup.   The word pyramidal is used to invoke the mental image of a pyramid to represent the number of people who can buzz in during the tossup. The lead-in is compared to the capstone, and the giveaway is compared to the base. "More bricks at a lower level of the pyramid" serves as [...]

2016-08-29T17:20:08-04:00August 29th, 2016|

Tossup Themes

Quizbowl questions are meant to be both playable and educational; a player should be able to decide whether to buzz during the tossup and able to learn from the clues presented in the tossup afterwards. Therefore, we don't want a tossup to just string together a random collection of facts; the clues should be related to each other by some substantive theme. Doing so makes it easier for players [...]

2016-08-29T16:49:50-04:00August 29th, 2016|

Anatomy of a Tossup

This beginning lesson introduces how tossups are structured and explains some basic quizbowl terminology used in the later lessons on question writing. It's a great general introduction to the game of quizbowl, not just for beginning writers!   A tossup question is meant to determine which player knows the most about the subject at hand. The main difference between a quizbowl tossup and other forms of trivia questions is [...]

2016-09-02T13:53:03-04:00August 29th, 2016|

Why Write Questions?

By Brad Fischer, NHBB, Director of Question Production Writing questions serves as an excellent way to improve as a player, as a writer in general, and as a scholar. It exercises all the mental muscles involved in scholarship, especially some that don't get used in other forms of quizbowl study. Why write? You get practice doing research and using (and judging!) source material. Wikipedia may have all the basic [...]

2016-09-19T19:46:51-04:00August 29th, 2016|

Welcome to the 2016-2017 Season of The National History Bee and Bowl!

The National History Bee and Bowl is set to begin its seventh year of history quiz tournaments for students and teams across the USA, and we hope that you and your friends will be able to join us for our largest year ever! We're planning just about 100 tournaments from October to April culminating in our 2017 National Championships at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, VA on April [...]

2016-08-27T18:01:33-04:00August 27th, 2016|

Upper Hudson

The National History Bee and Bowl regrets to announce that its annual Upper Hudson History Bee and Bowl has been cancelled.  We apologize for the inconvenience and hope to see you at future tournaments. Report from 2017-2018 Academic Year Tournament The National History Bee and Bowl held its 2017 Upper Hudson History Bee and Bowl at Bethlehem Central High School in Delmar, NY on Sunday, October 29. Congratulations to [...]

2019-03-28T15:53:07-04:00July 30th, 2016|

Congratulations to the 2016 National Quiz Bowl Award Winners!

For the fifth successive year, NHBB is pleased to sponsor the National Quiz Bowl Awards for success among students and coaches in all-subject quiz bowl. NHBB sees the National History Bee and the National History Bowl as a part of the broader quiz bowl community, particularly as we now also oversee the all-subject US Academic Bee and Bowl. The National Quiz Bowl Awards are thus meant to bring recognition [...]

2016-07-06T07:30:30-04:00July 6th, 2016|