Quiz Bowl and Knowledge Bowl – What is the Difference?

Our school has a rich history with both Quiz Bowl and Knowledge Bowl. Holy Family has won regional championships in both activities, as well as qualified for state or national championships. Both are team-based trivia competitions in which high schools compete against each other. So what is the difference between the two?

The core of the two activities is essentially the same. Students represent their high school and compete against other high schools with the goal of “buzzing” in first to answer more questions correctly than their competitor(s) over numerous rounds. Topics include literature, art, mathematics, science, history, current events, popular culture, and more are found in both competitions. The National Academic Quiz Tournaments (NAQT) definition of Quiz Bowl can be applied to both types of competition: “a fast-paced buzzer competition in which teams of four players compete to answer questions that cover academic subjects like literature and science as well as broader world of popular culture and current events.”

The distinction between the two events can be seen in the intricacies of the rulesets. Firstly, Knowledge Bowl has a written round of multiple choice questions before each set of oral rounds to help determine room placement. Secondly, Quiz Bowl typically puts two teams against each other, while Knowledge Bowl has three teams in a room at a time. In Quiz Bowl, competitors buzz in individually for each main question and only answer bonus questions as a team. While, in Knowledge Bowl, every question is answered as a team. This is the most clear difference between the two: Quiz Bowl is more individual and Knowledge Bowl is more team-based. The final difference is that Quiz Bowl is a competition found all across the country, while Knowledge Bowl is more concentrated in Minnesota.

In terms of Holy Family, Mr. Walker coaches both activities and largely the same group of students compete in both. Quiz Bowl has qualified for the national championship in the past, but Holy Family uses Quiz Bowl as a preparatory season for the more prevalent Knowledge Bowl season. Knowledge Bowl has a history of attending and performing well at the state meet. Last season, the team placed third in state, a school record.

With spirits high after the success of last year and new recruits expected, the season for both activities is sure to be exciting. For those interested in competing in either activity, practices are every Tuesday and Thursday after school in Mr. Walker’s room.