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Starting a quiz club in your school
  • Shreyans asked me a question recently on what needs to be done to start a quiz club. Since this is useful information for everyone, I thought of posting this as a discussion of its own so that every can contribute their own tips. I have some experience in this, as I was involved with setting up the Delhi Public School Vasant Kunj quiz club. Most of what follows is from my experiences doing that.
     
    The first thing you need for a quiz club is to get support from the school. (D'oh!) It seems to be a trivial point, but it can be a stumbling point in many schools if the heads aren't interested. If that is the case, try to convince a teacher who might view quizzing as an activity worth cultivating to follow the issue up with the heads.
     
    Once you have the backing of your school, the important thing is to get new members. Now ideally, what I would suggest the student taking the initiative (who, I assume, is already familiar with quizzing) to conduct an intra-school quiz to select new members. Go overboard in doing publicity. Publish posters and plaster them all over school and in every class that is eligible to participate in quizzes. (Usually, classes 6 and up.) If possible, get SUPW teachers to announce it in classrooms. Make sure that you list down at least one person's name, email, class as contact details in case anyone is interested in knowing details.
     
    For the intra-school quiz paper, make an extremely easy one. Your main aim is to assess what potential they have, not find 'battle-ready' quizzers. Keep the questions fairly simple; one way of doing this is to include lots of easy to medium difficulty level questions from past inter-school quizzes. You will find that cutoffs are fairly low in intra-school selection quizzes. What happens is that many candidates turn up just as an excuse to bunk classes. (Note to such people - you don't need an excuse to bunk class.) Setting the cutoff can be a difficult. Don't set a fixed limit, keep it flexible. Once you've compiled the results you'll be able to figure out the level to cut off this way - many will get zeros, and there will be some score that most people get. Take the ones who are beyond that most common score.
     
    You only need a written quiz for the intra. Stage quiz not needed. You may include a few picture questions, or AV questions if you can in the written intra though. Make sure you have enough papers. A LOT of people can turn up to bunk, and you really have no way of finding out who's turned up with what intention.
     
    After the intra is over, don't let it end there! Try to hold weekly, if not then fortnightly, meetings for your newly formed quiz club. Hold quizzes in the meetings, and then walk through extra facts - or for 'figure-outable' questions walk through the steps to deciphering an answer. After a few weeks, you might rotate around the responsibility of conducting the quiz among the new recruits. One of the best ways of getting a hang of going through the process of finding the right answer is to learn how a quizmaster thinks.
     
    These meetings can be sessions where no keeps scores, but every month or alternate month conduct written quizzes again. You can increase difficulty level for these ones. And don't just leave it at calculating the total and giving papers back - analyze! This is a great opportunity to find out areas individual members are good at. This is important in helping to choose 'balanced' teams for actual inter-school quizzes - you can use data from your written quizzes to see that teams roughly have members who cover all major topics.
     
    This knowledge of who is a specialist in what should be kept in mind on stage or when attempting prelims at actual quizzes. Say you have a question where different team members suggest different answers and your team isn't sure what go for, you can go with the answer that member who you know is better at that field gives. Again, this seems to be a trivial thing but it can be of great help when you need to take split-second decisions on stage.
     
    Good quiz teams don't just happen because of the individually brilliant members, it is often because the team as a whole is good. If you have noticed, most good quiz teams have a fixed member composition. This is because having a fixed team composition allows the members of the team to adapt to each other's style, allocate topics of specialization among members, learn how to work out answers together on stage, and know whose answers to trust in case on multiple answers. Don't shuffle teams around too much. You might have to do so because members may not be able to attend a quiz, or a if certain team composition isn't working out - that's fine.
     
    Above all, inculcate a passion for quizzing, gaining knowledge, and sharing knowledge. You can't 'teach' anyone quizzing. Without these qualities, all your preparation will come to nought. Enjoy quizzing - without that, no amount
  • Great advice Ankur..but I regret my school would stumble at the first 3 steps...no interest shown by Heads,teachers and children..
  • same in mys school dude....most of the times..the head teachers show least concern 2wards such activities..
  • exactly same case in my school too........1 to 2 teachers r interestd but they don't bother...when they require more than 2 ppl.. ..they just select the toppers frm there respective classes as 12thies r't their to check them...nd these toppers r hopless quizers..(don't mind toppers even i m more than decent in studies pt is a quizer can be avg in studies..)
  • Shreyans, from what our experience has been like at Amity, this ain't working.
    And worse off, the last point is really not in your favour -> the team composition is definitely changing. :/ I miss our quiz team. :( We were good, could have been better, but by the time we got going, it just got over. But Shreyans, thanks for working hard enough to get our last quiz in the bag, truly amazing to say the least. I owe you, bigtime.
    See ya in Japan. :)
  • When you're running intra's, remember that score on the quiz isn't everything. Someone may not have a great amount of knowledge, but if he's keen/enthusiastic, he'll eventually kick your ass some day. Never underestimate the kids, the earlier you can get them interested into quizzing the better. Also, market it (the club) well. Win or lose, go up on stage during school assemblies and mention that the team qualified (Only if it did), exaggerate the people you were against (slightly) and the margin you lost by (again only slightly) It sounds cheap, but you need to focus on getting people excited. Make it the "in" thing in school, to be a part of the quiz club and you'll get your numbers. Eventually, the school administration will have to acknowledge you, if you have enough people. It helps if you can leech onto different clubs/ special days and conduct quizzes during their time - for ex, try an environment based quiz during the environment week a lit based one during lit week, even a computer based one during the computer week. Grab whomever you can.
  • Great post Ankur! Really encouraging.......
    Have planned to do it in my  school.But I feel that before inculcating/inspiring/inciting/exciting/encouraging others in this field, we too should be really good.
    How to hone ourselves and give us a better stand off others?
  • While it is true that many schools don't pay attention to quizzing at first, any and every school loves publicity. Ideally, you should pitch setting up a quiz club after you win a quiz - if your school isn't enthusiastic about setting up one.
     
    Also, if it helps show that you are willing to work yourself to set up the club. Maybe they're just concerned that they don't have the know-how to set up and run the club. Again, it helps if you've been representing the school in quizzes. I was really lucky in the fact that our vice principal at the time gave me a free reign and all official support needed in setting up the club.
     
    @questforquiz: Of course, you've more validity when setting up a club when you're a good quizzer yourself, but that's a different discussion. :) Mostly, it's about being aware and being passionate about quizzing.
     
    @Rhead: Great idea about latching on to other clubs's events! Yes, it does work and many school quiz clubs do that.
     
    @manikart: True. Academics and quizzing are different thing, and it's essential to point out to schools that the two aren't exactly the same thing.
     
    @agrim: While it's true that people move and thus teams may not remain static, it's best to try and keep it as consistent as possible at least for a year. When the team is being set up, it's okay to experiment for a while to try differnt combinations, but for only two quizzes max - you can't spend the whole year experimenting!
  • Well thanks a lot Ankur, you've really helped a great deal. I'll see what can be done and will get back to you.
     
    And Agrim, I know how difficult things can be in our school, but I'm not going to give up before even trying. As for the Japan Quiz, it was a team effort and you and Arjun were as much instrumental in our win as I was.
  • Excellent article, Ankur! :-)
    I am happy that I have been able to form the Quiz Club in our school, QRIOSITY. And made "quizzing" really popular and the Principal of the school recently mentioned this in one of her speeches....
  • Why don't you share your experience regarding setting up a quiz club, Prateek? I'm sure others will find some interesting bits to learn from your experience too. Of course, when you're free from pre-Boards and stuff.
  • @ Ankur, Great post :) Would surely be of great help for all.

    @ Prateek, yeah to hear your experinece would be wonderful :P
    I myself was associated with officializing the quiz club of my school, Delhi Public School, Dwarka, so can share a few thoughts.
    Setting up an unofficial club is the easiest and foremost thing which we did. We never had a problem of finding good quizzers because there were plenty of them, but what we lacked was depth and the young quizzers in the making.
    Like our computer club, we made the unofficial quiz club, publicized it all over the school, made it THE thing in the school and slowly everyone was aware of the fact that the club is something. Next up was to convince the concerned teachers, which though cooperative were never ready to help out, because no teacher would like to be given extra work and would take extra responsibility, until being told to. So like other people here, we faced a similar problem.
    But we never used to keep queit and end our hopes on it. We directly used to set up meetings with the principal and told her our vision and our aim. She like any other principal, was impressed but wanted concrete proof, thus she gave us the go ahead for showing her what's our vision. That's when we got permission for Intra Quiz Events to be organized. Held 2-3 quizzes and we were amazed by the brilliant response from the students which also saw us getting some good young quizzers whom we could nurture for the future.
    With good record in Inter School Quiz Events and other Big Quizzes, we made a proposal mentioning previous records, report of intra events, stressing importance of quizzing and list of students desperate to make it happen. The quiz club was almost a certainity then, with the teachers also ready to help us now since it was almost aprooved by the principal, but then to our despair, the principal changed and we were back to square one.
    The main thing here was it didn't hamper our hopes and we followed the same procedure, held 2-3 more Intra Quiz Events and proved the new principal as well, that quiz club is a necessity. By the time this all finished, it was January and the principal agreed to officialize the quiz club the following session. I passed out, but from what I've heard we have got an official quiz club for the school and hopefully Inter School Quiz events would be on the cards.
    To keep track of the latest news, updating your quiz quotient and other stuff, we regularly made use of the social networking sites and that's how it all happened.
    Utkarsha Bharadwaj, would be rightfully the Founder President of the Quiz Club of DPS Dwarka for his immense quizzing potential and hardwork  :D and I am happy being given an Honorary President title for the same :D
    Key Points -
    1) Don't lose hope, keep tryingz
    2) Good record in Inter School Quizzes
    3) Organize a few Intra Quiz Events, make it an annual affair
    4) A good proposal
    5) Stressing the importance of quizzing, a career option etc. etc.
    6) Discussing and Sharing knowledge with the club constantly.
    For now, I am trying my level best to make an official quiz society for my college :)
  • @rachit: It would be interesting to know how different setting up a quiz club in college is compared to setting up a quiz club in school!
  • Well we have had our quiz society in our school for the past 18 years or so..
    i guess we won like 3 columbans in a row some years back.
    The QS starts from class 2nd till 12th and has over 150 active members. Until last year students below class 9th or 10th werent allowed to go but this year onwards we have sent each and every student above class 7th for a quiz and I believe as the secretary of my Quiz Society that was one of the things that i believe was one of my biggest accomplishments as I myself went for my 2nd Quiz only in 11th( went in 9th for Limca as one of the guys was unwell and nobody else was there).
    Also more the intra school quizzes,the merrier!
    Last year we had 7 intra-school quizzes,1 inter-school quiz and 3 national level quizzes( All india Inter DPS, All India German Quiz, All india-maths quiz(inter-dps)).
    And cutoffs are really low,say 25-30% in the entrances for the quiz society.!
  • Quiz club from class 2? That's insane! I think class 5, or 4 at max, is how young we should push people into quizzing.
  • Class 2 is good...but I'm wondering what one can ask the kids in an entrance exam for the society
  • Well ankur..they are not forced into these things, they do it by their choice..
    and ques asked mite be very lame but still ..for them its big..and i supposedly did their quiz once..and trust me they were very enthusiastic.. but it was more of a India Quiz..
  • Well, yeah, I know its their choice but I just think it's a bit...odd. I mean, come on they're kids, let them play and frolick around for a while.
  • Shouldn't we catch 'em young?!!
  • @amrit
    i wanted to to say tht only..
    Well not everyone likes to play..u see.. and well I devote more time to sports than quizzing..hence...its all about balancing your time.
    The TCS champ-abhishek gupta's brother is in 6th rite now, he has been quizzing for so many years now..and trust me hes brilliant, and will be much better than most quizzers in our school by the time he comes to 9th...
  • At Army Public School Noida, we always had an unofficial quiz club of which i was a member since class 6th. Barring 1 quiz in class 8th and 2 in class 10th (in 2 we got podium finishes) i never saw any action. The 'quiz club' members were never sent for the quizzes as it was unofficial and basically the effort of a single teacher, Sumita Sen.
    Come class 11th, that teacher and I made the quiz club official with the Principal's approval (who by now had changed). The entrance test saw an overwhelming response. We had regular meets and junior members were taken to spectacles like the columban open and various intra-school events were also held. Being the President of the quiz club for the last 2 years of my schooling really improved my quizzing and we won many quizzes in the NCR region. The biggest being 4th at Times of India Funda-mental quiz 2007. Unfortunately quizzing has again gone into a hiatus after my passing out.
    Come College, we did not have a quiz club so I approached the Dean, got the approval and again the entrance test got an overwhelming response. Made a crack team and are already making inroads in the NCR quizzing circuit. I am again the President of the Quiz club even though i'm still in the first year.
  • Guneet, great initiative!
    Our SCS Quiz Society has been there since God alone knows when, and it is formed only of the top 6 (now 8) quizzers of the Class 12 Batch. Weird system, but the rest of the quizzers are managed 'informally' by the Official Quiz Society.
  • Guneet,great initiative man!
  • I will definitely share my experiences whenever I am free!
  • Sorry to necro this thread - but someone sent me this link. Rather generic, but still has some useful tips http://www.dosomething.org/clubs/resources
  • Actually, I don't mind people commenting on old threads in forums at all, if it's relevant to a topic discussed earlier. It helps keep information on one topic at the same place.