Questions Galore: GSAC XXIV

Just+a+couple+of+Maggie+Walker%27s+many+Quizbowl+trophies.+Photo+Courtesy+of+Sophia+McCrimmon.+
Just a couple of Maggie Walker's many Quizbowl trophies. Photo Courtesy of Sophia McCrimmon.

Just a couple of Maggie Walker's many Quizbowl trophies. Photo Courtesy of Sophia McCrimmon.

Just a couple of Maggie Walker's many Quizbowl trophies. Photo Courtesy of Sophia McCrimmon.

Avery Gagne

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 On December 10, schools from South Carolina to Maryland came to Maggie Walker to participate in the Governor’s School Academic Competition, a quiz bowl competition hosted annually by Maggie Walker’s Quizbowl team every year.

 

        GSAC is a daylong test of the knowledge of high school students in topics that range from Ancient History to modern popular culture. Each game consists of two teams of four players. A long, toss-up question is read aloud, each clue getting easier as it goes along. Whichever team buzzes in and answers first gets the question, and if they’re fast enough, they even get extra points. Then, the scoring team gets three bonus questions on one topic of varying difficulty, each worth ten-a-piece that they can use to beef up their score further.

 

        Maggie Walker students do not compete at GSAC, but read and write the questions. The competition is almost entirely run by students, but does receive help from some specialists such as Cody Voight, a Quizbowl Tournament Organizer at VCU. While scorekeeping, monitoring teams, and reading are well divided among both current students and visiting alumni, the most demanding job of all is director. This year’s director, Akshata Pisharody (’17), had to ” email teams from all over the area to get them to sign up.” Pisharody worked as the primary organizer and coordinator for the event, dedicating months of time towards it. When asked about the day of the tournament itself, she remarked that “I spent the whole tournament in the control room making sure rounds run on time and people are where they’re supposed to be. There were a lot of bumps but in the end we made it all work.”

 

        However, the preparation for GSAC begins long before the tournament itself. In fact, the preparation for GSAC XXV has already begun. 1176 total questions means work cannot be put off. Not only must such a massive number be secured, they have to be divided evenly among 20 separate topics, and fairly apportioned across 14 separate rounds. Even once they have been written, Quizbowl club members must go back and edit each question to make sure it meets the conference’s standards. In addition, they have to check the difficulty and accuracy before it is deemed a valid question.

 

        Sometimes the sheer amount of questions may cause issues within the tournament, especially for the chief editor. At GSAC XXIII, Will Overman (’16) edited questions as rounds went on. The head editor’s job is a particular struggle because they must wait until all the proposed questions are deemed satisfactory before they can begin their work. Similar programs plagued the chief editor for GSAC XXIV, Parth Kotak (’17). “The process was relatively straightforward but definitely crunched for time,” Kotak said when asked about his editing struggles,  “I basically did all the editing in 2 days.” Whatever obstacles GSAC’s questions may face do not lessen the quality of the final product at all. Quizbowl teams across the country pay MLWGS for access to our questions, which they then use to run their own tournaments.

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