Tuesday, January 3, 2012

My Jeopardy! Journey - The Online Test

I have been very fortunate, in that I've been able to realize my dream of being on a game show.  In fact, I have been on two - Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune. Even crazier (in my opinion), I have been able to appear on both shows, and I'm only 30 years old!

In the next few posts, I want to share all about my Jeopardy! experience in 2011.  As you read these entries, please feel free to leave comments about your experience.  If you'd like more info on anything related to the Jeopardy! process, the Wheel of Fortune process, or anything else related to getting on game shows, please check out the sidebar of this blog to find out how to contact me.

My journey, along with everyone else that wants to be on Jeopardy!, began with the written test that Jeopardy! administers yearly.  You sign up for the test through the show’s web site, where you choose on what date you’d like to test the test (out of three options) and what city you’d like to visit for an audition should you be chosen for one.  Normally, they give you six to eight options for audition cities, and luckily for me, Kansas City was one of the options.  I live about 40 minutes from KC, so that was a no-brainer.

The weekly trivia show I love is on Wednesday night, so I had to show up late, as my test was on Wednesday night in early February.  I could have chosen a Monday or Tuesday test, but Jeopardy! recommends that people in the Central time zone take it on Wednesday.   I should say that I've taken the test three times, but have never been chosen for an audition, although I believe I've passed the test every year (more on that later).  Not everyone that "passes"the test gets an audition. In fact, once you pass the test, it becomes a random selection process to determine who they will invite to an audition.  I just hadn't been lucky enough to be selected for an in-person audition in previous years.

The test consists of 50 clues in 50 different categories.  The show says that the clues are “bottom of the board” difficult. I’d disagree to an extent. There are some very tough clues on the test, but some pretty general ones, also.  If you’d like to see what the test looks like, some people have uploaded videos of the test to Youtube.  But, because they weren’t supposed to do that in the first place, I’m not going to link to one.

Well, I sit down to take the test, and it’s a doozy.  There are some questions I know immediately, some I had no clue on, some I figured out at the last minute, and some I guessed one (both successfully and unsuccessfully).  It really does cover a range of subjects – history, film, science, wordplay, literature….lots of literature.  I felt like there was more literature than anything else on the test.  I haven’t read a lot of “classic literature,” but because of high school quiz bowl, I was able to learn a lot about many different types of works.  On the show, it’s usually one of my strongest subjects.

What makes the test super difficult is the speed.  Once a question comes on the screen, you have about fifteen seconds to type in your answer.  If you don’t type it in in the allotted time, you miss your chance and you can’t go back and answer a question after the test has moved on.  Despite this, I tried to jot down on a scratch piece of paper what I answered for each question, so I could go back and check it.  The Jeopardy! message board users usually post a transcript of the test on the message board after it’s all said and done, so that’s a great way to go back and check your work.

I finish the test, quickly check some clues on which I was unsure, and then head to trivia night.  After trivia night wrapped up, I came home and officially “checked my work.”  I finished the test getting 40 questions right out of 50!  Jeopardy! lore says that 35 out of 50 is “passing,” but no one with any real knowledge or power has ever confirmed this. 

So, now that I have passed the test (I think), all I can do is sit back and wait to see if they ever notify me about an audition.  Fast forward to May, and I return home one evening to an email from Jeopardy!.....


  1. You did quiz bowl?! So many Jeopardy!contestants have! I'm sure you know about David Madden's National History Bowl, right? You might be interested in attending a regional one near you: http://www.historybowl.com/ I attended the finals because it was also an unofficial J! reunion, and I hope to go again this year. It's near Washington, D.C. the last weekend of April.
    Literature's a strong subject for me, too, though I wish I could say I read more often.
    I'm looking forward to reading more!

  2. (That is, reading more of your blog!) :-)
    By the way, you might have fun at the finals of the History Bowl, too. They're planning a popular culture bee. Also, there is a Jeopardy! champion forum or two that I really enjoyed last year.

  3. I did quiz bowl, but we weren't affiliated with NAQT or the other organizations. We were in a league with other schools in our county. It wasn't super competitive. I'll have to check the History Bowl. Thanks!

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