Quiz ambitions

I've thought a fair bit at one time or another about what my target in quizzing is. Do I even have one? Well, I suppose the obvious answer is just to get better, and that is - and always will be for the duration of my involvement - my constant target. I'm always looking to improve my knowledge in various areas, particular on stuff like science, nature, and sport, where I'm weaker than I'd like to be. I can generally have a decent enough guess on more lowbrow elements of sport (trophies, famous names, etc.), but in the GPs I'm left fumbling like the proverbial madman trying to think up a reasonable-sounding guess. Likewise on science and nature and animals and the like - this is arguably my weakest area all-round, as I know next to nothing about stuff like trees and plants and species of animal and all the rest of it, and they tend to come up pretty often in quizzes.

As anyone who reads this blog will probably know, my participation in the Lancaster City Quiz League has led me to realise my relative strengths and weaknesses. The subjects I think I'm OK at are geography, literature, entertainment, but again it all depends on whether you know what's being asked. I liked the description Olav Bjortomt gave to quiz on his blog as being like a general knowledge lottery, and that's essentially what it is - the more you know (the more tickets, or facts, you acquire), the more - presumably - you'll get right, and the better the chance of you doing well. But, of course, it's not always as simple as that.

My aim for the GPs is for continual improvement at each one I attend. This may not always work out, as difficulty and suitability of questions for me will change from one to another, but I reckon I should see some noticeable improvement if I put the work in on improving. At the Stafford GP (my first ever one) I attended on 3rd May, for example, my score was fairly poor, but I was pleased that I didn't really disgrace myself - in my opinion, anyway - and that my scores were fairly even across the board, apart from in Sport & Leisure which was a couple of marks lower than my average across the other categories.

As a more numerical, measurable ambition, I'd like to break into the UK top 50 or so in the not-too-distant future, but it's probably a big ask at the moment considering I only started becoming properly interested in quizzing in all its guises in the last year or so. 

Does anyone else have specific ambitions in quizzing? Or is it just the taking part that you're bothered about - which is absolutely fair enough, I suppose, as long as you're happy with it?


  1. Hi Jack!

    Hope all is well.

    I started attending GP's regularly in 2013 and it is certainly a case of the more you attend the more you will get used to the style and how to play the GP. I don't know if you follow results but early on I was struggling big time, but managed to raise myself upwards. At the last World Championships I noticed the first major push as I ended up about 1400 places higher and within the Top 80 in the UK. Then at the British Championships I ended up either just inside or just outside the Top 30 finishing it off with a 99 score in the final GP on 2013. I have started 2014 with a bit of a break from serious quizzing as after Brain of Britain and Only Connect disappointments I wanted some serious study time and to work on weakest subjects so your idea is right!

    I was told very early on.....your sports score is good, your entertainment is good so work on the others. Its all relative. I can score in the 20s on Sports and Entertainment and have done before but without another few good papers to back it up with I would always be down the bottom. That's why I took time...Lifestyle is easy to brush up on and the Art paper is too.

    Have you got some of your scores?

    1. Hi, I'm good, cheers. Hope you are, too.

      I've only attended one GP so far (Stafford), so not sure why I put GPs plural. Anyway, I placed 83rd out of 88, which was probably about where I was expecting for my first attempt.

      My scores for the six papers were as follows:
      Art & Culture: 11.1
      Civilisation: 9.1
      Entertainment: 10.0
      Lifestyle: 9.1
      Physical World: 11.0
      Sport & Leisure: 7.1

  2. Hi Jack

    Firstly I'd like to say that I've been enjoying reading your blog.

    I'm curious to know how the GP scores are calculated, A & C 11.1 for example, is it some kind of average?

    1. Hi Ian,
      Thanks very much for reading.

      The scores basically work so that, for each of the six categories, there are thirty main questions worth a point each, and ten extra tiebreak questions worth 0.1 each, giving a theoretical maximum score of 31 in each category, though achieving that would be unheard of,

      Hope that clarifies things,

  3. Hi Jack
    re: Ambitions. I don't say this to boast, but I've already achieved far more than I realistically ever thought I would in quizzing. Still, if I'm honest I do have one left. I would really, really, really, really, just once like to win the CIU national final. My team has been runner up, third a couple of times, fourth a couple of times, fifth, sixth, and nowhere on more occasions than I care to remember. For some reason best known to the quiz gods we can occasionally defeat Maesglas A from Newport in the Welsh final, but never when it really matters in the national final. A man can dream.

    1. Is that like a quiz league format, then? I'm sure you'll return triumphant one day. :)