FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT JEOPARDY AUDITIONS
By Karl Coryat
Please note: I am not a spokesperson for Jeopardy. I cannot forward your comments to the show, and I don't have their e-mail address.
1. How can I audition for the Teen and College Tournaments?
Go to the Official Jeopardy site. That will at least steer you in the right direction. Also, read the story from a Teen Tournament auditioner.
2. How do I prepare for the Teen or College Tournament?
These special tournaments cover the same material as the adult shows, only on a lower difficulty level. Follow my tips for the adult show, and you'll do fine in the other tournaments.
3. What are my chances of getting into the Teen or College Tournament?
Sadly, low. These tournaments each take only 15 contestants (plus a handful of alternates), and thousands of people apply. Your chances are actually better to get on the adult show, if you can handle the material, since the show goes through several hundred contestants per year. So if you don't make it into the other tournaments, bone up and try out for the regular show in a few years. (You have to be 18 for the adult shows.) It's going to be around a while.
4. Where are the (regular show) contestant auditions held?
You can audition in L.A. almost year-round. When I auditioned in '95, the tests were given four times per week, on Thursday and Friday, in the mornings and afternoons. Alternately, you can take the test during one of the show's contestant searches. Throughout the year, the contestant coordinators travel to major cities in the U.S. and Canada (and to military bases around the world) to administer tests. The only way you can find out about these searches is to watch or call your local station, as the stations sponsor the searches.
5. Do they pay for your audition costs?
No. You must assume all costs associated with auditioning for Jeopardy.
6. I don't live in California. Do I have to go to Los Angeles to audition?
No. Jeopardy regularly conducts contestant searches, where the staff travels around North America (and to military bases throughout the world). If you're interested, first check the Official Jeopardy site; if you can't find out about a contestant search there, contact the local TV station that carries Jeopardy. They are usually the ones who sponsor the local contestant-search auditions.
7. What's the audition process?
First you take a written test 50 questions in 50 different categories. If you pass that, you stay to play a mock game. Finally, you're interviewed briefly in front of the rest of the group, to see if you fall apart in a public-speaking situation. (If you do, believe me you don't want to be on national TV in front of millions of people!)
To read one prospective contestant's auditioning story, go here. To read a Teen Tournament auditioning story, go here.
8. Can anyone audition including non-U.S. citizens?
I believe the only major requirement to be on "regular" Jeopardy is that you're at least 18 years of age. (Other restrictions, such as any affiliation with the companies that produce or sponsor Jeopardy, and recent appearances on other game shows or reality shows, apply.) I'm not sure what the requirements for the special tournaments are.
9. What kind of personality do they look for?
They look for outgoing, energetic (but not scary) contestants who can perform under pressure and don't get rattled in front of groups of people.
10. I'm auditioning tomorrow! What can I do to cram?
You can't cram for Jeopardy. By cramming, you risk filling your head with all sorts of confusing stuff. In order to win at Jeopardy you have to have the material down really solid and a few days of cramming just doesn't get the information down deep enough. However, if you insist on cramming and seek one book to read, I'd recommend the World Almanac. Don't read the whole thing just look for important stuff, like the presidents' biographies. And if you aren't sure what the important stuff is, you may not be ready to do well on the show.
Good luck in your quest for Jeopardy gold!
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