It's that time of year again! Everyone from ages ten and up who has access to the internet has the ultimate chance to make a lot of money using their brains. The Jeopardy! online tests are open for registration in every available category! Whether you're an adult (January 26 - 28), college student (February 9), teenager (March 9) or a preteen kid (February 23), there's a test waiting to be taken by you. Even though they didn't have online tests back in my day - and my day was 2002, which seems like ages ago - I've been through the rigors of a Jeopardy! test and audition process. Over the next two weeks, I'm here to run you through the specific audition and testing process for the long-running quiz show and give you some help and insight along the way.
Of course, the first thing you'll need to do is register. If you're reading this right now, I urge you to register! You might say to yourself, "Psh, there's no way I could make it on the show, I'm not smart enough." But don't! You're not losing any money or anything else besides 10 minutes of your time in taking the test. And who knows? You're more likely to find out you've got a lot more information up in that brain than you thought. When you do register, double check to make sure your information is right. You'll take a fifty question (thirty question if you're a kid) test at your designated time and if you pass the test, Jeopardy! producers will contact you at the information you provided. If you make a typo in your email address, you're never going to hear from them.
Before the test, you might find it to be a good idea to study. My personal philosophy is that studying everything you can is useless, as Jeopardy! could ask on the tests or on the show about anything that has ever existed in the world. I feel it's hard to prepare for that, but it is indisputable that they often go back to certain categories. Current events are something you should always touch on; the test is online and easy to create, so they could conceivably edit the test to ask about something that happened that day. They also love their pop culture: Know the Oscar and Emmy winners of the past year and what shows and actors they're associated with. And, of course, there's the brilliant William Shakespeare. Familiarize yourself with the main characters and plots of his most noted works. Sure, a question on seventeenth century Russian monks could sneak in there, but at least you'll have your common bases covered.
During the test, the question will pop up and, from that point, you'll have fifteen (twenty for the kids) seconds to answer. The question won't be read aloud, so speed reading is a must. There will always be a category with the question which can definitely help. Remember, if something is in "quotation marks", the answer will start with that series of letters. You can also save time by remembering not to bother with "what is" in your answers; they just want the meat of the response, not the cute formalities. If you misspell something it won't be held against you, but with any sort of test, try to be as accurate as you can. This whole task may seem daunting, but it really goes by quickly! You might wonder how well you did on the test, but you'll never find out your score from Jeopardy! They don't even reveal what a passing score is! (Through the show's history, it's often been rumored that a passing grade is around 70% accuracy - 35/50 on the adult test and 21/30 on the kids' test.) Once you're done with the test, have a drink and relax. You're done for a while.
Next week, I will return with a continuation of the Jeopardy! experience. I'll go on to what happens after your test, including what goes on during an in-person audition and how you can prepare for that, plus what you'll need to secure yourself a spot on the program. Until then, don't get nervous about the test. Follow my advice and your instincts and all will be well. It's going to be a piece of cake!
Chad Mosher is a past game show contestant, and has experience in many aspects of the game show industry. He contributes a weekly column here at About.com Game Shows, answering your questions and tackling all facets of the game show genre. If you have questions for Chad, you can post them here in the comments, or contact him directly through the link in his bio.
Logo courtesy 'Jeopardy!' Productions Inc.