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How To Become A Quizzing Genius

Updated on February 22, 2011

Introduction

Some of the best scenes in moves and television occur when a character demonstrates incredible general knowledge to the amazement of those around them.

A famous example is the bar scene in Good Will Hunting.

One recent example was in episode 3 of The Vampire Diaries when Stefan Salvatore stands up to a bully teacher by correctly giving the dates of a seemingly endless list of historical events. Then again, he is a vampire and this is a TV show. Can anyone be like that in real-life?

The Bar Scene From 'Good Will Hunting'

Matt Damon's character, Will Hunting stands up to a smug Harvard student.

Kim Peek, the late mega-savant
Kim Peek, the late mega-savant

Real-life brainiacs

The condition of savantism (although popularised by the movie Rain Man') is very much real and many real-life savants have caught the public's attention. The late mega-savant and inspiration for the film 'Rain Man', Kim Peek was said to be able to recall any verse in the Bible from memory. Daniel Tammet, a high-functioning savant and affectionately nicknamed 'Brainman', can speak 11 languages and recite Pi to 22,514 decimal places.

Kevin Ashman of BBC's Eggheads
Kevin Ashman of BBC's Eggheads

TV Quiz Champions

Then there are the remarkable quiz-players we see on TV. The star of NBC's 1 v 100 Christopher Langan is estimated to have an IQ of 210, and Kevin Ashman of BBC1's Eggheads displays a practically infallible general knowledge week-after-week, year-after-year on the popular tea-time quiz show.

Not smart enough?

Despite what you may think, anyone can drastically improve their quizzing abilities. Even in a week, a person can make significant improvements. So if you want to start improving how you do in the quizzing arena, here are some tips to get you started. Some of these tips are discussed in my book and some are brand-new just to get you started!

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Tip One: Become a Mentalist!

Master the psychology of the question-setter and you will be able to work out the answer to questions even when you don't know.

If there are multiple-choice answers and the answers are names, consider if any of the names have a slightly unusual spelling. Sometimes question-setters only go to the trouble of accurately spelling a person's name - if it is the correct answer! On the other hand, if a name is spelt in a very complicated manner with apostrophes and hyphens peppered all over the place, that is usually a quiz-setters' pitiful attempt at a red-herring!

If the question is about an obscure medical condition, listen for any clues in the etymology of the word. Quiz-setters (especially those compiling pub quizzes) are eager to fill the entertainment aspect of quizzing by choosing questions that can be worked out with a little consideration and spirited debate! But always, always beware of seemingly obvious clues - these again are often red-herrings!

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Tip Two: Don't Be Afraid To Change Your Answer!

Now, I know what you're thinking: first instincts are always correct! Well, yes, I thought the same thing! But according to studies, the chance you will change from a wrong answer to a right answer is 57%! So next time your finger is hovering over a particular answer on the pub quiz machine and you get a sudden urge to change your answer, consider doing it! And then scream “I was gonna go for that!” when it's wrong!

Tip Three: Learn To Save Your Lifelines!

Pub quiz machines are known for having 'stumpers' or 'stoppers': questions so hard that no-one in their right mind could answer them! So treat your lifelines like gold-dust! The early rounds on a pub quiz machine are usually designed to be easy which means if you're getting stumped, it's worth taking a moment to consider the answer before rushing to use your lifeline.

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Tip Four: It's All in the Graphics!

When questions are being asked on a pub quiz machine or TV quiz shows, the clues can sometimes be in the graphics. If the answers appear in boxes, check to see if any of the answers look uncomfortable squished into the box. If an answer is squished into a box, it may well be the right answer - as question setters will more likely choose a shorter answer to suit the graphics if they are wrong answers.

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Tip Five: Hypnopaedia

Hypnopaedia or sleep-learning has become increasingly popular with people wanting to learn another language. This is no doubt because of its depiction in the Aldous Huxley novel, Brave New World, where a young Polish boy recites word-for-word an English radio broadcast which was playing while he slept.

A study in 1952 seemed to verify hypnopaedia, when test subjects showed increased Chinese comprehension after being played recordings in their sleep.

The actual effectiveness of sleep-learning is disputed - but worth considering. One way to test whether it's for you is to make a recording of trivia facts and listen to it on your MP3 player when you sleep.

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Tip Six: Don't Waste Time!

Today's lifestyles may be busier but today's technology has made it so much easier to lean a lot in a less time!

Podcasts and audiobooks can be listened to when you're travelling to work, exercising and doing the household chores. And with a Kindle, you don't have to waste time flicking the find the right page.

Search-engines and online encyclopaedias help us check facts straight away, and online quiz games mean you can constantly revise your trivia whenever you're waiting for a website to load! (Ok, maybe that last tip is a bit dated with the speed of broadband internet these days!)

How To Become A Quizzing Genius was recently #15 on one of the Lulu best-sellers chart
How To Become A Quizzing Genius was recently #15 on one of the Lulu best-sellers chart

The Book

These tips have hopefully given you a head-start on how you can tweak your quizzing performance - and possibly been a fun read too!

The next question most people have is whether they can expand and develop their existing general knowledge?

From business people to students to just about anyone, people are rightfully asking whether they can improve their overall general knowledge. It is my opinion, based on working with people to improve their general knowledge in record time, that anyone can.

Now if you hate shameless plugging as much as me, feel free to ignore the next part! But if you're interested, my book is called 'How To Become A Quizzing Genius' and is available now. It teaches readers some of the secret techniques that have helped many seasoned quiz players make a living out of quizzing! With illustrations, case studies and guided examples, readers learn the methods and 'mind tricks' that will change the way they learn trivia forever and help them in becomng a quizzing genius!

The book is available to both UK and US customers, and the e-book is currently only £4.99 and available from the reputable Lulu.com. The links are directly below.

Buy The Book

To purchase the book securely from Lulu, or find out more about the book, visit the following links.

Free Quiz Questions & Answers

If you're looking for questions to use in your own quizzes, feel free to check out the free questions and answers on my site. They are great for a pub quiz and are completely free for you to use.

Other Quiz Books

Here are some other great quiz books to check out!

Quiz DVDs

A great way of practising your quizzing is to play on a DVD quiz. Here are some suggestions.

Did you enjoy this article? Let me know what you think!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Tip Six: Don't Waste Time!

      Today's lifestyles may be busier but today's technology has made it so much easier to lean a lot in a less time!

      Errm.... 'Lean a lot'?