Try out for the University of Reading’s University Challenge team

Pop art style image of a person hitting a button. Text University Challenge

The TV quizzing show University Challenge, the only TV programme that represents students in the UK, is selecting teams from universities across the UK to appear on the show, and you have an opportunity to be part of the University of Reading Team – do you have what it takes?

To be in with a chance – take part in our University Challenge team selection event on Thursday 11 November.

University Challenge team selection test event

The selection event will consist of a 52-question quiz on a broad range of University Challenge subjects. Sign up by enrolling on Blackboard.

Find out what it’s like to be on the show and the application process from 2020/21 contestants.

Enrol to the Blackboard channel now to find out about the process and eligibility requirements.

The selection event begins on Blackboard at 4pm Thursday 11 November. The quiz will be available for 30 minutes.

We encourage current students from all subjects and levels of study to get involved – though the programme does set some specific eligibility requirements which you can read on the BlackBoard event page.

You can find full details about the event and selection process on the event page on Blackboard

Advice to our future team from the current University Challenge team

“Practice your buzzing and enjoy!” is the takeaway bit of advice from this year’s team.

“I applied to UC just to give it a go” says team member Kira Bishop “I’ve always enjoyed watching the show, so I thought, why not try?”.    “I’ve always enjoyed quizzing” says Margaret Ounsley “and I really just thought I would try out the entry paper, to see how I did, but I did not think I would make the team.”

Selected in the middle of lockdown earlier in the year, the requirement to practice over Zoom and Google Meet was an advantage. The team used online buzzers, such as “Just Buzz In”, on their smartphones. This meant the team members got practice thinking quickly and buzzing in. Sylvian Jesudos suggests, definitely “Use technology to practice. We met twice every week before the first round and practiced buzzers”

Being able to meet online really helped. Michael Hutchinson, team captain, says.

“The process was simple and easily fit in with other responsibilities, with modern technology really helping with the training”.

The team used old University Challenge quiz books, and wrote questions themselves in the University Challenge format; as it helped “the lateral thinking that you need for the quiz” says Sylvian.

After the team was selected by Reading University, they sat another paper and were invited to an interview with Granada. Normally this is done at a regional centre but, again, this was done on Zoom. About 130 universities apply, but only 28 get through to the televised stage. “I think Granada want to see if you work well as a team, and will come across on the telly. It is important to show you have a bit of personality at that stage” says Margaret.

Because of Covid restrictions the team did not meet in person until the journey to Manchester for the first round filming.  Their tactics once in the studio are summed up by Michael:

“Confer like a butterfly, buzz like a bee”. It was important, he says, to “have a positive attitude and a speedy buzzer finger”, Sylvian adds “And to hone the strengths and manage the weaknesses of the team”.

A proactive reserve was also very useful, they helped quiz and train the team, and take notes on their performances.

“It was a thrilling experience being able to watch the team from backstage” says Kira.

Ultimately, enjoy the ride say the team, socialize when you can and remember “University Challenge is not life!”

Good Luck!

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