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

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 – do you have what it takes?

To be in with a chance and represent Reading – take part in our University Challenge team selection event on Wednesday 16 November.

We want to see students from all subjects and levels of study getting involved – though the programme does set some specific eligibility requirements.

University Challenge team selection test event

The selection event:

  • is a 50-question quiz on a broad range of University Challenge subjects.
  • will be available to complete via Microsoft Forms on 16 November, between 9am and 12midnight.
  • Once you begin, you’ll have 30 minutes to do as much as you can.

Complete our online form to sign up!

Advice to our future team from our reigning finalist University Challenge team

“Practice your buzzing and enjoy!” is the takeaway bit of advice from last 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 in 2020, 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 at the time, the team did not meet in person until the journey to Manchester for the first round of 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”.

Find out more about what it’s like to be on the show and the application process from previous contestants.

Good luck!

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