Volunteer Opportunity: Question Judge

Question Judges must review the questions for clarity, accuracy, and pronunciation of scientific terms prior to the competition and provide comments to the TSB Coordinator. The TSB Coordinator will provide all reviewer comments to NSB officials to compile errata.

All Question Judges should attend training at ORAU’s Pollard Auditorium. Please see the volunteer registration form for the date and time of this training. Moderators and Question Judges will discuss competition rules, format, questions, and NSB errata.


  • A Question Judge may be asked to serve as both a Moderator and a Science Judge in a competition room on the day of the event, if an assigned Moderator is unable to attend. It is extremely important for a Question Judge to fully understand the rules, competition format, and to be able to pronounce all scientific terms.
  • Read and review all questions before the event.
  • Ensure that the Moderator has read each question correctly. You will be given a set of questions identical to those of the Moderator. As the Moderator reads a question, follow along to make sure the question is read correctly and that all words are pronounced correctly.
  • Control the buzzer system. Turn the flashing light off after the student has been verbally recognized.
  • Verbally recognize the students when they buzz-in on tossup questions by announcing the team letter (A or B) and participant ID (1, captain, 2, 3), i.e., “A-3” or “B-captain” and THEN hit the reset button.
  • Your primary duty is to resolve question challenges.  Should a question be challenged, take the following steps:
    1. Stop the competition clock.
    2. If the question is in your field, or in the fields of expertise of the Moderator or another Science Bowl official in the room, resolve the challenge without outside assistance. If a challenge arises that is outside the fields of expertise of the officials in your room, bring the challenge to Science Bowl Central. The organizing committee will either have someone on call or in the building in each of the science, math, or computer science areas who can resolve the issue. Once you report a decision, that decision is final.
If you feel that time was lost due to the interruption (e.g., 5, 10, or 15 seconds), check with the Moderator who may add that time back onto the clock before resuming the competition. Be certain to announce that you are "correcting" the time because time lost was due to the interruption, so that all participants understand what is happening.