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You might have found your way here because I appeared briefly on America's favorite quiz show. There are lots of great guides to how to prepare for Jeopardy! so I won't re-write the book here, but I will share a few reflections on my journey and tips for the potential contestant. Of course, the first piece of advice I have for anyone considering a Jeopardy! journey is to take the online test - you never know where it might lead you!

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PREPARING

The perhaps obvious fact is that the best way to prepare for Jeopardy! is to watch a lot of Jeopardy! I grew up watching the show every night with my mom, which gave me a good baseline of familiarity with both the rhythms of the show and the body of knowledge it tends to draw from. It's also highly entertaining and packages a large amount of trivia into a fast-moving quiz - you really can't do much better on study material than that. Plus, as corny as it sounds, spending time watching the show meant that the Alex Trebek Stage felt familiar, even comforting, when I finally had the chance to step on it. 

There are some other habits I'd recommend as long-term preparation, which mostly just serve to cultivate curiosity. Do a daily crossword, play pub trivia, and/or join an online league. (I recommend Learned League -- six well-crafted questions a day that touch on a wide range of topics.) And as you engage with whatever mode of trivia is fun and energizing for you, look up the things you don't know! That will help you make connections between various new facts and expand your base of knowledge.

PASSING (THE AUDITION)

If you do well on the online test, you may receive an invitation to audition. This is a very exciting achievement, so take a moment to celebrate it! When I last tried out (spring 2022), the first round was another proctored test over zoom. It's very similar to the anytime test on the J! website, so if you did well on that then there's every reason to believe you'll be successful again. If so, you might get called for an audition. For me, this was another zoom, this time playing some simulated games of Jeopardy! with a smaller group of potential contestants.

The key thing to remember here is that they are casting entertaining, knowledgable people for a television quiz show, not searching for the World's Smartest Person. Come ready to play the game, so practice buzzing in, answering in the form of a question, and picking a next clue by category and amount. You want to demonstrate that you can step on the stage and compete immediately. You should also think of a couple fun anecdotes about yourself - what you do, where you live, or how you'd spend the money. Being confident and likable will help you get on the stage (though you of course need to know some right answers as well).

PERFORMING

Bear in mind that this advice on performance comes from someone who lost her first game, and whose Jeopardy! journey might well have ended there if it weren't for the Second Chance Competition.  

There are some other habits I'd recommend as long-term preparation, which mostly just serve to cultivate curiosity. Do a daily crossword, play pub trivia, and/or join an online league. (I recommend Learned League -- six well-crafted questions a day that touch on a wide range of topics.) And as you engage with whatever mode of trivia is fun and energizing for you, look up the things you don't know! That will help you make connections between various new facts and expand your base of knowledge.

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