Academic Bowl 101

Article by Angelica Chang

On November 16, students from various international schools competed in the annual Academic Bowl, an event where the most well-versed of the school’s community battle their wits out in a game-show type competition. To those students thirsty for knowledge, or who want to watch other students show off their intellectual prowess, this event should not be missed.

This year’s academic bowl was held on none other than ISM’s home turf. The rules of the game are simple: three teams, comprised of “five well rounded students who have a good memory and who are quick to think on their feet” — according to Academic Bowl supervisor, Mr. Winters — compete in answering a series of questions ranging from various subjects to win the most points. The essence of solving questions under a strict time limit of fifteen seconds is what defines Academic Bowl’s stressful environment.

Senior Abhi K., a first-time participant of the event, elaborates on how the atmosphere of the actual tournament “was very competitive”, as “everyone around you is extremely smart and as a result, have high expectations.” He further mentions that “every question and answer matters and there is no space for mistakes.” Despite the stressful working conditions, both Abhi and junior Academic Bowl member, Abhinav B., agree that “the teams were also fun-loving people,” whom for their jokes, made the competition worthwhile.

To ensure that each member dominates their brief fifteen second spotlight, preparation is crucial. How exactly does one prepare for a strictly randomized question and answer session, in which any topic could possibly be asked? Senior Abhi and junior Abhinav stress on the importance of training oneself to grow accustomed to answering Academic Bowl type questions, and getting acquainted with the “Academic Bowl buzzer format.” It is clear that strategizing an effective plan might be the key to success.

Consequently, ISM won a well-earned first place in the competition on Wednesday. When asked about their astonishing victory, Mr. Winters takes heed to the incredibly “academically strong and competitive” roster of students who contributed greatly to the team this year with their range of knowledge. By “choosing students talented in different specialties (e.g. Math, Social Science, Literature)”, it made for “a very good mix” which evidently, molded a powerful team who took home gold.

Besides being an extracurricular activity, senior Abhi expresses his gratitude for “making one of the best decisions he has ever made” by joining Academic Bowl.

“The questions Academic Bowl asks you provide information that will make you a very knowledgeable person,” he says, “a character trait that will make you look smart in front of all your friends!” Other than Academic Bowl serving a boasting credential on one’s resume, Mr.Winters emphasizes the skillset of “working under stressful conditions in the face of competition breeds efficiency,” claiming that the experience and skills gained in Academic Bowl can become an important asset in one’s future career.

To those who want to join, Abhi urges to “just do it.”

“You don’t need to be a genius to join Academic Bowl, as everyone has their own skills and knowledge they can bring to the table,” adds Abhinav.

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