January 24, 2012

January 24, 2012

A True Daily Double

Online tests for Jeopardy! were held last week. As you may know, I registered for and took the test last year. Nothing came of it, obviously. Not a surprise, since actually getting onto the show involves several hurdles.

First, you have to do well on the online test. It’s 50 questions on topics ranging from geography to literature to history to pop culture. A working knowledge of capitals, large bodies of water, European monarchs, and bands of the mid-20th century is essential. You only get 15 seconds to answer each question, so there’s really no time to Google. Though you don’t have to phrase answers in the form of a question, or spell things exactly right, it’s still not much time. I myself got tripped up quite a few times (once on a BIBLE question, no less!) and can’t say for sure how many questions I got right.

Not that there’s any magic number where the scores are concerned. Do you have to get 40 right? Do you have to rank in the 90th percentile? Those who know aren’t telling. But when you consider that thousands of people take the test and only a couple hundred get on the show, the odds are long. I’m totally cool with that, since the thrill of answering rapid-fire trivia is quite enough for me. That ten minutes will likely end up being the best ten minutes of my 2012.

If you do pass the mysterious screening standard, you get invited to an in-person audition. I’m lucky, because DC is one of the locations where they’re held. Live in Iowa? Tough luck. (For this, and many other reasons.) I’m told the in-person auditions involve playing a sample game, which would be super-cool, if only because I’d get to use a buzzer. And make it a true Daily Double.

No idea how you get from in-person auditions to the actual show. Probably a combination of screen presence and knowledge. Maybe bribes, or Canadian citizenship. But the odds of making it that far are so remote that I’m not chuffed about it.

(See, what I’m doing here is a little thing called “tempting fate.” By making a big deal about how unlikely, nay, near-impossible it is for me to ever make it to Jeopardy!, I’m hoping to in fact end up on the show. If I’m ever going to play a “reverse psychology” card on the universe, I figure I should do it before December 21.)

In case you’re looking to prepare for the next test, some things I wish I’d studied more or at all: Led Zeppelin, Las Vegas magicians, the Mediterranean Sea, Shakespearean characters, the moons of Neptune, and the Spanish-American War. Go.

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