Move over, Ken Jennings!
I grew up watching Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!, and really, who doesn’t love to sit on their couch and win from home? I even tried out for Wheel of Fortune about 15 years ago (and I even solved the puzzle in the audition’s mock game…), but never made it on to the show.
So, it was only natural that I try my shot at being a Jeopardy! contestant. Here’s what I experienced…
Anyone can try!
The show has a pretty straight forward process for becoming a contestant. It all starts online by registering to be a potential contestant, completing a profile, and signing up for their online test.
Thankfully, once you register, there are options to take practice tests before you take the real deal.
These tests are similar in nature to the actual online test you must complete to be considered for participation on the show.
They’re 30 questions each revolving around many different categories – and each question varies in difficulty. (They really are a lot like the clues you see on TV.)
Here’s the kicker: you have 15 seconds to answer each question… so don’t even think about using your friend, Google – there’s just not enough time and you can’t do that on the show anyway.
I definitely recommend those practice tests. They give you a good feel of what you’ll have to answer during the actual test – and you’ll feel the 15 second pressure. I even took the “Teen” test just to see how I’d do…
Luckily, the practice ones give you the answers once you’re done – so you know immediately how you did. (This isn’t the case for the actual test – they do not share those results with those that apply.)
So, what did I score? 17 out of 30 on the Adult version, and 22 out of 30 on the Teen. My initial reaction was something along the lines of:
Yikes, perhaps I need to pick a different games show….
That being said, I didn’t let my less-than-stellar practice scores deter me.
Until Test Day…
My chosen test date and time was just a few days ago. January 28th at 8pm EST.
By 7:30 that evening, I had already second guessed myself about 13 different times. I was NOT good enough. I’m wasting my time. There’s no way I’m getting more than 10 correct.
And so went my negative thinking…
But, as fate would have it… Something made me say, “Screw it!” and at 7:53PM, I logged in to take my test.
A cute surprise…
As soon as I log in and enter the testing area, I’m greeting with a countdown… I felt like it was my countdown to failure, but I was going to do my best anyway damn it. It’s ominous watching the seconds tick by… What will my first question be? Will it be a category I know something about? Will I start off strong? Ugh… The anticipation is tough and my nerves are starting to chatter.
But, then… with about 30 seconds to go… familiar music starts coming from my speakers… It’s Jeopardy!
What a nice little surprise to hear this music preparing me for the start of my contestant journey. It actually cheered me up – and gave me some motivation!
And here we go. 50 questions. 15 seconds to answer each. My Jeopardy! career is now on the line.
Warning: I won’t give you any of the actual questions or answers… That wouldn’t be fair.
Feeling confident, I dove right in… Of the first 10 questions, I’m fairly certain I got at least 7 or 8 correct. Pretty good start.
Until I got the easiest question in the entire world asking about a very popular character’s name from an insanely popular book and movie series.
My brain stalled. My fingers stopped working. WHAT. THE. BLEEP.
My 11 year old daughter knows the answer to this question. YOU know the answer to this question. I knew the answer to this question until I must have been zapped by that magic thingy from Men in Black.
Do you know how SLOWLY (and painfully) 15 seconds goes by when you know the answer to something, but don’t?
With about 2 seconds left to answer… I screamed it out loud like it was it was just slapped out of my mouth. I started to type the answer… But I don’t think I completed the entire word.
What if your answer is almost right?
Per the directions on the website, you should do your best in typing out your answers – and apparently, they’ll give credit on a case-by-case basis based on spelling or partial answer. With my above example, I think I spelled out 75-80% of the word. Enough to know what I meant, and to prove I knew the answer.
But I’m not sure if they will count it – and I’ll never know. The point is – write SOMETHING. If you’re close in spelling or it proves you know the answer – it might just be enough.
So, how did I do?
All-in-all, I think I did pretty well. There were probably 4 or 5 clues that I had no guess or an answer for. Probably another 5-7 that I wasn’t sure, but took (what I consider) good educated guesses. I’m pretty confident I got half of those correct.
It wasn’t as difficult as I feared, and with the abundance of categories they throw at you – it actually felt easier as the clues continued.
The toughest part is the 15 seconds that tick by for each question… It’s a relentless reminder of “you better know the answer or else…” which added a little stress to completing my mission.
I’m confident in saying that I got approximately 40 of the 50 correct. Whereas, Ken Jennings probably scored 60 of 50 correct somehow.
After taking the test, you receive a confirmation email that you’ve successfully taken/completed the test – and a reminder that they don’t give out the scores.
If you did “well enough”, the next step is contact from their casting department where you’re invited to a live audition. That’s where the real fun will begin. Scores are good for a year, so I’ll have to keep an eye out for an invitation to come audition. (See how I’m thinking positive?)
Give it a shot!
You should give it a shot. The testing for this month ends this evening, but according to their website, you can still register for it.
Otherwise, if I remember correctly – their next set of scheduled online testing is in March. Either way, start studying up and check out their tips on what makes a great Jeopardy! contestant.
When you take it, let me know how you think you did – I’d love to hear about it!
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