Your cheat sheet to understanding the fuss over University Challenge and Warwick making the final
‘Here’s your starter for 10…’
Warwick Uni is through to the University Challenge final, having won all 5 of their rounds, now to be competing against Magdalene College Cambridge! That sounds great, right? #woxbridge
But… what even is University Challenge anyway? Should you care?
Well we’ve compiled the perfect cheat sheet for you, so come Monday night you’ll be an expert ready to cheer on our team, and act like you knew all along how they got there.
What’s University Challenge?
University Challenge is a platform for the brainiacs in higher education to prove their intellectual prowess by battling it out with other universities through none other than a big quiz hosted by none other than the question maestro himself, Jeremy Paxman.
Who is Jeremy Paxman you may ask? Well he has hosted the series since its revival in 1994, which has brought him the esteemed title of ‘longest serving quiz master on British Television’. Iconic.
Teams consist of four members and most represent a single university. The evident exceptions to this are the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge, who enter independent teams for each college.
The challenge uses a tournament structure, starting with a grand total of twenty-eight teams, progressing to fourteen, and eventually to the final two competing for the pride of winning and a fancy trophy in the shape of a book.
— Linsay Hird (@LinsayHird) March 11, 2013
The quiz itself is structured into different rounds. Initially, players are asked a starter question or in Paxman’s terms ‘a starter for ten’, which are thematically tied to other rounds in the quiz such as: picture, music and quite obviously, the general knowledge rounds. Within these rounds there are opportunities to gain points through bonuses, however, points can also be lost through incorrect answers, #tensionheadachepending.
How do you get into Warwick’s team?
Warwick’s very own Quiz Society holds tryouts every year for the University Challenge team, and as you would expect there’s stiff competition to bag a spot every year, (it took Rout four attempts to get onto Warwick’s University Challenge team).
It’s competitive to get into for a reason: the fast-paced, high pressure environment can cause tensions to rise throughout the duration of the show and as a result can cause players to forget their teammate’s surname (poor Burrell).
Rout: "What's your surname?"
— J🇬🇧🇳🇬🦁❤ (@MissLionHeart) March 22, 2021
It’s not all high brow and tense stakes though, the show can throw Twitter into a frenzy over who is the most likely serial killer – the top two current contenders being our team’s Rout or Webb…
— 3footneck (@3footneck) February 1, 2021
With quality meme worthy moments like these there’s no doubt you’ll want to catch the final of University Challenge with our very own University of Warwick vs. Magdalene College, Cambridge on Monday night at 8.30pm on BBC Two.
Featured image credit to BBC/ITV Studios/Joseph Scanlon.