Brainiacs, geniuses, and trivia geeks: Want to show off your smarts for a national audience by spouting off some knowledge in the form of a question?
Jeopardy! is holding one of its annual online tests at the end of January, which could be the first step for potential contestants to get on the popular and long-running game show, now in its 36th season.
A few million eggheads and bookworms across North America will be taking the 15-minute, 50-question quiz over a three-night period as they shoot their shot at geeky fame, fortune, and potentially a lot of dough.
The test, which covers the same sort of knowledge and categories that are seen on the show, will be conducted on the Jeopardy! website nightly from Tuesday, January 28, to Thursday, January 30.
It’s the first step in the contestant recruitment process for Jeopardy!, which also includes an in-person audition for producers for those who score highly on the online test.
If you think you’ve got the smarts to get on the show and maybe be the next James Holzhauer or Ken Jennings (who won the Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time tournament earlier this month), we’ve got all the info you’ll need to know about the latest online test.
Sign up and get registered
They need to know how to get a hold of you to get you on the show, right?
Visit the Jeopardy! website to register to take the upcoming test and pick one of the audition cities closest to you, including Los Angeles, New York City, Cleveland, San Francisco, Detroit, Philadelphia, New Orleans, St. Louis, Portland, Oregon, or Memphis.
Decide when you’re taking the test
According to the Jeopardy! website, the online test will be offered at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, January 28, at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, January 29, and at 9 p.m. on Thursday, January 30. (Note: All times are Pacific Time.)
Keep in mind, you can only take one of ‘em, so be prepared. Speaking of which …
Try the practice test
There’s a 30-question version of the online test on theJeopardy!
site that mimics the experience (albeit with fewer questions). It’s a good way to familiarize yourself with the actual format and gauge your smarts.
There’s also the daily J!6 game, where you pick six Jeopardy!-style categories that cover pop culture and general knowledge and answer a single question from each.
Bone up a little
Look, we know it’s unlikely you’ll absorb the sum total of human knowledge in the next 72 hours. But you can sharpen your wits or refresh your memory about the works of Shakespeare or world geography.
You could also surf through the J! Archive, an exhaustive online compendium of every single episode of the modern version of Jeopardy! that’s aired since 1984, including every answer that Trebek has asked about over the last 34 years. (Every. Single. Question.) Since Jeopardy! producers are known to repeat categories and answers on occasion, it wouldn’t be a bad idea.
Log on and get ready
Go to the Jeopardy! site 10 to 15 minutes before the start of the test you’re taking (you don’t want to miss your window). Click the “Take Me to the Test” button and then get logged in.
A “Launch the Test” button will then appear, which launch a new window where the test will occur. If it’s within an hour of test time, a countdown clock will then be visible and let you know how long until the test begins. Fittingly, the Jeopardy! theme will start playing during the last 30 seconds.
As you can see in the video above from one of last year's tests, you’ll have 15 seconds per question to answer once things get going. Be calm, since (realistically) you don’t have time to freak out. Just type your answer as quickly as possible and move on.
Are you drawing a blank on a particular answer? Just take your best guess, because anything is better than nothing. You won’t be penalized for a wrong answer and might just get lucky. Or you could always put down “Turd Ferguson” just for laughs.
Don’t worry about spelling
According to producers, proper spelling isn’t a requirement for scoring the right answer on the test. So it’s cool if you can’t remember the correct spelling of Tchaikovsky, Dashiell Hammett, or antidisestablishmentarianism.
In other words, don’t sweat the typos.
So, then what?
Well, if you get enough answers right (more than 85 percent, according to priorJeopardy
contestants), you might be tapped to audition in one of the aforementioned cities sometime in the next 18 months.
There, you’ll take another 50-question test (this time, a written one) with those who prove their smarts once again getting to play a mock version of the game so Jeopardy! producers can see how lively and entertaining you are when showing off your brainpower.
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And if you survive all that with flying colors, you’ll be entered into the Jeopardy! contestant pool and may be tapped to be on the show sometime in the next 18 months.
First things first, however. Ace the online test.
Editor's note: This story was originally published on March 6, 2018. It was updated on January 22, 2020.