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How to host a virtual quiz

How to host a virtual quiz


Many of us are turning to apps such as Zoom, Google Hangouts and Houseparty to keep us connected amid the UK’s coronavirus lockdown. With pubs shut in the name of social distancing, pub quizzes are off the schedule for the time being.

It’s the perfect time to host a virtual quiz for your friends and family, either to mark a special occasion such as a birthday, or just to pass the time until we can get together again. Here is our guide to running the best virtual quiz…
Which app is the best for an online quiz?

Zoom seems to be the one that most people have got comfortable with; it allows you to use different backgrounds and allows you to invite up to 100 people. However, unless you have paid for a premium account, Zoom only allows for meetings to last for 40 minutes, so the organiser needs to set up several meetings in advance, sharing the meeting IDs and passwords to the group, in order to keep the quiz going for longer than that.
How to organise teams for a virtual quiz

The easiest way of running a virtual quiz is for each household joining the call to form a team. However, if you have people who are isolating alone and want them to form a team, then they can link up with a friend elsewhere and the team can confer via WhatsApp. Zoom also has a breakout room function where teams can retreat to discuss possible answers. 

Some ground rules...

Writing a good quiz can be time-consuming. One way of sharing the load is to ask each team to come up with a set of five questions, which means everyone sits out one round. The quiz organizer should allot each team a category, and although you can do more than five questions per round, if you have more than four teams taking part, your quiz could end up taking hours. If you want to finish your quiz before midnight, the mute button is your friend. The host can mute everyone apart from the person asking the questions, with people allowed to unmute themselves briefly to ask a question about a question.
Set the scene

If you want to add to the fun, ask your teams to dress up, either smartly or a pick a fancy dress theme. You could also suggest food and drink options so you can all feel as if you’re in the same room. Why not go all out and make yourselves a fancy backdrop? We sell party decorations such as streamers, bunting and foil fringe curtains which always help to add to the atmosphere.
How to set good quiz questions

Setting good quiz questions is not an exact science, but there are some simple rules you can follow to help you make your quiz as enjoyable as possible. Firstly, you will presumably know the majority of people taking part in the quiz, so think of topics they are interested in and try to set questions that you think will challenge your friends without it being too tough for anyone to answer. Keep the questions short and easy to understand and make sure that each question has a definitive answer – you don’t want to be responsible for a row! The organiser should have a couple of tie-breaker questions in reserve in case two teams end on the same number of points.
Virtual quizzes can still have music and picture rounds

Music and picture rounds help to break up the intensity of a quiz. For music, try playing short snippets of songs via YouTube or Spotify, holding your phone up to your computer, and ask players to identify the tune and artist. If the sound quality isn’t good enough, hum the songs instead, or do a ‘complete the lyrics’ round. Picture rounds can be set up with PowerPoint presentations shareable via Zoom, or send the pictures to everyone via email or a WhatsApp group. These could be famous people or landmarks to identify, or a dingbat challenge (symbols that need to be deciphered to make up a word or phrase). Charades will bring a theatrical element to your quiz, or you could do an online scavenger hunt for one round: asking everyone to find certain household objects in a limited amount of time. Set the clock and the first team to find each item wins a point.
If you still need some inspiration...

Pub Quiz Questions HQ is a website with lots of question ideas. If you want to set very tough questions, then offer multiple choice answers. Remember that everyone enjoys having a guess, so set some questions that involve substantial guess work, with the point awarded to the team who gets closest to the answer. For example, you could list a number of items available from a particular supermarket chain, and ask teams to come up with what they think is the combined cost of these products. For something a little different, particularly if you are celebrating a birthday, there could be a section of questions about a person in your group (don’t be mean, though!) or about your friendship or family group in general. Having a spelling bee round is also a good laugh – a member of each team is nominated and then they are challenged to spell a certain word.
Beat the cheats!

Hopefully your family and friends are an honourable bunch and won’t cheat either during the virtual quiz or when it comes to tallying up the points. If foul play is anticipated, then the organiser should ask for answers to be emailed to him/her. Tot them up after each round and give running scores to add to the drama.
Go the extra mile

Bonus points can be awarded for the best team name and best backdrop. Another nice addition is to have a ‘joker’ option. This involves a team paying £10 to charity in exchange for an answer to a question. These can be activated at any time and the question setter can share the answer via WhatsApp. Decide in advance if you want to limit the number of jokers that can be played.

Have a great time!

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