How to Run a Quiz Night

New to Quiz Nights? Not sure what needs to be done or in what order? Then check out our handy guide for the Pub Quiz newbie!

Step One: Decide on Your Quiz Format

A quiz running for 90 minutes can comfortably contain 6 – 8 rounds. You can choose to make all of these mixed bag general knowledge questions or to make each round a different subject. You can also play with the format of each round, including a picture quiz or a wipeout round!

Take a look at our website for some ideas on different quiz formats. For a complete quiz night (especially if you are thinking of hosting a weekly quiz) try the Quiz Night Weekly Quiz or for an easier, self-contained quiz have a look at the quiz packs section.

Step Two: Team Numbers and Entry Fees

Many quizzes put a cap on the number in a team but there’s no real advantage to bigger teams over smaller ones, as the saying goes, too many cooks spoil the broth. However if you’re pinched for space it might be sensible to set a limit.

However, if you have the room we suggest no limit on team numbers with a charge of £1/£2 per person to play (if you want an entrance fee at all). Bigger teams won’t be at a huge advantage and small teams of 2 are not discouraged from entering by a per team entrance fee.

Step Three: Prizes 

Big cash prizes seem like a great idea to pull in the punters but you’re much more likely to catch the quiz anoraks, lured from far and wide lured the prize. If you’re just looking for a fun night and a full pub we suggest a gallon of beer or similar for the winners – that way they’re encouraged to come back to your pub and it remains fun.

Then the real draw – what to do with the entrance fees – either keep them, use them  to pay your quizmaster or have a rollover cash jackpot for any exemplary quiz teams and run a weekly quiz. You could even have prizes for different rounds – your local brewery or other suppliers might want to donate prizes for a bit of easy publicity.

Step Three and a Half: The Jackpot 

We suggest that if you’re planning on hosting a regular quiz, then charge an entry fee and use the money to build up a cash jackpot that anyone can win. The quiz starts to become secondary to the main prize – especially if it rolls up to a big amount. Our suggested way of running the jackpot below is designed to encourage teams to come every week – it guarantees a win in about 8 weeks for regular attendees – which, after all, is what you want…

Running a Jackpot the Instant Quizzes way

  1. Think of a number between 1 and 1000 and put it in a sealed envelope.
  2. At the end of the quiz each team is allowed on a piece of paper to guess the number. The number is the same every week and stays in the same envelope until it is finally guessed and the jackpot won.
  3. You collect all papers and write on each Higher or Lower depending on the guess. i.e. If the number is 50 and they wrote 142, you write Lower on the paper and return it to the team (in secret so no other team sees it).

The beauty of this is that a lucky team could win the cash at any point, a regularly attending team is guaranteed to get the answer within 10 weeks (Because they keep their weekly guesses) and missing a week could lose a team the jackpot. Each week, advertise the ever-increasing cash jackpot prize. Make sure that the person running the quiz knows the number and can be trusted not to sell it or pass it on!

Step Four: Choose a Day

For many pub, a pub quiz is a great way to pull in customers on days that are usually quiet. That being said, it’s always good to put a bit of thought in first. Are there any other quizzes in your area? You don’t want to be in direct competition with an established quiz night so the best way is to try and spread out the quizzes. If your competitor hosts a pub quiz on a Sunday, then go for a Thursday quiz night – that way you won’t be fighting for players.

Step Five: Publicise!

Don’t forget to get the word out there, print out a poster, take to social media and post your quiz on pub quiz databases such as so everyone knows about it!

Step Six: On the Night

The most difficult step of all, actually running the quiz! Make sure you announce the beginning of the quiz. A countdown from 30 minutes to five minutes will give people time to come up with team names, get last minutes drinks and bar snacks in and pay their entry fees.

The quizmaster will then collect the team names and give each group some answer sheets. It’s a good idea to have a stock of pens handy, because there’s always one… If you have purchased a quiz pack from us you will have everything you need – scoresheet, team answer sheets, poster and the questions and answers.

You should then:

  • Record the team names on your scoresheet then start the quiz by reading out team names (giving everyone a name check) and begin the quiz
  • Read each question out once, have a short pause before repeating it.
  • Then at the end of the round, quickly recap all 10 questions.
  • Collect sheets from teams for marking (perhaps announcing that if they’re not handed in within a minute, the team gets 0 points) or get teams to swap papers.
  • Then read out each question again followed by its answer 
  • Remember the golden rule – the quizmaster is always right and the idea of the quiz is to get the answer that’s written on his or her answer sheet.
  • Give the cumulative scores at the end of each round. At the end of the quiz give out final scores with perhaps the top three in reverse order. Have a tiebreak question ready (usually a number answer with the first correct answer or closest answer as the winner)
  • Run your cash jackpot if applicable and give out the prizes.
  • Then finally, announce the date and time of the next quiz and start preparing!

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