Qwiz Insights is a forum that collates, analyses and reports on every aspect of our quizzes. We keep the results. So the analysis that we generate will provide you with interesting and helpful insights into the aggregate results of our quizzes.

Throughout 2023, we recorded 801,928 answers over 18,198 different questions.

In terms of correct answers in 2023, our overall average was 64.33%. Each of our 6 core categories achieved an average above 61%, with Science & Nature was the top dog at 67.32%.

In terms of the topics that were utilised at least 50 times; for the second year in a row Children’s Literature was the leader at over 74% – showing how memorable all those famous stories are!

Unsurprisingly, Entertainment and Science & Nature topics dominated the Top 10. While Villains & Criminals was the leading subject in our History category at nearly 68% – which is a rather interesting result!

This is even more apparent at a pub quiz event where other individual skills are relevant, such as connectedness and, at Qwizard events, being up-to-date with current affairs.

But there is another more important element in teams. A researcher from Carnegie Mellon University named Anita Williams Woolley proved that what mattered more than individual intelligence of teams was communication. This includes factors such as social cues and the equality of communication. The most important point was that the best teams solicit contributions from all members of the team and listen to one another. Woolley’s work was summarised in the 2018 book ‘The Formula’, by Albert-Laszlo Barabasi.

So how does this research effect pub quiz teams and their performance? Well, teams need to avoid groupthink that may result from over-confident or dominant team members; teams need to listen to all possible answers that put forward; and probably most importantly, teams need a team captain who is capable of identifying and managing all inputs.

Oh, the research also identified that teams with female members exhibited higher collective intelligence because of their ability to facilitate input from all team members.

It's not that I'm so smart; it's just that I stay with problems longer

Albert Einstein

Qwizard keeps the score!

In 2022 we used 17,140 different questions. We recorded 574,610 total answers, for an average of 33.5 answers per question. Across the year 359,370 or 62.5% of these answers were judged as being correct. That’s perfectly inside our target rate – not too hard, not too easy. Meanwhile, our current questions only slightly deviated from this with an average of 62.7%.

Across our 6 core categories, Sport was the lowest at 59.3%, History recorded 60.7%, BusinessPolitics 61.0%, Geography 62.2%, EntertainmentArt 63.8% and ScienceNature came in at 65.8%.

Of the 75 topics that were used at least 50 times, only Economics and Nobel Prizes dipped below 51%. While Children’s Literature was well out in front at the other end at above 75.5%.

We keep the scores! All our team names are on record. Occasionally we purge this data to archive the inactive teams.

Teams can deliberate long and hard over a team name, especially at our one-off events. And often, they don’t show much originality. So, from our database of almost 9,000 teams, what are the most common team names (or variants off):

  • No Idea (49)
  • Simple Minds (40)
  • Norfolk and Chance (30)
  • Let’s Get Quizzicle (25)
  • Speed Dating (23)
  • Here for the Beer (21)

That’s a lot of variations of No Idea – including No Eye Deer, No I Dare, Know I Dear, and everything in between.

As for the funny names. That depends on your humour. How about:

  • Watson Santas Sack
  • Trivia Newton John
  • William Shatner’s Pants
  • Tripping Point
  • Quiztopher Colombus
  • Quizrael Folau

There are also plenty of rude or unsavoury ones that we have decided against mentioning!

It is true that a thousand days cannot prove you right, but one day can prove you to be wrong.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Over the years we have asked over 3,200 geography questions (and growing fast) and collected almost 250,000 team scores. Geography questions make up 14.1% of all of our content. We decided to look at which areas of the map our teams are good at.

On average geography questions across all of these regions score 62.93%. This compares to an overall Qwizard average of 62.58%. The chart shows us that most of the scores are within a 61.5% – 65.5% range, with three outliers. The positive outlier is North America, with teams scoring 68.32%, whilst scores for African and UK geography were relatively poor at 56.16% and 55.57% respectively.

A major point of difference with Qwizard is that we keep the score. Teams can monitor and analyse their performances on their Team Dashboard.

Whilst the long-term average score at Qwizard events is presently 62.58%, we’ve taken a more granulated look at how teams score on some of the more common topics which pop up frequently:

Anatomy 68.95% | Biology 69.37% | Capital Cities 60.70% | Chemistry 66.33% | Currency 64.12% | Flags 62.31% | Food & Drink 68.54% | Maths 66.43% | Music 62.46% | Physics 61.18% | Religion 67.56% | Theatre & Musicals 67.82% | Royalty 65.93% | Wars & Conflicts 61.27%

And some outliers:
African Geography 56.16% | Academy Awards 56.74% | Business 58.24% | Children’s Literature 73.03% | Economics 51.40% | Explorers 58.63% | Nobel Prizes 48.56% | Plants & Flowers 72.83% | United Kingdom Geography 55.57%

In this data we have excluded some of the obscure sports topics. Some inconsistencies, such as using a multi-choice format, should be overcome by applying a minimum of 1,000 team scores to qualify.

Next up, check out the Geography category to see which regions around the world our quiz teams know well and not so well!

One repays a teacher badly if one remains only a pupil

Freidrich Nietzsche

Our Qwizard players have been challenged on 38 of the hardest words in the English language. The questions were multi-choice, with three wrong answers delivered alongside the correct answer. The teams were asked to identify the best synonym or the most accurate meaning of some of the most obscure words in the dictionary.

The attached chart shows the rate of incorrect answers, according to the analysis of our collected answers. These were the lowest correct scores across all 38 questions. The low score may indicate that either a word in not recognised at all, or that the word is misunderstood.

Do you know the meaning of ‘coruscate’? Is your understanding of a simple word like ‘decadent’ correct?

The average result across the 38 questions was 63.9%, which is closely aligned to our overall quiz results.

We have asked Qwizard players to identify the correct spelling for the hardest 45 words in the English language. The questions are represented as multi-choice, with three wrong answers delivered alongside the correct spelling.

Quiz teams have proved to be relatively good at spelling. Having someone who can spell in your pub quiz team is a real asset. Over the 45 questions the average correct score is 75.1%.

Some of the hardest words feature in scientific fields and are therefore less commonly known. But plenty of common words feature on the list.

We have omitted a few place words that were also poorly spelt – such as Ihumatao (36.4%), Pyeongchang (58.3%) and Liechtenstein (63.8%).

Note that the word with the poorest score is the economic term ‘heterskedasticity’. This word can be spelt as with a ‘c’ instead of a ‘k’, but that was not presented as a multi-choice option.

With a compulsory New Zealand history curriculum to be developed over the coming years it’s topical to examine how New Zealand understands its own history. Qwizard crunched a few numbers to see how New Zealand pub quiz teams perform in certain areas.

Knowledge on the New Zealand wars shows an immediate weakness – with 6 specific questions across almost 1,500 players showing an average correct score of just 29.7%.

Meanwhile, questions on New Zealand political history also demonstrate a clear, relative gap in knowledge. Across 12 specific questions on pre-World War II New Zealand politics, and over 3,000 players, teams scored an average of just 38.7%.

These results compare to an average score on all History questions of 60.9%.

The data tends to reinforce the need for the development of a relevant New Zealand curriculum.

Many a false step was made by standing still


Psychologists have been studying team dynamics for ever – trying to understand how to optimise performances in teams. And of course, it is very relevant in your local pub quiz team.

A unique feature of our Qwizard format is the ability to retain team numbers and therefore analyse the results for different team sizes – and see how much benefit is derived from being in a large team. So, we have calculated the average team scores for different size teams. With almost a quarter of a million lines of data, it’s a pretty representative insight into the subject.

Statisticians will tell you these results should behave according to the famous bell-curve – and be normally distributed around the average score. And they’d be right. We presented the data in a way to test this variation to the mean by looking at the absolute variation for each team size.

Some social factors and biases may be present. Factors such as ‘social loafing’ can occur in a large team, which means certain members of the team don’t actively participate. And team dynamics around decision-making will be present. And individuals brave enough to play in a small team may just be smarter. However the data provides a fascinating insight into the benefit of large teams and disadvantages that may apply to smaller teams.

So what can you derive from the graph? A team of 1 has a disadvantage to the average team size of about 8% – or about 6 or 7 answers in a standard Qwizard event out of 88 points. This drops to approximately 7% for teams of 2, and 6% for teams of 3. Teams of 4, 5 and 6 show very little variation in results – all within 2% of an average score. And a team of 7 scores are about 6% better than average. Thereafter, larger teams don’t demonstrate much more incremental benefit.

Of course, only Qwizard automatically adjusts for variations in team sizes in our National Rankings. We will be adjusting our weightings to reflect this new data. So, no more complaints about team sizes – the Rankings will accommodate these variations.

For years Evian has invested heavily in its baby commercials. It’s “Roller babies” video was rated by Guinness World Records as the most viewed advert in history. Yet, during this period Evian has lost market share and faced declining sales. Why?

Marketing author, Jonah Berger, believes that the adverts lack a strong association between the brand and the message – meaning the brand can be easily decoupled from the advert.

Our Qwizard results validate this view. We asked quiz players to identify the brand that relates to the “Baby and Me” advert. Across 233 players, just 19.4% of teams knew that the adverts relate to Evian. Extrapolated for individual scores, this equates to just 11.6% of players.

And other brands suffer from a similar lack of awareness: When asked which NZ brand uses the slogan ‘Follow No One’ only 24.3% of teams linked the slogan to the Monteiths brand. The estimated awareness for individuals, across 248 players, is a miserable 15.1%.

And when asked which NZ brand sponsors free-diver William Trubridge only 22.2% of teams correctly identified Steinlager Pure as the sponsor. The estimated awareness for 132 individuals is just 13.6%.

Clearly, some other factors – such as investment and coverage – may also contribute to poor awareness. But the results appear to endorse Berger’s view about relevance and association. And, within our quiz samples, the results demonstrate a clear marketing failure.

You can easily gain an advantage at your weekly pub quiz event by simply priming your brain for the quiz.

Here is how it works: In 1998 two Dutch researchers, A Dijksterhuis and A van Knippenberg, measured the performance of groups of students in games of Trivial Pursuit. Before each game half of the teams were asked to spend 5 minutes thinking that they were professors. The other half were asked to spend 5 minutes thinking that they were football hooligans. These first group of students scored 55.6% in the subsequent games, and the second groups scored 42.6%.

It’s about perception and behaviour – the human brain can induce behaviours in line with priming for a stereotype or trait. And in this simple way, we can improve our general knowledge performance.

The first groups weren’t smarter. They had simply primed their brain, and were in a smart frame of mind. The difference in the results implies that they would score 11 extra marks in our standard Qwizard event. This could easily be the difference between winning that top prize voucher, or getting nowhere.

But, beware, according to the researchers the priming effects begin to deteriorate after 15 minutes. So your team may have to continue to meditate between each round!

Eagles don't flock, you have to find them one at a time


We decided to check if our players really know their capitals cities, and found some interesting results. From 44 different questions relating to capital cities all over the world, and over 900 participants, our Qwizard players obtained an average team score of 69.0%. This is well above our average score for these events of 62.9%, and statistically significant.

But here is the interesting thing…if we measure the results for 3 questions relating to the NZ capital then our players only scored 39.0%. These questions included; What was the capital of NZ at the end of the 19th century?, Which city or town was the capital of NZ immediately prior to Wellington?, and a multi-choice question about how long Wellington been NZ’s capital city?

Can we imply from this that our knowledge of capital cities is fairly insular? Or do these results demonstrate a lack of knowledge in NZ history? Maybe next time we compare our players results on NZ history compared to other similar topics.

The use of an effective and well communicated prize structure is vital to improving the returns from your quiz. Here is a list of ideas around the use of Prizes:

  • 1. They should be competitive – but they don’t have to be the highest. Try to set them at a level that is comparable with others in the market. Higher prizes is not a big factor in drawing teams to your quiz.
  • 2. Don’t just reward the top teams – add spot prizes or random prizes.
  • 3. Clearly announce the prizes and communicate performance toward the prizes throughout the event. Qwizard’s graphical results will show you how teams are tracking towards the prizes on offer and create more engagement and awareness around prizes.
  • 4. Use Prizes that can encourage additional expenditure i.e. smaller denominations, redeemable on a different date, with an expiry date.
  • 5. Consider limiting the type of product available from the vouchers i.e. promote high margin products only. This costs you less to supply, and may create companion sales opportunities.

Email us to receive a copy of the 10-point plan for quiz venues. It’s free – mainly because it will show you how valuable the Qwizard format could be for your business!

Because we can see the results we are regularly refining our quiz content to hit ‘the sweet-spot’ in terms of difficulty – not too hard, not too easy. Over time our quiz content is adjusted to achieve our targeted average team score. This also means that in a more specialist subject like Sport, we can adjust the difficulty to reflect the average team scores in that category. However, in a subject like Sport we get a greater standard deviation of results – meaning some teams will perform very well compared to others. This is a natural consequence of subjects that are more specialised. But visibility of results allows Qwizard to build in this feedback and deliver more suitably targeted quiz content. As we grow the accuracy of this data will become more and more meaningful – allowing us to deliver a quiz ideally targeted to the average team.

At the time of NZ’s flag referendum in late 2015 we asked players several questions relating to the referendum process, and the flags and designs. The referendum was criticised for not engaging with the public. Our flag questions reached 291 participants, qualifying as a fairly good representation for the level of understanding of the referendum process. The average team score for our flag questions was 66.7% – well above the average score for these quizzes. For us, it didn’t seem to indicate uninformed or ambivalent voters. The final referendum turnout was 68% – much higher than pundits were expecting. But from our gauge, we knew that the public’s awareness had been under-rated.

We have developed, for subscribers, a list of 10 key items to help you maximise the financial returns from your quiz event. We believe this plan could allow you to double the returns from your regular quiz event. The programme is based around the answers to 5 simple questions.

  • 1. Do you run a quiz event special, and is it working hard?
  • 2. Are your event prizes adding value?
  • 3. Is the QuizMaster and the quiz format working for you?
  • 4. Are you engaging players in the quiz results?
  • 5. Are you earning new, repeat customers?

The programme will allow new quiz subscribers to achieve the best returns from the outset – or for existing events, to evaluate how they are performing and implement some valuable changes. Just because you have a busy quiz event doesn’t indicate a good financial outcome. How much are players spending? What are they spending it on? Are you seeing them again?

Email us to receive a copy of the 10-point quiz plan. It’s free – mainly because it will show you how valuable the Qwizard format could be for your business!

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