This page explains the purpose of the difficulty scale used by this website (preferably called “the college quizbowl calendar difficulty scale”).

Traditional difficulty terms like “Regular” and vague qualifiers like “Fall-plus” or “Regular-minus” are non-standard and confusing and should be deprecated (read more).

Approx. Example (non-definitional) Deprecated terms
2017 ACF Fall
●◖ 2019 ILLIAC “Fall-plus”
●● 2017 EFT old “Regular difficulty” was ambiguous and referred to any of these
●●◖ 2016 Terrapin “Regular-plus”
●●● 2018 ACF Regionals
●●●◖ 2018 CMST
●●●● 2018 ACF Nationals

This site uses the following four-level scale:

Difficulty Example (non-definitional) Difficulty is most comfortable for
Beginners Intermediates Experts
Easy 2017 ACF Fall ✓︎✓︎
●● Medium 2017 EFT ✓︎✓︎✓︎
●●● Regionals 2018 ACF Regionals ✓︎
●●●● Nationals 2018 ACF Nationals and above ✓︎

This scale was designed to be unambiguous and easy to communicate, especially to people not well-versed in quizbowl. It assumes that there are only a few fundamental levels in quizbowl’s difficulty progression.

If you plan to write a tournament, please consider targeting one of these four difficulty levels. Like overly long questions, difficulty creep is selfish and insular; quizbowl does not need to be so hard.

Although difficulty varies on a continuous scale in reality, please avoid using half-dots for rating your own tournament’s difficulty. Please also avoid using the ambiguous abbreviation “regs.”