This page explains the purpose of the difficulty scale used by this website (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.”