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PACE or Partnership for Academic Competition Excellence is a non-profit organization formed in 1996 that helps to promote and provide a network for high school tournaments throughout the country. Since 1998, they have written and organized the National Scholastics Championship, or NSC.


Each game in PACE format has three parts: the Related Tossup-Bonus round, the Category Quiz round, and the Stretch round.

The Related Tossup-Bonus round has 10 tossups worth 10 points each. A 20 point bonus related to the topic of the tossup is given to the team that answers the tossup correctly.

In the Category Quiz round, there are 8 tossups worth 10 points and 10 one-part bonuses of a specific topic worth 15 points each. The topics are mentioned beforehand, so that teams that get a tossup can chose their bonuses based on the category mentioned.

In the Stretch round teams are given ten tossups that are worth 20 points if answered before the the part of the question that states "for ten points" is read, 10 points otherwise. The team that answers the tossup correctly is then given a typical 30 point bonus.

PACE is unique in that all bonuses are bouncebacks, meaning if the team that originally received the bonus gave the wrong answer, the other team can then answer the question for full points. There are no penalties for interrupting the tossup (no negs). In addition, the national NSC format involves a total of 1000 points possible per match (not counting any tiebreakers): 300 points in the Related Tossup-Bonus, 200 in the Category Quiz, and 500 in the Stretch Round.

Because very few tournaments run the NSC format, very few teams get "accustomed" to the strategy involved in this format. As a result, all teams that compete have to adjust to the more rigorous style of questions and the different game strategy that the NSC format presents. In other words, few teams at the NSC have an advantage in being familiar with the format.

For "late qualifying tournaments," an abbreviated format also exists which consists of eight related tossup-bonus questions, six category quiz tossups with 8 one-part bonuses, and eight stretch round tossup-bonus questions.

In the event a match ends in a tie, match tiebreakers involve a minimum of three tossups worth 10 points with unrelated 30-point bonus questions awarded (again reboundable).

"Paper" tiebreakers have been replaced with actual mini-match tiebreakers among teams who are tied in record who are contending for playoff qualification. Five tossups with unrelated 30-point bonus questions are usually involved in these head-to-head matchups.


Unlike most of the other national championship tournaments (high school or college), all official individual and team performance records are publicly posted and archived on the PACE NSC website at .



Late Season Qualifiers

Other Events

PACE Question Writers Bootcamp

  • 2007 (pilot) at Gonzaga High School (DC)

PACE has also supported the "World of High School Quizbowl" online resource center and encourages the development of technological tools to enhance preparation for academic competitive play.


Historically, PACE has been more demographically diverse than any other quiz bowl "national" organization, and we continue to encourage and seek individuals from diverse and/or underrepresented backgrounds to become members who share our goals.

Former Members

  • David Bykowski
  • Jessie Bykowski
  • Christian Carter
  • Ted Gioia
  • Dan Greenstein
  • Evan Nagler
  • Brian Saxton
  • Tricia Southard
  • Derek Winkler
  • Awards

    Every year at NSC, PACE gives out the Benjamin Cooper Academic Ambassador Award and the Benjamin Cooper Young Ambassador Award to those who promote the quizbowl competition. It is the only such national award in high school quizbowl. (The Gordon Carper Award was soon created after the Benjamin Cooper Award to recognize similar individuals who have similarly contributed to the college circuit.)

    More information about the award: .

    External Links

    Pace Website