The tossup/bonus format™ is the most common format used in both High School and Collegiate Quizbowl.
A tossup is a question that is read out loud to both teams. It typically contains several sentences describing the answer and ends with a "giveaway" clue about the answer. Players can buzz in anytime they think they know the answer. Tossups can be written in a pyramidal style or as a simple question. Points are awarded to the team of the person that answered the tossup correctly. Tossups are usually worth 10 points.
A bonus (Plural: Boni or Bonuses) is a set of several questions that the whole team can work together to answer. Bonuses are given as a reward to the team that answered a tossup question immediately beforehand. Bonuses have many different styles, as seen below. Bonuses are typically worth 30 points each. (See variable value bonus.)
Styles of bonuses
- three answers, ten points per answer
- four answer, 5 for one, 10 for two, 20 for three and 30 for getting all four answers correct
- two answers, with two clues. 15 after the first clue for each answer, 5 after the second ("15-5")
- five answers, five points per answer with an additional five for all correct
- six answers, five points each (this and the above are used mainly for list bonuses)
- two difficult answers of 15 points each
- one answer, three clues of decreasing difficulty. 30 points after the first clue, 20 after the second, 10 after the third ("30-20-10")
- three answers of increasing difficulty. 5 points for the first, 10 for the second, 15 for the third ("5-10-15")
- three answers, each with two clues of variant difficulty. 10 points for the harder clue, 5 for the easier ("10-5")
All but the first of these are strongly discouraged in collegiate play.
Note: none of these formats applies to Illinois Scholastic Bowl.