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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.

New Format

PACE changed its game format prior to the 2010 NSC. This format is essentially a mACF format. Matches consist of 20 tossups and 20 bonuses per round, with 20 point powers but no negs on tossups; each bonus is worth 30 points, with bouncebacks on the bonuses.

Old Format

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.

The old 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. All bonuses used bouncebacks, and there were no negs (two features carried over to the new format). In the event a match ended in a tie, match tiebreakers involved a minimum of three tossups worth 10 points with unrelated 30-point bonus questions awarded (again reboundable).

Because very few tournaments ran the old NSC format, very few teams got "accustomed" to the strategy involved in this format.

For "late qualifying tournaments," an abbreviated format also existed which consisted of eight related tossup-bonus questions, six category quiz tossups with 8 one-part bonuses, and eight stretch round tossup-bonus questions. HSAPQ wrote two sets in this format in 2009.

"Paper" tiebreakers were replaced with actual mini-match tiebreakers among teams who are tied in record who are contending for playoff qualification. From 2007 to 2009, five tossups with unrelated 30-point bonus questions are usually involved in these head-to-head matchups. Since 2010, these games have been played on half-packets, and starting in 2011 any tiebreaker game determining final tournament standing is played on a full packet.


Official individual and team performance records from past NSCs were publicly posted and archived on the PACE NSC website at .


Every year, PACE and its affiliates write, edit, and run the NSC.

In some years, PACE has run Late Season Qualifiers, and it ran the 2009 Weekend of Quizbowl.

In 2007, PACE ran a Question Writers Bootcamp at Gonzaga High School in 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 claimed to be more demographically diverse than any other quiz bowl "national" organization, and encouraged and sought individuals from diverse and/or underrepresented backgrounds to become members who shared their goals.

An up-to-date public list of current and former members, including PACE board members, is maintained here.


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: [1].

External Links

PACE Website