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Spelling - Virtual

Rules & Guidelines

  • Contestants must have access to a laptop with Zoom to participate in both roundsAll rounds will be recorded, but only the oral round will be live to the public. Parents should not be present during the written round. 

  • Round 1 - Written Round: Of the total 25 words, 15 will be from the 500-word list (study list). The remaining 10 words will be from undisclosed sources. Contestants will be required to type their answers into an online testing form. We suggest that contestants become familiar with their keyboards and practice typing words on notes, google docs, word, or other platforms before test day

    • During the round, a pronouncer and judge will be present. The pronouncer will say the word, the word's definition, part of speech, language of origin, and use the word in a sentence. All of the information will be repeated, and the word will be repeated one more time. If an alternate pronunciation(s) is available, the pronouncer will state that information as well. 

    • Contestants must have their cameras on and microphones muted. It is the contestant's responsibility to make sure s/he can hear the pronouncer clearly. Contestants should ask their questions before the bee begins. Once the bee begins, questions will not be allowed. Contestants may type their answer into the form as soon as the word is pronounced. Submit your spelling to move on to the next blank  / input box. No more than 90 seconds can be spent on a word. 

    • During both rounds, contestants are not required to state capitalization, hyphenation, spaces, or apostrophes.

  • Qualifying to Round 2: To qualify for the oral round, contestants will have to meet or exceed a benchmark score on the written round. Each grade will have its own benchmark score. This score will determine who and how many students will compete in the oral round.

    • There are no limits on the number of students, who can compete in the oral round. If all of the students meet / exceed the benchmark scores, they will all compete; however, if only five meet / exceed the benchmark scores, then only those five will move on to the oral round.

  • Round 2 - Oral Round: Contestants, who qualify, will spell words from the 500-word list and other undisclosed sources. All of the words will come from the Unabridged Merriam Webster Dictionary. Contestants will spell words until only one contestant is left.

    • During the round, a pronouncer, judge, and time keeper will be present. ​All of the contestants will be in a Zoom session together. One contestant at a time will be asked to unmute and spell the word. Cameras must be on at all times.

    • Contestants will have 90 seconds to spell a word. During this time, they may ask to hear a word pronounced as many time as they'd like. They may also request the word's definition, part of speech, language of origin, alternate pronunciation(s), or use of the word in a sentence. It is the contestant's responsibility to make sure s/he understands the word.

      • The timekeeper will announce when the 90 seconds begins, when there are only 60 seconds remaining, and when there are 30 seconds left. If a speller does not spell the word in 90 seconds, s/he will be eliminated. 

    • Contestants must say the word before they start spelling the word and again after they are done spelling the word. For example, if the word is cat, the contestant must say the word "cat." Then s/he should spell the word "C-A-T," and finally to indicate that s/he is done spelling the word, the contestant must say the word "cat." 

    • Once a contestant begins spelling, s/he may stop and start over, but the contestant must repeat the letters in the same order. If a letter is changed in the respelling, s/he will be eliminated. For example, if s/he begins spelling the word cat as "C-U--" and decides to stop and start the spelling again and says "C-A-T," s/he will be eliminated. Once a letter is said, it cannot be taken back. 

    • If a word has one or more homonyms, the pronouncer will identify the word as a homonym and provide the definition. 

    • If a word can be spelled more than one way, any spelling of the word will be accepted.

    • The final contestant must spell one more word. If s/he answers correctly, s/he will be declared the winner, but if s/he answers incorrectly, the round starts over with the last two contestants. 

  • Disqualification / Consequences: As with any event, we ask that you are honest. Anyone suspected of cheating will be disqualified and will not be allowed to compete in any future events. 

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