How Hard Is It To Get On ‘Jeopardy!’? It’s Even Harder Than You Think


Have you ever caught yourself playing along with the nightly Jeopardy! broadcast? Have noticed that you fare just as well if not better than the actual contestants? If so, then you’re not alone. Here’s what the application process looks like for prospective Jeopardy! contestants.

It All Starts With A Test

So, you think you’ve got what it takes to compete on Jeopardy!? The good news is that, as long as you’ve never competed on the show before, you’re welcome to apply for a spot on the show. However, what lies ahead for prospective competitors is months of hoping, studying, and lots and lots of waiting.

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The lengthy process first begins with a test. Thankfully, the official Jeopardy! website makes it easy to get started. If you’re confident, you can go straight for the Jeopardy! Anytime Test. However, if you want to get a bit of prep work in, the website provides plenty of helpful tips, tricks, tools, and even practice tests to make sure you’re ready.

The Anytime Test is formatted just like the show, and it takes about 15 minutes to complete. You’ll be given a variety of questions across a staggering 50 categories with only 15 seconds to answer each.

If you pass the test, your name will be added to an applicant pool. Then, the waiting begins.

Few Applicants Ever Make It To The Podium

Now that your name is in the applicant pool, the show will begin selecting people at random for an audition. Unfortunately, thousands of these names will expire after one year, and those applicants will need to take the test once more to stay in the running. However, if you’re one of the lucky few selected for an audition, you’ll be pitted against two people in a mock Jeopardy! game.

Of course, the audition isn’t necessarily about testing your skills. The test is meant to weed out anyone whose trivia prowess isn’t up to par. Instead, the audition and the interview that follow are where the showrunners get to know you. They want to find likable people with strong personalities that will play well with a national audience.

If you make a good impression, Jeopardy! will send your name to a large pool of contestants. From there, the show will select names to appear on the actual show. However, if 18 months pass with no callback, you’ll have to retake the test, starting once again from square one.

However, applicants shouldn’t be discouraged. The truth is, Jeopardy! receives about 100,000 applicants each year, and only 400 of those make it to the podium—that’s only .4%. Just for reference, Harvard University has a 5% acceptance rate. So, if you keep getting sent back to the Anytime Test, just know you’re not alone!

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