How difficult is it to play ‘Jeopardy! It’s harder than you think!


Did you ever find yourself slaving to the nightly music? Jeopardy! broadcast? Are you able to perform as well or better than the contestants on broadcast? 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. Prospective competitors must wait months before they can start studying and hoping.

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A test is the first step in this long process. The official test is thankfully not necessary. Jeopardy! Website makes it simple 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 just like the series and takes approximately 15 minutes to complete. You’ll be given a variety of questions across a staggering 50 categories with only 15 seconds to answer each.

Your name will be added in an applicant pool if you pass the exam. The waiting begins.

Few applicants make it to The Podium.

After your name has been added, the show will start randomly selecting candidates for auditions. Unfortunately, these thousands of names will expire after one-year. Those who remain in the running will have to take the test again to be eligible for the next round. 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. The showrunners will get to know your character through the audition and subsequent interview. They seek out people who are friendly and strong-mannered, which will appeal to a large audience.

You can make a great impression if you are professional. Jeopardy! Your name will be added to a large number of other contestants. After that, the show will choose the names for 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. It is true that Jeopardy! Receives around 100,000 applicants annually, but only 400 of them make it to the podium—that’s only .4%. Harvard University has an acceptance rate of 5%, for reference. So, if you keep getting sent back to the Anytime Test, just know you’re not alone!

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