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Tennessee Science Bowl

Volunteer Opportunity: Timekeeper

All Timekeepers with fewer than three years of experience should attend training at ORAU’s Pollard Auditorium. Please see the volunteer registration form for the date and time of this training. The timekeeping rules and competition format will be reviewed.


  • Focus on the time, not the game!
  • Know the rules!
  • Timing the 8-Minute Halves:
    • Operate the official competition time clock. You will be provided with a clock that shows both minutes and seconds.
    • At the beginning of each half, set the clock at 8 minutes.
    • The clock should be started as soon as the Moderator begins to read the first question. The clock should be allowed to run uninterrupted until time expires UNLESS there is a question or rules challenge.
    • After the first half, call "HALF" and time the break for 2 minutes. At the end of the game, call "GAME."
    • At the conclusion of each half, reset the clock.
    • If there is an interruption, stop the clock until the issue is resolved. Restart the timer when the Moderator begins reading the next question. Add time back onto the clock if the Moderator feels that an interruption has unduly used competition time. Again, be certain to explain to the participants that a time correction is being made. (Note: the clock cannot move backwards, so you must track additional time on your watch; then start the game clock after that time has elapsed.)

Watch the Training Video

  • Timing the Toss-up and Bonus Questions:
    • On toss-up questions, one of the teams must answer within 5 seconds of when the Moderator completes the question. You will be given a stopwatch to keep track of the 5 seconds allowed, calling "TIME" so that the Moderator will know to proceed to the next toss-up question.
    • Keep track of the time for bonus questions. Each time a team correctly answers a toss-up question, the team will be awarded a bonus question. The students have 20 seconds to answer the bonus question AFTER the moderator has finished reading the question. After 15 seconds in the bonus period has elapsed, say "5 SECONDS" to alert the students that only 5 seconds remain to answer the question. At the end of the 20 seconds, say "TIME" loudly enough for the all participants to hear. Generally, it will be sufficient for you to time the 20-second interval by reading the clock provided for the match. However, a stopwatch may also be used for this purpose.