Frequently Asked Questions
If you have been nominated, congratulations! Being nominated alone is a distinct honor only afforded to a few MJC students each semester.
Here are the answers to some of the most common questions about the tournament.
#1: When and where do I need to go?
We are hosting the event on Friday April 26th, 2024 in Founders Hall on MJC's East Campus. Check-in will occur on the second floor in the hallway space between Founders Hall 216 and 218. There will be a table setup and a person to help you get checked in.
Depending on what speech event you are performing, it will change the time you should show up.
#2: How do speech rounds work?
For informative and persuasive speaking the competition consists of two rounds--a preliminary round, and a final round. During the preliminary round you will be assigned a room to give your speech in. You will also be assigned a speaking order. When the round begins there will be two judges sitting in the room as well as 3-5 fellow competitors. One of the judges will start the round and call people to speak one at a time. When it is your turn to speak, you will come to the front of the room and give your speech. You will be able to show visual aids on the computer if needed. When your speech is finished, take your seat and watch the rest of your fellow competitors present. When everyone has had a chance to speak, the judges will release you from the round and fill out their ballot.
Once the ballots are turned into the tournament we will "tabulate" the results and announce "breaks." This means the competitors who scored the highest will then advance into a final round that will occur at 3:30PM. The list of students advancing to the final round will be posted in the hallway where you checked in at about 3:15 PM.
If you advance to the final round you may expect to have a larger audience and three judges. Otherwise, the process of being called up to give your speech will be the same.
#3: How do SPAR rounds work?
In a typical SPAR round, there are anywhere from 4-6 students within a round. Students will be chosen to debate against each other in pairs of two. Once both competitors are chosen and ready, a coin toss is used to decide sides in the debate (whoever wins the coin toss may choose whether they are affirmative (AFF / PRO) or negation (NEG / CON)) . Each pair will then be given 3 debate topics by the judge. The AFF will strike one resolution and then the NEG will strike one of the two remaining topics, leaving the pair with one final topic and this is the topic for the debate.
After the final topic is chosen, competitors will have 2 minutes of prep time, to begin writing down their arguments before the debate begins. The debate times are as follows:
2 min – AFF constructive speech
2 min – NEG constructive speech
4 min – Grand Cross Examination (All speakers)
2 min – AFF Rebuttal
2 min – NEG Rebuttal
Students may not use laptops or phones during prep time
There is no preparation time during the debate other than the 2 minutes at the start
During cross-examination, the debaters should be prepared to take at least a few questions from their opponent or other SPAR competitors in the audience (i.e. judge and audience members not participating in SPAR are not permitted to ask questions). Current competitors will be the ones to call for questions.
In the closing statement, speakers should extend one or two of the strongest arguments from their case, with a final rebuttal and mitigation of their opponent's arguments, concise and synthesized. No new arguments should be made here.
#4: Will I get to see my feedback?
After the tournament you will be emailed a PDF of all your judge ballots so you can read their comments.
#5: Can I use Visual Aids?
Yes. All rounds are in "smart classrooms" that include a computer and a presentation remote. The rooms will be open a little early if you would like to pull up your presentation on the computer before you begin. You are also free to use physical printed visual aids if you like. If you need a minute to set up before your speech, simply ask your judges if you can take a moment to get things ready before you begin. We will have warned them that some folks may need a minute to get ready.
#6: Are audience members welcome?
While there is not a restriction on audience members in any round, we typically try to keep preliminary rounds small. During the final rounds audience members are welcome and encouraged.
#7: Will there be an awards ceremony?
YES! Shortly following the final rounds we will host an awards ceremony. Look for a sign in the Founders Hallway for directions on what room to go to.