How to Make a Pub Quiz Hard

Hosting a quiz is a great way to attract a regular audience, however, teams can become bored if they think the quiz is getting too easy. 


Finding the right balance between an easy and hard quiz can be tricky, which is why at Quiz on Demand, we’ve created the guide below on making a hard but interesting pub quiz


How do you know if your pub quiz is too easy?


In general, if all of your quiz teams are scoring highly throughout each round, this is a tell tale sign that your pub quiz is too easy. 


Typically, you will want to think of questions that will leave quiz teams scratching their heads for a bit. However, if you’re scanning the answer sheets and notice that the majority have all the answers correct, this is a good indication that your questions are too easy. 


Whilst it is reasonable to throw in a few easy questions, such as recent news events or general knowledge questions, try not to completely fill your quiz with them. 


Will hosting a ‘hard’ pub quiz put people off?


Many quiz goers like the competitive nature of a pub quiz, but it can be slightly off-putting when you go to a quiz and the questions are so hard that you can’t answer them. 


People enjoy utilising their obscure knowledge in quizzes, so while it’s fair to throw in a few harder questions to accommodate for this, it’s unlikely that quizzers will know the answer to every hard question. 


To prevent putting people off, make sure you have a good mix of tough questions on a variety of different rounds. Our quizzes are always fresh and varied, so you won’t have to worry about planning your quiz out – simply buy the quiz pack you want, download and print! 


Are tough pub quizzes popular?


While having a super tough quiz may not appeal to everyone, there are a number of quiz goers who enjoy having their knowledge being put to the test with more complex quizzes. Many of our quizzes are Google-proof, so can really challenge these more competitive quizzers!


Tough quizzes are particularly popular with regular quizzing teams who compete in leagues, rather than your amateur quiz teams made up by less-regular quizzers. 

If you want to encourage a wider variety of teams to your quiz, rather than hosting a night tailored to seasoned quizzers, consider ways in which you can make your pub quiz easier.



Top tips for creating a tough pub quiz


If you’re aiming to attract the competitive teams, we’ve listed our top ways in which you can create a tough pub quiz. 


Make your quiz rounds more niche

When you’re trying to make a quiz easier, the best thing to do is to make the quiz rounds quite general. So, in order to make your quiz harder, you should focus on making rounds slightly nicher.


For example, instead of doing a “throwbacks” round, make it more specific and focus on a specific decade or year, such as the 1990’s or a year like 1995. This way, quiz teams must try harder to remember certain things and be more strategic with their guesses.


This type of round also enables quiz goers to use their obscure knowledge and test their memory. 


Ask a variety of questions 

While you may have quiz teams who have a vast amount of knowledge between them, they aren’t going to know everything. To make sure the playing field is somewhat even, you should be asking a variety of different questions, mixing up questions that will appeal to an array of different generations. We have a number of different quizzes to choose from, but a good idea is to use our weekly quizzes. 


Have a specific theme 

When you have a specific theme for the night, you have the opportunity to make the questions as easy or as hard as you want. If you want to make a tough quiz, really focus on making the questions for super fans. 


For example, if your theme is Harry Potter, you could really zone in on creating obscure questions that only people who have read the books and watched the films in detail will get. 


When you advertise that your pub quiz is going to be a specific theme, you will likely only attract those who are mega fans, meaning that you can make the quiz as tough as you like. 


Avoid multiple choice questions 

When you include multiple choice questions, you typically give participants a 1 in 3 chance of getting the question right. 


To avoid the chance of teams getting the answer right through pure luck, use the standard questions and answer format instead of multiple choice. If you think the questions will be too hard, you can share a hint, but don’t make it too obvious. 

Add in tabletop games

Table top games like Anagrams, Catchphrase and ThinkLink can’t really be ‘studied’ for, and therefore are typically harder to ace. Our table top quizzes are really easy to use, and you don’t have to spend any time preparing them – you just buy, print and go!

These types of rounds can test seasoned quizzers in a very different way, instead of them constantly acing the usual Q&As.


Alter the format of music rounds 

Quiz teams love music rounds and it is a really easy round to create since all you need to do is make a Spotify playlist. However, there are other ways to make it harder than having a finish the lyric round or guessing the song name and artist. 


For example, you could take a famous lyric and come up with a similar version of it using synonyms. Your quiz teams will then have to guess what the actual lyric is, or what song it’s from. 


Another way to make it harder is by having your teams guess as soon as the first line of a song is sung. To do this, you should play the first few seconds of the song, mute it and then allow contestants to keep thinking of the songs in their head until they think the first line comes in. 


Your teams will likely need a timer or a stopwatch for this so they can guess the second or minute, so you will need to either provide stopwatches or keep an eye on phone usage. 


To give points away, contestants must be within 5 or so seconds of the actual time the first line is sung. For example, if the first lyric comes in at 32 seconds, teams must be within 27 to 37 seconds to get a point. 


Two truths one lie 

Although this requires some guess work, this is a round that helps to even the playing field, unless you have a know it all on the team. Whilst you may want your quiz to be tough, it can be useful having a few rounds in which it’s unlikely anybody will know the answers to. To do a two truths and one lie round, your quiz teams need to find the FAKE answer. 


For this you can use really obscure laws from other countries. Alternatively, you could do old wives tales, celebrities who almost got a huge role and so on; the list is endless!


For example, your question could be: Which New York law is fake?


A- It is illegal to throw a ball at someone for fun

B- It is illegal to hang clothes on a washing line without a licence

C- It is illegal to whistle at a pigeon 


The answer is C, since it is illegal to throw a ball at someone for fun and it is illegal to hang your clothes on a washing line without a licence, so C is the lie.


Picture rounds 

Picture rounds are another fan favourite, but how can you make them harder?


A good idea is creating a zoomed in picture round. Show your teams zoomed in images of objects or animals and have them guess what they think the correct answer is. To make it even harder, you could slightly pixelate the images. 


You can use our popular Face Race Picture Quiz and use the tips above to make the questions even tougher! 


Harder quiz rounds with Quiz on Demand


Remember, this is your quiz, so really you can make the questions as easy or tough as you’d like. 


At Quiz on Demand, we have a wide variety of quizzes to choose from. All you have to do is purchase, download and print! With our quizzes, you can use the tips listed in this guide to make some of our questions tougher, or mix a few of the quiz packs together to get a wide variety.