Young woman using a laptop to connect with her friends and parents during quarantine. She's having a video conference during Coronavirus COVID-19 time.

Virtual pub quiz: 19 things that always happen in an online quiz, without fail

Fun fact: someone will miss a question and demand to hear every single question again

We’ve taken part in a lot of virtual pub quizzes during this coronavirus lockdown. A lot. In fact, we’ve even written a guide on how to host your very own quiz, for anyone who’s interested.

But, while we can talk quiz question ideas until we’re all blue in the face, nobody’s really talked about all the other elements of an online quiz.

With that in mind, here’s the 19 things that happen in every single virtual pub quiz. Without fail.

Your quiz will be subjected to at least one last-minute reschedule

Usually about 15 minutes before the quiz starts, someone will drop out, and then someone else, and then voila! It’s been shifted to next week.

Someone will be over 20 minutes late logging on

Their excuse will be flimsy (from “I just had to order a pizza” to “my bath overran”), but you will forgive them. Obviously.

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Everyone will talk over each other for the first five minutes

It takes a while for people to settle into the Zoom way of life, quite frankly, and they’re usually way too excited about seeing actual human beings to rein it in.

Nobody will be ready

“Do you have pens and paper? No? Good, good…”

Someone won’t actually want to be there

Look for the forced smile among those cheery little faces. It’s the one that doesn’t quite meet the eyes, which scream ‘I JUST WANT TO WATCH NETFLIX!’ instead.

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The internet will cut out for at least one person

From friend to foe to spinning wheel of doom, all in the space of a few moments.

People will forget you can hear them…

Which means that, when they start whispering answers to their lockdown companions, you can eavesdrop without even trying.

…and, y’know, see them

Expect people to drift off camera in search of snacks, to have a furious muted argument about meaningless trivia, or start scratching something they wouldn’t usually scratch in company.

Except when you need to, that is

As Stylist’s Megan Murray puts it: “Someone ALWAYS cheats and gets away with it because you can’t tell what they’re doing off-camera!”

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Everyone will get distracted when someone spills gossip

The quizmaster will wait patiently as you all fall over yourselves for more details. And then less patiently. And then they will be beyond pissed off…

Alcohol will also muddle things

“Someone always gets too pissed and loses track of what’s happening,” says Megan. And, speaking from experience, she’s 100% correct.

Someone will miss a question and demand to hear EVERY SINGLE QUESTION AGAIN

“Can you repeat that question?”

“Of course, which one?”

“All questions from 5 to 37?”


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That dodgy internet connection? It’s gonna demand repeats. Endless, endless repeats.

Someone will complain that the questions are too hard…

… provoking a barbed comment from the quizmaster about someone else taking on the duties of creating the next quiz.

And then there’s the overly-persistent mother hen

As in, yeah, the person who can’t stop themselves from helping out those they see struggling with the answers.

If you aren’t paying for Zoom, you’ll have to set up a new meeting every 40 minutes or so…

It adds an extra special something, that tension-building pause.

Although, to be honest, you probably only need audio for this

Everyone will be staring at their own faces, anyway.

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The answers will take forever to go through

That dodgy internet connection? It’s gonna demand repeats. Endless, endless repeats.

And they will provoke arguments, too

Someone will disagree with the question master, Google will be called in as a referee, and everything will descend into chaos.

But, eventually, you will have a winner

And you’ll be happy for them, sure, but you’ll also have this tiny nagging doubt that their win is legitimate. Because… well, what if they were cheating? Who would know?

And you’ll all cheerily agree to another quiz, despite everything

Because, let’s face it, quizzes are fun. And we need all the fun we can get, especially now.

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