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Articles > Judging

Judging

Judging is what the debate ends with. Judging decides who will go home with a trophy and who will go home empty handed. The judge is the only person in the entire room who actually matters. If you read this article, you are 99.99% guaranteed to never go home empty-handed.


Judging is basically what the judge does to determine a debate's winner and loser. And don't forget speaker points, because those count too. Anyway, judging is one of the most feared times in a debate. The suspense... Will I win?... Will I lose??... You're just waiting for the words "YOUR TEAM WON!" but you know that they may never come. How, then, can you ensure yourself a good shot at winning every time no matter the opponent? By understanding what goes on in a judge's mind (or at least what's supposed to happen) and learning what judges look for in a debate. Here are 6 things to keep in mind:


First, judges are all trained to take a flow chart. Flow charts are how judges translate a debate onto paper. The judges flow chart shows him the course of the debate and, in the end, who won or lost, how many points an individual refuted or didn't refute, and everything in between. It is key, therefore, for a debater to be able to keep organized and state each point clearly before either elaborating on it or refuting it if it's an opponent's points.

Secondly, judges are trained to listen for direct rebuttals. This basically means that judges are taught to pay special attention to rebuttals and to reward passionate clashes between two teams. The more "fire" and "clash" in a debate means higher speaker scores for both teams, because it tells the judge that 1) these people know what they're talking about 2) that they are passionate and really want to win the debate.

Third, judges are told to monitor heckling and the obnoxious-ness or strategic-ness of them. Heckling that is just meant to distract a debater is a minus for that person's speaker score, whereas one that stops your opponent's and forces them to concede a point is a huge plus on your part in the judge's mind.

Fourth, POIs. POIs are like a double edged sword: They're fun to ask, but hard to answer. Unfortunately for you, judges look for both in a debater. In the debate, the thing that judges are taught is for a good debater to take about 1 or no POIs in his/her speech, but to ask a lot more while the opponent's are speaking. POIs should set you up in a debate, and judges love it when you set up your opponent's with your POIs for a rebuttal.

Fifth, judges look for A-R-E format and arguments and stuff like that. But that's pretty basic. They look for impacts, also, which is how much that point weighs compared to your opponent's points. They look for strong evidence, consistent reasoning, and a bunch of points to outnumber the opponent's points.

Lastly (Sixthly??), judges are aware of behavior in a debate; be courteous, don't be rude, obnoxious, or attack your opponents personally, and maintain good composure throughout the debate. Decorum, people!

 

So that's what goes on in a judge's mind, and though you may think they're crazy, this is really what's going on inside there. Use it to your advantage, or forever suffer the consequences.