A spelling bee, though not taking place on a playing field or court, is just as intense of a competition by intellectual measure as other events are by physical means. Its champions undergo intensive training and often follow self-disciplined rigorous practice habits. While some utilize quirks or individual gifts to better their chances, there are a few general tips that can be used for anyone to more likely enable a speller victory.Memorization
On the Scripps National Spelling Bee circuit, there is an enormously lengthy list of potential words that is sent out to participants at the regional level. Although most of the words will never be used, and some words may be used that do not appear in the listing, many of them will be selected as competition words as spellers advance in the ranks.
Ultimately, the ability to instantly recall the correct spelling for thousands and thousands of obscure, otherwise-unknown words will provide a distinct advantage, especially from the lengthy newspaper-print guide that Scripps provides.
One vital tip for potential spelling bee champions is to master the art of visualization; that is, being able to see the word as letter units in the mind. While this comes naturally for some people with sequential or visual minds, other people with different expressive or learning styles may find it difficult. However, on the podium, when it is time to recite the letters one at a time in the right order, the simple skill to see the word formed letter-by-letter in the mind’s eye is invaluable for success.
Official spelling bee rules allow a contestant a certain handful of questions they are allowed to ask about the word before they attempt to spell it. Included in the allowable queries are requesting its part of speech, its pronunciation, its use in a sentence, and its language of origin.
This latter option, asking the language of origin, can especially be an absolutely integral asset to have on the stage. Even basic knowledge of words shows that, depending on whether a term is European or Asian, its spelling can vary widely from expectations. Simple sounds like the “air” syllable can be spelled “er,” “ar,” “eyre,” “eir,” “are,” “aire,” or even other varieties. When a judge pronounces the word, the simple pronunciation may not provide all the clues, but knowing the spelling trends of an origin language can make or break one’s chances in competition.
Otherwise, the same back-to-basics rules that applies for a word-learning toddler still apply to competitive brains on the circuit: Read, read, and read some more, whether works of creative fiction or academic non-fiction, odd poetry or biographical accounts. Often, strange words can be encountered in mundane, otherwise-unexpected places, and diligently pursuing the effort to master newly seen words can give anyone a shot at the spelling bee championship.