Scripps National Spelling Bee to Now Incorporate Word Definitions Into Competition

If you’ve ever watched the Scripps National Spelling Bee and felt that the competition relied too much on rote mechanics and memorization, well, have we got some news for you.

According to The Associated Press, multiple-choice vocabulary tests will now be incorporated into the bee. The move comes as an attempt to broaden competitors’ overall grasp of language.

‘‘What we know with the championship-level spellers is that they think of their achievement in terms of spelling and vocabulary being two sides of the same coin,’’ said bee executive director Paige Kimble.

While the vocabulary tests will occur in private rooms and not be televised, they will still play an important role in the tournament. The tests will account for 50 percent of the point totals that determine the semifinalists and finalists.

This year’s bee is scheduled for May 28-30 near Washington, D.C. While the changes to the tournament structure have been considered for some time, and aren’t necessarily a surprise, with less than two months until the competition, some are miffed that it changes their preparation strategy.

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