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Competition Rules

General Competition Rules

  • Teams will be invited by the National Consumers League or their state coordinator to participate in their state competition. Teams winning at the state level, or qualifying for an at-large spot, will be invited to compete in the National LifeSmarts Championship.
  • Teams must submit completed individual and team release forms to the National Consumers League prior to competing in-person.
  • Each team must have four or five qualified players. (Teams are encouraged to have an alternate who is the fifth player on the team and fully participates in competition.) Qualified players are those team members who have completed all three rounds of the online competition and have received a Total Score.
  • Each team must designate a captain. The captain is considered the team leader and official spokesperson for the team.
  • Teams must have one adult coach present. An assistant coach is encouraged. The coaches are the official chaperones of the team.
  • LifeSmarts matches are free and open to the public.
  • Buzzer Match Rules
    • Four team members compete at all times in buzzer matches.
    • The captain must play the entire match.
    • Team members may rotate in during matches when announced by the Question Master.
    • The decisions of the competition officials are final.
    • Teams must arrive by the specified start time.
    • Players are expected to demonstrate good sportsmanship at all times.
    • Players should dress appropriately.


Additional State Competition Rules

  • All General Competition Rules apply.
  • A coach generally represents one or two teams at a state competition; however, some state programs may allow a coach to bring more than two. If a coach is invited to bring more than two teams, the coach must recruit another adult coach to represent the extra team(s). Check with your state coordinator for details.

Rounds of State Competition

  • Each competition covers all five LifeSmarts topic areas and competition questions increase in difficulty with each subsequent match.
  • All state competition matches include:
    • Team-plus questions
    • Challenge questions
  • Team questions may be discussed by the team members and the captain gives the team’s response. Challenge questions are first to the buzzer. Tie breakers, if needed, will be open-ended first to the buzzer questions.
  • Additional competition formats may be included in buzzer matches at the discretion of the state coordinator:
    • Multiple-choice questions (may be used for individual or team questions)
    • Lightning Rounds
    • Team Activities
  • Teams have 120 seconds to answer 10 questions in one topic area during a Lightning Round. Once each question is read, teams may answer or “pass;” answers are judged once the buzzer goes off. Teams have 1-2 minutes to complete a Team Activity. Team activities focus on a specific subject area.
  • Team Activities may also be used during competition. These could include:
    • TeamSmarts quiz
    • Individual written assessments
    • Team written assessments
  • A TeamSmarts quiz used in conjunction with a state competition includes 100 multiple choice questions to be completed by the team in 1 hour. Teams will complete the online assessment 1-2 weeks prior to their state competition. Each team member may be assigned a 25-50 question written topic assessment in a single topic area as a round of competition. Teams may also complete team assessments where they work together to answer questions and solve problems.


Additional National Competition Rules

  • All General Competition Rules apply.
  • State Champion teams will be invited to represent their state at the National LifeSmarts Championship by their State Coordinator or by the National Consumers League.
  • Coaches must submit the National Championship Registration form, which is included in the State Champion Memo they will receive after winning the state competition, to the National Consumers League within 7 days of the state competition. The National Championship Registration form must be approved and signed by the official representative of the team’s school or organization in order for the team to be eligible to participate at the National LifeSmarts Championship.
  • National competitions take place from a Saturday afternoon through lunch Tuesday. All team members and a minimum of one adult coach must be present when competition begins. Teams unable to attend any or all portions of the National LifeSmarts Championships will be ineligible to represent their state at the event, and the Second Place (Runner Up) team will be invited by the National Consumers League or the State Coordinator to represent the state instead.
  • Coaches must notify the National Consumers League immediately if their State Champion team will be unable to attend any or all portions of the National LifeSmarts Championship so that the Runner-Up team can be invited in their place.
  • State Champion Coaches must join one of the two National Championship Coach Calls. Calls are scheduled 1 month prior to the National Championship. Dates and log-in information are included in the State Champion Memo.
  • Competition 1 of the National LifeSmarts Championship is a TeamSmarts quiz that teams complete 2-3 weeks prior to the National Championship. Details will be distributed to State Champion Coaches 1 month prior to Nationals.
  • School or team “spirit” items are allowed for team photos.
  • Visit the National LifeSmarts Championship page for additional details about the event.
  • LifeSmarts Mastery Rule: Students who are members of a team that wins the National LifeSmarts Championship are ineligible to compete again in Varsity LifeSmarts on the state or national level.  These outstanding students will be encouraged to stay involved in LifeSmarts as mentors, student coaches for their school or organization, members of the LifeSmarts Team Advisory Board, student assistants at the National LifeSmarts championship, and active LifeSmarts alumni. LifeSmarts made this change, effective with the 2018-2019 program year, to encourage more teams and students to compete.

Teams Compete Eight Times

  • Each team has an equal opportunity to advance to the quarterfinals. All teams will compete eight times and team scores will be cumulative through mid-day Monday.
  • Preliminary Competition Rounds include:
    • Competition 1: TeamSmarts
    • Competition 2: Sister Team Activity
    • Competition 3: Individual Assessments
    • Competition 4: Speed Dating
    • Competitions 5-8: Buzzer matches
  • After all teams complete these eight competitions, scores are tallied and the top eight teams advance to the quarterfinals. Once reaching the quarterfinals, teams must win to advance:
    • Quarterfinals: 8 teams advance
    • Semifinals: 4 teams advance
    • Finals: 2 teams advance
  • For more information review the National LifeSmarts Championship fact sheet or slideshow for details.