Do you ever watch Jeopardy? And secretly wonder how you’d fare on the show?
If you’d like to test your knowledge, this blog post contains 60 tricky questions from actual Jeopardy! Episodes.
We’ll also go over strategies to up your Jeopardy! Skills, dive into some of the lore of Jeopardy! History, and teach you how to create your questions.
Who knows, maybe you’re the next Ken Jennings! Only one way to find out. Check out the questions below.
60 Tricky Jeopardy! Questions From Each Difficulty Level
The list below includes actual Jeopardy! Questions spanning from Season 1 in 1984 to Season 39 in 2023. You’ll also find several questions from 2020’s Jeopardy!: The Greatest of All Time.
There are questions from each difficulty category (noting that from 1984 until 2001, question values ranged from $100-$500 in the Jeopardy! Round and $200-$1,000 in the Double Jeopardy! Round. Only from 2001 onward did the prize money double per question. As such, questions from older seasons are scaled to the modern prize money ranking).
Let’s get into it! How is your Jeopardy? Smarts?
$200 Jeopardy! Round questions
- Category: Museums
Clue: The Vatican has an entire museum devoted to these darn people of ancient Etruria
Answer: The Etruscans
- Category: American Literature
Clue: Washington Irving’s tale of this farmer who takes a big snooze was based on a German folktale
Answer: Rip Van Winkle
- Category: Historic Names
Clue: In 1984, this 17th c. Quaker who governed a colony was made an honorary U.S. citizen
Answer: William Penn
- Category: Historic Sites
Clue: This territory was formally transferred to the U.S. at Castle Hill in Sitka
- Category: Black America
Clue: York, an expert hunter, accompanied this pair on their 1800s expedition
Answer: Lewis and Clark
$400 Jeopardy! Round questions
- Category: The 40’s
Clue: This right-wing group was named for the 1st victim of the “Cold War,” killed in China in 1945
Answer: The John Birch Society
- Category: 3 Letter Words
Clue: Follows drag & hair, precedes work & worth
- Category: You Get a “D”
Clue: It’s a calendar or list of the upcoming cases set to be tried at a court
- Category: The Brady Bunch
Clue: ’80s & ’90s Treasury Secretary Nicholas Brady dealt with the crisis & bailout of failing S&Ls, short for these institutions
Answer: Savings & loans
- Category: Fruit
Clue: Clingstone & freestone are the two main classifications for this fruit, once called a Persian apple
$600 Jeopardy! Round questions
- Category: T.V. Catchphrases by Show
Answer: The Big Bang Theory
- Category: Women in Comics
Clue: In 1995, artist & writer John Byrne took over the comic book starring this Amazon princess.
Answer: Wonder Woman
- Category: A River Runs Under It
Clue: Today buried in tunnels, Moscow’s Neglinnaya river fed the moat protecting this fortress
Answer: The Kremlin
- Category: We Love “R” Music (music that starts with the letter “R”)
Clue: Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler & Joe Perry joined this rap trio on their 1986 hit “Walk This Way.”
- Category: Abbreviated No. 1 TV Shows
Clue: On N.B.C., 1997-1998: The uproarious “S”
$800 Jeopardy! Round questions
- Category: Strong Men
Clue: Beefy Barry Bonds has hit many balls into the “Cove” named for this earlier Giants slugger
Answer: Willie McCovey
- Category: We’re Full!
Clue: Your place is really full if you’re packed to these exposed beams in the ceiling
Answer: The rafters
- Category: Feat of Clay
Clue: On TV & film, he played Tonto’s partner
Answer: Clayton Moore
- Category: American Literature
Clue: 4 Chinese women meet regularly to play Mah-jongg & to talk about life & their children in this 1989 Amy Tan novel
Answer: The Joy Luck Club
- Category: Slang
Clue: Homer Simpson asked Bart & Lisa if they wanted to go to Blockoland; their response: this 3-letter word of indifference
$1,000 Jeopardy! Round questions
- Category: Body Parts in Latin
Clue: Genu (as in genuflect)
Answer: The knee
- Category: UNICEF
Clue: This 1971 George Harrison project has raised over $10 million for UNICEF programs
Answer: The Concert for Bangladesh
- Category: Sports
Clue: This sport combines cross-country skiing with rifle-shooting skills
- Category: Woody Allen
Clue: “I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it through not…” Doing this
- Category: Medieval Fashion
Clue: In the 15th century, it was a small coat worn under a larger one; later, it referred to a woman’s underskirt
$400 Double Jeopardy! Round questions
- Category: The 5th Century
Clue: Missionary work by Bishop Palladius & this saint succeeded in converting Ireland to Christianity
Answer: St. Patrick
- Category: Latin America
Clue: In 1956, this Cuban organized the 26th of July Movement, named for the date of his 1953 revolt against Batista
- Category: The Bible
Clue: In Mark 1, he says, “There cometh one mightier than I after me.”
Answer: John the Baptist
- Category: City of the Day: New York
Clue: When N.Y.C. was a Dutch settlement, this street got its name because it was a wide thoroughfare for wagons
- Category: The Library
Hint: The word “library” comes from the Latin “liber,” which means this
$800 Double Jeopardy! Round questions
- Category: Orphans in Books
Clue: This Beverly Cleary girl has a mom & dad; Helen Hunt Jackson’s 1884 character of the same name does not
- Category: Four-Letter Opposites
Clue: Copious: a way to serve meat
- Category: Outlaws
Clue: Sam Bass was a Texas cowboy who stole from the rich & gave to the poor until captured by these lawmen
Answer: The Texas Rangers
- Category: “S” Tough
Clue: Gee, ghee is a big export from this country, whose capital is Mogadishu
- Category: Chemistry
Clue: Putting a little sodium into a Bunsen burner flame will turn the flame this color
$1,200 Double Jeopardy! Round questions
- Category: Psychology
Clue: Term for what occurs when a 6-year-old boy fights for the attention given his little sister
Answer: Sibling rivalry
- Category: The French Revolution
Clue: A coup on 18 Brumaire established the consulate & brought this general to power
Answer: Napoleon Bonaparte
- Category: Classical Literature
Clue: A coup on 18 Brumaire established the consulate & brought this general to power
- Category: U.S. Presidents
Clue: When elected president in 1856, he had just served three years as minister to Great Britain
Answer: James Buchanan
- Category: Movie Stars Old and New
Clue: In 1932, David Manners was the hero of “The Mummy”; in 1999, it was this actor
Answer: Brendan Fraser
$1,600 Double Jeopardy! Round questions
- Category: State Flora
Clue: Hawaii’s state plant is kalo, the local name for this root used to make poi
- Category: Nicknames
Clue: Alexis I, the second czar of this dynasty, reigned 1645-1676
Answer: The Romanovs
- Category: Daniel Radcliffe
Clue: It wasn’t just another day at the office for Daniel when he guested on “Extras”, starring this British comic as Andy
Answer: Ricky Gervais
- Category: Dining Out
Clue: A dish served “Veronique” is garnished with this fruit
- Category: Mountains
Clue: Some of the finest singing canaries are bred in the Harz Mountains of this country
- Category: Beastly Novels by Character
Clue: Fly, Rex, Farmer Hoggett
$2,000 Double Jeopardy! Round questions
- Category: Big Ben
Clue: In 1598, this dramatist killed an actor in a duel, no doubt putting him out of his humor
Answer: Ben Jonson
- Category: T.V. Monsters
Clue: There were also vampires & werewolves on this Showtime series, with characters like Dorian Gray & Victor Frankenstein
Answer: Penny Dreadful
- Category: An Atomic Category
Clue: These subatomic particles come in 6 flavors, including up, down & strange
- Category: Famous Names
Clue: Familial relationship of Madame Sun Yat-sen to Madame Chiang Kai-shek
Final Jeopardy! Round questions
- Category: Colleges and Universities
Clue: The College of Engineering at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas is named for him
Answer: Howard Hughes
- Category: Medical History
Clue: One of the first recorded autopsies was performed on this man & revealed 23 puncture marks
Answer: Julius Caesar
- Category: Famous Americans
Clue: In 1936, at age 79, he published an article in Esquire magazine in which he described how to pick a jury
Answer: Clarence Darrow
- Category: U.S.A.
Clue: This community outside Washington, D.C., is named after a Presbyterian church built there in 1820
Answer: Bethesda, Maryland
- Category: U.S. Presidents
Clue: The last Democratic president before 1985 to serve two complete terms, no more, no less
Answer: Woodrow Wilson
- Category: Business & Industry
Clue: Salvaged from a shipwreck in the 1850s, the Lutine Bell hangs in its British headquarters.
Answer: Lloyd’s of London
- Category: Political Quotations
Clue: It was said that being with these two leaders, born in 1874 & 1882, “was like sitting between 2 lions roaring at the same time.”
Answer: Winston Churchill and Franklin Delano Roosevelt
- Category: Contemporary American Authors
Clue: This Pulitzer winner changed his first name to that of an Irish king, avoiding associations with a famous ventriloquist’s dummy
Answer: Cormac McCarthy
- Category: U.S. State Names
Clue: The two states whose 1-word names are contained in other state names
Answer: Kansas (Arkansas) and Virginia (West Virginia)
- Category: Brands
Clue: Babe Didrikson Zaharias, Evan Strong & Roy Campanella broke barriers representing this brand
Strategies for Playing and Winning Jeopardy!
Congrats! You have now tested your knowledge. How’d you do?
If you’ve ever thought about auditioning for Jeopardy! or even just playing for fun with friends, you might benefit from taking a step back and contemplating your game strategy.
Here are a few strategies you could consider employing.
Familiarize yourself with common categories.
It’s impossible to study every category since Jeopardy! Comes up with new ones every episode. But, there are a few reliable categories that are worth studying.
As Brad Rutter, a Jeopardy! Great, who has won the most money on Jeopardy! of all time, says in this interview1https://www.denofgeek.com/tv/jeopardy-brad-rutter-the-chase-alex-trebek/, “They can conceivably ask you about anything, but you know that presidents are going to come up a lot, Shakespeare is going to come up a lot, world capitals are going to come up a lot. So I generally try to stay in shape with that type of stuff.”
Watching Jeopardy! with friends can be a fun social experience. If you’d like to build some further skills to make your social experiences even more enjoyable, you could check out this free goodie:
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Strengthen your weaknesses
It might be a good idea to write out the categories you know you excel in and the ones that are harder for you and then give yourself time to read about the latter.
Superchamp Matt Amodio2https://www.vulture.com/article/jeopardy-champion-matt-amodio-interview-winning-streak-strategy.html says in an interview that he knew he was strong in categories like history and geography but weaker in pop culture. So he went on T.M.Z. to read about celebrities and let his curiosity take him into internet rabbit holes, learning about the ins and outs of celebrity culture.
Take practice tests
However, you choose to approach it. Keep reading, consuming media, and taking practice tests.
Bet big on Daily Doubles.
James Holzhauer (who won the most money on a single episode in Jeopardy! history) changed Jeopardy! Strategy forever when he brought in his sports-betting background.
Holzhauer’s main strategy3https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2019/04/james-holzhauer-jeopardy-1-million-win-or-lose/587878/ for winning so much money was to go all in on Daily Doubles.
He recognized that he would get the Daily Double questions correct far more often than not. So, statistically, the best strategy is to bet everything on those questions every time. Sometimes, you’ll lose it all, but statistically, you’ll gain far more than you’ll lose.
Develop effective wagering techniques.
There is a general algorithm4https://thejeopardyfan.com/final-jeopardy-betting#:~:text=General%20Wagering%20Strategy%20Algorithm&text=Determine%20the%20leader’s%20optimum%20cover,cover%20bet%20from%20their%20score). for how much to wager in the Final Jeopardy! Round depends on how much money each contestant has and your confidence in your answer.
Let’s go over the algorithm with an example game:
Say the Leader has $20,000, the Second player has $14,000, and the Third player has $2,000.
How much the Leader should bet if they are confident in their answer
To find the Leader’s optimal bet against the Second player, you’d double the score of the Second player, add a dollar, and then subtract the Leader’s current score. So, the calculation is: (14,000 * 2 = 28,000; 28,001 – 20,000 = 8,001). This $8,001 is the amount the Leader should bet. If they both get the question right, the Leader maintains their first-place lead.
How much the Leader should bet if they are confident in their answer
If the Leader is not confident in their answer, they might just consider betting nothing and hope the Second player doesn’t surpass them.
How much the Second player should bet if they are confident in their answer
If they are confident, the Second player should go all in to try to surpass the leader.
How much the Second player should bet if they are unconfident in their answer
Now, let’s imagine the Leader made the bet and lost. Their score would then be their current score minus the calculated bet: 20,000 – 8,001 = 11,999. Both the Second and Third players should aim to ensure their score gets (or stays) above this number to overtake the Leader. Unfortunately, in this case, the Third player is out of the running, as doubling their score still wouldn’t be enough (2,000 * 2 = 4,000), which is less than the Leader’s score if the Leader loses their bet.
If the Second player is unconfident in their answer, they could consider only betting 2,000. This way, if the Leader did bet 8,001 and lost, it’d bring their score down to 11,999. So if the Second player only bets 2,000 and loses, their score would drop to 12,000, and they’d win.
While the Second-place player wants to steal the top spot, they must also consider that they mustn’t slip into third. So they ought to repeat the same process: double the Third player’s score, add one dollar, and subtract it from the Second player’s current score: (2,000 * 2 = 4,000; 14,000 – 4,001 = 9,999). If the second player wants to be more cautious, they should limit their bet to 9,999 so that they don’t slip into Third place.
How much the Third player should bet
The Third player should base their bet on what the scores of the Leader and Second player would be if they both answered incorrectly. They need to predict how much they’d need to win in order to surpass both of these adjusted scores.
Here’s a wild video of what can happen if you don’t bet properly!
Iconic Moments from Jeopardy!
Jeopardy! has been on the air for over thirty-five years. Over that time, it has given us some of the most iconic moments and memorable episodes in television history.
Here are a few to remember.
A.I. beats the best
In 2011, I.B.M.’s A.I. model Watson competed against the two best Jeopardy! Players Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. In an intense match, Watson ended up winning.
Given that we now have Google and ChatGPT, it may seem obvious that an A.I. could gather data faster than a human. But at the time, this was groundbreaking and set the stage for what was possible.
Another exciting A.I. frontier is reading body language. If you’re curious about the topic, here’s an informative article.
If you’d like to watch a 10-minute documentary on the event, you can check that out below:
Alex Trebek’s cancer announcement
In 2019, Alex Trebek announced to the Jeopardy! Fanbase that he had pancreatic cancer.
While he delivered the news with optimism and levity, it was a heavy moment, and fans continued to support him for his next few years of life.
Here is a video of his announcement:
After Trebek passed, Jeopardy! Aired the final episode with him as the host. The episode included a tribute to his career in a short and sweet video.
Other iconic moments
Over the years, Jeopardy! Footage accumulated plenty of quirky and humorous moments. Here’s a YouTube montage that highlights some of the more memorable ones.
Famous Jeopardy! Lore and Trivia
History of Jeopardy!
Merv Griffin created the original Jeopardy! In 1964. The modern version was re-launched in 1984 and is taped at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, California. It is the same studio where shows like Wheel of Fortune, The Price Is Right, and The Young and the Restless are filmed.
They film five episodes of Jeopardy! a day, twice a week.
Alex Trebek hosted nearly 8,000 episodes from 1984 until his passing in 2020. Upon his death, Trebek had his entire wardrobe (including 300 neckties5https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/18/us/alex-trebek-wardrobe-doe-fund.html#:~:text=When%20he%20died%20in%20November,a%20day%2C%20twice%20a%20week.!) donated to homeless men and men who had just gotten out of jail.
Merv Griffin, who created both Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune, also wrote the iconic theme song from Jeopardy! It only took him 30 seconds to write the song, originally a lullaby for his son, which he called “A Time for Tony.” When he used the song for Jeopardy!, he renamed it “Think.”
Griffin would receive royalties every time the song played. Those royalties have stacked up to nearly $100,000,000 (including the years since his death in 2007).
Where the premise for the show came from
While on a flight in 1963, Merv Griffin and his wife Julann devised a unique twist for a game show concept6https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/How-Merv-Griffin-Came-Up-With-That-Weird-Question-Answer-Format-for-Jeopardy-180949815/ in response to quiz show scandals of the 1950s. Julann suggested reversing the game dynamics by providing answers and having contestants come up with the questions.
At first, Merv didn’t understand. Until Julann said, “The answer is ‘5,280.’”
To which he responded, “The question is, ‘How many feet in a mile?’”
She went on, “The answer is ‘79 Wistful Vista.’”
And Merv came back with “‘Where did Fibber McGee and Molly live?’”
They kept going back and forth, and by the time the plane landed, the premise for Jeopardy! was born.
Longest win streak
Ken Jennings (now the host) won a historic 74 games7https://www.jeopardy.com/contestant-zone/leaderboard-of-legends in a row in 2004.
Second place is Amy Schneider, with 40 games in 2022.
And third place is Matt Amodio, with 38 games in 2021.
Seven of the top ten win streaks occurred since 2019.
Most money won
James Holzhauer won the most money7https://www.jeopardy.com/contestant-zone/leaderboard-of-legends in a single game of Jeopardy! with $131,127 in 2021. Interestingly, Holzhauer also holds the record for the second through tenth place for most earnings in a game. One main reason Holzhauer won such a large amount of money is because he had a history in sports betting.
Brad Rutter has won more money than any other Jeopardy! Player overall with total earnings of nearly 5 million dollars.
How to create your own Jeopardy! style questions
Creating your own Jeopardy! Style questions can be a great way to test your knowledge, challenge friends and family, or even just have fun. To craft quality questions for your own game of Jeopardy! Here are seven tips on how to get started.
- Brainstorm topics. Think about what you know well or what interests you—and then try to come up with questions about those subjects.
- The appropriate level of difficulty. Determine how difficult you’d like to make your game of Jeopardy! How trivia savvy is the audience? Is the purpose of your game stiff competition or lighthearted fun?
- Think of clues. A good clue should be specific enough that there is only one right answer but vague enough that it has multiple layers of understanding.
- Research reliable sources. When forming your questions, ensure you use sources that are reliable and up-to-date; if possible, double-check facts by consulting multiple sources. Don’t rely on Wikipedia or ChatGPT. Make sure you double-check references against primary source documents whenever possible.
- Mix up clue formats. Instead of writing standard open-ended questions, consider using other formats such as multiple choice or fill-in-the-blank answers for added complexity or variety.
- Incorporate visual elements. Including visuals can also add another layer of interest; photos or videos can serve as clues and create visual interest while adding context and clarity for both readers and players alike.
- Make sure there’s only one correct answer. Remember, each question has only one correct answer. If it’s a multiple-choice question, you can include two wrong answers (or more) that sound plausible but are not actually correct (these are called distractors).
With these tips and strategies, you should now have all the knowledge necessary to create your own Jeopardy! Game show! Have fun with it 🙂
Suppose you’d like to create a non-Jeopardy! For trivia night, you might enjoy this list of apps and third parties to help with the ultimate trivia party.
Frequently Asked Questions About Jeopardy! Questions and Clues
Easy Jeopardy! Questions might include those like: “Made a U.S. federal holiday in 2021, it’s also known as Black Independence Day” (What is Juneteenth?) or “This rock band tops the list with more than 183 million album sales, & that’s all the clue you get” (Who are The Beatles?). These are considered easy as they’re based on fairly common facts and would fall in the bottom category of $200.
There is no indication that Jeopardy! Questions have gotten easier in recent years. Some internet fans believe this is the case, but the show has made no mention of questions easing up, and ultimately, it’s impossible to tell because it’s hard to measure how difficult a trivia question is.
Jeopardy! contestants typically have a broad base of general knowledge, and they often prepare extensively for the show. They usually study a wide range of topics and practice answering questions in the Jeopardy! Format.
The most common Final Jeopardy! Categories often include “U.S. History,” “World Geography,” “Literature,” and “Presidents,” although the categories can vary greatly from game to game.
Jeopardy! is a game show where contestants are given answers and must respond with the corresponding question. The game is played in rounds, with contestants earning money for correct responses, aiming to have the highest total by the end of the game.
To create engaging and challenging Jeopardy! Questions: Choose a broad range of topics, research notable facts or figures within those topics, and formulate your clues in a manner that is both engaging and thought-provoking. Just make sure each question only has one correct response.
Some popular categories for Jeopardy! questions include History, Literature, Pop Culture, Science, World Geography, and Arts. These broad categories allow for a wide range of questions and appeal to a variety of interests.
To improve your chances of winning at Jeopardy!, practice answering previous show questions, broaden your general knowledge base, and work on increasing your response speed. Understanding betting strategies for Daily Doubles and Final Jeopardy can also significantly boost your chances.
Takeaways on Jeopardy! Questions
Hopefully, you enjoyed some of the practice questions above!
If you’d like to continue to upgrade your Jeopardy! Skills, remember the following tips:
- Familiarize yourself with the categories. Which do you see most often? Presidents, Shakespeare, and world capitals are three categories to brush up on.
- Strengthen your weaknesses. Determine where you have holes in your knowledge base, and then let yourself curiously learn about those topics.
- Take practice tests. One of the best ways to improve is to practice, practice, practice! Check out the archive of Jeopardy! Episodes.
- Bet big on daily doubles. Odds are you’ll get these right more than you’ll get them wrong, so play the stats and bet big.
- Learn wagering techniques. One way to win big is to learn how to bet. Study the algorithm provided earlier in the article.
And if you choose to set up your own Jeopardy game amongst your friends, just remember these tips:
- Determine the desired level of difficulty
- Make sure you do your research with reliable sources
- Mix up clue formats
- Incorporate visual elements
- Make sure there’s only one correct answer.
There you have it! Good luck on your trivia journey ahead.If you’d like more trivia ideas for a different style of game, you could check out this guide on 150 Family Feud-style questions.
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