WITH a cautious approach, a team from Jurong Junior College (JJC) inched its way to the top in the second stand-alone quiz of the decentralised Big Quiz yesterday.
The all-girl trio of Janice Ng, Michelle Tan and Ong Ling Jing, all aged 16 and in their first year, crept up from behind - they were trailing after two segments - to beat a second team from their school, one from Anglo-Chinese Junior College (ACJC) and another from River Valley High School (RVHS).
Their winning strategy? Low-risk consistency.
In the final of three game segments, teams could select 10-, 20- or 30-point questions. The higher the stakes, the more difficult the question.
The team opted for 10-point questions and nailed every one attempted. In comparison, the other teams chose tougher questions, gambling on the higher payoffs - but paid dearly when they faltered and lost points.
In fact, when the ACJC team was down to 10 points, team member Kristofer Wong, 17, asked if the score would go into the negative, earning a gale of laughter from the audience.
When told it would not, the team played a "double points" card on a 30-point question - which would double either its payoff or loss. The team answered the question wrongly, which wiped out its points.
Soon, the all-girl JJC trio overtook initial front runners RVHS and the other JJC team to secure a clear lead. They bagged $600 in shopping vouchers, while the other participating teams each received $120 in shopping vouchers.
Despite realising they would be asked about international news besides local current affairs when the quiz commenced, the girls remained calm. Janice said she and her teammates keep up with the news regularly, so she was "quite confident".
They are the second winning team to emerge from the refreshed format of The Straits Times-Ministry of Education National Current Affairs Quiz, presented by the Singapore Press Holdings Foundation.
Yesterday's quiz round, hosted by ACJC, followed on from a talk by Straits Times sports editor Marc Lim.
Addressing more than 300 students from ACJC, JJC, RVHS, Pioneer Junior College and NUS High School of Mathematics and Science, Mr Lim spoke about the costs incurred by countries hosting major sporting events, such as the recent Sochi Winter Olympics and the upcoming World Cup in Brazil.
He also fielded questions from the students, whose queries included whether sportsmen were overpaid to his personal picks for the England national football team.
Said Kristofer: "I think it was quite interesting, because personally, I watch football and (the talk) tells you more about what goes on behind the scenes... like the process beforehand, the negative aspects of it... It helps you to weigh and rank whether such events are good."
The next two quiz rounds will be held at Hwa Chong Institution on July 30 and Dunman High on Aug 6.
For more information, go to www.straitstimes.com/thebigquiz
Additional reporting by Laremy Lee, Nur Syahiidah Zainal and Amanda Phoon