In the most dramatic round of The Big Quiz so far, teams took big gambles on a day that Catholic Junior College (CJC) ended up on top.
Anglo-Chinese Junior College (ACJC), for example, decided to risk everything by using its "double your points" card to propel it from 60 points to 120 points to come in second yesterday.
Had the team answered wrongly, it would have lost all 60 of its points.
Hwa Chong Institution (HCI) survived three "sabo king" cards - which forced it to answer questions deflected by its opponents - to take joint second place with ACJC.
Twice, HCI student Jonathan Chua, 18, knelt down after answering questions, in the fervent hope that he had answered correctly.
RE-EVALUATING PRESS FREEDOM
Over the past 10 years, many countries have re-evaluated the value of 'freedom' in the light of terrorism, which is very real... It is something that has changed the balance of the debate.
MR IGNATIUS LOW, The Straits Times' deputy editor, on whether it was better to practise censorship or allow full press freedom.
Through all this, CJC kept its cool.
CJC student Jose Tan, 16, said: "We were very disappointed during the first two rounds because we made many silly errors."
For instance, when asked where is the nomination centre for the Bukit Batok by-election, CJC said Xin Hua Primary School. The correct answer is Keming Primary School.
Despite being at the bottom after the first two segments, CJC's strategising paid off, giving it the win. National Junior College finished last.
The CJC members - Tan Shi Yen, 18, Andi Chun, 16, and Jose - were chosen as participants for this round of The Big Quiz through an internal "inter-class mock Big Quiz" involving 25 teams from their school.
Yesterday was the third round of the Big Quiz, which is jointly organised by The Straits Times and the Ministry of Education. The presenting sponsor is the Singapore Press Holdings Foundation.
In each round, four teams made up of pre-university students battle it out, and one is crowned the winner of that round.
The fourth and fifth rounds of the quiz will take place on May 18 at River Valley High School, and July 20 at Raffles Institution. Each winning team will be given $600 in vouchers.
Altogether, about 20 schools will take part in this year's competition, which is being held for the fifth time.
Before the start of yesterday's quiz, which was held at ACJC, students and teachers attended a talk by Straits Times deputy editor Ignatius Low, who spoke about press freedom and the independence of the media.
Mr Low touched on press practices around the world, and talked about whether there could truly be "a free press". He also spoke about the Singapore model, with an overview of the social climate and commercial considerations that shape the way journalists here did their jobs.
During the question-and-answer session that followed, ACJC student Nadya Goh, 17, asked if it was better to practise censorship or allow full press freedom. Mr Low said: "Unfortunately, when there is no regulation at all, especially on the Internet, people with ill intentions will flourish... Over the past 10 years, many countries, including the United States and Britain, have re-evaluated the value of 'freedom' in the light of terrorism, which is very real... It is something that has changed the balance of the debate."
For more information, see www.straitstimes.com/tags/the-big-quiz