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14 November 2010

Preparing for Worlds

At this time of year I get some queries asking a few common questions related to Worlds.  Therefore each year I move this post up to the top of the blog to answer some some general questions.

Q. I would like to go to Worlds.  How can I register?
A. Unfortunately at this point you can't.  Registration happened back in June and was over subscribed in 90 seconds.  You can visit for more info.  The best thing to do is aim for Worlds in 2012 (Manila) and in the meantime look at attending some of the big IVs or regional championships.  Oxford and Cambridge are in November and WUPID in December and all are also well worth looking at.

Q. We have tried to register for Worlds and can't.  Can you help?
A. No I can't.  I don't have any role in the organisation of Worlds.  My Emeritus role on council is a non-voting honorary one so I don't have any power to help.  To be honest even if I did have the power I wouldn't attempt to override or influence the hard working org committee.

Q. Where can I find more information about Worlds?
A. Other than this site ( visit

Q. Are there any Training guides for Worlds?
A. Yes.  Lots.  Best place to look is

Q. Are there any videos of Worlds format?
A. Yes. Again lots.  The best place to look is

Q. What topics are likely to come up?
A. That's not quite like asking what the lottery numbers are but it's not far behind.  A quick look at past Worlds motions show that it covers a wide range of subjects.  In recent years I have published a list of potential topics.  I'll republish it but bear in mind that the list has 130 topics and there are many many other potential subjects.  The best way to prepare is to be as well read as possible.

Q. What are good sources of information on topics?
A. At this stage it's about reading and understanding as wide a range of subjects as possible.  Be up to speed with the latest topics and issues.  Assuming you are going as a team or squad then share the work. I suggest you buy versions of Time, Newsweek and the Economist. The Economist World in 2010 special edition is due our soon and is always useful.

On the internet start reading the BBC website. As well as breaking news they often have good topic outlines and backgrounds. Some other websites exist with more general principle based topics.  Check and  as both have talking points on many topics.

If you are looking to create a case file then remember that the key is that you have to know the information is there. You won't have time to read every thing between now and the start of the tournament. Create an index of the topics you have in the file. And it has to be paper based. Worlds rules prohibit the use of electronic equipment.

Q. What happens if a topic comes up I haven't researched?
A. This isn't just likely it is certain.  It is important to understand that no matter how much research you do you will have to debate several topics which you have not prepared for. You can't have covered everything. In a case like this don't panic but go back to the "first principles" post in the training section. . One key thing is not to panic.  Be comfortable speaking and this leads me to the next question.

Q. How do I train for Worlds?
A. The best way to train for debating is to debate.  It's one thing to know what to do and how to do it but it is another when you are standing up there translating thoughts to speech.  I recently spoke in a debate for the first time in several years (usually I judge).  I was so rusty it was scary.  I knew what I wanted to say and how I wanted to say it but I just struggled more than I expected.  The best way to prepare for Worlds is to debate as often as possible.  If you can go to some IVs.  If you can't get to many IVs then organise Worlds style debates within your society.  The more you speak in debates the more natural and fluent it will become for you.

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