Pass Auf Rules
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One novice and one varsity team per school, competing in separate tournaments. Novice teams, consisting only of students in German 1 and German 2 who have never competed in Pass auf! before, compete only at the regional level and do not advance to state.
A team may consist of up to seven players, with no advantaged speakers. However, only up to five players may compete in a given round. Two teams play head-to-head in each game. There will be at least five questions from each of the following broad categories: History & Politics, Arts & Letters, Odds & Ends, and Erdkunde, (5 x 4 = 20) plus an additional five questions from one of the above categories to round out the 25 questions. In each category there will be questions valued at 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 points, depending upon difficulty. There will also be one 50 point question relating to a specific theme announced each year.
From the time that a question is read for the first time, the teams have 30 seconds in which to signal. After signaling, a team has 30 seconds to confer before beginning to give the answer. If a team gives a correct answer, it receives the points designated for the question. If the team’s answer is not accepted by the moderator, the moderator will reread the question for the opposing team. It then has 30 seconds to signal whether it wants to try to answer the question. After it signals, it has 30 seconds in which to answer.
- A Varsity team may consist of any number of players who are in any level of German, with the exception of Advantaged Speakers and exchange students from German-speaking countries.
- A Novice team consists of any number of first and second year students, with the exception of Advantaged Speakers and exchange students from German-speaking countries. Novice team members must not have competed at Winterfest or State in Pass Auf. If a first- or second-year student has previously competed at Winterfest or State in Pass Auf, he or she may participate in the Varsity team but NOT the Novice team.
- Only five may play at a time. A team may begin playing with fewer than five players and players may be added after the game begins, if the team notifies the moderator before the game begins that players will be coming late. At no time may more than five team members during a game. Once a team starts playing, players may leave to go to other contests, but they may not be replaced. Alternates will be considered as spectators and may not observe unless the game is open for spectators. Spectators may not communicate in any way with the teams that are playing. Spectators are only allowed during the final game. They are not allowed is any other games at any of the contests.
- Each team must designate a captain. This is the only person from whom an answer may be accepted. In certain instances, the captain may designate one of the team members to give an answer. This must be done verbally and it must be acknowledged by the moderator before the answer may be accepted. If someone other than the captain or designee should give an answer, it will not be acknowledged by the moderator. In this instance, the appropriate person on the team must begin to give the answer before the allotted time expires.
Expectations of Conduct
- There will be no changes to times of Paβ Auf! Games in a contest. Teams may be eliminated if they are more than five minutes late to a scheduled game.
- Appropriate behavior is expected of all players and spectators. No interruptions will be tolerated while a team is attempting to answer a question. Clarification of rules may be addressed to the moderator between questions, before the game, or after the game, but never while a question is in play.
Categories & Questions
- Each game consists of a round of 25 questions. There will be at least five questions from each of the following broad categories: History & Politics, Arts & Letters, Odds & Ends, and Erdkunde, (5 x 4 = 20) plus an additional five questions from one of the above categories to round out the 25 questions.
- Questions in the broad categories of History & Politics, Arts & Letters and Odds & Ends, will be grouped in subcategories within each round. Subcategories will include but not be limited to the following: History and Politics: Early German History (Beginnings through the Folk Migrations), Middle Ages, Reformation 17-18th Centuries, 19th Century, Post War II Period, German American History, Texas German History, Government, European Union, Political Parties, Current Events, etc. Arts & Letters: Literature, Fairy Tales and Folk Tales, Drama & Cinema, Philosophy & Theology, Music/Composers, Art, Architecture, Scientists, Inventors. Odds & Ends: Proverbs, Holidays, food, games, sports, education, folk festivals, customs & traditions, travel vocabulary, communication, idioms, language functions, vocabulary, days, months & seasons, etc.
- For each category or subcategory in a round there will be questions valued at 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 points depending upon difficulty. Erdkunde will be asked in German and must be answered in German. Each year a theme will be announced and during that year there will be at least one 50 point question related to that theme asked in each round. Other questions related to the theme may also appear in the rounds.
- The questions will be read by the moderator in order as printed. The category and point value for each question will be stated before the question is read.
- After the question is read for the first time, the teams have up to 30 seconds in which to signal. They may confer during this time. If there is no signal within the 30 second period, the question is passed. To expedite the game, teams may elect to pass a question before the 30 second period expires.
- If a team signals while a question is being read, the moderator will stop immediately and may not complete the question or give any additional information or answer any questions.
- After signaling, the team has 30 seconds to begin giving an answer. It may confer during this time, but once the team starts giving an answer, it may not pause in order to gain more time. The first attempt by a team will be considered the answer – a team may not start over once it has begun to answer a question. In any case, the determination of whether or not to accept an answer lies with the moderator and not with the players, assistants or spectators.
- If the signaling team gives an incorrect answer or if it fails to answer the question in the time given, the moderator will repeat the question for the other team. The other team has 30 seconds to decide whether they want to try giving an answer or to pass. After deciding to attempt the question, the team has 30 seconds to begin giving an answer
- If a team gives a correct answer, it will receive the designated points, but no points will be deducted for failing to give a correct answer.
- Any challenge to a question or ruling by the moderator must be made immediately following the question or decision that is being challenged or before the game is declared finished. The judgement of the moderator is final.
- Should the moderator misread a question, give the answer before the other team has a chance to answer, etc., a replacement question from the same category and the same point value will be read. 17. If the score is tied after the round of questions is completed, the moderator will then select tie breakers from the alternate set of questions.
There are four categories of questions:
- History & Politics
- Arts & Letters
- Odds & Ends
- Erdkunde (Geography)
In every round, one category will be repeated. There will be at least five questions per round that pertain to the theme of the year.
All categories may include questions about any of the following:
- German Texans
Questions in any category may have words in German and may require answers in German. All Erdkunde (Geography) questions are in German and must be answered in German.
Questions in the broad categories of History & Politics, Arts & Letters and Odds & Ends, will be grouped in subcategories within each round. Subcategories will include but not be limited to the following:
History and Politics: Early German History (Beginnings through the Folk Migrations), Middle Ages, Reformation through 1700, 1700 to 1848, 1850 to 1945, Post War Period, German American History, Texas German History, Government, European Union, Political Parties, Current Events, etc.
Arts & Letters: Literature, Fairy Tales and Folk Tales, Drama & Cinema, Philosophy & Theology, Music/Composers, Art, Architecture, Scientists, Inventors.
Odds & Ends: Proverbs, Holidays, food, games, sports, education, folk festivals, customs & traditions, travel vocabulary, communication, idioms, language functions, abbreviations, days, months & seasons, etc.
In addition to the 4 Categories, there will be a special theme designated each year. During each round, one 50-point question will relate to this theme.
The theme for 2024 is UNESCO World Heritage Sites and Intangible Heritage Elements in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland.
Previous themes include:
- 2023: Scientists from DACHL-Länder: Space, Medicine, & Math
- 2022: Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms
- (2021: Virtual contest, no Pass Auf)
- 2020: German Texans
- 2019: German-Americans
- 2018: The German-speaking World, 1914-1945
- 2017: The Reformation
The contest is played in a tournament format with two teams playing head-to-head in each game.
A game consists of 25 questions – five questions from each of the following categories: History and Politics, Arts and Letters, Odds and Ends, Grammar, and Erdkunde. The questions deal with the German-speaking countries of Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein and Switzerland as well as German Americans and German Texans. In each category there will be questions valued at 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 points depending upon difficulty for a total of 750 points in each game.
An experienced moderator will read the questions. From the time that the question is read for the first time, the teams have 30 seconds in which to signal. To speed the game along, the teams may elect to pass the question before the 30 seconds is finished. The moderator may reread the question during this 30-second period. The teams are free to confer during this time.
Any team member may signal. After a team has signaled, the moderator may not provide any clarification or further information. If a team signals before the question is completed, the moderator must stop and may not complete reading the question for that team.
After signaling, a team has 30 seconds to confer before beginning to give the answer.
Before the game begins, each team must designate a team captain to give the team’s answers. This person is the only person from whom an answer may be accepted. In certain instances, the captain may designate one of the team members to give an answer. This must be done verbally and must be acknowledged by the moderator before the answer may be accepted. If someone other than the captain or the designee should give an answer, it will not be acknowledged by the moderator. In this instance, the appropriate person on the team must begin to give an answer before the allotted time expires.
Once the team begins to give an answer, it may not pause in order to gain time. The first attempt by a team will be considered the answer – a team may not start over once it has begun to answer a question. In any case, the determination of whether or not to accept an answer lies with the moderator and not with the players, assistants, or spectators.
If a team give a correct answer, it receives the points designated for the question. If the team’s answer is not accepted by the moderator, the moderator will reread the question for the opposing team. It has 30 seconds to signal whether it wants to try to answer the question. After it signals, it has 30 seconds in which to begin giving the answer.
Should the moderator misread a question, give the answer before the other team has a chance to answer, etc., a replacement question from the same category and the same point value will be read.
If the score is tied after the set of 25 questions is finished, the moderator will then select tie breakers from an alternate set of questions.
Appropriate behavior is expected of all players and spectators. No interruptions will be tolerated while a team is attempting to answer a question. Clarification of rules may be addressed to the moderator between questions or before or after the game, but never while a question is in play
Novice Sample Questions
[Arts & Letters] Name the German scientist who is considered the father of the American space program?
ANSWER: Werner von Braun
[History & Politics] Name the last major German offensive of WWII in the West.
ANSWER: Battle of the Bulge
[Odds & Ends] As of January 1, 2002, what is the basic monetary unit in Germany?
[Erdkunde] Wie heißt die Hauptstadt von Deutschland?
[Arts and Letters] Which king of Bavaria was the royal patron of Richard Wagner?
ANSWER: Ludwig II
[History and Politics] Name the Prussian king who preferred French to German and often calmed his nerves before battle by playing the flute?
ANSWER: Friedrich der Große (Frederick the Great)
[Odds and Ends] Give the German equivalent of “We believe what we wish to believe.”
ANSWER: Was man wünscht, glaubt man gern.
[Erdkunde] In welchem Bundesland fliesst die Mosel?
[Arts and Letters] What was the name of the group of artists who gathered in Munich before WWI and included the famous Russian-born artist Wassily Kandinsky?
ANSWER: Der Blaue Reiter
[History and Politics] Two part question: Who is the current Chancellor of Germany and to which political party does he belong?
ANSWER: Angela Merkel, CDU
[Odds and Ends] What is the German name for the famous boy’s choir from Vienna?
ANSWER: Wiener Sängerknaben
[Erdkunde] Wie heißt die Landeshauptstadt von Niederösterreich?
ANSWER: Sankt Pölten
[Arts and Letters] During the 15th century, guilds were formed to cultivate poetry and music. What were the members of these guilds called?
ANSWER: Meistersinger (Meistersänger)
[History and Politics] Name the missionary who attempted to Christianize the Germanic tribes. He established the bishoprics of Salzburg, Regensburg, Passau, and Erfurt.
ANSWER: St. Boniface
[Odds and Ends] Give the German equivalent of “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”
ANSWER: Ein Sperling in der Hand ist besser als eine Taube auf dem Dache.
[Erdkunde] Zweiteilig! Wie heißt Deutschlands höchster Berg und in welchem Bundesland steht er?
ANSWER: Zugspitze, Bayern
[Arts and Letters] Multi-part question. What period of German Literature followed the Aufklärung and was characterized by a love of sentimentality, nature and liberty? Who were its two most famous authors?
ANSWER: Sturm und Drang; Goethe and Schiller
[History and Politics] Multi-part question. For the first time since 1933, a freely elected all-German parliament met in what year, in what building, in which German city?
ANSWER: 1990; Reichstag; Berlin
[Odds and Ends] In Germany and Austria most prices include a value-added tax. What is the German term for this tax?
[Erdkunde] Welche Insel Gruppe liegt an der Nordsee Küste von Schleswig-Holstein?
ANSWER: Nordfriesische Inseln
Varsity Sample Questions
[Arts & Letters] Which German author, living from 1749-1832, is considered the greatest figure in German literature?
ANSWER: (Johann Wolfgang von) Goethe
[History & Politics] Who became the first Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire in 962?
ANSWER: Otto I
[Odds and Ends] What is a Stau?
ANSWER: traffic jam
[Erdkunde] Wie heißt die älteste Stadt Deutschlands?
[Arts & Letters] Which German wrote the words for the hymn “Ein Feste Burg ist Unser Gott”?
ANSWER: Martin Luther
[History & Politics] Which German Texas settlement was founded on Good Friday, 1845?
ANSWER: New Braunfels
[Odds & Ends] Give the German equivalent of “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”
ANSWER: Aus nichts, wird nichts.
[Erdkunde] Welcher Fluß ist die Grenze zwischen Liechtenstein und der Schweiz?
ANSWER: (der) Rhein
[Arts & Letters] Which group of Expressionist painters gathered in Dresden in 1905? Emil Nolde and Max Beckmann are well known members of this group.
ANSWER: Die Brücke
[History & Politics] The first all-German elections to the German Bundestag were held on what date?
ANSWER: Dec. 2, 1990
[Odds & Ends] Give the German name for the famous boy’s vocal group from Vienna.
ANSWER: Wiener Sängerknaben
[Erdkunde] Wie heißt der größte See Bayerns?
[Arts & Letters] Which German archeologist discovered and excavated the ancient city of Troy?
ANSWER: Heinrich Schliemann
[History & Politics] After the death of Charles VI, Austria was attacked by Prussia, Bavaria and France. During this war which lasted from 1740-1748 Prussia seized and held Silesia. Name this war.
ANSWER: War of Austrian Succession
[Odd & Ends] Give the German name for the warm, dry winter winds that come over the northern Alps from the Mediterranean and are blamed for everything from an increase in accidents to an increase in headaches?
[Erdkunde] Welcher Wald liegt zwischen der Tschechische Republik und Deutschland?
ANSWER: Der Böhmerwald
[Arts & Letters] Give the composers for each of the following pieces: Academic Festival Overture, Träumerei, and Der Rosenkavalier.
ANSWER: Academic Festival Overture – Johannes Brahms; Träumerei – Robert Schumann; Der Rosenkavalier – Richard Strauss
[History & Politics] What agreement issued in 1122 ended the investiture dispute between Henry III and the pope over the selection of bishops?
ANSWER: Concordat of Worms
[Odds and Ends] Two-part question. Name the oldest zoo in the German-speaking world and the city in which it is found.
ANSWER: Schönbrunn Zoo; Vienna (Wien)
[Erdkunde] Wie heißen die fünf neuen Länder Deutschlands?
ANSWER: Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Sachsen, Sachsen-Anhalt, Thüringen
Controversies and Disputes
If there is a question about an answer, the team with the questionable answer must have proof. Any dispute must be settled with the moderator before the round ends and the team disputing must have documented proof. The judgement of the moderator is final.
General settlement: Throw out the controversial question and ask a new question.
All documents from the Internet must be printed directly from the the Internet showing the source. Any printed source must be in the room with the players, who may not leave the room.
A maximum of three protests per round per team may be allowed. To avoid any unpleasant controversy there will be a referee, who is an impartial party, such as a professor. The referee will have the last word in disputes.
The Pass Auf Coordinator may have a recording device ready for moderators to use to record each round. This should alleviate disputes concerning pronunciation, as well as content of questions and answers. Before recording, the moderator will say to the teams: “This round is being recorded for your protection. This recording will be used to settle all disputes.”
Game Preparation Tips
Tips for preparing a Team
- Download the questions posted on the State German Contest web-site and review them for format and the types of questions asked in the different categories.
- Assign students or teams of students to research areas in which they are interested. They should research those and make up questions. Be sure that all areas are covered.
- Students should also keep up with current events; a certain number of questions every year will be from recent news.
- Questions should be short answer where a phrase or name are sufficient to answer.
- There are no true/ false or multiple choice questions in the game.
- Some questions can be flipped so that the stem clue can be an answer and the answer can be a new stem clue.
- The teacher should review the questions and be sure that they are appropriate.
- At the state contest there are visuals of famous people, famous art works, buildings, landmarks, coats of arms of states, country flags, maps, etc. Students should become familiar with them.
- Questions should be entered into a word document so they can be used for study and practice. It is a good idea to have two versions – one by category and one random version.
- Some test bank software may give you the flexibility to generate different “tests” question sets.
- Assign students to study at least two categories. Be sure that you have at least two students to a category so that during a competition, if one is missing due to a scheduling conflict, the content will be covered.
- Two important keys in preparing a team are knowing the content and being fast on the buzzers.
- Content comes from study, but speed comes from practice. One way to drill both is to have the team sit as they would in contest and ask them questions from the question bank that you have developed. Rapid fire question rounds really help teams develop speed. Mark those questions that they miss and ask them again after you run through the question sets. Keep going until they master the questions.
- Run set up question sets as described above and run through practice games.
If you have more students that want to play and you need to determine which five should be your starting line-up, you can do tryouts two stage tryouts. Stage 1 would be a written test using randomly selected questions. Rank the students by their scores. Stage 2 would be to ask questions and have students signal in. At the end of the set of questions, rank students by their scores. This method addresses the two key factors in the game – knowledge and speed of response.
- CIA World Factbook: Germany
- German National Tourist Board
- Nations Online Profile: Germany
- German Federal Government
- German Missions in the United States
- CIA World Factbook: Switzerland
- Nations Online Profile: Switzerland
- Switzerland Tourism
- Information about Switzerland
- Discover Switzerland
- CIA World Factbook: Liechstenstein
- Nations Online Profile: Principality of Liechstenstein
- Principality of Liechtenstein
- Tourism of Liechtenstein
German-Americans and German Texans:
- Texas Almanac: German Texans
- German Seed in Texas Soil by Terry Jordan (ISBN 0-292-72707-0)
- The History of the German Settlements in Texas 1831-1861 by Rudolph Leopold Biesele (ISBN 1-57168-236-8)
- Nobel Prize Winners’ List
- German newspapers and magazines for current events
- The “Culture” section of the Tips for Written Tests document
- German: Komm mit!, Deutsch Aktuell
- Erstes Buch by Harry Reinert (ISBN 978-0-87720-583-8, available on AbeBooks)
- German, Second and Third Years by Harry Reinert (ISBN 978-0-87720-577-7)
- Textbooks for World History, American History, Texas History
- Information about famous scientists from Biology, Chemistry, and Physics textbooks
Pass Auf! Wortschatz
Pass Auf! Wortschatz
|älteste||Gegend, die||Olypiade, die|
|Bahn, die||groß, größte||östlich, östlichst-|
|bauen, eine Grenze||Großlandschaft, die||Passionsspiel, das|
|benutzen||Hauptlandschaft, die||Quelle, die|
|Berg, der||Hauptstadt, die||recht-|
|Bergspitze, die||Heide, die||Religionsgehörigkeit, die|
|Bergwiese, die||Heimatstadt, die||Residenz, die|
|berühmt-, berühmtest-||Herz, das||römisch|
|besichtigen||hoch, höchst-||Ruine, die|
|besiedelt-||Hochebene, die||Sandstein, der|
|Blüte, die||Hügel, der||Schffahrt, die|
|Bodenschatz, der||IAEA||Schloss, das|
|Buchdruckzentrum, das||im Jahre..||Schwebebahn, die|
|Buchstabe, die||in der Nähe von…||Schweizer|
|Bundes-||Industriestadt, die||See, der|
|Bundesland, das||Inlandhafen, der||See, die|
|Burg, die||Insel, die||Seehafen, der|
|Denkmahl||Kanal, der||Sitz, der|
|deutsch||Kanton, der||Sprache, die|
|dünnstbevölkert-||Kontinent, das||Straße, die|
|durch||Küste, die||Strom, der|
|Ebene, die||Lager, das||süd|
|ehemalig-||Land, das||südlich, südlichst|
|Einwohner, der||Landeshauptstadt, die||Symbol, das|
|Eisenerz, das||lang, längst-||Tal, das|
|Fels, der||mittelalterlich-||Vernügungspark, der|
|Fest, das||mittler-||Vielfalt, die|
|flach||münden sich||Volksfest, das|
|fließen||Mündung, die||Wald, der|
|Flughafen, der||Museum, das||Wappen|
|Flugverkehr, der||Name, der||Wasserkraft, der|
|Fluß, der||Nationalzeichen, das||Wasserweg, der|
|Flußhafen, der||Naturschutzgebiet, das||Wein, der|
|für etwas bekannt sein||nennen||westlich, westlichst-|
|Gebiet, das||neu||wichtig, wichtigst-|
|Gebirge, Das||nord||Zeitzone, die|
|nördlich, nördlichst-||Zentrum, das|