Rules & Regulations

Preliminary Rounds


  1. A published, password protected list of 1500 words that can be downloaded from following the registration and submission of fees.
  2. Webster’s Third New International Dictionary and its addenda section is the official source for The Spelling Bee Championship 2017-2018.
  1. Judges are in full control of the competition and their decisions are final.
  2. The preliminary competitions will consist of three rounds, one written round and two oral rounds
  3. During the written round the pronouncer will provide the pronunciation of the word, its definition, alternate pronunciation, and use in a sentence. Alternate definitions will not be provided.
  4. 30 seconds will be provided for the spellers to write down the spelling during the written phase. Spellers are responsible to record the spelling clearly and legibly to avoid misinterpretation during grading.
  5. During the oral round, once the pronouncer has pronounced a word, the speller must pronounce the word prior to spelling the word as well as following the completion of the spelling. The speller may request the following during this phase:
    1. Have the word pronounced again
    2. Ask for the definition of the word
    3. Ask for the word to be used in a sentence.
  6. All of this information will only be provided upon request
  7. Each speller will be allowed 90 seconds to finish spelling the word during the oral phase. The timer will start as soon as the pronouncer pronounces the word for the first time. No points will be awarded to the speller upon failure to finish spelling within the allocated time.
  8. The spelling of a word will be accepted as correct and the points awarded only if the uttered letters match the spelling of the appropriate word in the official source which correlates to the pronunciation and definition provided by the pronouncer. [Note: Words that are categorized as archaic, obsolete, substandard, and/or nonstandard in the official source will neither be asked nor accepted as correct spellings.]
  9. Phase 1 consists of 3 rounds - one written and 2 oral.
  10. In the written round the spellers are required to legibly write the spelling of 25 words in an answer sheet supplied at the competition. Words in this phase will be selected from the published list.
  11. All spellers from Round 1 will automatically advance to Round 2 and 3.
  12. Oral rounds consist of 2 words that will be selected from the published list. The speller will be asked to come to the microphone and spell the words. While no points will be awarded to a speller in the case of a misspelling, a misspelling will NOT result in the disqualification of the speller. Each speller will be given two words.
  13. Students who qualify will move on to phase 2 and then respectively further qualification will entitle them to enter the finals.
Homonyms and Variants
  1. If any word provided during all three phases of the preliminary competition has one or more homonyms, the pronouncer will indicate that it is a homonym and will provide the definition of the word that is to be spelled.
  2. If for any reason, the pronouncer does not identify the word as a homonym, and the speller correctly spells the homonym of the word then the spelling will be accepted as correct. However, if, during the exchange between the pronouncer and the speller in the oral phase of the competition, the pronouncer has supplied a definition of the word, then speller will need to spell the defined word.
  3. On the rare occasion that a word, for which more than one spelling is listed in the official source, is asked, either of the spellings will be accepted as correct, only if all of the spellings listed match the pronunciation and definition provided by the pronouncer.
Qualifications to the Semifinals
  1. At the conclusion of all the three rounds of the preliminary competition, the combined scores from the three rounds of the preliminary competition for all the participating spellers will be recorded to identify the spellers who qualify for the semifinals competition.
  2. All those with a total score of 40 points or more, from each of the preliminary contests will advance to The Spelling Bee Semi Finals. All remaining spellers are eliminated from the 2017-2018 Spelling Bee Championship.
  3. The list of spellers that qualify for the 2017-2018 Spelling Bee Semi Finals will be sent to their respective schools.
  4. Students who have enrolled directly through “Open Enrollment” will be informed via email
  5. A consolidated list of all those who have qualified will be posted online at