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WishWin - SpellPundit
Spellathon 2020 Online National Championship Rules and Guidelines

  • Students who are in K - 4 grade, as of September 2020, are eligible to participate in Junior Spellathon
  • Students who are in 5 - 8 grade, as of September 2020, are eligible to participate in Senior Spellathon

All spellers, including current students, must register for the competition by signing up at

Registration fee is $25 until August 15 and $30 from August 16.

The registration fee is non-refundable.

Registration will be on a first come, first served basis and will close after the capacity is reached.

Prize Money

Top three winners of each category will be awarded cash prizes. A total of $7000 in cash prizes will be awarded to the Spellathon winners. All cash prizes are sponsored by SpellPundit (

Junior Spellathon: Grades K-4 Senior Spellathon: Grades 5-8
Junior Spellathon Champion: $2000 Senior Spellathon Champion: $2000
Junior Spellathon First-Runner-Up: $1000 Senior Spellathon First-Runner-Up: $1000
Junior Spellathon Second-Runner-Up: $500 Senior Spellathon Second-Runner-Up: $500
The prize money may be redistributed in some special circumstances. For example, if the top prize is shared by 3 people, the total prize money of the top three ranks will be equally distributed.
Spellathon Schedule
Junior Spellathon Senior Spellathon
Preliminaries: September 12 Preliminaries: September 13
Semi-Finals: September 19 Semi-Finals: September 26
National Finals: September 20 National Finals: September 27
Spellathon Junior and Senior Preliminaries (Online):
  • Preliminaries will consist of an online written test with 25 spelling questions and 25 vocabulary questions. Duration of the test will be about 1 hour
  • There will be 3 online tests in each category, and students can choose to participate in any of the 3 tests
Spellathon Junior and Senior National Semi-Finals (Online):
  • A specific number of students from the Preliminaries as determined by the organizers will be invited to the National Semi-Finals
  • The National Semi-Finals will consist of oral rounds only and the top students will be determined based on elimination method
Spellathon Junior and Senior National Finals (Online):
  • A specific number of students from the Semi-Finals as determined by the organizers will qualify for the National Finals
  • The National Finals will consist of oral rounds only and the top students will be determined based on elimination method
Oral Rounds process
Spellers should join the oral competitions using an online link provided by the organizers prior to the start of the oral rounds. Spellers who are late to join the competition will be disqualified.
  • The oral rounds will be conducted in standard spelling bee format (i.e., a speller will be eliminated from the competition if they misspell their word).
  • In each round, the speller has 2 minutes to spell the word they are given, starting from the time when the pronouncer first says the word. The speller may seek information in the first 90 seconds, and no questions are allowed in the last 30 seconds of their time.
  • If technical or other difficulties are experienced, during spelling a word, the judges may give the speller a different word for the round.
  • If technical difficulties continue with a small number of spellers, organizers will continue the bee without the spellers who continue to have technical difficulties.
  • Judges may at their discretion use alternative tools to communicate with spellers, especially if there are many technical challenges.
Word Lists and Official Dictionary
  • Students will be provided with a word list consisting of 1000 words after registration. The word list for the Junior and Senior Spellathon are different.
  • Students who are registered for the competition will be able to prepare the word lists on SpellPundit website for no additional cost.
  • Out of the 25 spelling words in the written test, 15 words will be from the study/word list. Out of the 25 vocabulary words in the written test, 15 words will be from the study/word list.
  • The Merriam Webster Unabridged Online Dictionary at ( will be the official source for words and word information for the bee.
Computing Requirements:
  • All spellers should have a computer (not a phone or not a tablet) with a microphone and webcam. Spellers without a computer with microphone or webcam are not allowed to participate.
  • The interface for the Preliminaries will not work on a phone or tablet and will work only on Windows or Mac computer (laptop or desktop).
  • The written test software has been tested extensively using chrome browser. Spellers should download the chrome browser (on Windows or Mac) for the written test.
  • The speller or a parent should have admin rights to install software on the computer, such as Zoom.
Online Logistics and Honor System:
  • The entire competition (written and oral round) will be held online. During all rounds of competition (written and oral), spellers must not seek help from any external resources. This includes, but is not limited to, other people (e.g. parents, friends), any devices (e.g. phone, computer, additional computer or monitor, dictionary), or any software (e.g. online dictionary).
  • Spellers should take written and oral rounds in a quiet and well-lit room.
  • Spellers should sit in a room such that there is a mirror behind them. The mirror can be a permanent mirror or a portable mirror. The mirror should be positioned behind the spellers to enable the organizers to clearly see the area in front of the spellers. If the mirror is not availabale, there should be a secondary device (a phone or a laptop placed behind the speller at a distance) that shows the room and the speller's computer.
  • When taking the online written test, spellers must not switch browser tabs or open other websites/software/files on their device. If they do so, the software will close the online test and the speller will be disqualified from the competition
  • During all rounds of competition (written and oral), spellers are required to be in front of a webcam, and their physical movements as well as operations on the computer screen will be continuously recorded. Spellers should adjust their webcam position such that judges can see the speller and the surroundings.
  • Spellers should not mute themselves at any time, but the judges may choose to mute all spellers at their discretion. Spellers should remain as silent as possible when they are unmuted in order to avoid disrupting other spellers and the competition.
  • While taking the online written test and oral rounds, ideally, the speller should be alone in a room with no one else in the room. If parent(s) and sibling(s) want to be in the room, they should be behind the speller and judges should be able to see parent(s) and sibling(s) at all times. Parents and siblings should not help the speller in any way and if they do so, the speller will be disqualified from the competition.
  • Spellers should not seek any competitive advantage by any other means. As a general rule, if something is not allowed during a regular spelling bee (e.g. possession of a phone during competition), it is not allowed in this online competition.
  • Organizers may ask a speller to show the entire room, using the webcam, if they have any questions
  • Ultimately, this competition is an honor system and we rely on the integrity of the spellers to uphold the fairness of the competition.
Oral Bee Logistics
  • Parents should not be in the same room as the speller. They can watch the Facebook livestream of the bee from a separate room. No one other than speller should remain in the room while the speller is taking the test.
  • If a speller is out of the competition, they can continue to watch the bee via Facebook Livestream.
  • Just like a regular bee, the speller should not receive any external help from any source (e.g. parents, siblings, internet, dictionary, etc.). If the judges believe that a speller is receiving any external help, the speller will be disqualified from the bee.
  • Prior to receiving each word, the speller should show both hands to the judges. The speller should continue to show the hands while spelling his/her word. The hands should be visible in the Zoom video frame until the speller finishes spelling the word.
End of the Grand National Finals
  • The bee will end when there is only one speller. To win the bee, the last speller has to spell his/her own word and a championship word. If a speller misses the championship word, all the remaining spellers from the previous round will be reinstated.
  • When there are only three or less spellers remain in the bee, we will begin using a 30-word list. If no speller misses his/her word during this stage, all three will be declared as joint winners and the prize money will be distributed. If one speller misses the word, the remaining two spellers will continue till the end of the 30-word list.
  • All judge's decisions are final. Depending on the circumstances of the competition, judges reserve the right to change the rules of the competition. Judges will do their best to preserve the integrity and fairness of the competition
  • In case of unexpected technical difficulties, if necessary, judges will select winners using different criteria (such as online written test scores).
Privacy and Permissions
  • The organizers may record speller's movements and actions on the computer screen during the contest. By registering for the competition, spellers/parents give the organizers permission to record both.
  • Oral rounds will be broadcast live on various social media channels. All parents, spellers, other family members who appear on Zoom video, are agreeing to broadcast their images and images of the property.
  • The organizers may provide contact information of winner(s) to the media.
  • The organizers may use the recorded material in preparing promotional videos.
  • The organizers may send newsletters to registered spellers.