Blog Archives

Points of Clarification When You’re Totally Lost

By Max Neuman, Columbia University, ’20 The point of clarification (POC) session is one of the newer arrivals on the APDA scene, coming into its prime over the years since the league-wide adoption of Rocky Clocky in stopped the clock

Posted in Basics, Tips and Strategies

A Guide to Debating About Art

By Mars He, Harvard University ’18 I’ve heard many times, after being in or seeing a debate about art, that art rounds are undebatable, unfair, or pointless because “art is subjective.” And while I never spent time on the American

Posted in Articles, Tips and Strategies

No High School Debate Experience? No Problem

By Rebecca Heller, Georgetown University ’16 Author’s Note: This article is intended for all novices, but it is specifically geared towards people who did not participate in high school debate. If you did participate in high school debate, consider reading this article as

Posted in Articles, Basics, Tips and Strategies

Dealing With Nerves In Debate Rounds

By Amelia Koby, William & Mary ’18 Learning a form of debate that emphasizes spontaneity makes even the most confident people nervous. Whether you’re just starting debate now, or did four years in policy in high school, the right mental

Posted in Articles, Tips and Strategies

Preparing For Tournaments

By Geneva Kropper, University of Maryland ’17 The Tournament Starts on Wednesday: How to Practice and Prepare to Make the Best of Your Weekend Before it Begins When I was in high school, my debate coach used to warn my

Posted in Articles, Tips and Strategies

Argument Generation

By Will Meyer, Swarthmore College ’17 At its core, debate is about arguments. Hopefully this doesn’t surprise anyone reading this. While rhetoric helps people present their arguments in the most persuasive manner, without good arguments, the judge will be persuaded

Posted in Articles, Tips and Strategies

How to Debate In Front Of Inexperienced Judges

By Rebecca Heller, Georgetown University ’16 Not every APDA tournament has enough experienced judges to adjudicate every round. This means that some tournaments use “campus judges,” or students of the host school who are rarely or never involved in APDA.

Posted in Articles, Tips and Strategies

Recovering from Mishandled POIs/Contradictions

By: Ben Kornfeld, Yale University 2013 Every debater, even the best, has the occasional mental lapse. Positions are taken that were not well thought out, a contradictory advocacy is provided or a reasonable argument is expressed poorly and misinterpreted. These

Posted in Articles, Tips and Strategies

The Best Way to Improve

By: Young Seol, Brown University 2014 One of the best ways to improve as a debater, particularly for novices without any prior debate experience, is to simply watch lots of debate rounds. Many high-level rounds are collected online at

Posted in Articles, Tips and Strategies

Room Dynamics

By: Pete Falk, Northeastern University 2016 On APDA, “winning the room” means getting the judge and other people watching the round to think you are winning, or support you, whether or not you are actually winning the arguments in the

Posted in Articles, Tips and Strategies