All participants are expected to arrive at the event location with adult supervision no later than 30 minutes prior to the announced starting time of the contest. 

The role of the pronouncer is (1) to correctly pronounce the word and (2) to give a sentence, definition, and other information about the word at the speller's request.

The role of the speller is (1) to gather as much information as possible to help spell the word correctly and (2) to spell the word correctly.

In competition, after the pronouncer gives the speller a word, the speller is encouraged to pronounce the word before spelling it and after spelling it. The judges may not disqualify a speller for failing to pronounce the word either before or after spelling it.

The speller may ask the pronouncer to say the word again, define it, and use it in a sentence.

Having started to spell a word, a speller may stop and start over, retracing the spelling from the beginning. In retracing, however, there can be no change of letters or their sequence from those first pronounced. If letters or their sequence is changed in the respelling, the speller will be eliminated.

Under no circumstance is any speller asked to correct the misspelling of another speller.

If none of the spellers remaining in the spelling bee at the start of a round spells a word correctly during that round, all shall remain in the competition with the spellers spelling in the original order.

21. All spellers eliminated in the same round will be tied for the same place.

22. During the final rounds of the competition, the judges may choose to allow participants the option of writing the word down on paper before being required to spell it orally.

23. If only one of the spellers remaining in the competition at the start of a round spells a word correctly during that round, a new round shall begin and the speller shall be given an opportunity to spell the next word on the list. If the speller succeeds in correctly spelling the new word, the speller shall be declared the champion. Otherwise (that is, if the speller does not succeed in correctly spelling the new word), all the spellers remaining in the competition at the start of the previous round shall remain in the competition. A new round will begin, with these spellers spelling in the original order.

  • The champion is not the champion until he or she has spelled correctly two more words than the speller or spellers placing second have spelled. These two words will be spelled consecutively only if the champion is the last speller in a round.
  • It is possible in two instances to have a round in which only one word is spelled. The first instance of a one-word round is the correct spelling of the final championship word. The second instance of a one-word round is the misspelling of what could have been the final championship word.

24. Any question relating to the spelling of a word should be referred to the designated official immediately in writing on the official appeal form that will be provided at the competition. The official appeal form will contain space for the following: the word in question, the name of the speller, and the reason for the appeal.

25. Appeals may be filed by a parent, legal guardian, and/or teacher/administrator of the speller who is seeking reinstatement in the contest. The judges will not entertain appeals from individuals seeking to dislodge another speller from the competition. The deadline for filing an appeal is before the speller affected would have received his/her next word had he/she stayed in the competition. No appeal will be entertained after that word has been given to another speller.

26. When only five or fewer spellers remain, an oral appeal must be made immediately, that is, before the speller affected would have received his/her next word had he/she stayed in the contest.

27. If a word has one or more homonyms, the pronouncer will indicate which word is to be spelled. If the listed word is not properly identified, either by defining it or distinguishing the homonyms, any correct spelling of any homonym of the word will be accepted.

28. The speller shall not be disqualified for failing to note that a word is capitalized (noted as "cap," "usu cap," "often cap," or "sometimes cap."

29. The dictionary provided by the judges shall serve as the final authority for the spelling of words. If more than one spelling is listed for a word, any of these spellings will be accepted as correct if the word either matches the pronunciation and definition provided by the pronouncer or if it is clearly identified as being a standard variant of the word that the speller has been asked to spell. Spellings at other locations having archaic, obsolete, or regional labels (such as North, Midland, Irish) that are different from those at the main entry will not be accepted as correct.

30. Previous contestants and winners of this championship bee are allowed to compete in subsequent years as long as they qualify.


Spellers who correctly spell their Round One oral words advance to Round Two, which may be a 15 word (minimum) written test. This written test will occur immediately following each speller's successful completion of round one.

Round Two shall be a 15 word (minimum) written test, with eliminations occurring in accordance with a "threshold of 25" standard. One point shall be given for each word misspelled, resulting in scores that range from 0 to 15: The score for no words misspelled shall be 0. Spellers' scores in this round shall be plotted on a chart. Beginning at 0 on the chart, the judges shall begin adding spellers at each consecutive scoring level until a sum of at least 25 spellers has been attained. This point shall be called the "threshold of 25," and all spellers with scores at levels beyond the "threshold of 25" shall be eliminated from the competition.

Results will be announced as soon as all ballots have been scored. Spellers with written test scores beyond the "threshold of 25" will be eliminated in Round Two, and all other remaining spellers will advance to Round Three.

The correct spellings of all words will be provided at the conclusion of the test.

The Southern California Spelling Bee Championship will neither release the individual test results nor the range of scores. However, any speller not qualifying for Round Three may obtain a copy of his/her graded test paper. These spellers may disclose their results at their discretion.


How many words does a speller have to spell correctly in order to advance beyond Round Two?
We do not know. Spellers are not competing against a pre-set standard, such as correctly spelling all words. A speller's success in Round Two depends on how well he/she scores on the test in comparison to other spellers' scores on the test.

What is the significance of the number 25?
We project that with the threshold of 25 standard we will safely manage to advance a certain number of spellers so that the competition may be completed in a timely manner.

Am I reading correctly that only 25 spellers will qualify for the third round of competition?
No: At least 25 spellers will qualify. It is possible that many more than 25 spellers will qualify. Let's say that 14 spellers have scores between 0 and 10 (the lower the number, the better the score). Twenty (20) spellers have scores of 11. These 20 spellers will be added to the 14 with scores between 0 and 10. At that point the threshold of 25 will have been attained and a total of 34 spellers will advance to the third round of competition. Those spellers with scores ranging between 12 and 15 would not qualify for the third round of competition in this hypothetical scenario.

What will the Bee do if all spellers in Round Two have the same scores?
If all spellers in Round Two achieve the same score, then all of these spellers will advance to Round Three. However, the Southern California Spelling Bee Championship regards this possibility as extremely remote. There will be a significant range of difficulty in the words on the test. This range of difficulty will almost certainly produce a wide distribution of scores between 0 and 15.