Understanding Win Conditions

By Harry Zhang, Johns Hopkins ’17 Theory of Debate: Understanding Win Conditions In debate, sound strategy is just as important to success as making effective arguments or writing powerful cases. Debating strategically and intelligently is a hallmark of all successful debaters and one of the easiest ways you can gain an advantage over your opponents. […]

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 high school debate circuit, my understanding of it is that most formats also steered away […]

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 well. Joining APDA can be trickier—and more intimidating—if you don’t have high school debate experience. […]

Basics of the Member of Opposition (MO) Speech

By Alex Adia, Brown University ’18 The MO’s Role in the Round The MO is most often described as the most flexible speech in the round. The PMC is pre-written, and the LOC’s job is to lay out the groundwork and outline the strategy that Opp will take in the round. The MG is the […]

Basics of the Member of Government (MG) Speech

By Kevin Healey, Brandeis University ’18 The member of government’s speech, or MG, is an eight-minute speech that immediately follows the Leader of Opposition’s constructive (LOC). The third speech in the round, this speech has three main goals: Responding to new points brought up by the Opposition, responding to Opposition attacks on the Government case, […]

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 state going into a tournament or a round can make a huge difference in your […]

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 teammates and me about complacency. “Finals is won or lost on Wednesday night,” she would […]

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 of nothing. But while the necessity of good arguments is obvious, how to come up […]

Tight Call Basics

By Danny Jaffe, Brandeis University ’17 If you spend some time on APDA, you will almost certainly be in a round where it is necessary to know some debate theory. Usually, debate theory refers to tight calls, spec calls, status quo calls, and counter-cases, but it also refers to just generally debating about the rules […]

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. These students are usually friends of someone on the debate team and will agree to […]