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 […]

Is APDA for me? An address to former high school debaters

By: Henry Zhang, Yale University 2017 Note: This article is specifically geared towards novices who participated in high school debate. If you did not participate in high school debate, consider reading this article for tips geared towards people who have no high school debate experience. If you loved, or even just liked debate in high school, there’s a […]

Member Speech Overviews

By: Adele Zhang, Barnard College 2015 The “Overview” at the top of the Member speeches is a stylistic choice that many debaters on APDA tend to favor. It is a short, usually not longer than 2 minutes, spiel summarizing some aspects of the round that you want the judge to focus on. There are multiple […]

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 mistakes are most common in high pressure/on-the-spot situations: POIs, in the rebuttal of a frantic […]

When Dropped Arguments Count

By: Sean Leonard, Rutgers University 2016 Whether you’re pretending it didn’t happen on your side, losing horribly to one in PMR that you missed throughout the round, or delivering an explosive LOR with one at the crux of your offense, a dropped argument will make or break many of your rounds. Yet, perhaps just as […]

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 www.parlidebate.com. Passively watching rounds will only do so much, however. This article is intended to provide […]

Straight-Linked PMCs

By: Jodie Goodman, Swarthmore College 2016 Some tournaments, like American University Pro-Ams, are called straight-linked tournaments. At the beginning of each round, one or more topics will be presented to everyone for the first time. You then have 15 minutes to prepare either a PMC or an LOC. If your team is Gov’ing, there are […]

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 round. This usually only applies in elimination rounds when other debaters and teammates watch. Having […]

Weighing in Member Speeches

By: Pete Falk, Northeastern University 2016 In order to win a debate round, you need to show why what you’re saying is important, and why it is more important than what the other team is saying. This achieved through a technique called “weighing”. The process of weighing is especially important in member speeches, which is […]