Extemp Content and Strategy

Practice makes Perfect – A Collection of Practice Routines

Kevin asks some of his favorite extempers what they’ve done to practice for TOCs. Definitely not a last minute Spring Break grind session…

Just think of the one in the round as a bullseye. All the other darts are what I’m getting…

With the Tournament of Champions a week away, Extempers across the nation have been practicing to their heart’s content (or for some, discontent). However, in the words of Katelyn Cai, “figuring out an effective practice schedule for extemp can be a challenging task.” There are of course other articles, like one by Cai herself, and another by Ananth that feature some practice tips. Yet, creating a practice schedule that works for you and what your school/team may already be doing is a task that can require some inspiration.

I asked as many people as I could what their schedules looked like leading up to TOCs so you don’t have to. If you have a routine you’d like to share, DM us on Instagram and we’ll try to write you in.

Ananth Veluvali

Reading: Lots! Just make it a habit and you’ll know enough.
Speeches: None 😱!
Drills: Delivery-focused drills.
Misc: Weekly news quizzes (like the ones we have here).

Daniel Kind

Reading: Check out our interview with him for some of his favorite sources!
Speeches: 3-4 a week.
Drills: Dry-prep MBA questions (Kind is aiming to have prepped all of them by TOC).
Misc: Watch top speeches like NSDA or TOC finals rounds.

McKinley Paltzik

Reading: Check out our interview with her for some of her favorite sources!
Speeches: 1 a day!
Drills: N/A.
Misc: Ballot reviews to find improvement areas.

Marc Zavarro

Reading: Read headlines from Carnegie, the BBC, and Reuters for specific topical knowledge.
Speeches: 2 dry-prepped and 1 recorded speech a week.
Drills: N/A
Misc: Watch and flow the recorded speech with an emphasis on pointing out areas of improvement.

Iesh Gujral

Reading: Take diligent notes while reading; try to rephrase or make arguments while reading to absorb the info.
Speeches: None 😱!
Drills: Mass produce repeatable points (think dry-prepping, but with 1 point per question and a lot of them at the same time).
Misc: Watch top speeches like NSDA or TOC finals rounds.

Dev Ahuja

Reading: Read headlines from major news sources.
Speeches: None 😱!
Drills: N/A.
Misc: Watch/(steal)/collect AGDs from SNL’s Weekend Update and John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight

Concluding Thoughts
There’s a lot of diversity when it comes to practice strategies. However, there are a couple of commonalities in the few listed above that I think are worth noting. Dry-prepping, or prepping a speech without actually delivering it, seems to be a popular way to work on analysis and the timing of prep itself. In addition, watching high-level speeches appears to help develop the poise and delivery necessary for that level of Extemp. Hopefully, there are a couple of things you might want to adapt for yourself. Stay consistent, specify your reading, and start winning.

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