There will be three Toss-Up Rounds and a Category Round. If the match ends in a tie, a sudden-death tiebreaker question will be asked. If a student buzzes early with an incorrect answer, the team will be penalized 20 points and the match will be over. The decisions of the Battle of the Brains judges in the studio are final and cannot be appealed.
There is no collaboration among team members during this round. Should the Toss-Up Round end in the middle of a question, the question will be eliminated. If the round ends in the middle of an answer, the student will be allowed to complete the answer (within the 5-second limit). If the answer is incorrect, the opposing team will NOT have an opportunity to respond. A student may buzz before the host has completed the question. However, the host will immediately stop reading the question and go to that student for an answer. If the student answers incorrectly in the first or second round, his/her team will be penalized 10 points. The host will then complete the question. If the opposition team answers before the question is complete and is incorrect, there is also a 10 point penalty. Each correct answer is worth 10 points. If a student buzzes early with a correct answer, the host will acknowledge the answer and then summarize the reading of the question for the viewing audience. Answers must be given within a 5-second interval. There is no penalty for an incorrect answer after the host has completed the reading of a question. The host will provide the correct answer for the audience should neither team provide an accepted response. A new toss-up question will then be read. In the 3rd toss-up round the point values of the questions and penalties are worth 20 points.
Teams will be shown 3 (three) unique categories from which they will each choose one. Examples of these: (1) 19th Century American Vice Presidents, (2) Italian Operas, or (3) Math Formulas. Each category has a total of 10 questions, each worth 5 points. A total of 75 seconds per category is allowed. Collaboration is allowed. However, answers are accepted only from the team captain. Teams may pass items, given the time limit. There is no penalty for incorrect answers. The opposing team cannot respond to unanswered items or incorrect responses. The team that has the lead will have the first choice of categories. Approximately 15 seconds is allotted to make the choice. Following the completion of the first category chosen, the other team will select their category. A team that correctly answers all ten questions in a category will be awarded 20 bonus points.