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Frequently Asked Questions Concerning the Extemporaneous Speaking Contest

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Are preparation materials for the UIL Current Issues & Events contest (such as discussion question essays) allowable in the Extemporaneous Speaking preparation room?
No. The essays/paragraphs are considered “prepared notes”, which are prohibited in the contest rules for Extemporaneous Speaking.
Should an index be taken to the front of the prep room when the speaker is drawing his/her topic?
Although there is no rule that prohibits this, it is a poor practice. Speakers doing this will sacrifice valuable prep time selecting their topic and it will appear that they do not know their files well enough for topic selection. Be aware the only typed or handwritten materials allowed in the prep room is an index file which has been prepared by the student for the sole purpose of convenience in finding references to specific topics.
Are contestants required to select only one filing method or are they allowed to use a hybrid of both paper files and computer files in the preparation room?
. A combination is allowed, as long as rules regarding materials are followed.
Annotations are not allowed on the index. Could you provide some examples?
Annotations are defined as “explanatory notes or comments.” The following are examples of a proper index versus an improper index due to added annotations:
  • Proper: third party candidates
  • Improper: third party candidate front runners
  • Proper: State of the Union
  • Improper: State of the Union repercussions
  • Proper: campaign finance reform
  • Improper: campaign finance reform/areas of greatest impact/losses
What is an appropriate method to save electronic files?
Do not cut-and-paste the article into a WORD document. The efficient method is PDF. If you are working from a Mac computer, you click “Print” and you are automatically given a PDF button that offers the option of saving in this manner. If you are working from a PC, you may have to download and install a PDF converter. Go to and follow the prompts. Google Chrome has a built-in converter to change your webpage to a PDF.
How do I store electronic extemp files?
Numerous tools are available to help you store files and access them easily. Explore the Internet for the one best suited for you and your squad. Companies also produce software specialized for the extemporaneous speaking contest. UIL does not promote or endorse any particular file organization program or service.
Are iPads and tablets allowed in the extemp prep room?
Yes. They are an electronic table computer.
If my battery is low, can I plug my computer into an electrical outlet in the prep room or my power strip?
No. Typical facilities where draw is held do not have a sufficient number of outlets for every contestant; therefore tournament sites are not required to provide electrical outlets for contestants. Plan in advance and bring a backup battery.
Can I use my computer to outline or draft my contest speech in the prep room?
No. Rules prohibit outlining or organizing your thoughts on the ERD.
I’m scheduled to draw as last speaker. I’m also entered in LD Debate. May I study my LD case while I’m in the prep room waiting to draw?
No. This is a violation of the rules.
May I access the Internet in the prep room?
No. This is a violation of the current UIL ERD rules.
What if I have a question that is not answered here?

Feel free to contact the UIL State Director. E-mail is the easiest and quickest way to get a response. You may also call or write:

Jana Riggins
UIL Director - Speech & Debate
University of Texas, Austin
Box 8028
Austin, TX 78713-8028
512-232-1499 fax