How do I prepare for my debate?

How do I prepare for my debate?

Before you begin writing your speech you should take the following points into consideration.

Time yourself

Each speaker has four minutes and 30 seconds to speak – this includes the captains’ summation. Make sure you speak for no less than four minutes, or you will look like you didn’t prepare well. And, speak for no more than four minutes and 30 seconds, or you’ll lose some of your hard-earned marks.

Clear information

Don’t try to cram too much information into your speech. Adjudicators prefer to hear three to four well-developed points, with clear information about each of the points. Make sure your points flow together nicely. Points are awarded for clarity and logical thought.

Use facts

Find some good solid facts to strengthen your arguments, and make sure to quote your source during your speech to back up your point. 

Marking sheet

Look at the marking sheet before you debate so you know what the adjudicators are looking for. 


Prepare your cue cards for the podium. Do not write your entire speech on them. Put key points, facts and quotes on them, and use them to guide you on to your next point.

Practise makes perfect

Practise, practise, practise! In front of the mirror; using a video camera; in front of your class or parents. The more comfortable and convinced you are of the points you’re making, the easier it will be to convince others – especially the adjudicators.

Refutation and rebuttal

Leave time for refutation and rebuttal. When doing your research, try to predict what the other team will say and keep some statistics that could be used to counteract their arguments. Finally, remember to use your wit! Humour really livens up a debate.