National Bee Not Just About Spelling Anymore

281 contestants will need to answer vocab questions, too

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 9, 2013 12:16 PM CDT | Updated Apr 9, 2013 12:40 PM CDT

(Newser) – This year, it won't be enough for National Spelling Bee contestants to know what words look like; they'll have to define them, too. Local contestants—who have all already been selected—will have to spell live and on a computer as well as answer vocabulary questions in order to reach the semifinals, USA Today reports. Vocabulary will determine half an individual's score. The final still won't require kids to know definitions.

The move "represents a deepening of the Bee's commitment to its purpose: to help students improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts, and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives," says the contest's director. The event comes May 28-30 in Maryland, with 281 contestants.

Stuti Mishra, 14, of West Melbourne, Fla., types her word in the air while spelling in the finals of the National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., on Thursday, May 31, 2012. Mishra came in second place.
Stuti Mishra, 14, of West Melbourne, Fla., types her word in the air while spelling in the finals of the National Spelling Bee in Oxon Hill, Md., on Thursday, May 31, 2012. Mishra came in second place.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Snigdha Nandipati, 14, of San Diego, concentrates while spelling in the last round to win the National Spelling Bee with the word guetapens in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 31, 2012.
Snigdha Nandipati, 14, of San Diego, concentrates while spelling in the last round to win the National Spelling Bee with the word "guetapens" in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, May 31, 2012.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
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