El Paso, TX (KTSM) — It will take more than just good spelling to win this year's national spelling bee.
Organizers of the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Tuesday announced a major change to the format, competitors will now have to take multiple-choice vocabulary tests as part of the preliminary rounds.
Scores from those computer based tests will be factored in with their live spelling performance and those cumulative scores will determine who advances to the semifinal and championship rounds.
The vocabulary tests, which will count for 50-percent of the overall score, will be done off stage and will not be part of the televised finals.
Organizers say spelling and vocabulary are just "two sides of the same coin" and that the new format helps kids reach the ultimate goal, a deeper and better understanding of the English language.
This year's competition takes place May 28th through the 30th in Oxon Hill, Maryland.