By Hillary Busis
March 28, 2012 at 07:41 PM EDT
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Want to test your game show know-how? Okay, hotshot. Here’s your first clue: “Taking this 10-minute quiz is the first step toward becoming a Jeopardy! contestant.”

If you answered “What is the Jeopardy! Online Test?” you might just be ready to trade erudite quips with Alex Trebek. But before you can snag a spot in Trebek’s Culver City studio, you’ll have to conquer the test itself — a 50-clue ordeal that’ll assess your knowledge of history, geography, culture, and jabs named after animals. (Rabbit punch! Rabbit punch!)

The quiz, which is administered a few times each year, will next be given tonight at 9pm Eastern Time. Registration is open until 8:30 p.m. ET, though the test makers suggest registering sooner rather than later. Those who garner a high enough score will be invited to an in-person audition in one of nine cities. There they’ll be tasked with charming Jeopardy! producers while playing a mock version of the game with other wanna-be Ken Jenningses. (Full disclosure: I made it to round two in 2008. I didn’t get on the show, but I did get a really nifty Jeopardy! pen.)

So how should you prepare for this potentially life-altering occasion? First, make sure you register for the thing. Then check out our list of suggestions below:

1. The best way to get ready? Take Jeopardy’s three-question sample test so that you know what to expect. If you want to see more clues, head over to YouTube — several users have posted clips of themselves taking previous tests. Try not to judge them for their wrong answers.

2. Vanquish nerves by keeping in mind that spelling doesn’t count, you don’t win any extra points for speed, and answers shouldn’t be phrased in the form of a question.

3. Read this exhaustive account by a former two-game champion, which details everything from study materials to buzzer strategy. Sure, you don’t exactly have to know any of this stuff unless you officially make it onto the show, but it’s a great read — and it should put you in a winning frame of mind.

4. Though it’s a little late to be studying up on Jupiter’s moons and American vice presidents, it couldn’t hurt to play a few rounds of The Wiki Game. As you’re racing through random entries, you’re bound to pick  up a few fun facts that — who knows! — might end up on the test.

5. And if you’d like to practice timed trivia in another setting, you can’t do better than Sporcle. This glorious time suck is stocked with quizzes about everything from the Periodic Table to Simpsons characters. Beware, though: These games are like potato chips. It’s nearly impossible to stop after consuming just one.

6. Of course, it also couldn’t hurt to click around; there are bound to be a few questions about contemporary pop culture on the test. Heck, if the game makers end up throwing in a Hunger Games question, you’d probably end up answering it correctly due to osmosis.

Are you planning to take the test, PopWatchers? If so, do you have any tips or tricks to share?

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