One of the secrets to Jeopardy success? J-Archive.

Amy Schneider's epic Jeopardy success (currently 30 games and counting) has people wondering just how easy it is to amass the knowledge and speed that makes you a champion. As it turns out, there's a lot more that goes into Jeopardy preparation than just general quiz smarts — there's also what some seasoned players might call a secret weapon.

J! Archive is a fan-run database that collects more than 428,000 game-board clues from episodes going back decades, all the way to 1984, according to the database's Twitter account. It also provides a search feature that allows users to see which answers get used the most on shows, and it's proven to be a useful tool for those who are serious about winning — like Austin Rogers, a 12-time Jeopardy winner whose winnings in 2017 totaled $411,000.

Austin Rogers ON JEOPARDY
'Jeopardy' champion Austin Rogers.
| Credit: Jeopardy

"I would open random games [on the archive site] and play them in my head. I noticed what comes up the most. If a question says 'artist in Iowa,' it has to be Grant Wood," Rogers told the New York Post in an interview, adding that he studied the database for 11 hours per day for two weeks prior to his appearance. "And if it says 'Thornton Wilder,' the correct response always has to be Our Town."

Jeffrey Williams, another contestant who participated in the show during one of Alex Trebek's final episodes in 2020, also noted how he used the database to beef up his knowledge in areas he wasn't so familiar with, practicing 90 minutes a day for three months.

"It showed me that I didn't know much about Nobel Prize winners. So I went down a Wikipedia rabbit hole on that one — and benefited when a category called 'First Nobel' came up," Williams told the Post. "It also helped me to figure out where clues were leading. You start to notice wordplay in the clues, which guide you to the correct answers. You realize that the clues are more than just trivia questions."

Amy Schneider
Amy Schneider has become the fourth 'Jeopardy' contestant — and first woman — to earn more than $1 million.
| Credit: Jeopardy Productions

Last Friday, Schneider crossed the million-dollar mark for winnings on the quiz show, making her the first woman to achieve that milestone and also catapulting her into an elite Jeopardy club that only includes three other people: Ken Jennings, James Holzhauer, and Matt Amodio.

"It feels amazing, it feels strange," Schneider said in a statement, reflecting on her success. "It's not a sum of money I ever anticipated would be associated with my name."

This article was updated to reflect j-archive's current data holdings.

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