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Post Info TOPIC: Lesson #7: Using Prep Time

Lesson #7: Using Prep Time

Read the following articles (depending on whether you are AFF or NEG) and explain/analyze how your use of prep time will change (or not) as a result of this advice.

How to Utilize Prep Time Part 1: The Affirmative
Meghan Hughes
I didnt learn how to utilize prep-time until my freshmen year of college. There are a few things and tips that have learned from coaches and older debaters that have made it a lot easier to effectively use prep-time throughout debates. As the affirmative it always seems like you dont have enough prep-time, especially after the negative block. But, there are several things you can do to save prep and relieve pressure and stress surrounding prep-time.
Pre-Round Prep

When you figure out who you are debating, the 2A should go to the room you are debating in as quickly as possible, so you can secure the biggest table possible and start organizing and pulling out expandos and files. The 1A should quickly try and figure out what your opponent has said on the negative from other debaters or judges and report to the room you are debating in as quickly as possible. If you have a casebook the 1A should go through that as well. Depending on the intel you receive the 2A should start pulling blocks to possible negative arguments. The 1A should be organizing the 1AC and back-flowing the 1AC.

1AC and Cross-Examination
            During the 1AC the 2A should either be back-flowing the 1AC if you havent already done that for both yourself and your partner. The 2A should continue to pull-blocks if you didnt do that before the round.
1NC and Cross-Examination

            During the 1NC the 1A should be sitting next to or in close proximity of the 1NC so you can look and read the 1NC evidence. The 1As job is to read the evidence and to find weaknesses or problems with the evidence for the 2A. The 2A should be pulling blocks as the arguments are read.  During cross-examination the 2A should take this time to get all your evidence organized and write out analytical arguments or permutations.

2AC Prep
            After cross-examination the 1A should let the 2A prep, at this point in the debate the 1A becomes the 2As lackey or helper. As the 1A your position at this point is to help the 2A get prepared as quickly as possible, in order to do this you should discuss with the 2A before the debate what you can do to help before the 2AC. For example, my debate partner always pulls politics uniqueness for me before the 2AC as I prep other positions. Before I get up to give me speech I always ask my partner if there is anything that they want me to say.  The last thing the 1A should do is pay CLOSE attention to the 2ACs road-map, make sure that the 2A doesnt forget anything.
2AC and Cross-Examination
            The 1A should be flowing and back flowing the 2AC arguments.
2NC Prep
               At this point if you havent finished back-flowing both partners should be backflowing arguments. If you finish back-flowing and the 2NC is still prepping. The affirmative team should quickly organize their area and then the 2AC should start helping the 1A prep for the 1AR.
2NC and Cross-Examination

               During the 2NC the 2A should be reading 2NC evidence for the 1AR and flowing. The 1AR should be flowing and prepping for the 1AR and pulling 1AR blocks if you have them.

               During the 1NR the 2A should continue to get and read the negative evidence. But, in addition to that the 1NR should also be helping the 1AR organize, retrieve and pull evidence. The 1A should be flowing and organizing the 1AR.
1AR prep
            During 1AR prep, the 2A becomes the 1As lackey or helper. In fact, the 1A should give the 2A a position to prep-out to cut back on 1AR prep-time. In addition, the 2A should be organizing and making sure that the 1AR has all the things they need for their speech. The 1AR should be prepping out arguments and pulling 1AR blocks. Before the 1AR the 1A should always ask if the 2A has anything they think needs to be said.  The last thing the 2A should do is pay attention to the 1ARs road-map and make sure they cover everything.
During the 1AR
            During the 1AR, the 2A should be flowing all the 1AR arguments and start organizing 2AR arguments.
2AR Prep
               2AR prep should consist of the 2A writing an overview and prepping out arguments. If you are pressed for time the 2A should give the 1A a position to prep-out. The 2A should also be organizing their speech and papers.
               Remember policy debate is a team activity and by utilizing your partner you are able to cut down on the amount of pre-round prep you use early in the debate. Open communication and a routine is a necessary competent of using prep in an economical fashion and being successful as a debate team.

How to Utilize Prep Time Part 2: The Negative
Meghan Hughes

One of the frequent assumptions about the negative is that they have more of an advantage in terms of prep-time because of the block. But, over and over again I have judge rounds in which debaters do not utilize their negative prep. There are several thing that the negative can do to take advantage of their prep. In this paper I will outline things you should be doing at different points in the debate to maximize your negative prep time.

Pre-Round Prep

               Like I recommended in the previous paper on affirmative prep-time the 2N should go to the room you are suppose to debate in immediately to try and get the best table/desks in the room. In addition, the 1N should get intel from debaters who debated the team or critics that judge them about what case and advantages the affirmative team is running. You should also try and figure out what their 2AC answers were to certain negative arguments if you can. Lastly, the negative should ask the affirmative team if they disclose their affirmative or advantages to make sure they are running the same affirmative. If they are breaking a new affirmative, just get your generic arguments out and try to prep as much as possible. If they disclose or you know the affirmative they are running start pulling out your 1NC strategy. If there is time both partners should start back flowing the 1NC arguments.

1AC and Cross-Examination

During the 1AC the 2N should read the affirmative cards, while the 1N organizes and makes sure the 1NC is in order and put together.

1NC and Cross-Examination

During the 1NC the 2N should be flowing and back flowing for 1N.

2AC and Cross-Examination

The 1NC should be reading all of the 2AC answers and organizing them for the 2N. The 2N should be figuring out how to split the block. This should probably be figured out before the round. For example, I know as the 1N if it is a straight up policy round I take either the counterplan or case and topicality. If we are debating a critical team I usually take the case debate and the kritik. But, sometimes this changes depending on how the debate pans out. In addition to figuring out the block the 2N should be pulling out 2NC blocks.

2NC Prep

The first thing that should happen during 2NC prep is the discussion of how the block is going to be split. In addition, the 1N becomes the 2Ns helper, which means the 1N should be pulling 2NC blocks and helping prep out the 2NC. Finally, the 1N needs to pay special attention to the 2NC road-map and make sure everything is covered.

2NC and Cross-Examination

               During the 2NC and cross-examination the 1N should be doing NOTHING except prepping for the 1NR. This way the 1N wont use any prep-time, it is VITAL that the 1NR not use any prep-time. It gives the 2NR a lot more time to prep-out for the 2NR.


               The 2N should be flowing the 1NRs arguments during this speech, just in case you decide to go for those arguments. Many times the 2N forgets to efficiently flow the 1NR, which only hurts 2NR prep and hurts your strategy. In addition, many times the 1AR will undercover 1NR arguments because they think the negative team wont go for those arguments. It is imperative that the 2N flow the 1NR speech in terms of utilizing both prep and strategy.

1AR Prep and the 1AR Speech
            1AR prep is a key time for the negative. During this time the negative team should discuss what you think the 2NR should go for (remember to whisper because you dont want your opponents to hear). Of course, your strategy could change depending on the 1AR, but its good to touch base with your partner on the issue. Secondly, both the 1N and 2N should start prepping as many arguments as you can to utilize 2NR prep. During, the 1AR the 2N should be flowing the 1AR speech and the 1N should be helping to prep 2NR arguments.
2NR Prep

               Within the first 30 seconds of 2NR prep the negative team needs to decide what arguments you want to go for and from there 1N should take a position that needs prepping out and help the 2N or organize and make sure the 2N has all the evidence he/she needs. The 2N should be writing overviews and impact analysis, as well as prepping out positions.



nicole lacerda


Just when you thought debate was got cooler. How so? Mr. E's forum assignments! The assignment I was assigned today is about prep time! So exciting!

The way my partner and I used our prep time last year was that we used most of our time for the first Negative Constructive and both the Negative Rebuttals. I believe this was a good way to use our prep time and it worked well for my partner and I.

For every debate Heather and I divided a paper into seperate sections. They were, topicality, need, workability, solvency, disadvantages, inherency. While the Affirmative read off their plan, we wrote attacks down on our paper under the correct issue. This saved us from using some of our prep time.

Another way Heather and I saved prep time was working at the same time. For example, while I was doing my cross examination she would be working on her constructive.

I believe the most important time of the debate for Negatives are the rebuttals. Especially the 2NR because it is the last chance you get during the debate to get the judge to agree with you. Therefore more prep time should be spent on the rebuttals.

.S werdnA

emiT perP gnisU :7# nosseL :ER

Prep time is obviously the best and only way to formulate arguments and create constructives. When to use it and how much can help win in many cases. For instance, while the Affirmative is giving a constructive, this is the time to write down any questions you will ask in the Cross Ex, while also writing notes to help with your own constructive. In preparation for your constructive, it would be wise to allocate a generous amount of time to help write your speech. If you need to, take some time to better prepare your Cross Ex questions. Rebuttals tend to be weak from my Novice experience, but it would be wise to keep at least a minute for each Rebuttal. Managing your time wisely can help you easily and calmly dismantle an Affirmative plan.

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