Extemporaneous Cross-Examination

Have you ever listened to someone talk about a current event and wished you could ask questions to clarify information or to better understand their position? In NCFCA Extemp competition, do you think judges have wished they could hear answers to such questions after an Extemp speech?

This season, we are excited to introduce cross-examination as part of Extemp elimination rounds! Unlike cross-examination in debate where the goal is to set up arguments for the next speech by exposing weaknesses in the opposing team’s case, the goal of Extemp cross-examination is to invite dialogue and deepen understanding of the presented position. In order to be effective, the Examiner must listen carefully as the speaker presents in order to formulate good questions. The speaker must be prepared not only to present information and analysis during his speech, but to answer questions. Real-world communication includes not only listening to or presenting information and analysis, but being able to converse about topics in a respectful, winsome manner. That is the goal of Extemp cross-examination this season!

The Extemp Elimination Round ballot gives the criteria by which the students are evaluated. The Examiner is evaluated based on asking thought-provoking questions that invite dialogue and the speaker is evaluated on their ability to respond to questions knowledgeably and to deepen understanding of the position he presented in his speech.

Wonder how it all works?

  • During elimination rounds draw times are Extemp CXset for every 12 minutes. Each student has 20 minutes of prep time. Speech time is limited to a seven-minute maximum. Cross-examination during elimination rounds is limited to a two-minute maximum.

NCFCA Extemporaneous Speaker

  • The speaker with the first draw time reports for his prep time. Fifteen minutes later, the last speaker in the room, who will listen and cross-examine Speaker 1, reports to the Extemp Prep room and waits. Both are escorted to the competition room at the appropriate time.
  • The Examiner takes a seat in a designated space. Blank paper and pens are provided for the Examiner. During the speech, the Examiner may take notes on the paper provided.


  • At the end of Speaker 1’s speech, the Examiner will join Speaker 1 at the front, introduce himself, and ask questions, allowing Speaker 1 to answer.
  • Speaker 1 will thank the Examiner and the
    judges, and will turn in his topic card and research card
    to the Head Judge. The Examiner should not thank the judges at this point, but should leave the room.
  • Speaker 1 will sit in the designated Examiner area and listen to the speech of Speaker 2. The cycle continues until all participants have been both the speaker and the Examiner.
  • The rules do not state whether speakers may look at one another. However, since they are being evaluated by the judge, we recommend that the speakers face the judge and not one another.

Our prayer is that Extemp students in elimination rounds this season will develop deeper critical thinking skills through the conversational process of cross-examination and will use their skills to the glory of God!

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