The Mahadeo Foundation Spelling Bee

Our spelling bee will commence in 2020 and is open to any applicant who is below 14 years at January 1, 2020.

Each person who wants to enter the competition must fill a requisite form which must also be signed and consented to by the applicant’s parent(s)/Guardian(s). Download entry form here.

Rules of the competition


All spellers entering the Mahadeo Foundation Spelling Bee (the Bee) must fulfill the following requirements:

  1. The Speller must not have been previously declared a champion of the Bee
  2. The speller must not have passed beyond the 8th Grade or Form 4 before 1 January 2020.
  3. The organizers will, at their sole discretion, determine eligibility status for entrance to the Bee.
  4. The Speller must not circumvent normal school activities or curriculum to participate in the Bee or in preparation for the Bee.
  5. The speller must not have reached the age of 15 on or before 1 January 2020.
  6. The speller must submit a completed and signed online entry form for eligibility. Speller and parent/legal guardian must sign and submit consent and release form, signed eligibility form, signed liability waiver, a photo, a photocopy of birth certificate and a copy of proof of address.
  7. The speller will notify the Bee, at least 24 hours prior to the start of the first day of the competition if any of the statements made on the certification and entry form are no longer true or require updating. False declaration and information may result in disqualification.

Preliminary Stage

The words contained in the preliminary round dictionary will be used. 

The preliminary stage will have three rounds.

Spellers will not be eliminated for incorrect spelling in any of these Rounds.

Ten points will be given for each correct spelling for rounds one, two and three.

The top 50 persons with the highest accumulated points will enter into the Finals Stage.

Finals Stage

The Finals consists of oral spelling that will continue until a champion is declared or co-champion are declared. There may be breaks in between as the officials deem necessary.

Spellers are eliminated for an incorrect spelling.

If all spellers in a round misspell, all remain in the competition and a new round begins with the spellers spelling in the original order.

If only one speller spells correctly in a round, a new one-word round begins and the speller is given an opportunity to spell the next word on the list (anticipated winning word). If the speller correctly spells the anticipated winning word in this one-word round, the speller is declared the champion. If the speller misspells the anticipated winning word in a one-word round, a new round begins with all the spellers who spelled correctly and incorrectly in the previous round: These spellers spell in their original order.

Round limit

There will be a maximum of ten consecutive rounds of oral spelling involving three or fewer spellers. If at the end of the ten rounds, there is no clear single champion, the officials will conduct a tiebreaker fast-finger spelling competition.

Official source of words.

The Merriam-Webster Unabridged dictionary is the final authority for spelling of the words and is a primary source for our prepared word lists.

The official word list will be the sole source of words that will used in the Bee and the preferred spelling for the words. The organizers understand and accept that there may be alternative and colloquial spellings for many words, however, the Bee will be constrained to the words as spelled in the Official List.


The speller has a maximum time of 2 minutes. Time begins when the pronouncer first pronounces the word.

The Judges and pronouncer will not communicate with the speller during the final 30 seconds. Any speller who does not provide a complete spelling before the expiration of time will be disqualified.

The time clock can be paused to allow technical or specific clarifications between the Judges and the pronouncer. The time clock will resume thereafter and the speller would be so informed.

The Pronouncer

The pronouncer will pronounce words clearly and slowly and comply with the pronunciations and diacritical markings of the Marriam-Webster dictionary.

Homonyms: If a word has one or more homonyms, the pronouncer indicates which word is to be spelled by defining the word.

Speller’s requests: The pronouncer will respond to the Speller’s request for repetition of a word, a definition of a word, a part of speech or a sentence with usage of the word.

The Judges

Judges listen carefully and determine whether or not words are spelled correctly. The Judges uphold the rules of the competition. The decisions of the judges are final.

Judges do not respond to speller’s questions on the word, but can intervene to direct interaction between the pronouncer and the speller if the judges believe there is any misunderstanding. This intervention would not alter the time.

Judges may disqualify a speller (1) who does not approach the microphone when it is the speller’s time to receive the word. Any extenuating circumstances will be at the judges’ sole discretion. 2) who engages in unsportsmanlike conduct. (3) who, in the process of retracing a spelling, alters the letters or sequence of letters from those first uttered. (4) who, makes unnecessary sounds or noises in the process of spelling.

Judges may not disqualify a speller for (1) failing to pronounce the word either before or after spelling it. (2) for asking a question (3) for noting or failing to note a capitalization, a diacritical mark, a hyphen or other form of punctuation.

The Speller

Speller makes an effort to face the judges and pronounce the word before spelling it and after spelling it. Speller makes an effort to utter each letter distinctly and with sufficient volume to be understood by the judges.

The speller may ask the pronouncer questions that are limited to (1) repeat the word (2) provide the part of speech, (3) use the word in a sentence (4) define the word.

The speller is responsible for any misunderstanding of the word unless (1) the pronouncer never provided a correct pronunciation; (2) the pronouncer provided incorrect information regarding the definition or part of speech, or (3) the speller correctly spelled a homonym of the word and the pronouncer failed to either offer a definition or distinguish the homonyms.

The speller may not wear or bring to any segment of the competition any object that could be construed as having potential to convey spelling advice unless the object is an approved accommodation in accordance with the Rules.

The speller may not bear on the palms of hands or any visible part of the body any inked writing that could be construed as having potential to convey spelling advice. Failure to comply may result in the judges taking action in accordance with the unsportsmanlike conduct clause in these rules.

These rules are adopted from a variety of Bees including the Scripps National Spelling Bee Rules