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How to Win HQ Trivia: 7 Tips and Tricks

Joe Keeley 25-09-2018

HQ Trivia is the live quiz show that beams straight onto your phone. It originally launched exclusively on iOS, but HQ Trivia is now also available on Android. It’s free to play, it’s fun, and you can win cash. What’s not to like?


The trouble is, it’s tricky to win. In this article we provide you with a few tips and tricks to help you secure victory.

While there’s no way to guarantee a win, knowing when a question is trying to trip you up or relying on an extra life can push you to the finish line. So read on, play the game, and keep your fingers crossed.

What Is HQ Trivia?

HQ Trivia is a quiz app available for iOS and Android. It’s developed by the guys behind Vine and was released in late 2017.

The concept is devilishly simple, but very addicting. Every day, at set times, the game goes live. A host asks 12 questions in turn, each increasing in difficulty, and the player has 10 seconds to tap the right answer.

HQ Trivia Host


If you answer all 12 questions correct, you take a share of the prize pot. The amounts to be won vary depending on the day and the event. The usual prize is $5,000, but one particular sponsored game saw the prize rise to $400,000.

Sound easy? You’ll soon discover otherwise. Nevertheless, having won over 10 games of HQ Trivia, I think I’ve got a solid grasp of what you need to win, though even that isn’t good enough to help every time.

1. The Questions Start Off Easy

During standard games, the first three questions are always obvious. Not only could you answer them without the multiple choices, but the incorrect answers given are usually jokes.

An easy HQ Trivia question


Here’s a couple of examples of real questions that HQ have used:

Trains usually run on what structure?

  • Self-love
  • Tracks
  • Nitro cold brew

The little bumps on the tongue are called “taste” what?

  • Friends
  • Classmates
  • Buds

Don’t second guess yourself at the beginning of the game. These questions are designed to ease you into the format and get you invested in the quiz.


And if you don’t even know the answers to these? Perhaps you should try some simpler Windows Store trivia games 8 Windows Store Trivia Games You Should Be Playing Who doesn't love a good trivia game? Here are a variety of the best trivia games available in the Windows 10 store! Read More .

2. Spot the Savage Questions

HQ Trivia has certain questions designed to catch as many people out as possible. These are “savage questions”, as exclaimed by the host and the animation that slams onto the screen.

HQ Trivia savage question

You can get the advantage on these questions if you know what to look for. They can occur at any point, but most often crop up at the halfway point at question seven. Take a look this question, one of the most savage in HQ’s history:


In the original comic strip, Popeye got his strength from which of these?

  • Rubbing a hen
  • Drinking rum
  • Eating spinach

Do you think it’s “eating spinach”? So did 97% of players, but you’d be wrong.

There’s a couple of things to pay attention to. Note it’s asking “in the original comic strip”, which is an immediate flag. Most people know Popeye from the television show, so the fact it’s specifying the comics means it’s going to be an unexpected answer.

Also, Popeye is a huge cultural icon and his spinach eating is famous. That makes it too obvious. At the seventh question, it’ll never be that easy.

This leaves you with “rubbing a hen” and “drinking rum”. You can probably imagine the muscular sailor drinking rum, but that’s the savagery. The correct answer is the one which seems ridiculous: rubbing a hen.

3. Get Extra Lives

An extra life is a get out of jail free card. If you get a question wrong, you can use an extra life to stay in the game. You can only use one life per game and not on the final question.

HQ Trivia extra lives

There are various ways to get extra lives:

  1. Get your friends to enter your username as their referral code when they sign up.
  2. Play HQ Trivia for 5 days in a row.
  3. Receive them in gift drops. These occur during some games and require you to tap a box for a chance to get a life; the host will tell you when it’s happening.
  4. On the main HQ screen, swipe up repeatedly with two fingers. You can do this once per week. This is inconsistent, though, as the feature no longer works for me, but does for others.
  5. By replying with your username to tweets on HQ Trivia’s Twitter account that ask who wants an extra life.
  6. Buy them from the Get More screen. Personally, considering the usual prize pot split, I don’t think these are worth the price at all.

Use your extra lives strategically. If you go out early in a game, it’s probably best to save it until a future point when you’re nearer question 12 and have a chance of going all the way.

4. Play With a Group

Unless you’re a trivia guru, it’s unlikely that you’ll know the answer to every question from your own knowledge. That’s why it can be helpful (and fun!) to play with a group of people. Ideally, you’ll want to play with people whose interests and age ranges differ.

Group of people using their phones
Image Credit: ikostudio/Depositphotos

Even if no-one in the group knows the answer, you can split the risk amongst you from the three answers. At least some of you will stay in the game.

However, do be wary with this tactic. While it’s great when someone genuinely does know the answer, don’t let yourself get swayed by mass opinion or a particularly outspoken person if your gut tells you differently. There’s nothing worse than everyone tapping the same wrong answer.

Check out our list of the best multiplayer games to challenge your friends 15 Multiplayer Brain Games to Play With Friends Challenge your friends in a battle of wits with these free brainy multiplayer games to find out who's the smartest! Read More if you want even more group fun.

5. Remove All Distractions

If you really want to focus on winning, remove any distractions from nearby. For example, it’s probably best not to play HQ Trivia while you’re in a meeting. Instead, why not play these entertaining games perfect for the office. Turn off the TV. Put the cat out. Tell everyone you’re unavailable for 15 minutes. The quiz needs your full attention.

HQ Trivia chat

The app has a live chat that appears below the host. Unless you’re in the mood for mindless, too-quick-to-read banter, swipe-right to hide it. You’ll never definitively get the right answer from the chat anyway, since there’s no way to determine whether someone is lying or not.

6. Use Google Strategically

This is the most effective tip from this entire list, but also the most difficult to pull off. Using Google might seem like a cheat, but it’s not against the HQ Trivia Terms of Use. You’ll need to have speedy fingers and efficient searching technique.

Google logo

Use a computer, rather than another mobile device, to do your searches. And don’t just type in the entire question, since there’s no time for that. Instead, pull out key words which will get you the result. Take this question:

British comedian Ricky Gervais won an “Outstanding Lead Actor” Emmy thanks to what TV series?

  • Extras
  • The Office
  • Derek

Plug “outstanding actor gervais” into Google and it handily tells you from the first result that the answer is Extras. That was a savage question, by the way.

Google search result about Ricky Gervais

Google has operators and commands The Best Google Search Cheat Sheet: Tips, Operators, and Commands to Know These special Google search tips, operators, and commands will help you narrow down your search results and always get the exact results you're looking for. Read More which you can use to get a quicker answer. Things like “definition” and “origin” are very helpful. Sometimes the right answer will even appear as an autocomplete suggestion.

Generally, questions become tricky to Google later in the game, though not impossible. It can be useful to determine a wrong answer, giving you a 50/50 chance on the right one. For example:

Which of these long-running TV shows has aired the most episodes?

  • Saturday Night Live
  • Doctor Who
  • Soul Train

A quick search of “snl total episodes” shows 850. “doctor who total episodes” shows 840. There’s no time to Google for the third, but it means Doctor Who can be dismissed as a right answer.

Google search result for SNL

By the way, this was a final question, but perhaps Google isn’t even necessary. The correct answer was Soul Train, which seems like the most unexpected. And that’s also important to note: Google can be very useful, but you don’t need to use it all the time. If you can’t immediately find the answer on Google, don’t panic—reassess the question and make an educated guess.

7. Keep Watching and Practicing

Don’t be discouraged when you lose, because you’ll lose more often than you’ll win. Instead, keep watching and play along as if you were still in the game. It’ll help you pick up the format of the questions. Most games are uploaded to YouTube by different users, so go watch these for practice.

The homepage of HQ Buff

Another great resource is HQ Buff, which logs all the questions and results asked from all the HQ Trivia games. Obviously this doesn’t have the 10 second timer, but it’s very helpful to study the way the games are structured and the way the questions are phrased.

Even More Trivia!

Hopefully these tips have proven helpful in getting you to the winner’s podium in HQ Trivia. At the end of the day, it’s meant to be fun, so don’t get too worked up about it. Consider any victory an unexpected bonus.

And if you want even more trivia goodness, check out our round-up of HQ Trivia alternatives 5 HQ Trivia Alternative Apps and Fan Sites to Play Quiz (and Even Win Cash) Here are the best sites to know more about HQ Trivia, as well as a few alternatives. Read More designed to keep your wits sharp.

Image Credit: artiemedvedev/Depositphotos

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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