Written by Samuel Wong
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Extemp is all about thinking on your feet. Imagine if you were given a choice of three topics on which to write and memorize a 5-minute speech, and you only had about an hour to do it! This kind of speaking is a great way to exercise your brain and your speaking skills.

For someone to be successful at extemp, he or she has to be able to effectively research a topic, and deliver the information he or she has gathered in a short period of time. In competitive extemp, you are judged on your performance, so you have to appear as though you know what you are speaking about.

Extemp Is like Extreme Brain Aerobics

When you participate in extemp competitions, your brain has to be able to take in a great deal of information in a short period of time, and then spill out that information a few minutes later in an understandable verbal form. In a sense, your brain becomes a sponge that soaks up facts and figures and then squeezes them all out again.

The delivery (and in my opinion, most difficult) portion of extemp involves giving a speech from memory on the chosen topic for a preset amount of time. I know quite a few people who cannot even memorize a 7-digit phone number, let alone a 5-10 minute speech! People who excel in extemp are most likely at the top of their game in most school and academic subjects. I wouldn't want to bump into an extemp champion in a dark alley, or at an academic decathlon!

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