Frequently Asked Questions

Look here for helpful answers about Potomac Debate Academy and its programs.


  • What should I expect?

    Each class meeting is unique and designed with the needs of the students in mind. We strive to get students up and debating, and speaking, as fast as possible, and work to teach fundamental debate skills that are appropriate for the course level. Students will participate in speaking exercises and mock debates, learn important skills including how to conduct research and write cases, and improve their public speaking skills through the lens of a debate topic of global importance.

  • What type of debate do students compete in?

    Public Forum is a partner based debate format in which students present arguments for and against a set resolution. It encourages students to research topics beforehand and write “cases,” which strengthen research and writing skills. During competition, students present their case to a judge and rebut arguments of the opposing team.

  • What skills will my student gain from this program?

    Public speaking, critical thinking, logical reasoning, research and writing skills. Participants in student debate classes will learn to identify logical fallacies, gain confidence, and expand their understanding of current events.

  • How do I know which program is best for my student?

    With your own knowledge of your student, the input of your free assessment class coach, and our help, you’ll be able to determine which course is best for your student.

  • Are classes in-person or virtual?

    Both! We have in-person classes at our location in Rockville, MD. Most classes are held virtually.


  • How do I sign up for classes?

    Already know which program you want? Skip the assessment class and enroll directly in a program by submitting a registration form.

  • What is a free trial/tryout?

    Our free trial/tryout is a great way for families to learn more about our program and assess if debate might be for them, as well as an opportunity for our team to assess if students interested in debate are ready for our program. During our free trial/tryout, students work in small groups with an instructor to run through debate exercises. Once our free trial is over, our team will reach out to all accepted students with recommended next steps.

  • What if I realize debate isn’t right for my student?

    If a student who is new to our debate team drops from the team after the first class, a full refund will be provided as long as the coach is notified at least 24 hours before the start of the second class. No refunds will be provided outside of this window.


  • What is a tournament?

    Tournaments are a great way for students to practice their skills, get feedback from experienced coaches and judges, and win awards! Each session, debaters will be invited to participate in our intramural tournament where students will have an opportunity to receive feedback from seasoned judges and to experience the thrill of competitive debate.

  • Does a student have to attend tournaments?

    Students are NOT required to attend tournaments. However, we do strongly encourage students to participate. The more rounds a speaker does, the faster they find things making sense and the faster they grow.