Envelope, please! Spelling bee will use test to break ties

The winner's trophy sits onstage as the preliminary round two of the Scripps National Spelling Bee starts, in National Harbor, Md., Wednesday, May 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Scripps National Spelling Bee is adding a new wrinkle this year in yet another attempt to stop a streak of ties for the championship.

This year, the top spellers will sit for a written tiebreaker test before they begin spelling words in the primetime finale. The results will be revealed only if two or three spellers get through the final rounds unscathed. The speller with the highest score would then be declared the champion. Only if the top spellers get exactly the same score will the competition end in a tie.

The bee has ended in a tie for three years running.

The test will include 12 spelling words and 12 vocabulary words and will not be televised. Results will be sealed in envelopes.

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