How is the NYT Spelling Bee scored?

How is the NYT Spelling Bee scored

The New York Times Spelling Bee has a pretty simple scoring system. At a minimum, a word must have at least four letters. Four letters will get you one point. With Genius level sometimes being over 200, you’ll never get there only with four-letter words.

Starting with five-letter words, players receive one point per letter. This is a huge difference. So a five-letter word earns you five points. That one extra letter between a four-letter and a five-letter word makes all the difference. A twelve-letter word would receive twelve points.

The last way to score points is by finding the NYT Spelling Bee Pangram. The pangram is when you use all seven given letters in one-word. Players receive an extra seven points for doing so. There is guaranteed to be at least one pangram per puzzle. I’ve seen as many as three in one game. When Genius level is low (50s or 60s), it’s almost a requirement to get the pangram.

Strategy wise, it’s worth the effort to figure out how to make a four-letter word a five-letter word. This can easily be done by adding common prefixes or suffixes to words. If the letters are on the board, something like adding an -s, -ed, or -ing will instantly boost your scores.

Good luck!


  1. How can you figure out how many more points you need to get to Queen Bee status?

    • Usually, Genius represents about 70 percent of the maximum total points. So, you use that to figure out Queen Bee within a couple of points

  2. My sister and I worked together, we have the same words but I have more points than her. Is speed a factor?

    • Beginner 0% of the grand Queen Bee total
      Good Start 2%
      Moving Up 5%
      Good 8%
      Solid 15%
      Nice 25%
      Great 40%
      Amazing 50%
      Genius 70%

      • I’ve seen days when the genius category was one word short of doubling the number of total words. For example; Queen Bee – 50 , Genius -26. Usually the Genius category is from 20-40% additional words, above Amazing.

  3. Tap the yellow progress circle at the top and it will tell you.

    • Hi, Bill.

      If Lenten is properly capitalized (thus a proper noun) it is disqualifed as such.

      As for adit, I’ll just say that there are lots of words they don’t accept. Some of this is justified on the basis of either profanity (NYT is the Gray Lady, after all) or “only known to specialists.” You can imagine all sorts of chemical, medical, mathematical, etc. words that, if included, might take the fun out of the game for the rest of us. Perhaps adit is only known to mining engineers (and you, of course). They tend to eschew very obscure words and variants but, of course, one man’s obscurity is another’s commodity.

  4. I am not a subscriber but played for the first time today. It was going well and then it seemed to just close and doesn’t let me back in (there’s a padlock next to today’s puzzle). Does anyone know why? How do I find out my score/level? (On Wordle my daily result tally is retained even when I close and reopen the browser without a login/profile),

    • The same thing happened to me. The game closes and said to continue to play towards genius level I had to subscribe so I guess it only lets you get so far before you have to subscribe. I was wondering if that meant I had reached the amazing level then.

    • This is what I’m trying to find out, too , I don’t and won’t subscribe to NY Times; I see a progressing percentage report when I play wordle, but not for spelling bee. So I enjoy it but would like to see an ongoing rating. When I google the internet,
      no matter how I word it I don’t seem to be able to squeeze this specific answer out; maybe the solvings are not recorded?

      • Yes, we have the same question and also xant find an answer. It seems to be at a different level every day. As today I saw I had 51 points & 13 words, then added 1 more word & it closed. So don’t know my points score & can’t get back to find out. Very frustrating!

    • Hi Kate,
      It kicks you out when you reach the “Solid” level. That level is a different amount of points each day. If you tap on the progress bar in the app, it brings up a sheet showing the necessary points for each level for that day. I don’t subscribe either, but find it a nice challenge to get to “Solid” each day. Some days it’s pretty easy, others I struggle a bit. Hope that helps!

  5. Are there different levels to the NYT Spelling Bee. For instance regular versus hard?

    • The difficulty is built in to the amount of points you get which determine, nice, great, amazing, genius, etc…

    • The difficulty is built in to the amount of points you get which determine, nice, great, amazing, genius, etc

  6. What’s the rhyme/reason to when Spelling Bee ends? My game has ended at different times – different number of words, points, minutes, etc – is it because I’m not a subscriber to NY Times?


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