Some common “Jeopardy!” question and answer categories include Before and After, Literature, Science, Word Origins and American History. These categories ranked among the most common overall in a 2011 study conducted by Slate, though different categories appear more frequently in different game rounds.
The game’s unique Before and After category appeared the most frequently overall, with more than 100 appearances between 1997 and 2011. The category is especially prevalent considering its late introduction date, which occurred many year after other popular categories. Before and After is a tricky category that centers on combining two answers that share a common word into a single phrase. For example, the answer “Alex Comfort's romantic how-to guide for Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious' band," would be answered as “What is The Joy of Sex Pistols?”
The study found that categories appear with different frequency in the Jeopardy, Double Jeopardy and Final Jeopardy rounds. For the initial Jeopardy round, the most common categories include Sports, Potpourri, Animals, Stupid Answers and American History. For the follow-up Double Jeopardy round, the most common categories are Before and After, Literature, Science, Opera and World Geography. The Final Jeopardy category most commonly features U.S. Presidents, followed by Word Origins, State Capitols, Authors and World Leaders. Certain categories, such as Potpourri and Before and After, never appear as Final Jeopardy categories.