Premier's Debating Challenge participants can't argue with the tips they received at a series of specialised workshops at The University of Western Sydney's Parramatta campus.
Year 10 students from Cumberland High School in Carlingford were among the 16 western Sydney schools that took part in the event organised by the Department of Education and Communities and sponsored by the UWS School of Law.
The department's speaking competitions co-ordinator Lloyd Cameron said student participation had doubled from 60 at the first debating workshops held last year to 120 on Monday.
"There are some schools that have had a long tradition whereas there are others that don't know much about the art form of debating, so in partnership with UWS we decided to bring in workshop leaders so students get an opportunity to ask them a lot of questions," he said.
Mr Cameron said debating skills were valuable in job interviews and when confronting a broad range of topics.
"You want to be able to think about the complexity of an issue and debating forces you to do that because you get a topic and might think 'Yes that topic interests me', but which side is just the toss of a coin," he said.
Matt Salmon, 16, took a break from debating in 2013 and said the tips were a helpful refresher as well as providing other skills.
"It helps you think quickly and just gives you all out confidence really," he said.
The next two rounds of the Premier's Debating Challenge are on August 1 and 22.