Prep time, or preparation time, is an allotment of time given to each side in a debate round for them to spend preparing their speeches. In Team Policy debate, each side has a total of five minutes of prep time; in Lincoln Douglas, each side has a total of three minutes of prep time.
Before each speech, the team who will speak next may expend some (or all) of their prep time, as desired. (For example, a Team Policy team might use 1 minute of prep time before the 1NC, 2 minutes before the 2NC, none before the 1NR, and the remaining 2 minutes before the 2NR.) Speakers may not take prep time before cross-examination.