FAQs 2017-03-24T04:23:14+00:00

Below we’ve listed some Frequently Asked Questions, grouped under a few major headings. Hopefully, the information below, as well as on the other pages of this website will answer most of your questions about how the International Geography Bee works. If you are still confused about something, please email nolwenn@historybowl.com and we’ll not only respond to you, but add your question to the FAQ page if it’s something that would apply to other participants as well.

Participation & Eligibility

1.Who is the International Geography Bee’s European Division meant for?

Any primary or secondary student with an interest in geography is welcome to compete. Students must be enrolled in a primary or secondary school and not have already graduated high school at the time they take the Championships Qualifying Exam. Students who graduate between the time they take the Exam and the next IGB European championships may still compete at the next European Championships, as well as at the subsequent IGB World Championships.

2. Which age divisions can students compete in?

Within Europe, the International Geography Bee consists of 3 Age Divisions, defined as follows for the 2016-17 school year (these correspond to the International History Bee and Bowl’s Age Divisions within Europe):

-Varsity (for students born before 1 September, 2000)

-Junior Varsity (for students born from 1 September, 2000 to 31 August, 2002)

-Middle School (for students born on 1 September 2002 and later)
There is no younger age limit, though students should look over the sample Championships Qualifying Exam and the samples of the buzzer-style questions to be used at the European Championships to see if the difficulty level is appropriate for them.)

Please note, however, that when students from Europe attend the IGB World Championships, they must compete in the age division that their birth date falls into based on the standard IGB divisions during the 2017-18 school year even if they first qualified in 2016-2017 while they were in a younger age division.

3. If I am a citizen of a country where I do not live or attend school, can I compete in the geographic division of IGB that corresponds to the country of my citizenship? Can I compete in multiple divisions?

Students may only compete in one geographic division of IGB in any given school year. If they have citizenship of a country outside the division where they attend school, then they may compete in either the one division or the other, but not both.

4. Can homeschooled students compete?

Yes, absolutely! All homeschooled students who are studying a primary or secondary education course of study in the 2016-2017 school year may compete. Since the International Geography Bee is a competition for individual students, it doesn’t matter if you are homeschooled or attend a school, nor does it matter if other students from your homeschool association (or school for that matter) compete or not.

5. My school won’t fund me or give its official approval; does this matter?

Not as far as the International Geography Bee is concerned. As long as you, a parent, or someone else pays for your entry fee, and you appear on time for your competition, you can compete. If you prefer that your name is not listed on the website in order to prevent a hassle at your school, we can do this too – just let us know at nolwenn@historybowl.com

Regionals (known as the European Championships Qualifying Exam in Europe)

1. Where are the sites for the European Championships Qualifying Exam for the International Geography Bee?

The sites of the European Championships Qualifying Exams (CQE) for the IGB are the exact same sites as the regional tournaments of the International History Bee and Bowl’s European Division as shown at www.ihbbeurope.com. Note that the map will be updated on an ongoing basis throughout the 2016-17 school year as new tournament sites are scheduled and tournaments take place.

Also, not only are the sites identical with the IHBB Europe regional tournaments, but the dates are too. The CQE will almost always be offered during the lunch break of the tournament; for some tournaments, it may be offered at slightly different times. The start time of this (usually around 12:45-1pm, but double check and be sure to arrive a bit early), is indicated on each tournament page (accessed by clicking on the respective dot on the map). The Exam will have 50 multiple-choice questions and a 20 minute time limit for completion. There are two separate versions of the Exam: Alpha and Beta. The Alpha Exam is offered at the same sites as the Alpha Question Set for the IHBB Europe regional tournaments; the Beta Exam is offered at the same sites as the Beta Question Set for the IHBB Europe regional tournaments. Click on the dots on the www.ihbbeurope.com map to see on which question set a tournament is offered.

Students may take the CQE up to two times, though it must, of course, be a different version each time. Students only need to qualify once for the European Championships on any one Exam Version, though they can take both if they like. If a student qualifies on one Exam Version, and thereafter takes the other version and receives a non-qualifying score, that does not “unqualify” them from the Championships.

Note that the two separate versions of the European Championships Qualifying Exam are not meant to vary in length or difficulty. It is also possible to take either of the Exam versions with a teacher or homeschool instructor proctoring (see below for instructions) if unable to reach an official Exam site.

3. What is the cost?

The cost is 15 Euros to take the any version of the European Championships Qualifying Exam at a scheduled site (i.e. International History Bee and Bowl tournaments in Europe) or an approximate equivalent in local currency for countries outside the Eurozone. If a student takes the Exam through a proctor at their school or with a homeschool instructor, it costs 25 Euros or equivalent per Exam version taken this way.
Teachers can also sign up an entire class for the CQE which costs 75 Euros or local currency equivalent for one class of students. For the entire school, it costs 150 Euros or local currency equivalent. Within Germany, it is free for schools to administer it in the 2016-2017 and the 2017-2018 school years, as Germany will be hosting the 2018 International Geography Bee World Championships. If you are interested in either of these options, please email nolwenn@historybowl.com.

4. How do I sign up for the European Championships Qualifying Exam at a tournament site? Do I need to register in advance?

For the European Championships Qualifying Exam (for all divisions) you do not need to sign up in advance; just come to the tournament site during the lunch break.

5. How do I sign up to have the European Championships Qualifying Exam proctored by a teacher or homeschool instructor?
Email nolwenn@historybowl.com for instructions on how to register and pay for the Exam if it’s proctored by a teacher or homeschool instructor.

6. Do I have to be competing in The International History Bee and/or The International History Bowl to take the Championships Qualifying Exam at a tournament site?
No, though, you are certainly welcome to compete in these. The International History Bee and Bowl do not require a team, and some questions used in them reference geography, so many students interested in the International Geography Bee will surely also be interested in competing in the other events too.

7. When and how will I receive my score on the Championships Qualifying Exam?
If taking the Exam at a tournament site, in many cases, the CQE exam papers will be graded immediately after the students are finished. In other cases, students will learn their scores later that afternoon, or by email within a few days of the tournament. Students may email nolwenn@historybowl.com from 5 days after they take the Exam, if they haven’t yet received their results. However, students who take the Exam who finish in the top half of their Division at the site they take it, will also have their scores posted online on the Results page. All of these students will have qualified for the European Championships.

Students taking the Exam with a proctor can request their score from the proctor once the Exam has been graded.

8. What should I study to prepare for the European Championships Qualifying Exam?
Questions on the European Championships Qualifying Exams for all divisions will reference both geographical facts (e.g. capitals, landforms, linguistic distribution, etc.) and a knowledge of geographical concepts (e.g. patterns of population distribution, effects of geography on weather, continental drift, etc.). The questions will not require computation or detailed analysis of maps or diagrams; given the limited time to complete the Exam (20 minutes), questions should not take more than 20 seconds to answer. Please also see sample version of the CQE is available here together with its answer key.

9. Does the International Geography Bee’s European Division only test knowledge of European geography?

No, the International Geography Bee is not limited to questions on the geography of Europe. Questions on the geography of the Europe form about 30-40% of the questions we ask for the IGB in Europe.

European Championships 

1. Who will qualify for the IGB European Championships?

Students who finish in the top half of their division, inclusive of ties, at the tournament site where they take the European Championships Qualifying Exam will qualify for the European Championships. Likewise, we will tally all of the scores for both versions of the Qualifying Exam for all age divisions and compute the six different Official Median Scores (Varsity, Junior Varsity, and Middle School for both Alpha and Beta Set).

Students who had scored at or higher than the Official Median Score for their division on their version of the European Championships Qualifying Exam will thus also qualify for the European Championships. For each version of the CQE and for each age division it encompasses, there will be a separate Official Median Score.

Additionally, students who have competed before for their country at the International Geography Olympiad are automatically qualified for the IGB European Championships for life (i.e. as long as they are age-eligible), but must still take a version of the Championships Qualifying Exam, if they haven’t already done so, for seeding purposes, which would be provided free of charge.

2. How do I register? Is advanced registration required?
Advanced online registration is required for the European Championships!

Registration will open at this link in early 2017.

3. What is the deadline for registration?

May 10, 2017. Students may be allowed to register on a space-available basis up to the date of the European Championships, but they should not assume this will be possible.

4. What does it cost?
For 2017, costs are listed here – the cost of the IGB European Championships is identical to the Consolation Bee prices.

5. When and where will it take place?

For all Age Divisions, the 2017 IGB European Championships will take place in conjunction with the 2017 International History Bee and Bowl’s European Championships. That means the 2017 International Geography Bee European Championships will take place at St. Stephen’s School in Rome on Saturday, 20 May, 2017.

6. Will there be prizes?
Yes, the winning students at the 2017 and 2018 European Championships will receive free entry to the International Geography Bee World Championships. Students who finish in second place in their age division receive 50% off entry into the competition; students who finish in third place receive 25% off. If students finish in the top 3 positions in both 2017 and 2018, then they are entitled to the more valuable of the two prizes, but not both on a cumulative basis.

7. How can I best prepare for the IGB European Championships?

The best resource is the quiz bowl questions that have been used at the National Championships of the US Geography Olympiad from 2013 to 2016. These are available on the USGO website here. See www.quizbowlpackets.com for additional quiz questions in paragraph and “pyramidal” format though most of these questions do not have a geography focus.

World Championships

1. How do I qualify for the World Championships?
Students in Europe qualify for the World Championships by finishing in the top half of their age division at the European Championships of the International Geography Bee in either 2017 or 2018.
Additionally, students who have competed before for their country at the International Geography Olympiad are automatically qualified for the IGB World Championships for life (i.e. as long as they are age-eligible), but must still take a version of the Championships Qualifying Exam, if they haven’t already done so, for seeding purposes, which would be provided free of charge.

2. What events will the International Geography Bee World Championships consist of?

The World Championships of the International Geography Bee will consist of 5 preliminary rounds of buzzer-based play, plus 1-3 rounds of finals depending on turnout. Students who compete at the International Geography Bee World Championships will also be able to compete in the Historical Geography Bee of the 2018 International History Olympiad, even if they are not otherwise enrolled in the International History Olympiad. Participants will also take part in various field trips and excursions in and around Berlin, and possibly other competitions, though these would be informal and not form part of the official IGB World Championships or the International History Olympiad.

3. When and where will the World Championships take place?

The International Geography Bee World Championships will take place in Berlin in July 2018 in conjunction with the 2018 International History Olympiad. Students will be able to participate in both competitions, if they have qualified for both. The exact dates and location of the competition will be made available later in 2017. After 2018, the International Geography Bee will take place every two years (always in July).

4. What will the cost be?

The cost of the IGB World Championships has yet to be determined, but will be approximately $150 USD if students are already competing in the International History Olympiad (as in this case, accommodations, meals, and field trips are included) and $500 USD if they are not (this will include approximately 3 days of meals and lodging, 1.5 days of competition and 1.5 days of field trips).


1. Do you have any connection to The National Geographic Society or The National Geographic Bee of the International Geography Olympiad (aka iGeo)?
No, we are completely independent. Within the USA, our sister competition, the US Geography Olympiad, provides a way for US students to qualify for the International Geography Olympiad. Please see www.geographyolympiad.com for further details.

2. Do you have any sponsors?

Our USA Division is sponsored by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the world’s leading textbook publisher, but we do not currently have sponsors outside the USA. If you are interested in sponsorship opportunities with the International Geography Bee, please contact info@geographyolympiad.com.