Listed below are the ways to qualify as well as some frequently asked questions (and answers) to questions regarding the 2018 International Geography Bee World Championships. Further FAQs will be added here as the Olympiad approaches. If you have further questions that you do not see listed here, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to Qualify for the 2018 International Geography Bee World Championships
Students qualify for the International Geography Bee World Championships in the following ways:
Within the USA
1. Students who finish in the top 50% of students competing at the USA National Championships of the International Geography Bee for any age division either in 2017 or 2018.
2. Students who obtain a score of at least 75 on any version of the IGB National Qualifying Exam during either the 2016-2017 academic year or the 2017-2018 academic year.
Outside the USA
1. Students who finish in the top 50% of students competing at the IGB Canadian Championships, IGB Asian Championships, or IGB European Championships in 2017 or 2018.
2. Students who finish in the top 25% within their age division for any particular version of the IGB Championships Qualifying Exam among all students taking that version of the Exam – either at a particular site where it is offered, or across all sites in their region during either the 2016-2017 academic year or the 2017-2018 academic year. Students qualifying in either of these two ways must still score at least 30 or higher to qualify (regardless of their position within their age division), however.
3. Students who obtain a score of at least 75 (if they are Varsity), 65 (if they are Junior Varsity), or 55 (if they are Middle School) on any version of the Championships Qualifying Exam during either the 2016-2017 academic year or the 2017-2018 academic year.
4. At Regional Quiz Tournaments, the top 50% of students in an age division qualify, unless this is held strictly at an intramural level, in which case, the winning student in each age division is the only one who would qualify outright.
5. Students who have ever competed for their country at the International Geography Olympiad.
Age Limits and Divisions / Participation Questions
Q: Are there are age limits to compete in the IGB World Championships?
A: If you qualified as a secondary student in either the 2016-2017 or 2017-2018 school year, then there is no upper age limit. For younger students, as long as you were born in 2008 or earlier, or have finished at least the equivalent of 4th grade in the USA or Canada (or the equivalent grade in other countries), then you may attend. Students born in 2007 or 2008, or students who have only finished 4th or 5th grade must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian (i.e. a family member or school teacher or coach). Students younger than this must defer their participation until 2020.
Q: How are age divisions defined at the IGB World Championships?
A: Age divisions at IGB Worlds work on the exact same model as they do at the International History Olympiad, namely: Update Feb. 10 2018 we will offer three divisions at the Olympiad: Varsity, Junior Varsity and Middle School. Students have the option to select which age division they compete will compete in. Students may select one of two options:
The birthdate divisions cut offs are: Varsity (born August 2001 or earlier), Junior Varsity (born September 2001-August 2003), Middle School (born September 2003-December 2008).
The grade-based division cut offs are:
Varsity – Final 2 years of schooling per normal alignment (if a student is planning on skipping a year, this is not taken into account) in a student’s school in the 2017-2018 school year (Northern Hemisphere) or 2018 school year (South Asia and Southern Hemisphere). Plus students who had graduated in the school year immediately prior.
Junior Varsity – The 2 years of schooling prior to Varsity eligibility per the above criteria.
Middle School – Anything younger (i.e. more than 4 years of schooling per normal alignment).
In the vast majority of cases, a student’s age division would be the same by either the birthdate or grade-based criteria. By these criteria, any student in the USA, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand will also be able to play in the division that they were eligible to compete in at the most recent tournaments held in their countries. Students who were eligible to compete in the Junior Varsity Division in the USA however during the 2017-2018 school year who were also eligible to compete in the Elementary or Middle School Division in the USA during that school year must compete in the Middle School Division at IGB Worlds unless their birthdate would allow them to compete in the Junior Varsity Division and they wish to do so.
Q: I qualified last year for IGB Worlds, but this year I am a freshman/in my first year at University. Can I still attend?
A: Yes, you can come after one year of College or University studies.
Q: Do I have to attend with other students from my school?
A: No, you don’t, and a lot of students will be coming on their own, too. And you won’t feel alone for long, as you will make friends from all around the world, who share the same passion for geography!
Q: Do I have to stay at the official youth hostel?
A: Yes. The only exceptions to this are anyone who actually lives or attends school in Berlin itself, or anyone with a health issue that precludes them staying with the rest of the group. Students are otherwise not permitted to stay with their parents at alternative accommodations, even if they pay the registration fee in full.
Students who live or attend school in the city of Berlin can take part as day students for 50% of the posted prices. This does not include overnight accommodations or breakfast (it does include lunch and dinner). Students taking part in this option are responsible for their own transportation (i.e. we will not provide chaperones or cover prices) between their homes and venues
Students with health needs who need to stay with a parent(s) or guardian at the parents and family hotel may do this. If they do this at double occupancy, the parent pays single occupancy, and then there is no surcharge for the student. If the student stays with two people in the room, and the room is thus triple occupancy, there is a $100 surcharge for the student ($150 if competing in both Intl. Geography Bee World Championships and the Intl. History Olympiad), and the parents otherwise pay double occupancy.
Q: Do students need to bring bedding?
A: No. Blankets, sheets, pillows, and bedcovers are included in the price.
Q: Can students leave the youth hostel at night with supervision from Olympiad staff?
A: This is unlikely, and would only be allowed in brief cases before 10:45pm (e.g. to get something needed from a nearby grocery store or kiosk) in the case of being supervised by two staff members.
Q: Can students leave the youth hostel with supervision from their parents, other family members, or a coach?
A: Yes, but they must return by 10:45. If students are going out with anyone other than their parents, written permission from the students’ parents or legal guardians is required in advance.
Q: Can students leave the youth hostel on their own?
A: No. Even if participants are 18 or older at the time of the IGB World Championships, it is not permitted to explore Berlin on your own.
Q: Is there a lights-out policy?
A: Lights out is at 11pm. JV and Varsity Division students who wish to study for another hour may do so in the youth hostel lobby.
Q: If I am competing in the International Geography Bee and the International History Olympiad, do I switch youth hostels, and if so, when?
A: Yes, in this case, you would move from the IGB hostel to the Olympiad hostel (Youth Hostel Berlin-Wannsee) on July 15, which is much closer to the Berlin Brandenburg International School, where the majority of the Olympiad competitions will take place.
Q: Can I request a roommate or roommates?
A: Yes, you may do this (provided they are the same gender), but we cannot guarantee that we will be able to honor this.
Q: Are all competitions mandatory?
A: For IGB students, all competitions are mandatory except the Showdown, the Simulation (during which students can go to museums if they are not competing), the Historical Geography Bee, and the Scramble.
Q: Can I specify who my teammates will be?
A: No, though if you and your country or state is represented by only 1-3 other students in your age division, you can presume you will be on the same team together.
Q: Where can I find resources with which to prepare?
A: The best preparation resources are the past questions from IGB Regional Championships which can be found through the Resources links on the IGB website. For the International Geography Exam, please also see all the past National Qualifying Exams on the website of the US Geography Olympiad listed here as well as the multiple choice exams and the quiz bowl questions on the page here. The International Geography Exam will have some visual questions and some entirely text-based questions. For the Historical Geography Bee, please see this page here on the Olympiad website as well. The Scramble will be on a very specific topic announced just a week in advance, so preparation before then is not possible. Resources for the Geography Crisis Simulation will be provided once the topic and students’ roles have been determined.
Q: When and where will the next IGB World Championships be held after July 2018 in Berlin?
A: July 2020. The “where” is not yet certain, and probably will not be until after the IGB World Championships.