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 email@example.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 or compete in the Regional Quiz Tournament. Students who graduate between the time they take the Exam or compete in the RQT 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 2019-2020 school year (these correspond to the International History Bee and Bowl’s Age Divisions within Europe):
-Varsity (for students born before 1 September, 2003)
-Junior Varsity (for students born from 1 September, 2003 to 31 August, 2005)
-Middle School (for students born on 1 September 2005 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 2019-2020 school year even if they first qualified in 2018-2019 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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Where are the sites for the Championships Qualifying Exam for the International Geography Bee?
The sites of the 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 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 (or the World 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 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.
2. Where are the sites and when are the dates for the Regional Quiz Tournaments?
Any sites for the Regional Quiz Tournaments will be listed on the Regionals Page, along with their registration. Tournaments are posted on a continual basis once they are scheduled. The Regional Quiz Tournaments might be held after school or on weekends.
3. What is the cost?
The cost is 10 Euros to take either version of the 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. Check the page here for costs in all local currencies. If a student takes the Exam through a proctor at their school or with a homeschool instructor, it is free of charge. If you are interested in this option please email email@example.com.
4. How do I sign up for the Championships Qualifying Exam at a tournament site? Do I need to register in advance?
For the 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 Championships Qualifying Exam proctored by a teacher or homeschool instructor?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for instructions on how to register 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 email@example.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; the top 25% will also qualify for the IGB World 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 Championships Qualifying Exam?
Questions on the 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 the Resources Page for past versions of the Exam as well as an additional sample version of the CQE which 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.
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 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 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.
Students can also qualify by finishing in the top 50% in their age division at any Regional Quiz Tournament. However, if any Regional Quiz Tournaments are held at the intramural level, then the winning student qualifies for the World Championships, and the top 25% qualify in each age division for the European Championships.
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!
Once registration is open (by January 2020), it can be done here on the main IHBB European Championships registration page.
3. What is the deadline for registration?
May 20, 2020. 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?
Costs are listed here – the cost of the IGB European Championships is identical to the Open Bee prices.
5. When and where will it take place?
Saturday June 6, 2020 at SIS Basel in Basel, Switzerland. The competition will begin around 10am and finish around 2pm. The IHBB European History Bee Championships will begin immediately after the IGB European Championships concludes.
6. Will there be prizes?
Yes, the champion students at the IGB European Championships in each age division win $200 off in discounted admission to the IGB World Championships. If a student wins in both 2019 and 2020, then they can take $400 off in discounted admission.
7. How can I best prepare for the IGB European Championships?
The best resources are the questions we used at the past IGB European Championships, which are available on the Resources Page. See also the 2015 and 2016 European Championship packets here – these include the Geography Bee of Europe questions (which were renamed the IGB European Championships beginning in 2017). Please also see the questions which have been used at the National Championships of the US Geography Championships from 2013 to 2016. These are available on the USGC 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.
1. How do I qualify for the World Championships?
Students in Europe qualify for the International Geography Bee World Championships by any one of the following ways:
- By finishing in the top half of their age division at the European Championships of the International Geography Bee in either 2019 or 2020
- By scoring at least 75 on any version of the Championships Qualifying Exam during either the 2018-2019 academic year or the 2019-2020 academic year
- By finishing in the top 25% of finishers (either at a tournament site or across Europe) on the Championships Qualifying Exam
- By finishing in the top 50% of finishers at any Regional Quiz Tournament. However, if any Regional Quiz Tournaments are held at the intramural level, then the winning student qualifies for the World Championships, and the top 25% qualify in each age division for the European Championships
- Students who have competed before for their countries 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 they could do for free.
2. What events will the International Geography Bee World Championships consist of?
Please see the IGB World Championships page here for the draft schedule of events, this page for descriptions of buzzer-based competitions, this page for descriptions of other competitions, and this page for other events that are part of the 2018 IGB World Championships.
3. When and where will the World Championships take place?
The International Geography Bee World Championships will take place in on a Caribbean cruise (leaving from and returning to San Juan, Puerto Rico) from July 12-19, 2020. The 11th is an arrival day; students need to arrive in San Juan then, but can do so at any time that day.
4. What will the cost be?
The costs of the 2020 IGB World championships can be found here.
1. Do you have any connection to The National Geographic Society or The National Geographic Bee or the International Geography Olympiad (aka iGeo)?
No, we are completely independent.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.