For our online competitions, each breakout room will have no more than 10 players. Each player will be assigned a specific Student ID (e.g. JV002). Please sign into Zoom and COBA using your assigned Student ID.

The Geography Bee is played in two sections – Preliminaries and Finals. During the Preliminary Section, you will be playing against up to 9 other students in an individual, buzzer-based competition in a race to answer up to 8 tossup questions out of a set of 30 (or 25 for Middle School). Each correct tossup answer will earn you one point. Once you reach 8 correct answers, you will earn bonus points based on how quickly you reach the 8th point.

The following table summarizes the bonus structure:
Reaching 8 pts on or before question… Results in this many bonus pts… And thus this many total pts…
Eight                                                                    Seven                                              Fifteen
Ten                                                                       Six                                                Fourteen
Thirteen                                                              Five                                               Thirteen
Seventeen                                                           Four                                                Twelve
Twenty-One                                                       Three                                                Eleven
Twenty-Five                                                       Two                                                   Ten
Twenty-Nine                                                      One                                                   Nine
Thirty                                                                  Zero                                                   Eight

To prevent matches from going on too long, three incorrect answers will end the opportunity to answer a particular tossup for all students. If the reader is still reading the question, and you give the third incorrect answer, you will be deducted one point. If the reader has finished reading the question, there is no penalty. There is no penalty for giving either the first or the second incorrect answer.

The reader will wait three seconds after he or she has finished reading the question before calling it dead and moving on to the next. If someone rings in during this time, and is incorrect, then the three second count begins again. The reader will also allow you three seconds after you have buzzed in to give your answer. You need to be recognized before you give your answer. Timing decisions are not protestable. If you wish to protest, you must bring it to the reader’s attention immediately, then fill out a protest form at the end of the round.

If the reader botches a question, then there are makeup questions included with each round that can be used. If you speak out of turn, you do not lose a point, but you are disqualified for the question. The question is still alive for everyone else.

If you have specific questions regarding more detailed aspects of the rules, please contact


We understand that some of the required things may cost extra money. However, to ensure the quality of our competitions for all our participants, we require all participants to have the following items:

Device(s) with internet access and camera — all participating students must have access to a computer or iPad and smart phone with internet access and camera. Our online competitions require students to use software and websites that require internet. Also, all participants will be required to show their faces for the whole duration of the tournament.

Headphones with built-in microphones — all participating students need to have function headphones that can also act as a microphone. This is to ensure that all students can hear the moderator clearly. Since most of our competitions involve buzzer-based questions, the ability to hear the moderator will affect students’ performance.

Zoom — all participants must download Zoom before the tournament. You are not required to create an account on Zoom, but you must download and install the software before the start the competition.

COBA — players will use COBA to buzz in. You do not need to download anything to use the website.

COBA Test Guide


The competition will use two online platforms: Zoom and COBA. Participants must first download Zoom to use the platform. Try to find the best wifi spot in your home to ensure the fastest connection. Also, please sit in a quiet area, so it won’t disturb other participants from hearing the moderator.

1. Log into Zoom using the given Meeting ID and sign in using your Student ID. Make sure your video is turned on during the whole tournament.

2. In the Zoom meeting, the tournament director will assign you to specific breakout rooms for your round.

3. Go to on your mobile phone and Join a Game using the information provided by your moderator. Use your assigned Student ID to join the room.

4. Players must show their whole face, shoulders, and BOTH hands on the screen at all times!

5. Windows and tabs other than COBA and Zoom must be closed during the round.

6. Recording matches is NOT ALLOWED.


Zoom – if you have issues with your Zoom, please log out and sign back in using the same meeting information.

COBA – if you have issues with COBA, please try COBA on different browsers and devices. If all players experience issues with COBA, we will resort to Zoom to buzz in. Moderators will let you know the rules for using Zoom.


We understand that cheating is a serious concern for online tournaments. IAC will try our best to discourage students from having unfair advantages over others. We will have extra staff who will randomly go into breakout rooms to observe the competition. Students are also encourage to keep an eye out for suspicious activities:

  • Sound or motion that suggest the player is typing
  • A sudden change in the lighting of a player’s screen
  • Please email the if you have proof and concerns about another player’s misconduct.