Welcome to the USA Division of The International Geography Bee!
Within the USA, the International Geography Bee is a geography quiz competition, focusing on pure geographic knowledge. Students in the USA interested in competing in a separate competition with a focus more on applied geographic knowledge can participate in the US Geography Olympiad as well.
As is also the case with the US Geography Olympiad, within the USA, students who are in grade 8 or younger may compete both in the Junior Varsity Division of the International Geography Bee, and a younger age division as well. These include an 8th grade division, a 7th grade division, a 6th grade division, and the Elementary School Division for students in 5th grade and younger. While students competing in these 4 age divisions all use the same qualifying exams (the D-H Set versions), the National Championships qualification works differently for each (8th graders must score at least 50 on any exam version, 7th graders must score at least 45 on any version, 6th graders must score at least 40 on any version, and Elementary schoolers at least a 35 on any version) and they all compete separately at Nationals.
The USA Division of the IGB consists of the National Qualifying Exams and the National Championships, though beginning in 2018-2019, we are also offering IGB Regional Quiz Tournaments at the level of Middle School and Elementary School. These are being held at all Middle School History Bowl sites beginning in early 2019 during the time when students in the Junior Varsity and Varsity divisions are competing in the History Bee. Note that the IGB Regional Quiz Tournaments offer an additional way for students to compete with their geography skills and qualify for Nationals, but they are not a requirement – students can still qualify for Nationals just by taking a National Qualifying Exam and scoring high enough.
Within the USA Division, the same age divisions and classifications and the same definitions for these apply as they do for the US Geography Olympiad. At the IGB World Championships, age is determined solely by birthdate – students from the USA may only compete in one age division there.
In 2019, the Varsity Division and Junior Varsity Division National Championships for the IGB will be held directly after the National Championships of the US Geography Olympiad on Friday, April 26 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, VA. This is held in conjunction with the Varsity and Junior Varsity National Championships of the National History Bee and Bowl and the US History Bee. Varsity and JV Nationals will consist of 3 preliminary rounds of 35 paragraph-length buzzer quiz questions, and two rounds of playoffs for the top students from the preliminaries. Questions used at past IGB National Championships can be found on the Resources Page and you can see further questions here from past years’ US Geography Olympiad Quiz Bowl Tournament.
The 2019 Middle School Division and Elementary Division National Championships in the USA for the IGB will be held in conjunction with the Middle School and Elementary National Championships of the US Academic Bee and Bowl, National History Bee and Bowl, National Science Bee and the US Geography Olympiad. The date and location for all of these events is yet to be determined, but it will take place in late May or June 2019.
US students qualify for the National Championships of IGB in the exact same way they qualify for the National Championships of the US Geography Olympiad – if you qualify for the one, by definition, you qualify for the other. US students qualify for the World Championships of IGB by finishing in the top half of their age division at Nationals, or by scoring 75 or better on any version of the National Qualifying Exam. Qualification is then valid for two years (thus one can qualify for the 2020 IGB World Championships at either the 2019 or 2020 IGB US National Championships).