The Regional level of the USA Division of The International Geography Bee consists of the National Qualifying Exam (for all students), and the Regional Quiz Tournaments (for students in 8th grade and younger only). For all age divisions, the rules are the same. However, the Varsity and Junior Varsity Division Exams (A Set, B Set, and C Set – the same Exams are used for both of these divisions) are more difficult than the Middle School and Elementary School Division Exams (D-H Sets – these are again the same for all students in 8th grade and younger [i.e. the D Set Exam for 8th graders is the same as the D Set Exam for 5th graders] ).
Each Exam has 50 multiple-choice questions with 4 possible answers to each question, and students always have 20 minutes to compete. The same Exams are also used to qualify students for the National Championships of the US Geography Olympiad – this does not cost extra. Students receive 2 points for a correct answer, 0 points for an answer left blank, and -1 point for an incorrect response.
The NQE is always offered at tournament sites for the National History Bee and Bowl’s Varsity and Junior Varsity level tournaments, a list of which is available here. The version of the NQE on offer at each site (either A, B, or C) corresponds to the question set being used there.
For the 2018-2019 academic year, there are 5 separate versions of the Middle School & Elementary School National Qualifying Exam. These are offered as follows:
D Set Exam: Offered at US Academic Bee and Bowl tournaments – also available to be taken with a proctor
E Set Exam: Offered to competing students at the National History Bee Regional Finals who have not yet qualified for USGO / IGB Nationals. It is also available to be taken with a proctor.
F Set Exam: Offered to competing students at the National Science Bee Regional Finals and National History Bee Regional Finals students who are competing in the second of two History Bee tournaments being held at a site on the same day. As with the E Set exam, this exam is only offered to these students if they have not qualified for Nationals and it also is available to be taken with a proctor.
G Set Exam: Offered to school & homeschool sponsors of National History Bee & National Science Bee – not available to be otherwise taken with a proctor. This version of the Exam only is completed online.
H Set Exam: Offered at National History Bowl tournaments with a Middle School Division – also available to be taken with a proctor
Teachers can also sign up an entire class for any one version of the National Qualifying Exam which costs $75 for one class of students. For the entire school, it costs $150. If you are interested in either of these options, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note that students qualify for the Varsity and Junior Varsity National Championships by finishing in the top half of students in their age division who take the A, B, or C Set Versions of the National Qualifying Exam at any given tournament site. If there is an odd number of students, or if two students tie for the last spot, we “round up” so that 4 students out of 7 would qualify, for example, unless there was a tie for 4th place, in which case 5 (or more, if more than two students tied for 4th) would qualify.
Students can also qualify by finishing in the top half nationally among all students who take the NQE within their age division for any given exam. These national median scores are calculated for C Set on January 1, for B Set on February 1, and for A Set on March 1.
To qualify for the 8th Grade, 7th Grade, 6th Grade, and Elementary School National Championships, on any D, E, F, G, or H Set Version of the National Qualifying Exam, students qualify for Nationals if they obtain any of these scores:
8th Grade: 50
7th Grade: 45
6th Grade: 40
5th Grade and Younger: 35
The D and H Set Exams cost $10 when taken in person at the tournament sites.
The E, F, and G Exams are offered free of charge at the tournament sites or when taken with a sponsor supervising, in the case of the G Set Exam.
To register to take the A, B, or C Set NQE at a Varsity / Junior Varsity National History Bee and Bowl tournament site, please use the registration form here for the Varsity and Junior Varsity Division.
If you are planning on take the D Set Exam at a USABB tournament site, please register here (and consider competing in the Academic Bee too, though this isn’t required) and arrive in advance of the time listed for the geography exam (you can find these by clicking on the dot on the map at www.usacademicbowl.com for the tournament you are looking to attend).
If you are planning on take the H Set Exam at a NHBB Middle School tournament site, please register here. Note that any of these tournaments occurring in early 2019 (but not those occurring in the last few months of 2018) will also feature an International Geography Bee Regional Quiz Tournament.
Please arrive in advance of the time listed for the geography exam (you can find these by clicking on the dot on the map at www.historybowl.com for the tournament you are looking to attend).
Taking the National Qualifying Exam with a Proctor
To take the NQE at a student’s school or with a homeschool instructor, please follow these instructions:
1. Send a check for $20 per Exam version per student made out to “US Geography Olympiad” (please do NOT make checks payable to “International Geography Bee”!) to the following address:
IGB c/o Enrico Contolini
14073 W. Amherst Court
Lakewood, CO 80228
2. Along with the check, include a piece of paper with the student’s name and school (or indicate they are homeschooled), their birthdate and grade (to determine their division), a contact email for the student or their parent(s), and the name and email of the proctor. If you have multiple students who wish to take the Exam, please supply this information for each student.
Please also indicate which Exam Version(s) is/are requested – note that A, B, and C are Varsity and JV Division Exams and are open to all students. D, E, F, and H (G cannot be requested) are Middle School and Elementary Division Exams and are only open to students in those divisions (and thus cannot qualify students for the Varsity or JV National Championships).
Once we receive the check, we will forward the proctor the requested Exam Version(s) and the answer key(s).
3. The proctor will then report the score for each Exam Version to us, and if the score is high enough for the age division the student is in, then they will qualify for Nationals.
4. If the student does not qualify on the Exam Version they took, then they can take the other Exam Versions they are eligible to take that they haven’t yet taken. The process would work the same way.
Students who take an exam at their school or with a homeschool proctor may only qualify on the basis of finishing in the top half nationally on that version of the Exam (students who take the Exam at a tournament site can also qualify as mentioned, by being in the top half of students in their age division on an Exam at that site).
Past examples of the NQE and their answer keys to practice with, as well as a distribution guide that shows what types of questions are asked about and in what frequencies, can be found on the US Geography Olympiad website here.
IGB Regional Quiz Tournaments
Beginning with the 2018-2019 academic year, IGB will also be offering Regional Quiz Tournaments at all 2019 (but not late 2018) Middle School History Bowl Tournament Sites. These consist of 3 rounds of buzzer-based play with 30 questions per round and a final round for the top students. These are held at the same point in the day when the Varsity and Junior Varsity History Bees are taking place. The IGB Regional Quiz Tournaments, however, are only open to students in 8th grade and younger. The rules are the same as are used at the IGB National Championships.
At the IGB Regional Quiz Tournaments, 7th and 8th graders compete together, and students in 6th grade and younger compete together. Students can qualify for Nationals by finishing either in the top 50% of students in their specific grade (for 6th-8th graders), among all 5th graders and younger (for Elementary School students), or in the combined totals of 7th & 8th graders OR the combined totals of all 6th graders and younger.