Listed below are the ways to qualify as well as some frequently asked questions (and answers) to questions regarding the 2020 International Geography Bee World Championships. Further FAQs will be added here as the 2020 IGB World Championships approach. If you have further questions that you do not see listed here, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to Qualify for the 2020 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 2019 or 2020.
2. Students who obtain a score of at least 75 on any version of the IGB National Qualifying Exam during either the 2018-2019 academic year or the 2019-2020 academic year.
3. At Regional Quiz Tournaments, the top 25% of students in an age division qualify for any age division where these are offered either in 2019 or 2020.
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 2019 or 2020.
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 2018-2019 academic year or the 2019-2020 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 2018-2019 academic year or the 2019-2020 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.
(note: these will be added to in far greater detail once the 2020 IGB World Championships dates and site are announced)
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 2018-2019 or 2019-2020 school year, then there is no upper age limit. For younger students, as long as you were born in 2009 or earlier, or have finished at least the equivalent of 5th grade in the USA or Canada (or the equivalent grade in other countries), then you may attend. Students born in 2009 or or students who have only finished 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 2022.
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: 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 2003 or earlier), Junior Varsity (born September 2003-August 2005), Middle School (born September 2005-December 2009).
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 2019-2020 school year (Northern Hemisphere) or 2020 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 2019-2020 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: No, this is not permitted for the 2020 IGB World Championships; students must be enrolled in secondary school during the 2019-2020 academic year.
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: 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 2020?
A: July 2022. The “where” is not yet certain, and will not be until after the 2020 IGB World Championships.