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International Geography Bee

Posted: Wed Mar 01, 2017 6:15 pm
by Irreligion in Bangladesh
USGO and NHBB are pleased to announce the debut of the International Geography Bee’s US Division, part of the debut of the International Geography Bee worldwide. The International Geography Bee is a buzzer-based competition; in the US, this will complement the US Geography Olympiad.

Within the USA, this reorganization serves several purposes; in particular, the International Geography Bee’s US National Championships will replace the quizbowl tournament at the US Geography Olympiad's National Championships, and USGO will now move to a purely exam-based format. This change is desirable in that there is no buzzer-based competition at the International Geography Olympiad (iGeo), so having the top student from the quizbowl aspect of the competition represent the USA there, or otherwise cutting the Quiz Bowl Tournament altogether, were suboptimal options. Thus, the USGO National Championships will consist of 3 exams, with the students with the 4 best combined scores in the Varsity Division (using the same “lowest rank points” method we’ve used in the past) then being invited to form Team USA for the iGeo competition.

As the International Geography Bee replaces the USGO's quizbowl component, it gives its top students a more appropriate prize: a trip to the IGB World Championships, which will be held every two years at the International History Olympiad. Thus, the inaugural IGB World Championships will be held in Berlin in July 2018. The IGB and USGO will also have respective Elementary and Middle School Divisions as well, to be contested at the US Academic Bee and Bowl National Championships over Memorial Day weekend at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare near Chicago. For IGB, the prizes are the same for all age divisions.

In addition to the US, the IGB will be contested in Canada, Europe, Asia, and Australia/New Zealand this year. Each of these five divisions will have its own IGB Championships, and in each case, the top half of students at each IGB Championship will qualify for the World Championships in Berlin in 2018.

Full details on the International Geography Bee are available on its new website at

Some FAQ:

*Can a student compete in both the US Geography Olympiad's exams and the International Geography Bee's quizbowl competition?
Yes! At both Varsity/JV and Middle School/Elementary Nationals, players are encouraged but not required to compete in both events at nationals. (This contrasts with previous years' USGO competitions, which included both the exams and quizbowl events.)

*How do the age divisions work?
In the US, there are two separate national competitions: NHBB's high school national championships hosts the Varsity and Junior Varsity divisions on Friday April 21st, and USABB's national championships hosts the Elementary and Middle School divisions on Memorial Day Weekend.
The eligibility split between Varsity and Junior Varsity is based on age; this year, students born on or after July 1, 2001 compete in Junior Varsity, and all older compete in Varsity.
The eligibility split between Elementary and Middle School is largely based on grade; students in 7th and 8th grade compete in Middle School, and students in 6th and younger compete in Elementary School. Eligibility for homeschool students is considered on date, with MS consisting of students born between 10/1/02 and 9/30/04 and ES consisting of students born on or after 10/1/04.
The V and JV divisions use one set of questions; the E and MS divisions use a different set of questions. Thus, younger students can compete in both the JV division in April and either the E or MS division (as appropriate) in May.

*How does qualifying for nationals work?
Exactly as in past years: via the National Qualifying Exams. Students qualify for both USGO Nationals and IGB Nationals via the same exam in the same manner. Students can take an exam at any NHBB Regional event, or have an exam proctored at their school. In all cases, finishing in the top 50% of participants at your regional event and/or finishing above the National Median Qualifying Score on your exam qualifies you to compete at nationals in both USGO and IGB.
As in previous years, three separate versions of the exam are offered (A, B, and C) at the Varsity and JV level. High school students can take up to all 3 exams.
For the Middle School and Elementary Divisions, there are two additional, easier iterations of the exam: D and E. Exam D is offered at US Academic Bee and Bowl regional events; in addition, both D and E can be taken with a school / homeschool proctor. Middle/Elementary School students can take up to all 5 exams; qualifying for V/JV nationals on exam A, B, or C automatically qualifies a student for Middle/Elementary School nationals as well.

*If the US Geography Bee is solely a buzzer-based competition at nationals, why isn't there a buzzer-based qualification procedure at regionals?
Largely for simplicity's sake. We want the national qualifying procedure to fit within the standard schedule for NHBB/USABB events, so the lunchtime exam is the best way to do it. The US History Bee has a similar structure, with a regional qualifying exam leading to buzzer-based competition at nationals.

*If a student earns a berth on the iGeo team and wins the International Geography Bee US National Championships, are they able to attend both iGeo and the IGB World Championships?

*What are the costs of the US Geography Olympiad and US Geography Bee?
$10 for each qualifying exam at a regional tournament site, or $20 with a proctor at home; $75 for Nationals for each of the USGO and IGB events. These prices are the same for all age divisions.

*How do I register for nationals?
Registration for both US Geography Olympiad (exams) and International Geography Bee (buzzer) is done via this Google form for Varsity/Junior Varsity nationals in April and via this Google form for Elementary/Middle School nationals in May. These Google forms can also be accessed by links on the NHBB website for high school and USABB website for elementary & middle school.

*If I already registered for USGO Nationals via the NHBB website, do I need to re-register now with the Google form?
No - we'll contact you in the coming weeks to verify if your student(s) would like to play both USGO and IGB, or just one of the events.

As always, if you have any questions, you can let me know via PM on these forums or e-mail at [email protected]. Thank you!

Re: International Geography Bee

Posted: Thu Mar 02, 2017 11:11 am
by idek
If you qualify for the MS IGB in your 8th grade year, do you forfeit your eligibility for Worlds due to being a 9th grader in the year of competition?

Re: International Geography Bee

Posted: Fri Mar 03, 2017 2:59 am
by Irreligion in Bangladesh
Nope! Qualifying for IGB Worlds (by finishing in the top half of your age group at IGB Nationals, whether that's elementary, middle, JV, or V) gets you into the event in Berlin. Once you're there, there are three divisions, based on age; you'd play in whichever division you fall in, regardless of how you qualified to get there.

Re: International Geography Bee

Posted: Fri Mar 03, 2017 6:02 pm
by Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov
Does this mean that the USGO rounds at NHBB in Arlington, VA will also be entirely exam-based?

Re: International Geography Bee

Posted: Fri Mar 03, 2017 6:24 pm
by Irreligion in Bangladesh
Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov wrote:Does this mean that the USGO rounds at NHBB in Arlington, VA will also be entirely exam-based?
Correct; the IGB quizbowl rounds then take place separately, later on the Friday. More details on the schedule for the NHBB Nationals weekend are available at that link.