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Welcome to the 2017-2018 competition year of the US Geography Olympiad! USGO is back for its 6th season of geography competitions around the USA leading to our two National Championships in the spring (Varsity & JV in Arlington, VA on April 27; Middle School & Elementary in TBD in early June). We’re excited to be debuting a new competition year, and wanted to share with you a number of important updates as we begin.

First, on an organizational note, US Geography Olympiad is now a part of the International Academic Competitions network of competitions. Explore our new website at to learn more about the other competitions IAC offers for students in the USA. One of those other competitions, and the sister competition of USGO, is the International Geography Bee. IGB is going to be having its inaugural International Geography Bee World Championships in Berlin from July 11-17, 2018 and you can be a part of it! Qualification just involves finishing in the top half of competitors in any age division at the IGB US National Championships in 2017 or 2018 – or (and often more conveniently) – scoring a 75 or higher on any version of the USGO/IGB National Qualifying Exam in either the 2016-2017 or the 2017-2018 competition season. That means hundreds of students have already qualified! Please click here for the IGB World Championships website (and explore the other tabs on the drop down menu for more information). Contact if you have any questions regarding qualification.

And as always, the top four Varsity students at the 2018 US Geography Olympiad National Championships will become the 2018 Team USA at the International Geography Olympiad (aka iGeo) in Summer 2018 in Quebec City, Canada. This past summer, at the 2017 iGeo in Belgrade, Serbia, Team USA had its best iGeo showing ever – finishing 3rd out of 41 countries – with all four members of Team USA winning medals (including a gold medal for Martin Rakowszczyk). We hope to do even better in Canada, and wish all Varsity students good luck in qualifying!

At the regional level, for students in grade 8 and younger, new opportunities to take the USGO/IGB National Qualifying Exam will exist at all National History Bee Middle School and Elementary Division Regional Finals sites (at these sites, the NQE is offered free of charge, and you don’t even need to be competing in the National History Bee to attend them!) and as well as at an expanded number of US Academic Bee and Bowl tournaments. All students are also welcome as usual to take the Varsity and JV Division USGO/IGB National Qualifying Exams at National History Bee and Bowl Varsity & JV state and regional tournament sites.

Finally, the Varsity & JV National Median Scores will be computed earlier this year (December 31 for C Set, January 31 for B Set, and February 28 for A Set) allowing students a chance to qualify earlier in the competition year, and thus make it easier to plan on attending our 2018 National Championships. And in addition to qualifying on the basis of finishing at or above the National Median Scores (or in the top half of students at your exam site), you can also qualify for USGO Nationals on the basis of reaching a particular exam score (regardless of the National Median Scores).For A-C Set Exams (i.e. for Varsity and JV students), a score of 60 or higher will suffice for any student to qualify for Nationals. For D-H Set Exams (i.e. the Middle School and Elementary versions), a score of 40 or higher will suffice for 7th and 8th graders to qualify for Nationals while a score of 25 or higher will suffice for 6th graders and younger. Remember, a score of 75 or higher on any exam version suffices to qualify students for the 2018 IGB World Championships as well, and any student who qualifies for USGO Nationals by definition also qualifies for the 2018 IGB US National Championships in their age division as well. Note that at the 2018 USGO and IGB National Championships, we’ll have different National Championship titles on offer for 4th graders and younger, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th graders as well.

For further questions, please email Good luck throughout the 2017-2018 season, and we hope to see you at USGO/IGB Nationals and at IGB Worlds in Berlin!