2020 USGC Middle and Elementary School Division Nationals Information

The 2020 Middle School and Elementary School National Championships of the United States Geography Championships will be held online from 6:30pm-8:30pm EST on the evening of Friday, November 13, 2020. Remember, if you are qualified for the 2020 USGC Nationals, you are by definition qualified for the 2020 International Geography Bee Nationals as well!

Registration
Registration for the 2020 USGC Middle and Elementary School National Championships is open here: https://ems.iacnationals.com/
USGC Middle and Elementary School Nationals Registration will run through November 10, 2020.

Nationals Schedule
A full schedule of all 2020 International Academic Competitions National Championship events can be found here. Note that the National Historical Geography Exam is a new and separate competition from USGC or the International Geography Bee. The National Historical Geography Exam is open to all students in all age divisions and does not require prior qualification.

Qualification

Students qualify for the 2020 US Geography Championships Middle School and Elementary School National Championships through the National Qualifying Exams. For the 2020 National Championships, students must have qualified off a 2019-2020 qualifying exam version (i.e. A Set, B Set, or C Set) no later than Oct. 1, 2020. 

Please note! Any student who qualifies for the exam-based US Geography Championships National Championships also qualifies for the buzzer-based International Geography Bee US National Championships – please click here for more information on IGB Nationals.

Students can qualify for USGC and IGB Nationals in any of the following ways:

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

Students may also qualify for the 2020 US Geography Championships (and International Geography Bee) Middle School and Elementary Division National Championships by qualifying for the USGC/IGB Junior Varsity Division’s National Championships on the A, B, or C Set version of the National Qualifying Exam. These were offered at all National History Bee and Bowl Varsity and Junior Varsity Regional and State tournament sites prior to the cancellation of the remaining in-person tournaments in early March 2020 due to Covid-19. Students must finish in the top half of JV students at their site, or otherwise finish above the A, B, or C Set National Median Scores, or score 40 or higher (if in 7th or 8th grade) or 25 or higher (if in 6th grade and younger). Qualifying on the basis of scoring at least 40 or 25 only qualifies eligible students for the Middle School or Elementary National Championships, not the JV one though.

Students only need to qualify off any one of the five versions of the USGC National Qualifying Exam. A non-qualifying score on any other version of the Exam does not disqualify a student from attending Nationals. The qualification process for the USGC National Championships is also identical to the qualification process for the US National Championships of the International Geography Bee (i.e. all students who qualify for the one competition qualify for the other).

Finally, Middle School and Elementary School students who finish in the top 50% of students in an International Geography Bee Regional Quiz Tournament also qualify for USGC Nationals. At these 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.

Age Divisions at Nationals
For the 2020 National Championships, we will be holding 4 separate age divisions at Middle School and Elementary School Nationals for USGC and IGB. These 4 divisions correspond to the grade a student is in and are: 8th, 7th, 6th, and 5th grade and younger in the 2019-2020 academic year. Thus students now in 9th grade will still play in the 8th grade division, as they were in 8th grade during the qualification period.

Cost
The cost to compete at the 2020 US Geography Championships Middle School and Elementary School National Championships is $75 per student. Students might also be interested in competing in the International Geography Bee National Championships, the cost for which is also $75, as well as the National Historical Geography Exam (which is a separate competition, and not part of either USGC or IGB), the cost for which is $15.

Entry fees should ideally be paid by credit card when one registers for Nationals (a link to the registration page will be posted here by October 10) but we also accept checks payable to “International Academic Competitions” and sent to the following address and received by November 10:

IAC Nationals
15 Lafayette Place
Burlington, VT 05401

Format of Middle School and Elementary Division of USGC Nationals

The 2020 US Geography Championships Middle School and Elementary Division National Championships will consist of 3 separate parts, a multiple choice exam, a written response exam, and a cartographic skills exam. Sample questions for the written exam are available here and samples of the geography skills exam questions are available here. For samples for the multiple choice exams, as well as additional samples for the other two exams, please also see the exams used at the 2017, 2018, and 2019 National Championships which are available for download here along with their answer keys.

From a timing standpoint, the US Geography Championships exams will be split into 2 parts: a part with the written exam and the first half of the multiple choice exam (45 minutes total), then a 10 minute break, and then the second half will be the map exam and the second half of the multiple choice exam (another 45 minutes total). Students will be ranked on all 3 exams on the rank points principle:

For the Overall USGC rank, scores will be determined by giving participating students a rank of 1 to N, with N being the number of overall competing students, on each of the three exams. Tied students will split the average of their ranks (e.g. – if there are two students tied for second place, each would receive 2.5 points). Students thus earn a number of placement points equivalent to their ranks. The students with the lowest overall number of placement points from all portions combined will thus be the highest ranking students, and that will be used to determine the overall scores. If students tie on the overall placement, the tiebreaks will be (in respective order):
1. Final placement on Multiple Choice Exam
2. Final placement on Written Exam
3. Final placement on Geography Skills Exam
4. Additional 5 question Tiebreaker Multiple Choice Exams (this process may be repeated as needed until a winner is determined).

Students who wish to compete in a buzzer-based quiz competition should register for the International Geography Bee’s US National Championships as well.

For further questions, please contact info@iacompetitions.com

2021 USGC Varsity & Junior Varsity Nationals Information:

The 2021 Varsity and Junior Varsity National Championships of the United States Geography Championships will be held in June or December of 2021. The format of the competition will be the same as is described above for 2020, but it is yet to be determined if this National Championship will take place in person, or online. A decision on this matter will be made by the end of April 2020.