Regionals for the Varsity and Junior Varsity Divisions

The Regional stage for the Varsity and Junior Varsity Divisions of the US Geography Championships consists of the National Qualifying Exam. The NQE is a 50 questions multiple choice exam. Students receive 2 points for a correct answer, zero points for an answer left blank, and -1 point for an incorrect answer. Students have 20 minutes to take the Exam and they can do so in one of the following ways:

National Qualifying Exam Sites at National History Bee and Bowl Varsity & Junior Varsity Division Tournaments
Sample and past Exams are posted online here. Students can use these as a basis of their preparation, as questions on the actual Exams will reference comparable material.

The Regional sites for the National Qualifying Exams will be identical in site and date to the Varsity & Junior Varsity Regional and State level tournaments for the National History Bee and Bowl in the Varsity and Junior Varsity Division. These sites can be found on the map on the USGC homepage. Students taking the USGC National Qualifying Exam are encouraged to compete in the National History Bee and the National History Bowl, but this is not required.
Students may take the National Qualifying Exam up to three times, though it must, of course, be a different version each time. A different version of the Exam is offered at tournaments listed as “A Set”, “B Set”, and “C Set”  – you can check which set a tournament uses by clicking on the dots on the map. Note that the three separate versions of the Qualifying Exam offered at “A Set”, “B Set”, and “C Set” tournaments respectively are not meant to vary in length or difficulty.

The USGC Qualifying Exam will almost always be offered during the lunch break of the tournament. The start time of this (usually around 12:45-1pm, but double check), along with the time students who are not coming for the History Bee and Bowl but who wish to take the USGC Qualifying Exam should arrive (usually around 12:30), is indicated on each tournament page (accessed by clicking on the respective dot on the map). Once the Exam begins, students will have 20 minutes to complete it.

Advanced registration is NOT required, but it is recommended – you can register for the US Geography Championships National Qualifying Exam here on the NHBB registration page (be sure to fill in the USGC portion). Please bring payment (which must be by cash or check payable to “US Geography Championships”) to the tournament site – do not send it in in advance! You also can simply arrive by the time specified on the tournament page. The cost is $10 per student. If your school is competing in the National History Bee and Bowl tournament, and you also have student(s) taking the USGC Qualifying Exam, we request that you issue a second check for USGC payments. If you must include payment for the USGC on a check made out to “The National History Bee and Bowl”, we can accept this, but prefer not to. All payments must be received by no later than the start of the Qualifying Exam – no exceptions.

Students will be notified of their results by email to whoever registered online for their school or homeschool association, usually within one week of taking the exam. However, students who take the Exam who finish in the top half of their division (i.e. Varsity or Junior Varsity) at the site they take it, will also have their scores posted online on the Results page. All of these students will have qualified for the National Championships. Students can also qualify for Nationals by finishing in the top half nationally within their age division for all students who took each particular version of the exam. Different median scores are calculated for both the Varsity and Junior Varsity Divisions for each exam. Students only need to qualify for Nationals off of any one version of the National Qualifying Exam. If they qualify on one version of the Exam, they make take the additional versions for further practice; a non-qualifying score on a subsequent Exam would not “unqualify” a student from Nationals though.

With a Teacher or Homeschool Proctor – If you are unable to make it to a site or wish to have a second chance at qualifying, a teacher at your school or an instructor who advises homeschoolers can separately administer the National Qualifying Exam for you. In this case, the National Qualifying Exam costs $20, and here are the steps you need to follow:

A. Send a check for $20 per Exam version per student made out to “International Academic Competitions” to the following address:

IAC c/o Enrico Contolini
14073 W. Amherst Court
Lakewood, CO 80228

B. 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 and E 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).

C. The proctor will then report the score for each Exam Version to us, and if it falls above the National Median Score for the division the student is in on the version of the Exam they take, then they will qualify for Nationals, and we will let you know that once the median scores have been determined for the Exam Version each student took.

D. 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.

Please note that only primary or secondary school students born between June 30, 2001 and June 30, 2004 are eligible to take the 2019-2020 Varsity Division National Qualifying Exam, but all primary or secondary students born on July 1, 2004 or later are eligible to take the Junior Varsity Division National Qualifying Exam. If younger students qualify in the Junior Varsity Division, but would also be eligible to compete in the Elementary or Middle School Division, then they can attend both the Junior Varsity National Championships and either the Middle School or Elementary Division National Championships, depending on their grade or age.