The second stage of the National Geography Bee for the Middle and Elementary School Divisions is the Regional Finals. The Regional Finals are held throughout the year both online and in person. A full list of Regional Finals is available here on the Registration page. Students who have qualified on the Online Regional Qualifying Exam may compete up to 3 times at the Regional Finals. The Regional Finals tournaments are held in conjunction with the Regional Finals for the National History Bee and National Science Bee, so students who qualified on the ORQEs for those subjects can compete in all 3 events.
Regional Finals: Timing of Tournaments
At in-person Regional tournaments, typically the Geography Bee is held in the early afternoon; the History Bee is held in the morning, and the Science Bee is held in the late afternoon. At online tournaments, the Bees for two subjects are held on a Saturday, and the third is held on Sunday afternoon. The time and day that each subject is contested on an online event varies from one tournament to another, so that students who cannot compete on Saturdays (or Sundays) will have options to play all subjects at their preferred time over the course of the academic year.
Regional Finals: Tournament Structure
The Regional Finals consists of 3 preliminary rounds, each with 30 questions, and 1 Final Round, likewise with 30 questions. All students play in all preliminary rounds; the scores are then added together to determine placement. Typically 20-50% of students then make the Final Round to determine the Regional Champion in each age division. To qualify for the National Championships, students must finish in the top 50% of their age division after the preliminary rounds, inclusive of odd numbers and ties for the final Nationals spot. There are separate age divisions for students in 8th grade, 7th grade, 6th grade, 5th grade, 4th grade, and 3rd grade and younger. At some tournaments with small numbers of students in an age division, two or more divisions may be consolidated. However, the qualification for the National Championships will be determined solely based on a student’s official age division: students are never at a disadvantage in terms of National Championships qualifying if age divisions must be consolidated.
Regional Finals: Game Play Rules
All questions at the Regional Finals are played using a buzzer system and take the form of a short paragraph. Please see here for sample questions to practice with. The questions are read out loud to students, and the clues in each question are arranged in descending order of difficulty. Students buzz in as soon as they think they know the answer. If they are correct, they score a point; if they are incorrect, they cannot ring in again on that question. Three incorrect answers kills the question. If a student is the third student incorrect before the end of the question, they lose a point (because they have killed the question for the remaining students who now are unable to hear the rest of the question). If they are the first or second student incorrect, or if they are the third student to answer incorrectly but the question has already been read to completion, they do not lose a point.
Once students reach 5 points in a round, they are done for the rest of the round. This ensures that if one student is particularly gifted, they will not run away with most of the questions while the other students get frustrated. However, students can earn up to 10 bonus points in each round depending on how quickly they go out (i.e. a student who answers the first 5 questions correctly scores 15 for the round).
Regional Finals: Study Guides
Each Regional Finals is played using one of three question sets: Red, White, or Blue. There is no difference between the sets in terms of content focus or difficulty. Students can compete at up to 3 Regional Finals, once on each question set. Each question set has a Study Guide that is compiled once the questions for that question set have been written, so students who are competing at a tournament should review the correct Study Guide in advance! The Study Guides do not contain information on every question in the tournament, but they typically reference things to know about harder topics that will come up.
Regional Finals: Tournament Registration and Logistics
Students and their families must register for each Regional Finals tournament on the Registration Page. Typically, the deadline is 12 days in advance of each tournament, but please check the Registration Page to be sure as this may vary for some events. After the deadline passes, a wait list is maintained for each tournament: we will attempt to accommodate as many students as possible, but we need to ensure sufficient staff first. The cost to compete in the Regional Finals of the National Geography Bee is $47 per tournament with a $10 surcharge if registered for after the deadline. There is no obligation to bring a question reader or buzzer system to the tournament; IAC will provide these. An email will be sent in the week prior to each tournament with further logistical details, as well as within a week after the tournament with a tournament wrap-up and information on additional chances to compete.
For all questions on the 2023-24 Regional Finals, please email email@example.com.