National Geography Bee

Middle & Elementary School Divisions Homepage

2024 National Champions:
8th Grade – Malcolm McIntyre, Alice Deal Middle School, DC
7th Grade – Naman Mishra, Rose Hill Middle School, WA
6th Grade – Miller Angevine, Woodward Academy, GA
5th Grade – Terence Heng, Challenger School – Middlefield, CA
4th Grade – Trishob Thigulla, Osage Elementary School
3rd Grade and Younger – Yakshit Bagad, Reeves Elementary School, TX

National Geography Bee
National Geography Bee

The National Geography Bee Middle & Elementary School Divisions Overview

National Geography Bee

The National Geography Bee is a quiz competition for individual students, testing knowledge of the political, human, cultural, and physical geography of all parts of the world. Students first take the free Online Regional Qualifying Exam (ORQE) which is available in the fall. Approximately 60% of students nationwide who take the ORQE pass it to move on to the Regional Finals. A second chance ORQE is available beginning in January for those who do not pass on their first try. Regional Finals are held both online and in-person from October-May and feature paragraph length quiz questions with questions moving from harder to easier information on each topic.


  • Competition Style: Three Stages.
    (1) Online Regional Qualifying Exam (50 questions, multiple-choice, 20 minute time limit).
    (2) Regional Finals. 3 preliminary rounds of buzzer-based competition, with a final round to determine the top finishers in each age division. Both in-person and online tournaments are held; students may compete at up to 3 sites during the academic year.
    (3) National Championships. 4 preliminary rounds of buzzer-based competition, 3 buzzer-based rounds of playoffs in each age division.

  • Inquiries: Email

  • Game Play at Regionals & Nationals: Students ring in with a buzzer to answer the questions; if they are correct they get the point; if not, they cannot ring in again on that question.

  • Question Sets at Regionals: There are 3 question sets used at Regional Finals: Red, White, and Blue. Qualified students can thus compete up to 3 times, once on each question set.

  • Nationals: The top 50% of students in each age division at each Regional Finals qualify for the 2024 National Geography Bee National Championships on Memorial Day weekend in Orlando, which also feature buzzer-based rounds in this format. In 2023, 877 students competed at the National Geography Bee National Championships, and we are expecting over 1000 in 2024.

  • International Geography Championships: Students who, in either the 2022-23 or 2023-24 academic year, finish in the top 25% at any Regional Finals in the National Geography Bee or in the top 50% at the National Championships qualify for the 2024 International Geography Championships in Vienna, Austria from July 13-20.

  • Eligibility: Students in 8th grade and younger. Note that students in 8th grade and younger may also compete in the separate high school-level Junior Varsity Division. There is no younger age limit.

  • Competitors: Individual students. Separate age divisions for 8th Graders, 7th Graders, 6th Graders, 5th Graders, 4th Graders, and for students in 3rd Grade and Younger.

Competition Format

For students competing in the Middle School and Elementary School Divisions, the National Geography Bee is a three-stage competition, consisting of an Online Regional Qualifying Exam, the Regional Finals, and the National Championships. Students can also qualify for the International Geography Championships by competing in the National Geography Bee.


Online Regional Qualifying Exam

The first stage of the National Geography Bee for the Middle and Elementary School Divisions is the Online Regional Qualifying Exam (ORQE). Prior to taking the ORQE, teachers, administrators, parents, or another adult family member must first create a free sponsor account at Once they have created an account, sponsors will receive the link to the exams, and students can take the ORQE at any point. There is no cost to take the ORQE and there is no hard deadline for students to take it: the ORQE will remain available until the registration deadline for the last Regional Finals passes. However, we recommend that students take the ORQE as early as possible in the academic year so that they have more time to prepare for the Regional Finals and compete at up to 3 Regional Finals sites if they qualify.

Online Regional Qualifying Exam: Exam Structure

The ORQE is a 50 question multiple choice exam (4 answer choices per question) on all aspects of world geography. Students have 20 minutes to take the exam, and the exam is scored automatically and immediately. In most cases, sponsors will see if the student qualified immediately in the Sponsor Dashboard, though early in the academic year, some students may receive a designation of “pending” if their score is close to where the qualifying cutoff score will be set. Once it is set, the pending designation will be removed and students will be listed as Qualified or Did Not Qualify in the Sponsor Dashboard.

There is no penalty for an incorrect answer, so students should answer each question as best as they can. The exam is designed so that on harder questions, students can often rule out 1 or 2 answer choices. About half of the questions have a visual component (i.e. a map, photograph, chart, etc.); for visually-impaired students who need to have the exam read out loud to them, these questions are not counted and their scores are prorated.

Online Regional Qualifying Exam: How to Prepare & Qualification Procedures

Students should use the ORQE versions from prior years to prepare (see Practice Resources). They should also look over the Level 1 and 2 capitals in the National Capitals Study Guide, as well as know US state capitals, major US and world cities, bodies of water, prominent countries, and landforms. Nationwide, approximately 60% of students who take the ORQE will qualify for the Regional Finals. The qualifying scores vary from year to year and by age division, but typically students need to answer about 20-25 of the questions correctly in order to qualify. If students do not qualify on the ORQE, a second-chance ORQE is available beginning in January so that they can try again.

For all questions on the 2023-24 Online Regional Qualifying Exam, please email


Regional Finals

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


National Championships

The third stage of the National Geography Bee for the Middle and Elementary School Divisions is the National Championships, which for the 2023-24 academic year will take place at the Hyatt Regency Orlando from May 23-27, 2023. The rounds for the National Geography Bee will begin on the morning of May 24 and end on the evening of May 26. The National Championships for the National Geography Bee are also held in conjunction with the National Championships of the National History Bee, National Science Bee, and many other events. Students who have qualified for the National Championships in the National Geography Bee are also qualified for and encouraged to compete in the exam-based US Geography Championships and the new National Geography Bowl, a buzzer-based competition for teams of up to 3 students from a school or homeschool association. Solo student teams are welcome and encouraged to compete in the Geography Bowl. There are also a number of geography-themed National Championship Exams. Each event is held at different times during the weekend, so students who wish to compete in multiple events may do so.

National Championships: Tournament Structure

At the National Championships, all students compete in 4 preliminary rounds using the same style of questions on which they played at the Regional Finals. The rounds are held in different blocks of 2 rounds each which are played back to back. Students are assigned to 2 blocks based on their full schedule of events for the weekend. Students’ preliminary round point totals are summed, and then the top students (usually around the top 25-35%) qualify for the Playoff Rounds. The number of students who qualify for the playoffs is a function of enrollment in each age division at Nationals, and will be clarified to all before the competition begins.

The cost to compete at the 2024 National Championships is $149, or $145 if registration takes place before December 31, 2023. Registration for the National Championships opens in November and runs through early May on this page. We are expecting approximately 1000 students to attend the 2024 National Geography Bee National Championships! Nationals weekend will also feature many other events, including the Opening Ceremonies, a Family Quiz Night, Universal Studios Night, Intro to Model United Nations, various talks and receptions, and the Jeopardy! Charity Games. A full schedule of 2024 Nationals Events is available here.

For all questions on the 2024 National Championships, please email


International Geography Championships

Students who compete in the Middle and Elementary School Divisions of the National Geography Bee can qualify for the 2024 International Geography Championships which will be held in Vienna, Austria from July 13-20! Students qualify for IGC by finishing in the top 25% in their age division at any 2022-23 or 2023-24 Regional Finals tournament, or in the top 50% at the 2023 or 2024 National Championships of the National Geography Bee. There are other qualifying methods as explained here, but qualifying through performance in the National Geography Bee is the most common approach.

The International Geography Championships is a week-long event with numerous competitions, field trips, family activities and more. In each event, medals are awarded to the top 3 competing students in each age division. US students compete for their state; students from other countries (or students in the USA who were born abroad or who have foreign citizenship) represent those countries. Two of the most prestigious events at IGC are the International Geography Bee World Championships and the International Geography Bowl World Championships; an overall IGC Championship title is also awarded in each age division; please view the website at for further details on all events and to register. We are expecting 125-200 students to attend the 2024 IGC.

As part of the 2024 International Geography Championships, an optional day trip to Budapest (featuring one or two official medal events) on July 13 is also offered. There will also be an optional week-long Central Europe extension trip following the conclusion of the IGC which will visit Prague, Dresden, Berlin, and other points in between Vienna and Berlin which is open to any family with a student age 9-17 (participation in IGC is not required to take part in the trip).

For all questions on the 2024 International Geography Championships and the Central Europe Trip, please email

National Geography Bee Practice Resources

Rules & FAQs

Please see the files here that pertain to the National Geography Bee Regional Finals & National Championships

There are two versions. A second version will be available in early January. Students must take the first version of the Online Regional Qualifying Exam before they can take the 2nd Chance ORQE.
The only official deadline is that students must take the ORQE prior to the last Regional Finals tournament of the year (typically in late April or early May). That said, we recommend taking the ORQE early in the school year (ideally in the fall) so that students can have sufficient time to prepare for the Regional Finals if they qualify, and so that they can have a chance to play all three sets of questions (Red, White, and Blue) at the Regional Finals.

We are expecting between 50,000 and 75,000 students to take the Geography Online Regional Qualifying Exam this academic year.

Approximately 60%, though this varies slightly by age division, as does the number of questions that need to be answered correctly, though it is generally speaking around 20-24 of the 50 questions.
Basically, we want students who qualify to enjoy the experience of competing at the Regional Finals. Our experience has shown that if we set the minimum qualifying score where we do, then this includes as many students who have the minimum knowledge basis to enjoy Regionals without including students who would otherwise find it too difficult.
We do not intend for there to be any content difference nor difference in difficulty, though of course some students may find that one set of questions happens to have more questions that they know the answer to than another.
The hotels where we have room blocks, especially the host hotel, provide us with meeting space to hold the competitions and with sleeping accommodations for our staff, which we need to fly in from around the country. They do this in return for a commitment to fulfill a large number of sleeping room bookings over the course of Nationals weekend. For students who live near the Nationals host site for whom it would make sense to attend Nationals as a day trip and go back to their home each night, this rule does not apply.
Generally speaking, no, though at any given tournament, including the National Championships, each Bee may take a different number of students in the final round (at Regionals) or the playoff rounds (at Nationals) which is a function of the number of students that register for each competition in each age division. The other exception is that in the National History Bee alone, students who compete at a Regional Tournament of the National History Bowl can play in the National History Bee that is held at that tournament without needing to take the History ORQE in advance. This does not affect the National Geography Bee, however.

Yes! They are actively encouraged to do so, and if they do so, they would play in the Junior Varsity Division which includes students born after July 1 of the year that is 16 years before the year of the National Championships. For example, in the 2023-24 academic year, all students born on or after July 1, 2008 compete in the Junior Varsity Division if they are playing in the high school level competition of the National Geography Bee. Students cannot transfer qualification in the National Championships at the Junior Varsity level to the Middle or Elementary School level National Championships. For more information on how the National Geography Bee works at the high school level, please visit the National Geography Bee Varsity & Junior Varsity Divisions Homepage.

No. The National Geographic Bee was discontinued in 2021, and we warmly welcome all schools that used to compete in it and who are looking for a new way for their students to compete in a nationwide geography quiz competition!

Past National Champions

Note that prior to the 2023-24 academic year, this competition was known as the International Geography Bee. The students listed here who were National Champions from 2017-2023 were officially recognized as champions of that event. In 2018 alone, a combined Middle School National title was also awarded and won by Samik Bhinge, and a combined Elementary National title for students in 6th grade and younger was also awarded and was won by Rohan Ganeshan

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Year Division National Champion School City State
2023 8th Grade Nirmal Melam Bergman Academy Des Moines IA  Iowa
2023 7th Grade Malcolm McIntyre Alice Deal Middle School Washington DC  Washington DC
2023 6th Grade Siddhanth Kumar Bedford Middle School Westport CT  CT
2023 5th Grade Miller Angevine Woodward Academy Atlanta GA  GA
2023 4th Grade & Younger Charith Vaddelli Patsy Sommer Elementary School Austin TX  Texas
2022 8th Grade Akarsh Kollu William R. Satz Middle School Holmdel NJ  NJ
2022 7th Grade Anish Raja South Forsyth Middle School Cumming GA  GA
2022 6th Grade Malcolm McIntyre Alice Deal Middle School Washington DC  Washington DC
2022 Elementary School Abhiraam Girish John Gomes Elementary School Fremont CA  CA
2021 8th Grade Srinidhaya Vempati David E. Owens Middle School New Milford NJ  NJ
2021 7th Grade Roman Gagliardi
Middlesex Middle School Darien CT  CT
2021 6th Grade Nirmal Melam Bergman Academy Des Moines IA  Iowa
2021 Elementary School Malcolm McIntyre Hearst Elementary School Washington DC  Washington DC
2020 8th Grade Aadi Gadekar Brooklawn Middle School Parsippany NJ  NJ
2020 7th Grade Aarush Zarabi Bret Harte Middle School San Jose CA  CA
2020 6th Grade Shubham Kumar Monroe Township Middle School Monroe Township NJ  NJ
2020 Elementary School Anish Raja Brookwood Elementary School Snellville GA  GA
2019 8th Grade Rishabh Wuppalapati Daniel Wright Junior High School Lincolnshire IL  IL
2019 7th Grade Kaylan Patel Windermere Preparatory School Windermere FL  FL
2019 6th Grade Vaibhav Hariram Mills Park Middle School Cary NC 
2019 Elementary School Pranavkrishna Bharanidharan California Montessori Project Orangevale CA  CA
2018 8th Grade Samanyu Dixit Metrolina Regional Scholars Academy Charlotte NC  NC
2018 7th Grade Samik Bhinge Frost Middle School Fairfax VA 
2018 6th Grade Rohan Ganeshan Homeschool Arlington Heights IL  IL
2018 5th Grade John Augustyn Notre Dame Catholic School Clarendon Hills IL  IL
2018 4th Grade & Younger Anish Raja Brookwood Elementary School Cumming GA  GA
2017 Middle School Saket Pochiraju Olentangy Orange Middle School Lewis Center OH  OH
2017 Elementary Satvik Pochiraju Olentangy Meadows Elementary School Lewis Center OH  OH