The National Geography Bee is a geography quiz competition, focusing on pure geographic knowledge. Students in the USA interested in competing in a separate competition with a focus more on applied geographic knowledge can participate in the US Geography Championships as well.
The USA Division of the National Geography Bee was founded in 2016 to give primary and secondary students in the USA a chance to compete at the regional, national, and global levels in a new academic competition testing comprehensive knowledge of world geography. The NGB’s USA Division complements other divisions around the world, so that students can be a part of a community of young scholars who are all striving to improve their knowledge of the world and its peoples and cultures. The National Geography Bee is meant to be fair (through the use of well-constructed questions that all students play on simultaneously), exciting (through buzzer-based play at the national and global levels), accessible (by allowing students to qualify for the National Championships at their own school / homeschool place of study if needed and affordable entry fees), and relevant (through questions that show how and why geography matters in at the local, national, and global levels).
Our hope is that through the creation of a new worldwide geography competition, students in the USA will further their knowledge of geography in an enjoyable way, and make friends with like-minded students from around their national and their world.
The National Geography Bee’s USA Division was founded and is overseen by David Madden (Burlington, VT), who also writes the National Qualifying Exams; Enrico Contolini (Lakewood, CO) who assists with statistics and social media, while a team of experienced writers provides the questions for the National Championships. We have no institutional affiliation, and we have no connection with the National Geographic Society or the National Geographic Bee.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for all questions.
The National Science Bee’s Varsity and Junior Varsity Divisions comprise two stages during the 2023-2024 academic year, the National Qualifying Exam and the National Championships. The JV Division is also open to students in 8th grade and younger who qualify on the National Qualifying Exam only.
NGB offers the following age divisions for the 2023-2024 academic year:
-Varsity (solely for students born on or before June 30, 2008)
-Junior Varsity (open to any student born on or after July 1, 2008, including middle & elementary schoolers)
Rules and format
National Geography Bee Stage 1 – National Qualifying Exam – 50 question multiple choice exam on all aspects of science. 2 points are scored for a correct answer, 0 for an answer left blank, and -1 for an incorrect response. This format thus rewards partial knowledge but not lucky random guesses. There are three versions of the National Qualifying Exam: A Set, B Set, and C Set. These can be taken either at a Regional competition site or online with a teacher / homeschool instructor / community volunteer as a proctor. Students who score in the top 50% of the students in their age division, either in person at a Regional site or online, on a particular version of the exam qualify for the National Championships. Students that score a 75 or higher also qualify for Nationals automatically. The cost is $15 per exam, and you can take the Geography NQE either online or at an in-person History Bee and Bowl tournament.
National Geography Bee Stage 2 – National Championships
The 2024 Varsity & JV National Championships of the National Geography Bee will take place in conjunction with the IAC Varsity/JV National Championships in April 2024. The format of the second stage will be entirely buzzer-based, and the cost is $119 for each student.
Students will compete in 4 preliminary rounds, each with 35 questions. There will be 2 playoff rounds in each age division each with 35 questions; between 16-32 students (this will depend on turnout; we will post the exact number in advance of Nationals will make the playoffs. The top students in the semifinals will advance to the finals.
All questions in the National Championships of the National Geography Bee will take the form of a tossup question. Tossup questions are buzzer-based questions of short paragraph length progressing from harder to easier information from the beginning to the end of the question. Topics may cover any discipline in the field of geography.
Please see the documents available for download here for the National Geography Bee Varsity and JV National Championships:
Please also note the following official rules for the 2024 National Geography Bee Varsity and JV National Championships:
In the semifinals, if a student reaches 40 points, they are finished and automatically advance to the finals; if two players reach 40 points before all 35 tossups are read, the round is played to completion for everyone else. Sudden victory questions are played as needed to break ties – a correct response advances a player, but an incorrect response does not eliminate a player. Ties for semifinalist positions (9th through 28th) are determined by the score in the playoff round, then preliminary rank.
In the finals, if a student reaches 50 points in the finals, they are crowned champion and the match is still read to completion for everyone else. Any ties for any of the top 8 positions are then broken by sudden victory questions (again, a correct response advances a player, but an incorrect response does not eliminate a player).
Students who finish in the top half at the NGB US National Championships within their age division, or who score 75 or higher on any version of the National Qualifying Exam in the 2022-2023 or the 2023-2024 academic years qualify for the International Geography Championships in Summer, 2024. Normally, qualification is valid for two years; thus students who qualify at US Nationals in either 2023 or 2024 may attend the World Championships.