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.

Rules and format

National Science 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 Science NQE either online or at an in-person History Bee and Bowl tournament.

National Science Bee Stage 2 – National Championships

The 2024 Varsity & JV National Championships of the National Science 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 Science 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 science including, but not limited to, biology, chemistry, physics, engineering, earth science, astronomy, computer science, non-computational mathematics, and the history of science.

Please see the documents available for download here for the National Science Bee Varsity and JV National Championships:

Please also note the following official rules for the 2024 National Political Science 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).