Exams at Middle & Elementary School Nationals

International Academic Competitions organizes National Championship Exams across numerous academic disciplines. The exams will be offered on various fields of history, science, and political science as explained below. Ambitious Middle School and Elementary School students are also welcome to compete in the Junior Varsity Division of the exams which are offered at JV Nationals in Arlington, VA in April for any younger students who attend that event (though the questions will be written at a challenging high school level of difficulty).

A complete schedule of exams and all other events at IAC National Championships can be found on the relevant page of our Nationals website here.

Past MS/ES exams can be found here, while past Varsity/JV exams can be found here.

Each exam will consist of 75 multiple choice questions with each correct answer worth 2 points, an incorrect response worth -1 point, and an answer left blank worth 0 points. This scoring system rewards partial knowledge, but not random lucky guesses since if you can rule out at least one answer, statistically it doesn’t hurt to guess, and if you can narrow it down more than that and then give it your best shot, you are statistically more likely to score higher than if you left it blank. The time limit will be 25 minutes for each exam. Ties will be broken through 5 written tiebreaker questions with numerical answers. Each exam costs $20 and students will be ranked against other students in their age division (Middle School & Elementary).

Asian History Exam

National Asian History Exam

This exam will cover the full sweep of Asian history from the dawn of history in the Middle East, South Asia, and East Asia to the present-day. Approximately 25% of the exam will cover the history of China and approximately 25% of the exam will cover the history of India. Central Asia, Southeast Asia (including Indonesia), and the Middle East (including the Arabian Peninsula) will be treated as well.

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National Biology Exam

This exam will cover all aspects of a standard middle school-level biology curriculum. Topics covered will include molecular and cellular biology, ecology, anatomy, taxonomy, evolution, genetics, zoology, botany, bacteria and viruses, and more.

National Black American History Exam

This exam will cover all aspects of Black American history from the colonial period to the present day. Those taking this exam should study famous Black Americans and related historical events from the fields of politics, business, sports and entertainment, science, the Civil Rights Movement, abolitionism, literature, the arts, and more.

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National Ecology & Environmental Science Exam

This exam will cover all aspects of ecology and environmental science at a level accessible for middle school and elementary school students. Topics covered will include ecosystems, conservation biology, global warming and climate change, food webs, biogeochemistry, environmental degradation, biogeography, biodiversity, and human ecology. All registration fees from the National Ecology & Environmental Science Exam are donated directly to the Rainforest Alliance to be used for rainforest conservation education purposes. Adults and high school students in attendance are welcome to compete for the medals in the Open Division of this exam as well.

Historical Geography Exam

National Historical Geography Exam

This exam will cover the impact of geography on historical events, and examine questions of population movements, shifts in national and imperial borders, the spread of languages and religions, exploration and trade patterns, military campaigns, and more. Students can also view the questions on this page from the International History Olympiad as an additional study resource. Note that this Exam is neither part of the US Geography Championships nor the International Geography Bee. Unlike those events, this Exam does not require qualification, and is open to all students.

Latin American History Exam

National Latin American History Exam

This exam will cover the history of Latin America, including all Caribbean islands, the Bahamas, and Bermuda, from the pre-colonial period to the present day. Questions will cover political, military, cultural, and diplomatic history. A portion of this exam (approximately 20%) will also cover the experience of Latinos and Latinas in the history of the USA.

Military History Exam

National US Military History Exam

This exam will cover all facets of US military history from the Revolutionary War to the present-day. In addition to battles and wars, questions will also cover military technology, strategy and tactics, and how military outcomes shaped the contours of history. All registration fees for the National Military History Exam are donated directly to the Fisher House Foundation, a top-rated veterans’ charity that provides free accommodations to family members of veterans at the hospitals and facilities where they are recuperating.

National Ornithology Exam

National Ornithology Exam

IAC’s official mascot is a parakeet named Maui (she’s depicted in the logo at left, and is also our office pet at our HQ in Burlington). We’re pretty sure she’s excited about the debut of the National Ornithology Exam, though she’s probably even more excited about her next dish of Vermont apple cider, her favorite treat. In any case, you can test your knowledge about all of your feathered friends in this exam, for which we’ll be donating 100% of the proceeds to the National Audubon Society. As with the National US Military History Exam and the National Ecology and Environmental Science Exam, this exam has an Open Division for adults and anyone else in attendance as well, with its own medals for the top finishers.
The 2022 National Ornithology Exam is available for download here along with its corresponding picture page (these are needed for certain questions). If you are wishing to take the Exam for practice or to see how you would stack up against those who took the exam at the 2022 National Championships, please give yourself 25 minutes to take the Exam and score 2 points for a correct answer, 0 for a question left unanswered, and -1 for an incorrect response. To see how you did, the 2022 National Ornithology Exam Answer Key is available for download here.

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National Physical Science Exam

This exam will cover all aspects of introductory level chemistry and basic aspects of physics. Among the topics covered will be the periodic table of the elements, technology and practical applications of physics and chemistry, the history of chemistry and physics, physical equations and principles, nuclear and particle physics, molecules and bonds, organic chemistry, biochemistry, and physical chemistry.

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National Political Science Exam

The National Political Science Exam is meant to challenge students with relevant and unbiased questions about topics that are useful to know about for being an astute observer of domestic and international affairs. It is also meant to prepare students for the Varsity and Junior Varsity level National Political Science Bee. Note that the Junior Varsity competition of the NPSB is open to students in 8th grade and younger as well, but it is only contested at Varsity and Junior Varsity National Championships in late April in Arlington, VA. Thus younger students who qualify and are interested in competing in the Junior Varsity Division at the National Championships would need to compete there rather than at Middle and Elementary School Nationals. This exam covers all aspects of Political Science, with a distribution of questions by topic approximately in line with the distributions for the National Political Science Bee available here.

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National Recent History Exam

This exam covers historical developments of the past few decades dating back to January 1, 2000. While the history of this time period is often not taught comprehensively in the classroom, an understanding of the recent past is even more useful for our daily lives than the history of more distant eras. The National Recent History Exam will cover developments in political, social, cultural, economic, and other areas of history. Both World and US history will be covered in the questions.

Women's History Exam

National Women’s History Exam

This exam will cover the history of women in the context of American history from the colonial period until the present day. Questions will focus on famous women and their contributions to American society, the women’s suffrage and women’s liberation movements, and questions of cultural and economic history.