For the Varsity and Junior Varsity Divisions, students first compete in the Qualifying Stage through the National Qualifying Exam. The National Qualifying Exam is a 50 question multiple choice exam. All questions have 4 possible answer choices. The National Qualifying Exams are scored on the basis of 2 points for a correct answer, 0 for a question left unanswered, and -1 point for an incorrect answer. This scoring system rewards partial knowledge but not random lucky guesses. Students who have no clue about a particular question should thus leave it unanswered, but if they can narrow down the answer choices, they should likely then take their best guess even if they are not 100% sure.
Students may take the US History Bee National Qualifying Exam online, at all Varsity / JV National History Bee and Bowl in-person Regional Tournaments during the lunch break, or during the lunch break at select all-subject quiz bowl tournaments that are not run by International Academic Competitions. There are three versions of the National Qualifying Exam, which are known as Set A, Set B, and Set C. For National Qualifying Exams that are offered at Varsity/JV National History Bee and Bowl tournaments, the Exam Set corresponds to the question set that the tournament is using. For the US History Bee, the questions on all three versions of the National Qualifying Exams follow the National Qualifying Exam Question Distribution.
If taking the Exam online or at an in-person tournament, students typically have a 20 minute time limit. When taking the exam at an in-person tournament, students may also take the National Qualifying Exams for the National Geography Bee / US Geography Championships, National Political Science Bee, and National Science Bee. If a student takes just one exam, they have 20 minutes. If a student takes two exams, they have 40 minutes, but if they take three or four exams, they still only have 40 minutes (as time is typically limited during the lunch break of a tournament).
Students qualify for Nationals through the National Qualifying Exams in one of three ways.
Students need only to qualify on any one version of the National Qualifying Exam in any given academic year to be able to compete at the National Championships. If a student qualifies on one version of the Exam, and then takes a different version of the exam but does not qualify on that version, they remain qualified.
The cost is $15 per Exam Version per student.
For all questions on the National Qualifying Exams of the US History Bee, please email email@example.com.