2017 USGO Middle School and Elementary Division Nationals Information

The 2017 Middle School and Elementary Division National Championships of the United States Geography Olympiad will be held at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Rosemont, IL (near Chicago) on Sunday, May 28 from 9:30am-12:00pm. Students must arrive by 9:00am. These National Championships will be held in conjunction with the US National Championships of The US Academic Bee and Bowl, as well as The National Science Bee, The National Humanities Bee, and the International Geography Bee. There is no overlap in terms of the times that the events will be held, so students who are eligible to compete in all events offered over the course of the weekend may do so.

Qualification

Students qualify for the 2017 USGO Middle School and Elementary Division National Championships through the National Qualifying Exams. Students must finish in the top half of students in their age division who take the D Set version of the Exam at any US Academic Bee and Bowl Regional tournament. Alternatively, they can qualify by finishing above the official National Median Score for their age division on either the D Set or E Set version of the Exam. The National Median Scores will be announced by April 1. Qualifying through finishing above the National Median Scores is the only way that students who take the Exam somewhere other than a tournament site can qualify.
Students may also qualify for the 2017 USGO Middle School and Elementary Division National Championships by qualifying for the USGO Junior Varsity Division’s National Championships on the A, B, or C Set version of the National Qualifying Exam. These are offered at all National History Bee and Bowl Varsity and Junior Varsity Regional and State tournament sites. Students must finish in the top half of JV students at their site, or otherwise finish above the A, B, or C Set National Median Scores.
Students only need to qualify off any one of the five versions of the USGO National Qualifying Exam. A non-qualifying score on any other version of the Exam does not disqualify a student from attending Nationals. The qualification process for the USGO National Championships is also identical to the qualification process for the US National Championships of the International Geography Bee (i.e. all students who qualify for the one competition qualify for the other).

Cost
The cost of the 2017 US Geography Olympiad Middle School and Elementary Division National Championships is $75 per student. This must be paid by check to “US Geography Olympiad” or it may be combined with payments to “US Academic Bee and Bowl”. Payments must be sent to the following address and received by May 22:

USABB/USGO Nationals
PO Box 875
Tenafly, NJ 07670

Please note that students are required to stay at the host hotel, the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Rosemont, IL (right next to O’Hare Airport and Chicago) unless they are coming from within a two hour drive of Chicago. See below for details:

Hotel Booking & Cost Information
The hotel has a free shuttle service to O’Hare International Airport. Wifi is complimentary throughout the hotel, and guests will have access to the hotel gym. Rooms with a king bed are available at the rate of $130 a night plus tax. Rooms with two double beds (quad occupancy) are available at the rate of $145 a night plus tax. Parking is available for $15 a night between May 25 and May 29.

Note: Because we are receiving the game rooms at Nationals in exchange for filling a set number of hotel rooms, participants from a 2 hour drive or beyond the Nationals hotel (according to GoogleMaps under normal driving conditions) are required to stay at the hotel. For students coming from this distance or farther, you will not be allowed to compete at Nationals unless we can verify you are staying at the hotel.

To make reservations at the host hotel (i.e. the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Rosemont, IL), please use this link here or call Hyatt Reservations at 888-421-1442 and say that you are calling for the US Academic Bee and Bowl block of rooms for the dates you are interested in booking for (even if you are coming just for geography!). Also, if you desire a room with two double beds or a king bed, please make this preference known when you book! For general questions regarding the hotel, you can call the hotel directly at 847-696-1234

Format of Middle School and Elementary Division of USGO Nationals

The 2017 US Geography Olympiad Middle School and Elementary Division National Championships will consist of 3 separate parts, a multiple choice exam, a written response exam, and a map-based exam. Sample questions for the written exam are available here and samples of the map-based exam questions are available here. For samples for the multiple choice exams, please see copies of the multiple choice exams from past years’ US Geography Olympiad multiple choice exams at Nationals for the Varsity and Junior Varsity Divisions. Note that while many of the questions on those exams would still be suitable for inclusion on the Middle School and Elementary multiple choice exam, the average difficulty of the Middle School and Elementary multiple choice exam questions will be easier than those on the Varsity and Junior Varsity exams.

From a timing standpoint, the Geography Olympiad exams will be split into 2 parts: a part with the written exam and the first half of the multiple choice exam from 9:35 to 10:40 (65 minutes total), then a 15 minute break, and then the second half will be the map exam and the second half of the multiple choice exam from 10:55am to 12pm. Students will be ranked on all 3 exam on the rank points principle:

For the Overall USGO rank, scores will be determined by giving participating students a rank of 1 to N, with N being the number of overall competing students, on each of the three exams. Tied students will split the average of their ranks (e.g. – if there are two students tied for second place, each would receive 2.5 points). Students thus earn a number of placement points equivalent to their ranks. The students with the lowest overall number of placement points from all portions combined will thus be the highest ranking students, and that will be used to determine the overall scores. If students tie on the overall placement, the tiebreaks will be (in respective order):
1. Final placement on Multiple Choice Exam
2. Final placement on Written Exam
3. Final placement in Map Exercise Exam
4. Additional 5 question Tiebreaker Multiple Choice Exams (this process may be repeated as needed until a winner is determined).

Students who wish to compete in a buzzer-based competition should register for the International Geography Bee’s US National Championships which will be held on the afternoon of Sunday, May 28 and finish by 2pm on Monday, May 29 (Memorial Day).

Prizes
The champions in both age divisions (Middle School and Elementary) will receive $500; second place in both divisions will receive $150, and third place in both divisions will receive $100. Medals, plaques, and/or trophies will also be awarded to the top finishers.