2018 USGO Middle School and Elementary Division Nationals Information

The 2018 Middle School and Elementary Division National Championships of the United States Geography Olympiad will be held on Friday, June 1 (not on Saturday, June 2 as first posted!) at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia. The USGO National Championships will run from 7pm-10pm that evening (the Elementary Division will end by 9:15pm).

To make hotel reservations at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, please click here.
Note that this website says “National History Fair” – you can still book under this name if you are coming for any of the following events (even if you are not participating in the National History Fair, National History Bee or National History Bowl): US Academic Bee, US Academic Bowl, National Science Bee, National Humanities Bee, US Geography Olympiad, International Geography Bee. The rate is $149 per night, plus tax, for either a room with a king bed, or two double beds (these rooms can accommodate up to 4 people if beds are shared).
Please click here to download a schedule of all events which are overseen by International Academic Competitions (i.e. also including the International Geography Bee, the US Academic Bee and Bowl, the National Science Bee, and the National Humanities Bee.

Events on Friday and Saturday, with the exception of the US Geography Olympiad, will be overseen by ACE – see www.aceqb.com for further details on these, including the National History Bee and Bowl Middle School and Elementary National Championships, the National Citizenship Bee, and the National Sports and Entertainment History Bee).


Students qualify for the 2018 USGO Middle School and Elementary Division National Championships through the National Qualifying Exams. Students can qualify for Nationals in any of the following ways:
1. If they 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.
2. If their NQE score (on either version) is above the official National Median Score for their age division on that version (i.e. D Set or E Set) version of the Exam. The National Median Scores will be announced by April 1.
3. If, regardless of the National Median Scores, they at least a score of 40 on any version of the National Qualifying Exam held at a National History Bee Regional Finals site (if they are in 7th or 8th grade), or if they score at least 25 or higher (if they are in 6th grade or younger), or if they reach one of these scores by taking this exam on their own with a school or homeschool proctor.
4. Students may also qualify for the 2018 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, or score 40 or higher (if in 7th or 8th grade) or 25 or higher (if in 6th grade and younger). Qualifying on the basis of scoring at least 40 or 25 only qualifies eligible students for the Middle School or Elementary National Championships, not the JV one though.

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).

Age Divisions at Nationals
Note that beginning in 2018, we will be holding 5 separate age divisions at Middle School and Elementary Nationals for USGO and IGB. These 5 divisions correspond to the grade a student is in and are: 8th, 7th, 6th, 5th, and 4th and younger. This will give students a chance to compete on a more even playing field than ever before. For qualification purposes, the National Median Scores will still be compiled for 7th and 8th graders together (i.e. the “Middle School Division”) as well as for 6th graders and younger together (i.e. the “Elementary Division). However, especially as we are now offering the chance to qualify for Nationals outright through a score of 40 or higher (for 7th and 8th graders) or through a score of 25 or higher (for 6th graders and younger), the qualification is still rather open, even if the National Median Scores are computed for several different grades together.

The cost of the 2018 US Geography Olympiad Middle School and Elementary Division National Championships is $80 per student. There are also discounts available if students are doing multiple events as follows:

$80 – US Geography Olympiad on its own
$150 – US Geography Olympiad and International Geography Bee
$220 – Includes all of the following: US Academic Bee, US Geography Olympiad & International Geography Bee, and either the National Humanities Bee or National Science Bee

Entry fees 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 25:

USABB/USGO Nationals
PO Box 875
Tenafly, NJ 07670

Format of Middle School and Elementary Division of USGO Nationals

The 2018 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 geography skills exam. Sample questions for the written exam are available here and samples of the geography skills exam questions are available here. For samples for the multiple choice exams, as well as additional samples for the other two exams, please also see the exams used at the 2017 National Championships which are available for download here along with their answer keys.

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 (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. 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 on Geography Skills 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 quiz competition should register for the International Geography Bee’s US National Championships as well.

In addition to Medals, plaques, and/or trophies, which will be awarded to the top finishers, we are pleased to announce the following prizes for the 2018 Middle School & Elementary US Geography Olympiad National Championships:

Champion 8th Grade Classification – $200
Champion 7th Grade Classification – $200
Champion 6th Grade Classification – $200
Champion 5th Grade Classification – $200
Champion 4th Grade and younger Classification – $200

2nd Place 8th Grade Classification – $100
2nd Place 7th Grade Classification – $100
2nd Place 6th Grade Classification – $100
2nd Place 5th Grade Classification – $100
2nd Place 4th Grade and younger Classification – $100