Regionals for the Middle School and Elementary Divisions

The Regional stage for the Middle School and Elementary Divisions consists of the National Qualifying Exam. The NQE is a 50 questions multiple choice exam. Students receive 2 points for a correct answer, zero points for an answer left blank, and -1 point for an incorrect answer. Students have 20 minutes to take the Exam and they can do so in one of the following ways:

National Qualifying Exam Sites at US Academic Bee and Bowl Tournaments– The US Geography Olympiad National Qualifying Exam sites for the Middle School and Elementary Divisions will be held in conjunction with the regional sites for the US Academic Bee and Bowl’s Regional tournaments. The US Academic Bee and Bowl are two all-subject quiz bowl competitions for students up through 8th grade that test all academic fields of knowledge (including geography!). Students are encouraged to compete in the USABB tournaments as well, but there is no requirement to do so in order to take the USGO National Qualifying Exam, which is usually held during the lunch break at each event. There will be approximately 20 of these; all will take place between February and April 2016. Click here to see a full list of sites and dates (this list will be updated throughout early 2017 on a continuous basis). The cost is $10 to take the Exam at a site. In all cases, at USABB tournaments, the version of the National Qualifying Exam that is offered is Set D, so you can only attend one tournament site to take the Exam. You must finish in the top half of students in your age division at the site you take the Exam at in order to qualify for Nationals, or otherwise finish in the top half of all students in your age division nationally by March 25.

With a Teacher or Homeschool Proctor – If you are unable to make it to a site or wish to have a second chance at qualifying, a teacher at your school or an instructor who advises homeschoolers can separately administer the National Qualifying Exam for you. In this case, the National Qualifying Exam costs $20, and here are the steps you need to follow:

A. Send a check for $20 per Exam version per student made out to “US Geography Olympiad” to the following address:

NHBB / USGO
PO Box 875
Tenafly, NJ 07670

B. Along with the check, include a piece of paper with the student’s name and school (or indicate they are homeschooled), their birthdate and grade (to determine their division), a contact email for the student or their parent(s), and the name and email of the proctor. If you have multiple students who wish to take the Exam, please supply this information for each student.
Please also indicate which Exam Version(s) is/are requested – note that A, B, and C are Varsity and JV Division Exams and are open to all students. D and E are Middle School and Elementary Division Exams and are only open to students in those divisions (and thus cannot qualify students for the Varsity or JV National Championships).
Once we receive the check, we will forward the proctor the requested Exam Version(s) and the answer key(s).

C. The proctor will then report the score for each Exam Version to us, and if it falls above the National Median Score for the division the student is in on the version of the Exam they take, then they will qualify for Nationals, and we will let you know that by the end of February (for Varsity and Junior Varsity Division students) or March (for Middle School and Elementary Division students) once the initial qualifying period is over.

D. If the student does not qualify on the Exam Version they took, then they can take the other Versions they haven’t yet taken. The process would work the same way.

JV/Varsity Transfer Option – Students are also welcome to take any or all of the 3 versions of the National Qualifying Exam at the JV or Varsity level. This can be done either at any Varsity/JV Regional or State level tournament of the National History Bee and Bowl – a list of which is maintained here; click on the tournament page to see the version of the exam on offer which corresponds to the Set being used at the tournament (either A, B, or C). This option costs $10. Or you can take any Exam version with a teacher or homeschool instructor proctoring it for you (as described above) for $20 per student per Exam.
If your score is above the national median in the JV division for the version of the Exam you take, or – if you do the Exam at a tournament – if it is above the median score in the JV division at that tournament, then you qualify for BOTH JV and Elementary/Middle School Nationals. Because of this option, elementary and middle school students effectively have 5 chances to qualify for the Elementary and Middle School USGO National Championships – you only need to qualify on any one version of the Exam (there are 2 Elementary/Middle School versions and 3 JV versions).

Sample Questions & Answer KeyClick here to find sample questions and answers for the Elementary & Middle School Division