2019 USGO Middle School and Elementary Division Nationals Information

The 2019 Middle School and Elementary Division National Championships of the United States Geography Olympiad will be held on the afternoon of Friday, June 7 at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Rosemont, IL (next to Chicago). This date and site are confirmed, though the exact time of the competition (likely 3:10 to 5:25pm including time for distribution and collection of materials and a break halfway through) is pending final confirmation. Remember, if you are qualified for USGO Nationals, you are by definition qualified for the International Geography Bee Nationals as well!

There is a free shuttle from O’Hare to the hotel that operates around the clock. Staying at an official hotel is required for all students and families coming from outside a 3 hour driving radius per Google Maps. If our block fills up, we will secure additional blocks at nearby hotels. Room rates are $145 for a king bed room and $155 for a room with two double beds, plus applicable taxes. Rooms must be booked through a secure link that will be posted to this website by mid-January 2019, otherwise, it is not valid, so please do not make bookings via any other method (i.e. calling the hotel, hotels.com, etc.) before the hotel reservation link is posted here!

Timing of Events

The official schedule of events at Nationals will be posted by mid-February. Current projections have the events of the weekend occurring as listed below but please do not make travel plans based on this – this is solely for informational purposes until the schedule is confirmed. The only events that are planning on overlapping (and hence, students cannot sign up for both) would be the National Humanities Bee and US Geography Olympiad per current plans.

National History Bee: Prelims on late morning and early afternoon of June 7 and 8. Finals late morning on June 9.
National History Bowl: All day on June 9 in its entirety.
National Science Bee: Prelims on afternoon of June 9, Finals on afternoon of June 10.
National Humanities Bee: Prelims on late afternoon of June 7, held concurrently with US Geography Olympiad. Finals on evening of June 8.
US Geography Olympiad  (this date and the late afternoon time slot is confirmed, though the precise timing may be shifted from what is posted above): Late afternoon of June 7, held concurrently with National Humanities Bee.
International Geography Bee: Prelims on evening of June 7, finals on evening of June 8.
US Academic Bee: Prelims on early morning of June 7 and 8. Finals late afternoon on June 8.
US Academic Bowl: All day on June 10 in its entirety.


Students can qualify for the 2019 US Geography Olympiad Middle School and Elementary School National Championships through the National Qualifying Exams.
Please note! Any student who qualifies for the exam-based US Geography Olympiad National Championships also qualifies for the buzzer-based International Geography Bee US National Championships – please click here for more information on IGB Nationals.

Students can qualify for USGO and IGB Nationals in any of the following ways:

On any D, E, F, G, or H Set Version of the National Qualifying Exam, students qualify for Nationals if they obtain any of these scores:

8th Grade: 50
7th Grade: 45
6th Grade: 40
5th Grade and Younger: 35

Students may also qualify for the 2019 US Geography Olympiad (and International Geography Bee) Middle School and Elementary Division National Championships by qualifying for the USGO/IGB 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).

Finally, Middle School and Elementary School students who finish in the top 50% of students in an International Geography Bee Regional Quiz Tournament also qualify for US Geography Olympiad Nationals. At these tournaments, 7th and 8th graders compete together, and students in 6th grade and younger compete together. Students can qualify for Nationals by finishing either in the top 50% of students in their specific grade (for 6th-8th graders), among all 5th graders and younger (for Elementary School students), or in the combined totals of 7th & 8th graders OR the combined totals of all 6th graders and younger.

Age Divisions at Nationals
For the 2019 National Championships, we will be holding 4 separate age divisions at Middle School and Elementary School Nationals for USGO and IGB. These 4 divisions correspond to the grade a student is in and are: 8th, 7th, 6th, and 5th grade and younger.

The cost of the 2019 US Geography Olympiad Middle School and Elementary Division National Championships is $80 per student.

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 2019 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 and 2018 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 (45 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 (another 45 minutes total). 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.

Medals, plaques, and/or trophies will be awarded to the top finishers. Cash prizes may be on offer as well; they will be announced here if so in advance of Nationals.

For further questions, please contact info@geographyolympiad.com

Thanks, and good luck in qualifying! We hope to see you at Nationals in June!