Since 2012, NHBB has sponsored the United States Geography Olympiad, a nationwide competition focusing on all aspects of geography. Like the National History Bee, the USGO features Varsity, Junior Varsity, Middle School, and Elementary divisions. For the 2015-16 school year, Varsity students are defined as students born before July 1, 2000. All other primary and secondary school students can compete in the Junior Varsity division. The Middle School division is open solely to 7th and 8th graders, while the Elementary division is open to 6th graders and younger. See www.geographyolympiad.com for full details.
The top four Varsity students at the National Championships are eligible to attend the International Geography Olympiad (aka iGeo) as Team USA. USGO Staff oversees the trip to iGeo, which includes a pre-competition orientation and sightseeing camp. In 2015, the USA finished 12th out of 40 teams overall at iGeo, and two of our four students won gold medals!
At the regional level for Varsity and Junior Varsity students, the USGO features National Qualifying Exams which can either be proctored by a teacher or homeschool instructor, but are more commonly taken at National History Bee and Bowl high school-level state and regional tournaments. The NQE is offered during the lunch break at all-day events, or during the check-in period at afterschool events. Students can also qualify for the USGO National Championships by either finishing in the top half of students in their division at the site where they take the NQE, or by finishing above the National Median Score for their version of the NQE. There are 3 separate versions of the NQE – these correspond to the different sets offered at the NHBB high school-level tournament sites where the NQE is given. Students can take all 3 exams, but only need to qualify once. The 2016 Varsity and Junior Varsity USGO Nationals will be held on Friday, April 22 in Arlington, VA in conjunction with the NHBB Elementary and Middle School Nationals.
For the Elementary and Middle School divisions, the National Qualifying Exam is also offered at the regional level as a way to qualify for the National Championships. The 2016 Elementary and Middle School USGO Nationals will be held on Friday, June 10 in Rosemont, IL in conjunction with the NHBB Elementary and Middle School Nationals.
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