Houghton Mifflin HarcourtHistory Channel

If you have a question about The National History Bee and Bowl for which you don’t find an answer here or elsewhere on the website, please let us know.

1. What is the difference between the Bee and the Bowl? Do I have to compete in both at a tournament?
The Bee is for individual students; the Bowl is for teams. That said, “teams” of 1 student are welcome in the Bowl too- this is not that uncommon. There’s no obligation to do the Bee and the Bowl at any tournament. You can always do both, as the rounds are held at different times, but there’s no requirement to do this. Please note that the Bowl requires registration through the website, but for the Varsity and Junior Varsity  level Bees, you can always sign up the day of the event as well.

2. Will coaches/parents/accompanying adults have to read and scorekeep?
Yes. Schools are required to bring at least one coach/parent/other adult for every two teams or fraction thereof in order to read and keep score or pay a $50 penalty fee. Schools bringing three or four teams must bring two readers/scorekeepers; schools bringing five or more teams must bring three readers/scorekeepers, etc. Penalty fees are assessed by school, but vary by number of teams; i.e. a school with 3 teams and no reader pays $100 in penalty fees. Please do not make us have to enforce this rule! Also, if schools know they are not going to be able to supply a reader, they must email: director@historybowl.com in advance. The only time this rule does not apply is if a student plays on their own as a “team of one” in the Bowl, such teams are exempt from bringing a reader. Teams of two can ask to have this requirement waived by emailing their tournament coordinator but this is not guaranteed. Instructions for moderators and a game-day tutorial will help ensure that readers and scorekeepers are aware of the rules. At the National Championships, all games will be read by NHBB officials, except for coaches who are experienced readers and have agreed to read in exchange for a discount (see below).
Students just participating in the History Bee, or just in the US History Bee and/or US Geography Olympiad National Qualifying Exams and not otherwise part of a Bowl team, do not need to provide a reader.

3. How much will it cost to participate in The National History Bowl?
For a team of 3+ students at all State and Regional Bowl sites, it will cost $75 to register a team for the Regional or State History Bowls, with a $5 buzzer system discount per functioning system brought. The cost of the National Championships for the National History Bowl for 2016 will be $595 for a full team, $390 for a team of two, and $195 for a team of one. Host schools will receive a $50 discount per team and teams can claim up to two buzzer system discounts of $25 each as well, if they bring a functioning system to Nationals. Teams who are coming to Nationals may also claim reader discounts for the various events, if readers are experienced and have read before at at least 2-3 NHBB or quiz bowl tournaments. Schools interested in this should email director@historybowl.com – NHBB reserves the right to not extend the reader discount  if enough readers have already been found. If a school has been assured it will get the discount, however, NHBB will not renege on this, even if it turns out the reader is not needed.
Teams of 1 student (this is permitted) pay a base fee of $25 at Regionals and $195 at Nationals and are exempt from the requirement to bring a reader. Teams of 2 students pay a base fee of $50 at Regionals (but are not exempt from bringing a reader without asking NHBB), and $390 at Nationals. These discounts must be claimed during registration – they cannot be claimed the day of the tournament. If teams wish to adjust the number of students downward, they must notify director@historybowl.com in advance of a tournament to claim the discount. If teams wish to adjust the number of students upward, no advance notice need be given, but the difference in cost must be paid at the tournament.

4. When and where will the Regional and State Tournaments and the National Championships be held?
Almost all Regional and State Tournaments will be scheduled on Saturdays, though we reserve the right to hold tournaments on other days if that appears more viable or convenient. Tournaments are typically an all day event, and will usually begin by 9:15am and usually end no later than 6pm, though most teams will be done by 4pm or earlier. Tournaments will be scheduled to avoid as many conflicts as possible, including SAT and ACT dates, other tournaments, weather and holidays. Tournaments canceled due to inclement weather will be made up at a later date if at all possible – possibly in an abridged form on a weekday afternoon, in which case the overall Bowl price will not change, but will include Bee participation for all students at no additional cost. For an up to date compilation of Regional and State tournament dates, see the map on the homepage.
The 2016 High School National Championships will be held on the weekend of April 22 – April 24, 2015 in Washington, DC and Arlington, VA with the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington being the host hotel. The Bowl will be held on Saturday and the Bee on Sunday, though the final playoff matches of the Bowl will also take place on Sunday. On Friday evening, a number of optional side events will be held. At the National Championships, teams are guaranteed at least 10 matches. The top teams will make the playoffs in both Varsity and Junior Varsity. On Friday, during the day, the National Championships of the US History Bee and US Geography Olympiad will be held.

5. Are there discounts available?
Yes. For each functioning buzzer system a school brings to a State or Regional Bowl, a $5 discount will be applied. Also, the host school for a State or Regional Bowl will be able to register up to 6 teams free of charge in the Bowl and 24 students in the Bee. Finally, note that hosts (if they qualify), receive a discount of $50  for entry of one team into the National Championships. At Nationals, teams who supply an experienced reader will receive various discounts depending on how long the reader reads at Nationals, as well as $25 per buzzer brought.

6. What about The National History Bee? Can someone compete in both the Bee and the Bowl?
Yes. The primary difference is that the Bee is an individual competition whereas the Bowl is a team competition. The Regional and State History Bees are held on the same date and site as the Regional and State History Bowls, but at different times so students can compete in both. Likewise, students qualifying for the High School National Championships of The National History Bee will also be able to play in all rounds at the High School National Championships of the Bowl if their teams have qualified. For students in 8th grade and younger, it is possible to compete in the National History Bee Middle & Elementary School Division, though this competition is structured completely differently, and is not held in conjunction with the National History Bowl. For more information on this competition, please see www.historybee.com

7. Are there alternative ways to qualify for the National Championships?
Teams can qualify for Varsity or JV Nationals in one of three ways:
A. Varsity teams who finish with a record of 3-2 or better in the prelims of any regional or state History Bee automatically qualify for Nationals. If teams only have four matches, due to a bye in their schedule, then a 2-2 record or better suffices.
B. Junior Varsity teams can qualify either by going 3-2 or better in their prelim matches (or 2-2 in the case of a bye), or by having a .500 record or better against specifically the other JV teams, or finishing in the top half of the JV teams in the draw, using inclusive counting. So if there are 3 JV teams, and the second ranked JV team goes 2–3, it still qualifies, but if the third ranked JV team goes 2-3, it does not, unless it goes 1-1 or better against the other two JV teams.
C. While it is a rare occurrence, sometimes a team can go 1-3 or 2-3 in the prelims and win a playoff game; either in JV or Varsity. If they win a playoff game, they qualify for Nationals no matter what else they did.

8. Can a school bring more than one team to a Regional or State History Bowl?
Yes! Schools can register an unlimited number of teams at each Regional or State History Bowl, although each school must bring one adult who can read and scorekeep for every two teams that participates, or fraction thereof. Some tournaments may have a maximum number of rooms that limits the size of the draw, but it is very uncommon for us to need to limit the draw this way.

9. Will coaches/parents/accompanying adults be able to stay with their teams throughout the day?
Yes, but only if an additional adult accompanies the team who can read and/or scorekeep, or if the team pays the penalty fee for lacking a reader.

10. Can a team compete in more than one Regional and/or State History Bowl throughout the year?
Yes! Teams are encouraged to play our A set, B set, and C set tournaments over the course of the year. Each set is an entirely different set of questions, so please come and play multiple tournaments if you can! Also, please note that teams are NOT limited to competing at the State or Regional History Bowl for the state or region in which they live or attend school; there are no geographic restrictions on where teams compete. Likewise, no high school level tournament, aside from Nationals, requires prior qualification. Even if a tournament is designated a state or regional championship event, you do not need to qualify prior to it.

11. Can a player play for two different teams during the year?
Yes, but only if they transfer schools, and then they cannot play at the Regional or State Bowl for their new school if they have already played that set. They CANNOT go back and play for their old school. All players must be enrolled at the school they play for. Note that participating schools do not have to “officially” sanction their teams, however, thus still allowing teams to compete where the school the kids are enrolled at opposes participation for whatever reason. Also, all students cannot play for more than one team (e.g. transferring from a B team to an A team after the prelims) during any one individual Regional or State Bowl, but they can transfer from one tournament to the next, including the National Championships.

12. Will there be prizes for the winning teams and students? If so, what?
There will be prizes at the Regional, State, and National levels.  Medals (in the Bee) or plaques (in the Bowl), book prizes (sometimes), and prize money will be awarded (though prize money is limited to Nationals). The total prizes at Nationals will be announced in the weeks prior to Nationals.