History Bowl tournaments will take place in person across the country during the 2021-22 academic year. Our tournaments feature 3 question sets, marked A, B and C. C set will become available at the beginning of the year in late October, B set becomes available in early January, and A set is available starting in February. Teams can attend as many tournaments as they wish, as long they don’t compete at a tournament featuring a set they have already heard. Set C is comparatively the easiest, followed by Set B, then Set A. The length of questions in Sets B and C are comparable; Set A features slightly longer questions, as does the National Championships.
Any school can compete, whether public, private, parochial, magnet, or otherwise. Middle schools are strongly encouraged to send teams to compete as well; elementary schools are allowed to compete, but should be prepared for the level of difficulty. Homeschoolers may also compete, either in associations, with the regular (i.e. non-magnet) public schools within the district the homeschooler lives, with other homeschoolers from the same county, or with homeschoolers from neighboring counties, as long as the combined population of the counties does not exceed 500,000. Middle schoolers may play on high school teams for the regular public (i.e. non-magnet) high school they would be expected to attend.
Junior Varsity teams must contain no students in grades 11 or 12. Some Junior Varsity (and possibly middle school teams) may need to compete against Varsity teams during tournaments. If there is only one JV or middle school team at a tournament, it will play as any other team in the draw, and it must win at least one match over the course of the day to qualify for JV Nationals. If there are exactly two teams in the JV Division, they will play each other in a final. If there are three or more JV teams, then only games played in the division count for determining JV rank. A .500 record or better against either 1) teams in one’s division (JV only) or 2) against all teams played, is necessary to qualify for Nationals. JV teams with a .500 record against multiple Varsity teams also qualify for Nationals.
For preliminary rounds, teams will be seeded into 6-team pools as often as possible. They will play 5 prelim games in these pools. They may play a different amount of games, depending on the number of teams that attend.
Any team that would otherwise qualify to play in the Junior Varsity Division may elect to play in the Varsity Division of the National History Bowls if they so choose. If they do not qualify for Nationals at the Varsity level, they are eligible to submit a Wild Card application for entry into the JV National Championships based on their performance. They can do this by emailing the Executive Director at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Schools with JV teams that competed and qualified in the Varsity Division at a tournament and qualified for the Junior Varsity National Championships, but who wish to compete in the Varsity Division at Nationals are permitted to do this. Qualification slots ARE allowed to be transferred from one division (JV, or Varsity) to another for Nationals, though a high school cannot transfer its qualification to a middle school in its district and vice versa.
Schools are welcome to register as many teams as they would like for each tournament they attend.
Teams can receive a discount to their registration if they provide a moderator, subject to IAC’s discretion and approval.
For information on the structure of the National Championships, please see the Nationals page.
Prizes awarded at the Regional and State Bowls and the National Championships may include plaques, trophies, medals, and, at Nationals, discounts on (or complimentary) registration at the International History Olympiad.
For a full set of rules regarding tournament format, eligibility, and other matters, please see the Official Rules.