Thank you for your interest in the 2022 International Geography Championships! We’re excited to bring together the top geography students from around the world and hope this page and the rest of the site can help you learn more about how IGC works and how you can take part. Here are some FAQs that you might be interested in:
Q: Will registration costs be refunded if IGC is cancelled?
A: Yes, if a pandemic-related cancellation of the International Geography Championships takes place in advance of it, then participation fees will be reimbursed in full, minus any transaction fees we incur through sending wire transfers. If cancellation needs to take place during the event itself, then registration costs will be refunded on a prorated basis depending on how much of IGC has taken place until then.
Q: What if I want a refund because I feel the Olympiad is not safe to attend?
A: Refunds for this reason will be provided in accordance with the IGC refund policy; there is not a separate category for refunds stemming from these grounds.
Q: Will proof of completed vaccination against Covid-19 be required to attend?
A: Yes, absolutely, with no exceptions whatsoever. This is for the health and safety of all concerned. This is a prerequisite for anyone coming in person to the International Geography Championships, including students, staff, and all parents, friends, and family members.
Q: What constitutes sufficient proof of vaccination?
A: Proof of vaccination is defined as showing us a nationally or internationally recognized certificate of vaccination, either in advance or upon arrival in Burlington. This is defined as completing both shots of a two-shot regimen, such as Pfizer or Moderna; or one shot of a one-shot regimen – plus an additional 2 week period after the second shot (for Pfizer and Moderna and other two-shot regimens), or the first shot of a one-shot regimen (such as Johnson and Johnson). This is also a requirement for any family members who will be attending ceremonies, field trips, competitions, or any other IGC related events. Booster shots are not required but are recommended. There is usually a 4 week period in between shots with a 2 shot regimen, which means that you need to get your first shot at least 6 weeks before July 3 if you are getting a vaccine that requires two shots. We will be verifying proof of vaccination during the month of June for all IGC attendees.
Who can compete
Q: How do I qualify for the International Geography Championships?
A: Qualification criteria are described here.
Q: Which types of students can compete?
A: Any student who qualified and was born in 2012 or earlier can compete. Students competing in the Elementary Division (typically students born in 2011 or 2012, or students who will have only finished the equivalent of 4th, 5th, or 6th grade in the USA by July 2022) are welcome to come if they have qualified but they must come with a parent or guardian. If you have already qualified but are too young to take part in 2022, you may defer your registration until you are old enough to compete. The International Geography Championships are open to all students no matter whether they are attending local schools, international schools, American schools, British schools, public schools, private schools, religious schools, homeschooling, etc.
Q: Is there a maximum number of students who can represent a country or compete?
A: Unlike various other competitions, we don’t limit the number of students who can attend per country. There is, however, an initial field cap of 300 students.
Q: Is there a maximum age to attend IGC? I qualified for IGC while in high school, but in the 2021-2022 academic year I will be enrolled at a college or university. Can I still attend?
A: Unfortunately, no. There will not be an opportunity for anyone who graduated high school prior to 2022 to compete, with the exception of students whose academic calendars correspond to the Jan-Dec. year (e.g. students in certain Southern Hemisphere countries), and who graduated at the end of the 2021 academic year.
Q: Do I have to attend with my school academic team or quiz bowl team?
A: No, you don’t, and a lot of students will be coming on their own, too. And you won’t feel alone for long, as you will make friends from all around the world, who share the same passion for geography!
Q: Do I need to compete in certain events? Can I/my school team come just for the International Geography Bowl?
A: All team competitions are mandatory as are the Battery Exam, the International Geography Bee World Championships, the Written Exam, the GIS Competition (High School Division only), and at least one Task Force. Aside from this, all student participants participate in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, and the daily Medals Ceremonies, as well as the day trip to Montreal.
Note that while you are welcome to come with other players from your school (assuming you all have qualified), at IGC, you will be assigned (on the basis of your country/state affiliation, Battery Exam results, age division, and other criteria) to a 2-3 student team. This may or may not be with other school team members, but in any case, please do not come expecting that you will definitely be competing together with your school teammates. It is not permitted to come just for the Geography Bowl (or any other specific event, for that matter).
Q. What if my school or university starts again before the end of IGC? Or if I have some other pressing event that precludes me from being at IGC during the entire time?
A. While only a few events are mandatory, you cannot specifically just come for a portion of IGC unless you gain special dispensation from International Academic Competitions staff due to school attendance requirements or some comparable family event / religious holiday / other suitable reason. Please note that while we will try and be flexible to the extent possible, we are not able to grant partial discounts, and we cannot guarantee partial stays until we have reviewed your situation and seen if it is feasible for a student to attend. If you are interested in a partial stay at IGC, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and explain your situation.
Q: How do I sign up?
A: Once you have qualified, you can register here. Once you have registered, we’ll send you instructions and an invoice for how to submit payment.
Q: Do students need to come with a coach or parent? Can IGC staff meet my child at the airport or train station?
A: Students in the High School and Middle School Divisions do not need to come with a coach or parent. Official International Geography Championships staff members will serve as counselors and chaperones for these students. However, students competing in the Elementary Division must come with a parent or legal guardian. Note that IGC can provide airport or train station pickups for students coming to Burlington without an accompanying adult. There is no extra charge for these pickups, but IGC will only provide these for students who are officially traveling as unaccompanied minors to Burlington. Thus even if a student is staying in the dorms at the University of Vermont and not with their parent in an outside hotel, IGC will not provide pickups unless these students are traveling without parental or other adult supervision.
Q: Can parents, family members, family friends, teachers, and academic team coaches attend?
A: Yes, all of these people are welcome; we will even have certain separate events for them. They must, however, register as official spectators. There is no cost to register as an official spectator, but certain events (e.g. field trips) that are open to spectators may have their own separate costs. Further information for spectators is available here.
Q: What language are the International Geography Championships held in?
A: IGC’s official language is English. If English is not your mother tongue, we can provide you with a bilingual dictionary that you can use for all the non-buzzer-based events.
Q: Do all attendees (including US Citizens) need to have a valid passport to attend IGC?
A: Yes, all participants need to have a valid passport which can then be used to travel to Canada and back to the USA for the Montreal Day Trip. Please be sure to obtain passport if needed well in advance of the International Geography Championships!
Q: What are the age divisions offered at IGC?
A: For the 2022 International Geography Championships, we will offer three divisions: High School (i.e. a combined division for Varsity and JV students), Middle School, and Elementary. Students from most countries compete in the following divisions:
High School – Final 4 years of secondary schooling per normal alignment (if a student is planning on skipping a year, this is not taken into account) in a student’s school in the 2021-2022 school year (Northern Hemisphere or academic year schools [i.e. July-October 2021 through May-August 2022]) or 2022 school year (South Asia, Southern Hemisphere, and calendar year schools).
Middle School – The 2 years of school prior to High School eligibility per the above criteria.
Elementary – Students who have finished the 3 years of school prior to Middle School eligibility (i.e. those who have finished the 4th, 5th, or 6th grades per the US system).
In certain cases, if a division cannot be determined this way, then a birthdate division cut offs may be used at the sole discretion of International Academic Competitions. Those would then be as follows: High School (born August 2007 or earlier), Middle School (born September 2007-August 2009, Elementary September 2009 – December 2012).
Note that if a student qualified in a younger division between September 2018 and August 2021 compared to what division they are competing in during the 2021-2022 academic year then they do NOT need to requalify for IGC in the 2021-2022 academic year, but they MUST compete only in the age division that they are eligible for. Thus a student who competed in 8th grade in North America in 2020-2021, and who is in 9th grade in 2021-2022 must compete in the High School division at IGC.
Q: Which country or US state can I represent?
At IGC, each student will have a specific affiliation (i.e. country or US State). You are eligible to compete for a country or US State if any of these methods apply to you:
1) you have citizenship of that country (or for India, are an Overseas Citizen of India) as of July 25, 2022
2) you were born in a particular country or US state
3) the country or state for which you were a permanent resident for the majority of the 2021-2022 academic year (August 2021-June 2022)
4) the country or state for which you are a permanent resident on July 25, 2022
5) the country or state in which you were enrolled in school for the majority of the 2021-2022 academic year (August 2021-June 2022)
6) the country or state in which you most recently attended school as of July 25, 2022
You can only select one affiliation. This can be adjusted later if needed until July 10, 2022.
Students from Hong Kong and Macau or with passports from those locations may play either for them or for the People’s Republic of China. Students from North Korea will play on a unified Korea team. Students from subnational territories should contact International Geography Championships staff for a ruling on representation eligibility.
Q: How many medals will be awarded?
A: Numerous events will be held, but only one gold, one silver, and one bronze medal will be distributed per event, per division (though for team events, all team members will receive medals).
Q: What are the buzzer-based quiz events?
A: These are the events which are played with a buzzer system. These are sometimes called quiz bowl events, though note that they are all individual, not team-based, except for the International Geography Bowl.
Q: What’s the difference between the Bee and the Bowl?
A: Real simple here – the Bee is for individual students; the Bowl is for teams.
Q: How are teams formed?
At IGC, citizens and residents of the USA will represent their state, while citizens and residents of the rest of the world will represent their country. The preliminary rounds of the International Geography Bee World Championships will be used to determine the composition of National and State teams for the team events at IGC. Normally, the top three students from a country or state will form the A Team for that country of state, the next top three scoring students will form Team B and so on per age group. However, some teams may consist of just two students due to the need for rounding, while solo students will be paired up either with a higher age division within one’s country or state or with students from a different country or state. Solo teams will not be permitted.
Q: Is there going to be an Individual Champion at the International Geography Championships?
A: For each division, there will be an individual champion. For the Elementary and Middle School Divisions, this is the student with the combined highest position in the Battery Exam, the International Geography Bee World Championships, and the Written Exam. For the High School Division, this is the student with the combined highest position in the Battery Exam, GIS Competition, and the Written Exam). There will also be a champion country or state based on the highest position in the medals count (this is for all divisions combined).
If there are ties for the Overall Championship, ties will be broken on the rank points principle through a final tiebreaker. This would consist of 5 Geography Bee buzzer questions, 1 short answer prompt (6 sentences maximum), and 5 multiple choice questions, with all parts having equal weight.
If, for example, 2 students each score the same on the multiple choice, this tie will only be broken if needed (through additional multiple choice questions as necessary) to determine the Overall Championships positions (i.e. if two students tie on multiple choice, but then one other students wins both the other parts, then the tie isn’t broken).
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