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:

Covid-19 (updated on April 21, 2021) 

Q: Are the International Geography Championships certain to be held in 2022?
A: Given the pace of the vaccine rollout, it is very likely that IGC will be held in Summer 2022, unless there is an unexpected virus mutation, or similar event, that negates vaccine efficacy to a point where holding it would not be in the best interests of all concerned. If we do need to push things back one more year, we have already secured space at the 2022 venue for 2023 in this contingency.

Q: When will you determine if the 2022 IGC will be held or not?
A: Once we open registration (projected to happen in August 2021), participants and their families can assume that the 2022 IGC will indeed be held. However, we encourage families to book refundable travel arrangements in case the IGC is cancelled due to pandemic-related reasons. International Academic Competitions is not liable for any non-recoverable travel costs due to a pandemic-related cancellation of the Olympiad at any point in time.

Q: Will registration costs be refunded if the IGC is cancelled?
A: Yes,  regardless of when a pandemic-related cancellation of the IGC takes place, minus any transaction fees we incur through sending wire transfers.

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 Olympiad, including students, staff, and all parents, friends, and family members.

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. We anticipate an initial field cap of 500 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: IGC may feature a Collegiate Division in 2022, but that will not be determined until early 2022. If it is held, it will be conducted entirely online. The events will run precisely concurrently with the High School Division events at IGC, and will use the same questions. This would be open to any student who will still be an undergraduate (i.e. not have obtained a bachelor’s degree) at any point in the year 2022 (with the exception of students who graduated high school in the calendar year 2022, who must play in the Varsity Division); prior qualification or participation in IAC events is not required. Students must be enrolled or taking a gap year with the intention of returning to or starting their undergraduate studies the following year in order to compete.
If you are interested in a collegiate division at the 2022 IGC, please contact info@iacompetitions.com to let us know of your interest so we can take that into account.

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). Aside from this, all student participants participate in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, and the daily Medals Ceremonies.
Note that while you are welcome to come with other players from your school (assuming you all have qualified), at IGC Worlds, you will be assigned (on the basis of your country/state affiliation, Battery Exam results, age division, and other criteria) to a 2-4 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 info@iacompetitions.com and explain your situation.

Registration

Q: How do I sign up?
A: Once you have qualified, you can register here once registration opens. Once you have registered, we’ll send you instructions for how to submit payment.

Adults

Q: Do students need to come with a coach or parent?
No, they don’t. We will provide chaperones. The exception to this is students competing in the Elementary Division who must come with a parent or legal guardian.

Q: Can parents, family members, family friends, teachers, and academic team coaches attend?
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.

Generalities

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: 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. There is a chance we may add a Collegiate Division, though we will not be making a call on this until early 2022.

Students from most countries compete in the following divisions:
Varsity – 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 Middle 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).

The Collegiate Division, if held, would not be for recently graduated high school seniors, but rather students who have already started college or university prior to the 2022 IGC, or those who graduated in 2021, but then took a gap semester or year (or more).

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 Olympiad 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 the Olympiad. 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 International Geography Bee World Championships, Battery Exam, and 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, 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. For the High School Division, an additional GIS exercise would be used instead of the Geography Bee buzzer questions.
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 medal 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).

Q: Where will Official Rules be posted for the different competitions?
A: These will be posted online on this website in the spring of 2022 though students can expect that the Official Rules for each competition will reflect the descriptions currently on the pages for each respective event. There will also be health forms and an official code of conduct that all participants will need to submit and adhere to.

If you have any other questions, just drop us an email at info@iacompetitions.com