When: Day 1 – July 12, 7:00pm-9:30pm
What: 400 question multiple choice exam – Counts 1/3 towards overall individual IGB World Championship!
Who: Required individual event for competing students. Open to family, friends, parents, and coaches!

The Battery is the only required individual event at IGB Worlds, as it is used to seed the teams. It also counts one third (along with the Written Exam and  towards the individual IGB World Championship title. The Battery, however, is also an event in its own right, with 400 multiple choice questions on all aspects, fields, and places of geography. The Battery will be one of the first events at IGB Worlds. As with the Qualifying Exams, students receive two points for a correct answer, zero points for an answer left blank, and lose a point for an incorrect answer.

As mentioned, the Battery is used to determine the composition of National and State teams for the team events at IGB Worlds. Unlike at the Olympiad, at IGB Worlds the Battery will not be split into two parts with only the first part counting.

The top three or four students from a country or state will form the A Team for that country or state, the next top three scoring students will form the B Team and so on per age group. If only one or two students are representing a state or country, they 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. As in 2018, IGB Worlds teams will have 3 or 4 students. Olympiad teams will have 2 or 3 students.

Students (and Parents, Family Members and Coaches who are also competing) will have 55 minutes for Part 1 (200 questions) and 55 minutes for Part 2 (200 questions) with a 10 minute break in between. This works out to an average of 16.5 seconds per question.

A distribution for 2020 will be forthcoming shortly. The 2020 distribution will be similar to, but not identical to the 2018 distribution, which was as follows:

24 human (not location specific), 24 physical (not location specific, including oceans), 6 miscellaneous concepts (from any discipline), 8 US (roughly half human half physical), 8 Europe, 10 Africa, 8 other Americas, 12 Asia, 2 Australia / Oceania / Antarctica.

The human / physical in the sets of 24 are sets of related questions with a concept and then concrete examples that relate back to those.

Disclaimer: the distribution may vary by 1 or 2 questions per category for every 100 questions.

In 2018, this event was called the International Geography Exam. The Exam from 2018 and its Answer Key are listed here for review and practice.
2018 International Geography Bee World Championships – International Geography Exam Part 1
2018 International Geography Bee World Championships – International Geography Exam Part 2
2018 International Geography Bee World Championships – International Geography Exam Part 3
2018 International Geography Bee World Championships – International Geography Exam Part 4
2018 International Geography Bee World Championships – International Geography Exam Answer Key

When: Day 1 – July 12, 2:45pm-3:30pm
What: 75 question multiple choice exam
Who: Individual event for competing students. Open to family, friends, parents, and coaches!

The very first competitive event of the 2020 IGB World Championships, before we even set sail from San Juan harbor, will be a 75 multiple choice exam on all aspects of Caribbean geography. As with all multiple choice exams given by IAC, competitors will score 2 points for a correct answer, 0 for an answer left blank, and -1 for an incorrect response. This event is also open to family, friends, parents, and coaches as well. Questions will range in difficulty from easy to very difficult. The time limit for the exam will be 35 minutes.

To clarify, this event will not just be about islands in the Caribbean, but will cover all countries and territories touched by the Caribbean Sea. For countries in Central and South America, however, questions will only touch on cover the states, provinces, or other first-level subnational divisions that border the Caribbean. Within these, however, questions are not limited to the immediate coastal areas. For example, a question on Medellín would be fair game, as though it does not lie on the Caribbean coastline, it is the capital of the Colombian department of Antioquia which does. For islands that border the Caribbean even if only in part, this rule will not be in effect (so a question on Havana is permitted, even though its province does not lie on the Caribbean).

This exam will also include questions on the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands, submerged portions of the Lucayan Archipelago, and Barbados. It will not include questions on Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, or Bermuda.

When: Day 6 – July 17, 5:10pm-6:25pm
What: Crossword Puzzle Tournament
Who: Individual event for competing students. Open to family, friends, parents, and coaches!

The Crossword Puzzle Tournament is one of many new events for 2020 at IGB Worlds. This will consist of a set of three puzzles of increasing difficulty. Students and family members will receive the first puzzle at the start of the competition. Points will be awarded for each letter filled in correctly, with bonus points going to anyone correctly finishing all letters in a puzzle correctly, and further bonus points going to the fastest competitors to do so. The overall time limit will be 70 minutes, but there is no set allocation to how much time must be spent on which puzzle. However, the first puzzle must be turned in to receive the second puzzle, and the second puzzle must be turned in prior to receiving the third puzzle. Once a puzzle is turned in, the overall time (not the specific time spent on each puzzle) will be noted, and that will be used to calculate the timing bonus points among all correct finishers. Once a puzzle has been turned in, it may not be edited further. All entries in the puzzle will have geographical relevance (i.e. there will not be filler words).

When: Preliminary Rounds: Day 4 – July 15, 10:00am-12:00pm. Final Rounds: Day 7 – July 18, 8:00am-9:00am.
What: 400 question multiple choice exam – Counts 1/3 towards overall individual IGB World Championship!
Who: Required team event for competing students.

Geographeud once again returns to the IGB Worlds event line up for 2020. This required team event sees two teams compete against each other in a competition reminiscent of the American game show Family Feud. In Geographeud, we ask teams to name one of the top five (or six, or seven, etc.) of a geographical category. For example “Excluding Brazil and Portugal, name the top five countries with the most Portuguese speakers.” Or, “Name the top six lakes by volume in the world.” Teams send up one of their players to buzz in on an initial guess – whoever gets the higher value controls the board (or can elect to pass). We then continue with the other team members, though once a team gets three strikes, the other team then can win the round by naming one of the remaining answers the first team missed. Of course if the first team gets all entries before getting three strikes, then they win.
The exact number of rounds in each game will be a function of the overall number of teams. At a minimum, the top four teams in each age division will advance to the final rounds on Day 7.

When: Varsity: Day 6 – July 17, 1:00pm-5:00pm;  Junior Varsity: Day 5, 12:30pm-4:30pm;  Middle School: Day 3 – July 14, 12:30pm-4:30pm
What: Game show-style geography quiz game
Who: Individual event for competing students

Geopardy, as its name suggests, is a game based on the popular quiz show Jeopardy! with a number of adjustments so that we can make it a competition event for IGB Worlds. Up to 8 students compete at a time, selecting clues of varying values and difficulty from a grid of categories (all of which, of course, will have geographic themes). Students will not be able to ring in until the moderator has finished reading each question. If a student answers correctly, they get the points, and pick the next question.
For sake of keeping things clear to non-native English speakers (and those not as familiar with the game show), we will form the questions in the form of questions, and students will only need to give the answers (i.e. and not answer in the form of a question as on the show). There may be various hidden squares (i.e. not just Daily Doubles as on the show), but other twists as well. The number of rounds each student will play will be a function of how many players sign up, but we will have at least several students advance out of each preliminary round game, so that it’s not incumbent on students to win their first match if they are playing against up to 7 other players.

When: Varsity: Day 3 – July 14, 12:30pm-4:30pm;  Junior Varsity: Day 6, 1:00pm-5:00pm;  Middle School: Day 5 – July 14, 12:30pm-4:30pm
What: Interactive game
Who: Individual event for competing students

The Great Trading Game, a mainstay of the International History Olympiad since 2015, will make its IGB Worlds debut in 2020. This interactive game combines knowledge of geography, economics, trading acumen, and Caribbean trade routes, with fast-paced game play. The Great Trading Game is the brainchild of IGB Worlds staff member, Jay Wickliff, a member of the social studies faculty at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia. Here’s Jay’s take on the Great Trading Game at IGB Worlds next summer:

For 2020, the Great Trading Game at IGB Worlds will be based on 21st century Caribbean trade routes and patterns among islands and the surrounding continental countries. The 2020 Great Caribbean Trading Game focuses on the islands we will be visiting and their major trading partners on the Caribbean Rim. Trading among the islands of Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, St. Lucia and Barbados is driven by tourists like IGB participants. The Caribbean islands are also a source of pharmaceuticals, rum, clothing, and sugar among other products. The Caribbean Rim countries of Columbia, Mexico, Venezuela and the United States provide a variety of products, such as coffee, oil, steel and cars. While the islands have extensive political and economic relations with other countries, particularly former European colonial powers as well as China and Canada, the game will focus on the Caribbean.

This game simplifies complex the geography and history of the region in many ways. Nevertheless, the game demonstrates the interdependence of the island economies with their trading partners. It will give players a sense of the challenges facing both sets of countries. Players will deal with the twists and turns of the modern economic system, while exercising and expanding their diplomatic, tactical and negotiating skills. Knowledge of Caribbean culture, geography and politics and a bit of luck will also play a role in determining the winner of The Great Trading Game at IGB Worlds.

Further details and rules for the Great Trading Game will be forthcoming shortly. Participants are also encouraged to have a look at the International History Olympiad website for the Great Trading Game as past files pertaining to the game are contained there as well.

When: Day 3 – July 14, 9:00am-11:45am
What: Multi-faceted quiz competition with six different components
Who: Required team event for competing students

The Hextathlon (sometimes spelled Hexathlon; both versions are considered correct) has been a component of the International History Olympiad since 2015 and will be making its debut at IGB Worlds in 2020. The Hextathlon is a collaborative team event where team members will work together to come up with correct answers on 6 different types of quizzes, including the following:

1. Fill in the blank quiz
2. 3-2-1 quiz (Teams will hear questions audibly and have the chance to submit an answer off a difficult clue for 3 points, a moderate clue for 2 points, or an easy clue for 1 point. Clues will be read in 3-2-1 order, with teams having an opportunity to submit an answer before the next clue is read. Teams can only submit 1 answer per question, however (i.e. you cannot submit an answer after each clue, or go back and change your answer upon hearing a later clue)
3. Multiple choice quiz
4. Map quiz
5. Audio quiz
6. Visual quiz

There will be a limited amount of time for each version of the quiz (15 or 20 minutes for each step), and each quiz will be worth the same amount in the overall score.

When: Day 2-July 13, 7:00pm-8:00pm
What: Multiple choice exam
Who: Individual event for competing students. Open to family, friends, parents, and coaches!

The Historical Geography Exam replaces the Historical Geography Bee for the 2020 IGB World Championships (though note that the Historical Geography Bee is still a component competition of the International History Olympiad during the following week). Students will have 50 minutes to answer 100 questions with the usual scoring system of 2 points for a correct answer, 0 for an answer left blank, and -1 for an incorrect answer being in place. Questions will increase in difficulty as the exam progresses.

When: Varsity: Day 3 – July 14, 4:45pm-6:40pm
What: Multiple choice and written exam – follows the curriculum of the AP Human Geography Exam
Who: Individual event for competing students

At the 2020 International Geography Bee World Championships, students will have a chance to compete in an exam that is identical in its syllabus and structure to the College Board’s AP Human Geography Exam. The sole difference between the AP exam and the exam at IGB Worlds will be that students will only have 40 minutes for the multiple choice portion, and 1 hour and 5 minutes for the written portion. There will be a 5 minute break in between the two portions; students will not be able to go back and work on the multiple choice portion after they have turned that section in. To prepare for this competition, we strongly suggest that (if your school offers it) you take AP Human Geography as a course, and if your school does not offer it, you should teach yourself the syllabus and still take the official AP exam. We also suggest you prepare with this book as its author, Jason Flowers, will be on the staff of IGB Worlds and will be the author and lead grader of the exam. This is one of the most demanding events of the week, and we hope that many students will rise to the challenge and take it.

When: Varsity: Day 5 – July 16, 1:00pm-4:30pm;  Junior Varsity: Day 3-July 14, 1:00pm-4:30pm;  Middle School: Day 6 – July 17, 1:30pm-5:00pm
Note: This event takes place at the same time as the Simulation, so students may compete in one or the other, but not both.
What: Board game
Who: Individual event for competing students. Open to family, friends, parents, and coaches!

From February 2016 through July 2019, International Academic Competitions Executive Directors David and Nolwenn Madden traveled non-stop without any home base. This 3.5 year odyssey (and lots of travel prior to that as well) was instrumental in establishing competitions in over 30 countries around the world that paved the way for the IGB World Championships. Throughout this time period (and still to this day, as now David and Nolwenn travel about 50% of the time while maintaining a home base in Burlington, Vermont), a knowledge of geography was essential in determining the strategy for IAC’s growth around the world. Travel planning, a knowledge of language distributions and climate patterns, familiarity with exchange rates and international politics, and map skills are just some of the many ways that geography knowledge played a role (in a “meta” sense, if you will…) in establishing geography knowledge competitions.

At the 2020 IGB World Championships, you will be able to join in the fun of IAC’s growth by playing IAC: The Board Game which simulates David and Nolwenn’s adventure. You’ll need to bring your geography knowledge, an ability to apply it to real-world problem solving, and your strategic decision making skills in order to take home the gold medal in this unique and challenging event. Further details will become available once the rules of the game have been determined in full.

When: Day 3-July 14, 7:30pm-9:30pm
What: Game show-style geography quiz game
Who: Individual event for competing students

Knockout is a competition unique to the IGB World Championships and the International History Olympiad.* Up to 10 players sit or stand in a circle. One player begins, and then selects another player – that player then has to answer a geography quiz question correctly. If they don’t, they get a strike. If they answer correctly, then they get the chance to pick the next player. If you get a certain number of strikes, then you’re out! The top players move on to additional rounds. At the end of the rounds, the last players to get knocked out receive bronze and silver medals, and the sole survivor is the gold medalist.

* IGB Worlds trivia note! When David was an exchange student in Vienna, he enjoyed watching Jeder Gegen Jeden (translation: Each Against Everyone) – a German language quiz show that eighteen years later provided the idea for Knockout. If you’re interested in seeing an episode of Jeder Gegen Jeden, click here. Even if you don’t speak German, you can probably get the gist of the show – and if you listen carefully, you may even be able to figure out a few of the questions and answers!

When: Day 4 – July 15, 5:00pm-6:30pm
What: Exam
Who: Individual event for competing students

Geography, as an academic discipline, has numerous quantitative applications. With this new event for 2020, IGB Worlds challenges its competitors to put their math skills to the test in an exam featuring problems with geographic applications. While a knowledge of math (including standard high school geometry, algebra, and statistics), will be needed, so will a knowledge of geographic concepts. An ability to interpret graphs and charts will also be needed, and to a lesser extent, concepts from trigonometry and algebra II (no calculus will be needed, however).
What will not be tested here will be standard factual geography content (i.e. knowledge of countries’ capitals, physical and political geography, etc. as there are numerous other competitions for that). This will be a challenging competition, but an important one, especially for students looking to pursue university studies in geography, environmental science, political science, civil engineering, and related fields. Sample questions and a broad distribution of question topics will be provided at a later date.

When: Day 4 – July 15, 1:00pm-4:30pm
What: Scavenger Hunt
Who: Required team event for competing students. Open to family, friends, parents, and coaches!

Saint Kitts and Nevis is the smallest country by land area and population in the Western Hemisphere. But its capital of Basseterre, lying directly next to where our ship will dock on Day 4, is perfectly suited for the IGB Worlds Scavenger Hunt! This is a required team event where students together with their team members and an IGB Staff chaperone will be able to explore a national capital and get to know its history and geography. Team members will need to bring their map skills, geography knowledge, and sense of strategy in order to win.
Note that this event is going to work more similarly to the way the Treasure Hunt worked in Berlin than event called the Treasure Hunt at 2020 IGB Worlds. However, compared with the Treasure Hunt in Berlin, any number of things will be different, so students who competed there should expect a different sort of experience and set of rules. This event will be difficult to prepare for directly, but we encourage all students to brush up on their Caribbean geography knowledge, particularly regarding St. Kitts and Nevis, and to also be familiar with the cityscape of Basseterre in advance.
For parents, family, friends, and coaches, you are welcome to form a team of up to 6 people (IAC is not itself going to form teams here, but we can match individuals or groups of 2-5 people up with additional people who would like more teammates); there are no restrictions on needing to be from the same state or country.

When: Varsity: Day 5 – July 16, 12:30pm-4:30pm;  Junior Varsity: Day 3-July 14, 12:30pm-4:30pm;  Middle School: Day 6 – July 17, 1:00pm-5:00pm
Note: This competition takes place at the same time as IAC: The Board Game, so students can compete in one or the other, but not both
What: Simulation of a geography crisis
Who: Individual event for competing students

Geographers in the real world must often deal with environmental and anthropogenic problems. This simulation will provide students a hands-on opportunity to simulate a geography-themed crisis in real time which they must solve by grappling with negotiations and real time updates provided by our staff team. Students will be given a role that they must then play throughout the preliminary stages. The top students from the preliminary stages will then proceed to a final stage where they will need to play a different character and come to a resolution of the crisis – if they can…

Note that a simulation guide will be provided in the coming months, along with further details regarding the background of the simulation. Students will receive their role for the preliminary stages in advance of the simulation, though not until June 2020 once students have selected all of their events for IGB Worlds.

When: In advance of IGB Worlds (research, writing, and first defense). Day 1 – July 12, 11:30am-1:30pm (second defense and finalists’ lunch)
What: Research paper and oral defense
Who: Individual event for competing students.

For the 2020 International Geography Bee World Championships, we are introducing a new event whereby students will do their own research, the Symposium. The Symposium will have three components. First, students will write a 3000-4000 word research paper on a topic of their choice, as long as it is within the broader theme of the geography of the Caribbean. Possible avenues of exploration include demography, the impact of climate change and natural disasters, cultural practices, island biogeography, land use patterns, urban planning, and more. We encourage students to read through academic geography journals to get inspiration for paper topics, and to explore how professional geographers conduct research.
The research paper must be entirely original, though it is permitted for students to submit a relevant paper that they have previously written as part of their academic studies in school or as a homeschooled student. Papers must be formatted to include proper footnotes and a bibliography and should include a wide variety of sources. Any evidence of plagiarism will lead to immediate disqualification.

Students’ papers will be due on June 1, 2020, and will then be read by IGB Worlds staff. The top students will then be subject to an oral examination by their readers. Those who pass the oral examination will take part in the Symposium with geographers, teachers, and academics (who will have read students’ papers in advance) in San Juan on July 12 before boarding the ship. The Symposium will consist of a final defense of the paper followed by lunch with the professional geographers and instructors in Old San Juan. The top three students in each age division, as selected by the readers and examiners will win the gold, silver, and bronze medals.

Note: You are welcome to use whichever citation format you prefer, although you must cite sources. Footnotes are preferred over endnotes, if you are using footnotes. You are also welcome to use MLA format (whereby, you would just indicate the author’s name [and work if citing more than one source by the same author] in parentheses, followed by the relevant page number). For all papers, a bibliography must be included, and a wide variety of sources (especially primary sources and interviews) is encouraged.

When: Day 5 – July 16, 4:30pm-6:30pm
What: Treasure hunt on board the ship
Who: Required team event for competing students.

The 2020 IGB Worlds Treasure Hunt will be a unique event for teams. All over the ship, we will have various stations where students will need to answer various puzzles to figure out where they need to head to next – as they search for the ultimate whereabouts of Carmen Sandiego, the archvillainess of geographic crime! Many staff members at IGB Worlds grew up playing and watching the computer game and TV show Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? and now IGB Worlds sponsor Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has relaunched Carmen for a new generation of geographers. In conjunction with HMH, IGB Worlds will present an interactive adventure where students become teams of detectives searching for Carmen on board the ship. This will be a timed event though running between the stations is not permitted. The first team of gumshoes to track down Carmen in each age division will win gold (and the grateful thanks of ACME for the return of some implausibly large pilfered monument in its struggle against V.I.L.E.)

When: Day 2 – July 13, 4:30pm-6:00pm
What: Written exam – Counts 1/3 towards overall individual IGB World Championship!
Who: Individual event for competing students.

The Written Exam is an important component of IGB Worlds which will ask students to write responses to various challenging questions. Factual and analytical skills will both be tested, as both are needed for students to write effective responses to the questions. Bearing in mind that English is not the native language of many competing students, considerations of English style, orthography, and grammar will not be considered important here unless they largely impede the ability of the grader to understand what the competitor is trying to say. Participation in the Written Exam is not required, but it counts 1/3 towards the Individual International Geography Bee World Championship title. Players in 2020 will have 90 minutes to complete the Exam.

The structure of the Written Exam is yet to be determined, but it will likely be similar (if not identical) to the format of the Written Exam of the International History Olympiad. Sample questions and a grading rubric, along with the structure of the exam will be posted well in advance of IGB Worlds.