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Thank you for your interest in The International History Olympiad! We’re excited to introduce this new competition to bring together the top history students from around the world and hope this page and the rest of the site can help you learn more about how the Olympiad works and how you can take part. Here are some FAQs that you might be interested in:

Who can compete

Q: How do I qualify for the Olympiad?
A: Qualification is conducted through participation in International History Bee and Bowl events, the National Championships of the National History Bee and Bowl in the USA, regional and state National History Bee and Bowl tournaments (champions only at these), and a qualifying exam for students in countries lacking IHBB events. You can learn more about how to qualify here.

Q: Which types of students can compete?
A: Any student who qualified and was born in 2003 or earlier can compete. Any student born in 2004 is welcome to come if they have qualified but at least one of their parents or legal guardians (a teacher from their school is fine) must attend. Students born in 2005 or 2006 are welcome to come if they have qualified and if they come with a parent or guardian but they must also submit a letter explaining their accomplishments to date, and the Olympiad staff reserves the right to defer these students if they have not greatly distinguished themselves in competition. If you have already qualified but are too young to take part in 2016, you may defer your registration until you are old enough to compete. The Olympiad is open to students attending local schools, international schools, American schools, British schools, public schools, private schools, religious schools, homeschools…

Q: Is there a maximum number of students who can represent a country?
A: No, unlike other Olympiads, we don’t limit the number of students who can attend per country. As long as you qualified, you can attend.

Q: Is there a maximum age to attend the Olympiad?
No, there is no maximum age, as long as you qualified this year or last year for the Olympiad, you can attend.

Q: I qualified last year for the Olympiad, but this year I am a freshman/in my first year at University. Can I still attend?
A: Yes, you can come after one year of College or University studies.

Q: Do I have to attend with my 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 history!


Q: How do I sign up?
A: Once you have qualified, you can register here. Once you have registered, we’ll send you instructions for how to submit payment if you chose to pay by US check or wire transfer. If you chose to pay by credit card or Paypal, you can submit your payment here.

Arrival and Departure

Q: When should I plan on arriving and leaving?
A: Please plan on arriving on July 17; we strongly advise you to pick a flight that lands before 8pm that evening if at all possible. The Olympiad will end by 10am on July 24; please do not book flights out before 11:30am that day. We can provide an extra night’s lodging on July 16 and 24 for a fee ($125 per person). Note also, that we will be getting a group rate for rooms at several beach hotels in Honolulu from July 24-July 31, as well as organizing a few activities on July 25 and July 26 for families who wish to extend their stay.

Q: How will I get to the University from the Honolulu airport and back?
A: We will provide shuttles for a fee at different times on July 17, and returning to the airport on July 24. The shuttle will be $30 per person per way.


Q: Do I have to stay at the University of Hawaii?
A: We highly recommend that all participants stay at the University of Hawaii. That will not only make logistics easier but you also won’t miss out on the social experience that way. However, it is permitted to stay off campus.

Q: Can I share a room with my friends?
A: We will try to accommodate rooming preferences as much as possible. Just indicate them when you register.

Q: Who will take care of the students?
A: A team composed of IHBB staff members and teachers will staff the Olympiad and take care of the students.

Beach Stay

Q: What is the beach stay at the end of the Olympiad?
We will be getting a group rate for rooms at several beach hotels in Honolulu from July 24-July 31, as well as organizing a few activities on July 25 and July 26 for families who wish to extend their stay. The activities will include a few outings to cultural activities as well as a family history quiz tournament and a general quiz bowl tournament where students can form their own teams. Both of these events will feature teams of 2 players on each side, and will be played outside with battery-operated buzzers on Waikiki Beach. Further details on which hotels we will get the group rates at, and what the rates are will be posted here shortly.


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 born in 2004, 2005, or 2006 who must come with a parent, teacher, or legal guardian.

Q: Can coaches attend?
Coaches are welcome to attend but they will need to cover the lodging and their meals at the University. We are also looking for a limited number of experienced readers and history teachers to staff the Olympiad. This is a paid position – please contact nolwenn@historyolympiad.com if you are interested in staffing the Olympiad.

Q: Can parents attend?
Unlike other academic Olympiads which don’t allow parents, they are welcome at the International History Olympiad but they need to understand the following:
1. They can stay at the university if they cover their lodging and meals but be advised that most students will not be bringing their parents and that it’s not expected that they do so.
2. Exam events are not open to spectators.
3.  There might be events that would lend themselves to being watched where we might not be able to allow parents if there are space limitations.


Q: What language is the International History Olympiad held in?
A: The Olympiad’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-quiz bowl events.

Q: What are the divisions offered at the Olympiad?
A: We will offer three divisions at the Olympiad: Varsity, Junior Varsity and Middle School. Students may compete at the Olympiad in EITHER the division in which they played during the 2015-16 school year in the Bee (this rule does not apply in the rare instances where NHBB/IHBB allowed players to play up a division at a regional tournament or Championships) OR the division their birthdate falls into. The birthdate divisions are: Varsity (born August 1999 or earlier), Junior Varsity (born September 1999-August 2001), Middle School (born September 2001-December 2005).

Q: Which country or US state can I represent?
At the Olympiad, 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) 2) you were born in that country or US state 3) you reside in that country or state for the majority of the 2015-16 school year (August 2015-June 2016)  4) you attended a school (but not university) in that country or state at the time you qualified for the Olympiad. You can only select one affiliation. This can be adjusted later if needed until July 1, 2016.

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.

Q: What are the quiz bowl events?
A: These are the events which are played with a buzzer system.

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 the Olympiad, 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 Battery 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 Olympiad “Champion”?
A: For each division, there will be an individual champion (the combined highest position in the History Bee, Battery, and 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 you have any other questions, just drop us an email at nolwenn@historyolympiad.com.