Thank you for your interest in the International History Olympiad! We’re excited 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:


Q: Is the Olympiad certain to be held in 2022?
A: No, it is not, though if we 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 Olympiad will be held or not?
A: By January 1, 2022. We strongly suggest you do not make travel plans before this date, unless the Covid-19 pandemic is over by then.

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, and a qualifying exam for students in countries lacking IHBB events or located at least 200 kilometers from the nearest one. You can learn more about how to qualify here. University students who will be enrolled as undergraduates in the calendar year, or otherwise taking a gap year from their undergraduate studies can qualify through a qualifying exam; see the fourth and fifth questions for details.

Q: Which types of students can compete?
A: Any student who qualified and was born in 2012 or earlier can compete. Students born in 2011 and 2012 (or students who will have only finished the equivalent of 4th or 5th 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 Olympiad is open to students attending local schools, international schools, American schools, British schools, public schools, private schools, religious schools, homeschools, etc.

Q: Is there a maximum number of students who can represent a country or compete?
A: Unlike other Olympiads, we don’t limit the number of students who can attend per country. We expect an initial field cap of 500 students for the 2022 International History Olympiad; this may be extended pending sufficient logistical capacity.

Q: Is there a maximum age to attend the Olympiad? I qualified for the Olympiad 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: Yes, we will have a Collegiate Division for the first time in 2022! It will 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). 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 have a reason to be out of school for 2 or more years, but expect to return to studies as soon as possible, contact to get an eligibility ruling. These will be handled on a case by case basis. There is no upper age limit to compete at the Olympiad as long as these criteria are met.

Q: What if I wish to attend the Olympiad as a university student but did not qualify while in high school?
A: We will have a qualifying exam that you will be able to take beginning in 2021. Please contact if you are interested in this option.

Q: Do I have to attend with my school 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: Do I need to compete in certain events? Can I/my school team come just for the History Bowl?
A: The only competition events that are mandatory are the Battery Exam, and the two team events: the History Bowl and the Hextathlon – aside from this, all primary and secondary student participants participate in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.
Note that while you are welcome to come with other players from your school (assuming you all have qualified), at the Olympiad, you will be assigned (on the basis of your country/state affiliation, Battery Exam results, age division, and other criteria) to a 2 or 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 History Bowl (or any other event, for that matter). 

Q. What if my school or university starts again before the end of the Olympiad? Or if I have some other pressing event that precludes me from being at the Olympiad during the entire time?
A. While only a few events are mandatory, you cannot specifically just come for a portion of the Olympiad unless you gain special dispensation from Olympiad 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 the Olympiad, please email and explain your situation.


Q: How do I sign up?
A: Once you have qualified, you can register here. After filling out the first registration form, please also fill out the accommodation form found on that same page.  We’ll then send you a list of release forms to sign, the Terms and Conditions of Participation, and invoice, and 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.


Q: What will the accommodations be like for 2022?

A: The Olympiad will take place on a university campus. Students will stay in double occupancy dorm rooms. Single occupancy is available for a surcharge. The bedrooms, competition spaces, and dining facilities will all be within a 10 minute walk of each other.
Students in the Collegiate Division will not stay on campus, nor do they need to stay at any particular spot. They will be responsible for securing their own accommodations, and IAC will provide a list of suggested places to stay.

Q: Can I share a room with my friends?
A: We will try to accommodate rooming preferences as much as possible but cannot make any guarantees. Please indicate rooming preferences when you register.

Q: Who will take care of the students?
A: A team composed of IAC staff members and teachers will staff the Olympiad and take care of the students. All staff members will have undergone background checks in advance of their staffing the Olympiad.


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 2011 or 2012 who must come with a parent or legal guardian.

Q: Can coaches attend?
Coaches are welcome to attend but they will need to register and pay registration fees.

Q: Can parents, family members, and family friends attend?
Unlike other academic Olympiads which don’t allow parents, family members, and family friends, they are welcome at the International History Olympiad, in fact, we will have a whole program of events for them. Parents attending the Olympiad who wish to watch any events must register and follow the protocols outlined here.


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-buzzer-based events.

Q: What are the age divisions offered at the Olympiad?
A: For the 2022 International History Olympiad, we will offer four divisions at the Olympiad: Collegiate, Varsity, Junior Varsity and Middle School. At the 2022 Olympiad students may have the option to select which age division they compete will compete in. Students may select one of two options if applicable:

The birthdate divisions cut offs are: Varsity (born August 2005 or earlier), Junior Varsity (born September 2005-August 2007), Middle School (born September 2007-December 2011).

The grade-based division cut offs are:
Varsity – Final 2 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 2020 school year (South Asia, Southern Hemisphere, and calendar year schools).
Junior Varsity – The 2 years of schooling prior to Varsity eligibility per the above criteria.
Middle School – The years of school prior to Junior Varsity eligibility (born September 2009-December 2011)

In the vast majority of cases, a student’s age division would be the same by either the birthdate or grade-based criteria. By these criteria, any student in the USA, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand will also be able to play in the division that they were eligible to compete in at the most recent tournaments held in their countries.

The Collegiate Division is not for recently graduated high school seniors, but rather students who have already started college or university prior to the 2022 Olympiad.

Note that if a student qualified in the middle school division in the 2021-2022 academic year but is now JV eligible (or qualified in Junior Varsity, but is now Varsity eligible), then they do NOT need to requalify for the Olympiad in the 2021-2022 academic year, but they MUST compete only in the age division that they are eligible for. Thus unless a student is still birthdate eligible in the Middle School division, 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 Junior Varsity division at the Olympiad. If a student in such a case is birthdate eligible to still compete in the Middle School division, then they may do that if they choose, or they can compete in the Junior Varsity division instead.

Q: Which events are open to competitors in the Collegiate Division?
A: All buzzer-based events, the Hextathlon, the Symposium, the Written Exam, the Crossword Puzzle Tournament, the Battery, Knockout, and the Local History Exam. If there is sufficient interest, we may open up other events to the Collegiate Division as well.

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 2021-2022 academic year (August 2021-June 2022)  4) you attended a school or 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 10, 2022.
Students from Hong Kong and Macau or with passports from those locations may play for 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 History Bowl World Championships.

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 Exam 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.
Note that in the Collegiate Division, IAC reserves the right to match teams differently if it is impractical to have teams based on states and countries.

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 there are ties, ties will be broken on the rank points principle through a final tiebreaker consisting of 5 quiz bowl style 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 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).
Ties will be broken for the top 3 overall spots through a tiebreak process that involves short answer, multiple choice, and quiz bowl style buzzer questions.
For the Collegiate Division, the rank points principle will still apply, but there will be four events that count towards the championship title: the Symposium, the Battery, the Quiz Bowl Competition, and the Written Exam.

If you have any other questions, just drop us an email at