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:
Covid-19 (updated on April 14, 2021)
Q: Is the Olympiad certain to be held in 2022?
A: Given the pace of the vaccine rollout, it is very likely that the Olympiad 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 the Olympiad 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 Olympiad 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 Olympiad will indeed be held. However, we encourage families to book refundable travel arrangements in case the Olympiad 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 Olympiad is cancelled?
A: Yes, regardless of when a pandemic-related cancellation of the Olympiad 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 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 outside the USA and Canada. 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.
Beginning with the 2022 Olympiad, students can also qualify for the Historical Simulation Track of the Olympiad by either having won a Best Delegate Award in any committee at a Model UN, Model Congress, Model EU, or comparable event, or by having won any award in a Historical Simulation (which are often held as part of the aforementioned events).
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 Olympiad is open to students 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 other Olympiads, we don’t limit the number of students who can attend per country. Registration will be open to the first 500 students (across all age divisions combined, excluding the Collegiate Division, which will have an initial field cap of 100 competing students in each individual event, and an initial cap of 24 teams in the History Bowl). These may be extended if we have 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: The Olympiad will feature a Collegiate Division for the first time in 2022, but it will be conducted entirely online. The events will run precisely concurrently with the Varsity Division events at the Olympiad, and will use the same questions. 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); 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 have a reason to be out of school for 2 or more years, but expect to return to studies as soon as possible, contact firstname.lastname@example.org 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: 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: At the 2022 International History Olympiad, the following events will be mandatory for all Elementary, Middle School, Junior Varsity and Varsity participants:
International History Bee World Championships
International History Bowl World Championships
Historical Simulations (all five are required for students in the Historical Simulation Track)
Historiography (Varsity and Junior Varsity students only)
Aside from this, all Elementary, Middle School, Junior Varsity and Varsity 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, International History Bee World Championship preliminary round 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, with the exception of the Collegiate Division – see below).
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 email@example.com and explain your situation.
Q. What about the Collegiate Division? Do all students competing in that division also have to compete in all events or certain events?
The Collegiate Division works differently in this regard. Each event features its own registration, its own separate participation fee, and nothing is mandatory.
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 Elementary Division will stay off campus with their parent(s) or legal guardian(s). Family members and friends are not permitted to stay on campus.
Students in the Collegiate Division will not attend in person, but rather compete online.
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 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 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 five divisions at the Olympiad: Collegiate, Varsity, Junior Varsity, Middle School, and Elementary.
Students from most countries compete in the following divisions:
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 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: Varsity (born August 2005 or earlier), Junior Varsity (born September 2005-August 2007), Middle School (born September 2007-August 2009, Elementary September 2009 – December 2012).
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, 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 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 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) 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 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 preliminary rounds of the International History 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: How are teams formed for the Collegiate Division?
Students competing in the International History Bowl World Championships will compete for their current college or university (not their state or country). Teams of up to four students will be permitted; students will form their own teams – team composition in the Collegiate Division is not determined through any prior Olympiad event.
Q: Is there going to be an International History Olympiad Champion?
A: For each division, there will be an individual champion with the exception of the Collegiate Division where and overall Olympiad champion will not be determined. For the Elementary and Middle School Divisions, this is the student with the combined highest position in the International History Bee World Championships, Battery Exam, and Written Exam. For the Junior Varsity and Varsity Divisions, this is the student with the combined highest position in the Battery Exam, Historiography 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 aside from the Collegiate Division).
If there are ties, ties will be broken on the rank points principle through a final tiebreaker. This would consist of 5 History Bee buzzer questions, 1 short answer prompt (6 sentences maximum), and 5 multiple choice questions, with all parts having equal weight. For the Varsity and JV Divisions, a primary source based question would be used instead of the History 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 firstname.lastname@example.org