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:

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.

Q: Which types of students can compete?
A: Any student who qualified and was born in 2006 or earlier can compete. Students born in 2007 (or students who have only finished the equivalent of 5th grade in the USA) are welcome to come if they have qualified and if they come with a parent or guardian (an attending coach is fine) 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 2018, 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 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 student participants participate in the Mitte Tour, the Palaces of Potsdam Tour, and 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 only gets out on July 14 or 15 (or starts again on July 21 or 22)? 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 8 days unless you gain special dispensation from Olympiad staff due to school attendance requirements or some comparable family event / religious holiday / other suitable reason. We will try and be flexible to the extent possible, but we will not be 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 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. 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 14; we strongly advise you to pick a flight that lands before 6pm that evening if at all possible. The Olympiad will end by early afternoon on July 22; please do not book flights out before 5:00pm that day. We can provide an extra night’s lodging on July 23 for a fee.
If you are coming for the 2018 International Geography Bee World Championships, you need to arrive in Berlin on July 11, again, ideally by 6pm.

Q: How will I get to the Youth Hostel at Berlin-Wannsee (or alternate accommodations if the hostel is full)?
A: We will have staff available to meet students at Berlin Tegel International Airport, Berlin Schönefeld International Airport, and Berlin Hauptbahnhof (Central Train Station) who can then escort them via public transit to the youth hostels where we will be staying. There is no charge for this service, unlike at prior Olympiads.


Q: Do I have to stay at the Berlin-Wannsee Youth Hostel (or alternate official accommodations)?
A: Yes. In contrast with prior Olympiads, this is required. Because of the need to move efficiently around Berlin, we are not permitting students to stay elsewhere. This will not only make logistics easier but you also won’t miss out on the social experience that way.

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.

Q: Can parents stay at the Berlin-Wannsee Youth Hostel?
A: (Updated answer on Sep. 23, 2017) No, but we have a whole program for parents, including a specific hotel for them. Please see the link here for further details.



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 2007 or 2008 who must come with a parent, teacher, or legal guardian.

Q: Can coaches attend?
Coaches are welcome to attend but they will need to register and pay registration fees (with applicable discounts as described here).

Q: Can parents attend?
Unlike other academic Olympiads which don’t allow parents, they are welcome at the International History Olympiad, in fact, we 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 2018 International History Olympiad, we will offer three divisions at the Olympiad: Varsity, Junior Varsity and Middle School. Update Feb. 10 2018: At the 2018 Olympiad students have the option to select which age division they compete will compete in. Students may select one of two options:

The birthdate divisions cut offs are: Varsity (born August 2001 or earlier), Junior Varsity (born September 2001-August 2003), Middle School (born September 2003-December 2007).

The grade-based division cut offs are:
Varsity – Final 2 years of 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 2017-2018 school year (Northern Hemisphere) or 2018 school year (South Asia and Southern Hemisphere). Plus students who had graduated in the school year immediately prior.
Junior Varsity – The 2 years of schooling prior to Varsity eligibility per the above criteria.
Middle School – Anything younger (i.e. more than 4 years of schooling per normal alignment).

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.

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 2017-2018 academic year (August 2017-June 2018)  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, 2018.
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 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 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.

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