Divisions: Varsity, Junior Varsity, Middle School, Elementary
Competition Type: Individual, 400 Question Multiple Choice Exam, Counts 1/3 towards the Individual Olympiad Championship
This is a required event for all competing students.

The Battery Exam is a required individual event at the Olympiad. For all age divisions, it counts towards the individual Olympiad Championship. The Battery, however, is also an event in its own right, with 400 multiple choice questions on all aspects, eras, and places in history. Note that in 2023, the Battery will be used to determine seedings in the International History Bee World Championships. The preliminary round results of the International History Bee World Championships will then determine the composition of teams for the International History Bowl World Championships and the Hextathlon.

Normally, the top three students from a country or state will form the A Team for that country or 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 with students from a different country and/or state in their same division. Solo teams will not be permitted.

In 2023, there will be two separate versions of the Battery Exam. The Middle School and Elementary Division will consist of questions that primarily deal with direct knowledge of topics in history (i.e. shorter questions focusing more on specific facts). The Varsity and Junior Varsity Division will consist of questions that primarily deal with applied knowledge of topics in history and historical analysis (somewhat similar to Advanced Placement exam questions). For the Varsity and Junior Varsity Division Battery Exam, direct knowledge of historical topics will still be important, but for most questions, greater insight than just recalling facts in and of themselves will be required. For example, “Which Mongol conqueror was born with the name Temujin?” would be an appropriate Middle School and Elementary level question. “Which of these was a consequence of the period in history referred to as the Pax Mongolica?” would be an appropriate Varsity and Junior Varsity Division question. Note that question difficulty on both versions of the exam will vary widely within the 400 questions; these sample questions are not meant to reflect the difficulty of all or most questions on the Exam (and of course, on the actual exam, four possible answer choices will be provided too).

2023 International History Olympiad Battery Exam Question Distribution Specifications:

400 total

30 USA (including colonial period)
50 Europe (until 1648)
50 Europe (since 1648)
40 Other Americas (Canada, Latin America, Caribbean)
50 Africa (including Ancient Egypt, Carthage, etc.)
20 Australia / New Zealand / Oceania
40 China
40 South Asia (India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan)
30 East Asia / Southeast Asia
30 Middle East (including ancient) / Central Asia
20 Any / Mixed / Other

Speed is of the essence; students have roughly 20 seconds per question; the Varsity and Junior Varsity Division Battery Exam is expected to take 130 minutes, and the Middle School and Elementary Division Battery Exam is expected to take 120 minutes. There will be one bathroom break in the middle of the exam; the second part of the exam will only be distributed after this, and students will not be able to go back and fix answers from the first part of the exam after the first part is over.

As with all multiple choice exams at the Olympiad, the Battery Exam will be scored on a 2 points for a correct answer, 0 for a blank answer, and a -1 for an incorrect answer basis.

Past Olympiad Battery Exam Champions

2022 Champions

Varsity: Ian Lu, New York
Junior Varsity: Ethan Lu, Massachusetts
Middle School: Gil Pedrotty, Louisiana
Elementary: Satvik Jain, Maryland

2018 Champions

Varsity: Hari Parameswaran, India
Junior Varsity: Govind Prabhakar, India
Middle School: Siddharth Kamannavar, California

2016 Champions
Varsity: Jakob Myers, Illinois
Junior Varsity: Vijay Siddharth, Singapore
Middle School: Enzo Cunanan, Florida

2015 Champions
Varsity: Bruce Lou, California
Junior Varsity: Jonathan Tran, Oregon
Middle School: Vijay Siddharth, Singapore