After a four year hiatus, International Academic Competitions is delighted to announce the return of the International History Olympiad for the summer of 2022! Our fourth Olympiad has already been in the planning stages for over a year, and we’ll continue to be getting ready in all sorts of ways until we are ready to welcome the world to Quebec City, Canada on July 25, 2022 where the Olympiad will be held at Université Laval. There is lots of information on this website to explore for further details (and much that will be added in the coming months), but we’d like to take a chance to highlight some of the new features, programs, and policies that we look forward to implementing for a great Olympiad for all. As always, we welcome your questions, thoughts, and suggestions – please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org at any point to let us know. The list below is not meant to be comprehensive, nor is it meant to highlight experiences that are very clearly new because they depend on the venue for the Olympiad, but rather to help students and their families know what the major changes from past Olympiads are, and our thinking behind those decisions.
1. Overall Philosophy
When the Olympiad began in 2015, the primary competitive focus of the event was the buzzer-based quiz competitions, and two of the three competitions that composed the overall individual Olympiad Championship (the International History Bee World Championships and the Battery Exam) heavily favored students who excelled specifically at History Bee and Bowl competitions. However, there’s much more to the study of history, especially at the secondary school level, than factual recall and instant analysis. Thus in order to reflect a more holistic approach to the study of history, and rewarding students who excel at it in more traditional academic contexts, we are changing the overall Varsity and JV Olympiad Championship titles so that they are now composed of the Written Exam (which stays the same as it has been), the revised Battery Exam (which now will entirely be in the style of traditional Advanced Placement multiple choice exams at the Varsity and JV levels), and the new Historiography competition. We hope and expect that this will make contending for the overall title far more accessible to outstanding historians from a much more diverse group, including students who have traditionally had fewer opportunities to compete in buzzer-based events, or for whom that is not their forte.
We believe that in doing so, but by keeping the buzzer-based competitions as medal events (including the prestigious International History Bee and Bowl World Championship titles), since factual recall and instant analysis are certainly still important skills, we will be striking an appropriate and inclusive balance at the Varsity and JV levels of the Olympiad. At the Middle School and Elementary levels, where building a solid foundation of historical knowledge as a tool for future analysis and research is critical, the History Bee World Championships will remain an overall title component event, but students should expect that the Battery Exam at these levels (which will be an entirely different exam from the Varsity and JV Battery), will be somewhat more analytical and less focused on strict factual recall than it has been in the past.
In a similar vein, a number of new events focusing on the applications of historical study have been added, and certain traditional Olympiad events which students enjoy, but which rely more on highly specific game skills, elements of chance, or are more light-hearted, have been moved to Trophy Event status. This will keep these in the Olympiad program, but will allow the Official Medals Table to reflect the more rigorous and prestigious approach to historical competitions that the Olympiad is now offering.
2. Historical Simulation Track
For the 2022 International History Olympiad, we are instituting a new track for qualification and participation. Each year, hundreds of thousands of students around the world take part in Model United Nations, Model European Union, Model US Congress, and other such conferences. For years, many of these conferences have featured historical simulations where participants role play a character involved in determining the outcome of a specific historical scenario (e.g. the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Spanish Civil War, etc.); depending on the decisions made in these simulations, history can unfold quite differently, and students must react to developments that their characters face.
At the Olympiad, we will now feature five such events at the Varsity and JV levels, and students can qualify for participate in these without having to qualify through an exam or International History Bee and Bowl events. Students not competing on the Historical Simulation track are still welcome to compete in the Alexander the Great Historical Simulation, including Middle School Division students. Further details on the Historical Simulation Track and the simulations themselves are available through links in the Events Menu.
3. Trophy Events
As mentioned above, a number of events are now classified as Trophy Events (the winners of these will receive plaques or trophies but not medals). These will still be organized by IAC staff, and require advanced registration. These include the Civilization and Great Trading Game competitions from prior Olympiads. Table Combined has been discontinued and replaced by Running Combined.
For Varsity and Junior Varsity students, the Historiography competition is new, required, and a component of the International History Olympiad Overall Championship. Further details are available here – note that much more additional information and specifics will be posted on that page in the coming months. This event has been added to provide a way to evaluate students’ historical research and analytical skills. Along with the Symposium, and the Task Forces, this event provides a way for students to compete in ways that are broadly comparable to how professional historians work.
5. Team Formation
At past Olympiads, teams for the International History Bowl World Championships and the Hextathlon have been determined by results on the Battery Exam. In 2022, the Battery Exam results will determine initial seedings for the preliminary rounds of the International History Bee World Championships. Then, the teams for the History Bowl and Hextathlon will be determined by the results of the International History Bee World Championship preliminary rounds. This change is being made as the newly designed analytical-focused Battery Exam is not as accurate a determinant of strength in the Bowl and Hextathlon as Bee results in a comprehensive competition.
Students will be required to play on teams within their own division, even if there is another student from their state or country in an older age division. This allows all students in a division to compete against each other on an equal footing.
6. Elementary Division
We are thrilled to announce that we are going to be offering an Elementary Division for the first time at the 2022 International History Olympiad! This division will be open to students who will have finished the 4th-6th grades as of July 22. For countries that do not fit into this schematic, then a birthdate division cut off may be used. 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).
Elementary Division students will stay off campus and are required to come with a parent or legal guardian. Elementary Division events will typically finish 30 minutes earlier each evening than the older age divisions.
7. Collegiate Division
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. All buzzer-based events (with the possible exception of the Blitz and the Scramble, for which this depends on interest levels) will now feature a Collegiate Division, but only the buzzer-based events will have Collegiate Divisions to compete in; there will also be no overall Collegiate Division Champion. These policies may change at future Olympiads, but for 2022, this is how the Collegiate Division will operate.
The Collegiate Division is 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 prior participation at all 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 email@example.com to get an eligibility ruling. These will be handled on a case by case basis. There is no upper age limit to compete in the Collegiate Division at the Olympiad as long as these criteria are met.
8. Changes in Buzzer-Based Quiz Events
The Blitz has been added as a new event. The Historical Geography Bee is no longer a program component at the Olympiad, however, it is being held at the International Geography Championships on the following week for students who are attending both events. The International History Bee World Championships will now feature 6 rounds with 35 questions in the preliminaries for the Varsity and JV Divisions, and 6 rounds with 30 questions in the preliminaries for the Middle School and Elementary Divisions. Most buzzer-based events will have three rounds of preliminaries with 30 questions (25 in Middle School and Elementary) with the exception of the multi-media bees (i.e. Art History, Classical Music History, Popular Music History, and Visual History) which have two rounds of 35 questions (30 in Middle School and Elementary), and the Blitz (one preliminary round of 25 questions). The U-Pick We Write and U-Pick U-Write events from past Olympiads have been discontinued.
9. Parents’ Program Changes
Parents, family members, and accompanying coaches and friends are welcome to compete in any multiple choice exam as well as (on a space available basis, but each will be open to at least 30 people) in their own division for the Popular Music History Bee and the Sports History Bee. There is no charge for this. On a limited basis, parents of students from Canada and the USA whose mother tongue is English can also apply to be volunteers. This can lessen the costs of their children’s program fees depending on their level of involvement. Volunteers will need to have prior experience in assisting at IAC competitions, pass a background check, and have first aid certification.
There is no cost for parents to attend any Olympiad competition, though certain events (e.g. bee preliminary rounds and exams) may not be open to spectators. There will be an opportunity for parents to accompany students on certain field trips, but this will need to be paid for as well. There may also be space limitations for parents and other spectators at the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, but we will do what we can to maximize the number of attendees.
Further details are available here.
10. Symposium and Task Forces
The Symposium and Task Forces are medal events that are debuting at the 2022 Olympiad. The Symposium is meant to challenge students through original research in advance of the Olympiad on a particular topic (TBD) followed by an oral defense at the Olympiad in front of experts in the field. The Task Forces are meant to give students a chance to see how knowledge of history can be applied to current social problems and issues.
These are meant to be events where students can compete on an equal footing, regardless of if they are qualifying through a History Bee or Bowl competition, the Historical Simulation Track, or the Olympiad Qualifying Exam. Please find out more about these events through their respective links on the Events Menu.
11. International Geography Championships
The International Geography Bee World Championships is now known as the International Geography Championships. It will be held at the same venue as the Olympiad, but the arrival day for it will be one day after the departure day for the Olympiad, so the two competitions will not overlap at all. Students can certainly attend both; there will be no price discount for doing so, but the meals and accommodations on the in-between night will not cost extra, the way they would for students who otherwise are arriving early for IGC. Further details can be found at www.geochampionships.com.
12. Changes in Exams
There are a number of new exams which are described in detail under their respective pages, accessible from the Events menu. We anticipate that students will take all multiple choice exams on tablets, with automated grading (though students’ scores will only be released after each exam’s respective medals ceremony). We particularly would like to draw your attention to the additional prize on offer in the Country Exam!
13. Scheduling Notes
Please note that the schedule as posted here is a draft schedule. The events will only be considered confirmed once registration opens, and IAC reserves the right to adjust the schedule as needed (including the length of an event), depending on the number of students who register and other parameters. When reading the draft schedule, please be advised that the schedule shows only 30 minute blocks, but depending on the distance between competition spaces (which are still TBD) and other factors, events may start and/or finish at any time during that block. A more precise schedule will be confirmed in the spring of 2022.
Students may arrive on July 24; there will be an additional charge for staying overnight and for meals on the 24th and breakfast on July 25, which are not included in the standard program cost. Students are expected to depart on the morning of August 2; they are required to do so by 10pm that evening. Lunch and dinner on August 2 are not included except for students staying on to participate in the International Geography Championships.
Medals Ceremonies for each event will now have their own specific posted times in advance so that families and students can plan accordingly. These are not yet posted, but will be by the time the schedule is finalized in the spring of 2022.
The Written Exam and International History Bee World Championships are now required events for all competing students (as are the Battery Exam, Hextathlon, and International History Bowl World Championships which have been required in the past as well).
14. Logistical Notes
The logistics of the 2022 Olympiad site at Université Laval are favorable, as the airport is only a 12 minute drive away, the city center is 10 minutes by car or 20 by bus, and the competition rooms, sleeping rooms, dining hall, and medals ceremonies are all within a 10-15 minute walk of each other. IAC will be able to provide visa letters and assistance through the immigration and travel law specialists at our Canada-based legal team, with whom we have already been collaborating since early 2020 to plan for the 2022 Olympiad.