Photo of Soledad O'Brien talking to contestants at the GeoBee

Photograph by Becky Hale

The following rules regarding contest procedures and eligibility must be followed for possible advancement of a student to the state and national levels, but schools may be flexible in the format for conducting their school Bees.

School Bee Registration and Procedures

• The National Geographic Bee is a competition for public schools, private schools, and homeschools in the United States and its territories, as well as Department of Defense Dependent Schools (DoDDS). Schools with students in any of the grades four through eight are eligible for this educational and entertaining contest. Registration is not open to individual students.

• A school may be registered by the school Bee coordinator or another school employee (principal, librarian, curriculum coordinator, or administrative support staff).  Parents, guardians, or school volunteers may not register a school for the Bee; only paid school employees may register a school. In the case of homeschools, an individual affiliated with the homeschool may submit the registration.

• The school Bee coordinator will be responsible for downloading the Bee materials, administering the contest, and communicating with National Geographic about the school champion.

• The school Bee coordinator cannot be a relative or guardian of a student participating in the National Geographic Bee at any school or homeschool.

• A minimum of six (6) students from any of the eligible grades must be physically present and participate in the school level competition in order for the school champion to take the qualifying test and be considered for possible advancement to the state Bee. "Virtual" school Bees are not permitted.

• Bee materials are the property of the registered school and may not be transferred or used by another school.

• School Bee materials may not be shared in hard copy or electronic form with anybody who is not an employee of the registered school, either before or after the school Bee.

• The recording of school Bees is not permitted. Posting or sharing of videos of school Bees gives an unfair advantage to students at schools that have not yet held their Bees. The school Bee coordinator must ensure that the school Bee is not recorded in any form, including written notes, audio, or video, by participants or event attendees without prior permission from the National Geographic Bee executive director.

• Homeschools must follow all rules listed here, and must allow other homeschool students in their area to participate in their Bee.

Student Eligibility

• Previous recipients of National Geographic Bee scholarships are ineligible to participate. Children of National Geographic employees may participate in the school Bee, but are not permitted to advance beyond the school level. They may not take the state Bee qualifying test.

• Students must be in grades four through eight and must not have reached their 15th birthday on or before September 1, 2015. A student is eligible to participate in the Bee for no more than five years total.

• A student must be enrolled in a school that has registered for the Bee. Students can only participate in one Bee per academic year. Homeschooled students must participate through a homeschool that has registered for the Bee. Students enrolled in conventional public or private schools may not compete as part of a homeschool association’s Bee.

• Students in the eligible grade levels must be following a school schedule and academic course load comparable to the majority of the student’s grade mates and age mates. A student may not be enrolled in more than three academic courses at the high school and/or college level during the academic year.

• Students and their parents, guardians, and relatives must not have obtained, have had in their possession, or have seen copies of the school Bee question booklet or the qualifying test.

State Qualifying Test Procedures

• The state qualifying test will no longer be administered on paper. Instead, it is being administered online through the school registration website.

• The qualifying test must be proctored by the school Bee coordinator to the one (1) student who has won the school Bee. The Bee Coordinator must login to the Registration and Resource Center and complete the school champion online profile in the before the student takes the online Qualifying Test.

• The test is to be taken in the school building and must be monitored by the school Bee coordinator. A relative or guardian of the school champion may not administer the test nor have had access to the online test.

• The student is to work independently on the test, using no outside help or material.

• The school champion must complete the online qualifying test by 11:59pm EST on February 5, 2016.  No written test need be taken or mailed to the Geo Bee office.

National Geographic reserves the right to disqualify a school or student if these rules have not been followed.


For Teachers and Parents

  • A group of contestants stand on stage

    How Schools Register

    Learn more about the new online registration process for qualifying schools: U.S. schools with any grade 4-8.

  • Photo of Soledad O'Brien talking to contestants at the GeoBee


    Every competition has rules—read ours, then let the fun begin!

  • Picture of a drone delivering a question to host Soledad O'Brien

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Wondering how to register for the Bee or how to prepare? Our "Frequently Asked Questions" have the answers!

  • Picture of Akhil Rekulapelli and Ameya Mujumdar shaking hands in front of Soledad O'Brien during the final round of the 2014 Geo Bee

    Study Corner

    What's the best way for students to prepare for the Bee? Here are some tips from the National Geographic Bee.

  • Photo: William Johnston

    Sample Questions

    Answer sample questions from the National Geographic Bee, and get ideas on how to look for clues within the questions that can help you figure out the right answers.

  • Photo: National Geographic Bee DVD

    Bee Study Shop

    The latest from the National Geographic Store will help you prepare for the Bee.

Student Activities

Teachers can use these activities in the classroom to prepare students for the bee!

  • Photo: Map of the world showing areas of freshwater

    Geo-Scavenger Hunt

    Simply memorizing terms and place locations can be tedious and even boring. One solution is to make the task fun with an atlas-based scavenger game.

  • Photo: Map of languages

    Exploring Diffusion

    The movement of people, goods, or ideas from one place to another is a process known as diffusion, which plays an important role in shaping the characteristics of where we live.

  • Photo: Infared satellite image of hurricane Rita

    Tracking Violent Storms

    Springtime brings the possibility of extreme weather, including violent thunderstorms and tornadoes.

See More From the Study Corner »