The following rules regarding contest procedures and eligibility are required in order for a student to potentially advance to the state and national levels. However, schools have flexibility with regards to how they format and conduct their respective school Bees.

Homeschools – please see the Homeschool Rules for specific details regarding homeschool registration.


School Bee Registration and Procedures

  • The National Geographic Bee is an educational competition designed for any public, private or homeschool in the United States and its territories, as well as Department of Defense Dependents Schools (DoDDS), with students in grades four through eight. Registration is not open to individual students.
  • A school must  be registered by a paid school employee. This can include the school’s respective  “Bee coordinator,” or another appropriate school employee, such as a principal, librarian, curriculum coordinator, or administrative support staff.  Parents, guardians, or school volunteers may not, under any circumstances, register a school for the National Geographic Bee.
  • The specified school Bee coordinator will be responsible for downloading official  National Geographic Bee materials, administering the school level competition, and effectively communicating with National Geographic about the designated 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 (4-8) must be physically present and actively participate in the school level competition in order for the designated school champion to be eligible to take the qualifying test and be considered for possible advancement to the state Bee. "Virtual" school Bees are not permitted.
  • Official National Geographic 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.
  • Results will be posted on each state Bee site. State competitions will be held on Friday, March 31, 2017.
  • The champion from each state is invited to compete in the Nat Geo Bee National Championship in Washington, D.C., May 15-17, 2017.
  • Any audio, visual or written 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 respective Bees. The school Bee coordinator must ensure that the school Bee is not recorded in any form by participants or event attendees without prior permission from the National Geographic Bee executive director.


Student Eligibility

  • Previous recipients of National Geographic Bee scholarships are ineligible to participate. Children of National Geographic employees may participate in their school Bee, but are not permitted to advance beyond the school level competition and are therefore ineligible to take the state Bee qualifying test.
  • Students must be in grades four through eight (4-8) and must not have reached their 15th birthday on or before September 1, 2016. A student is eligible to participate in the National Geographic Bee for no more than five years in total.
  • A student must be enrolled in a school that has registered for the National Geographic Bee. Students can only participate in one Bee per academic year. Students enrolled in conventional public or private schools may not compete in a homeschool Bee or at a different school from which they are enrolled.
  • Students in eligible grade levels must be following a school schedule and academic course load comparable to the majority of the student’s peers with respect to both grade and age. . A student may not be enrolled in more than three (3) 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 at any time prior to the competition. Evidence of misconduct with result in disqualification.


State Qualifying Test Procedures

  • Beginning in 2016, the state qualifying test is no longer administered on paper. Instead, it is administered online through the school registration website.  
  • The qualifying test must be proctored by the school Bee coordinator and taken by 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” 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 for the duration of the test. 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 materials.
  • No more than 60 minutes is allowed for the student to complete the online test.
  • The school champion must complete the online qualifying test by 11:59 pm EST on February 6, 2017.  No written test should  be taken or mailed to the National Geographic Bee office.


National Geographic reserves the right to disqualify any school or student who does not abide by these rules in their entirety.