Thanks for your interest in the European Division of International Academic Competitions and the International History Bee and Bowl! We hope this page and the rest of the site can help you learn more about how our tournaments work and how you can take part. IAC was founded in the USA in 2010, and expanded to Europe in the 2011-2012 school year, so the 2023-2024 school year is our 13th year of organizing academic competitions in Europe. Here are some FAQs that you might find helpful:
Q: What’s the difference between the Bee and the Bowl?
A: In all contexts used by International Academic Competitions, a “Bee” is a competition for individual students; a “Bowl” is a competition for school teams. All players on a Bowl team must attend the same school.
Q: What language are the tournaments in?
A: All tournaments that you see displayed on this website are in English. At the moment, we are not offering competitions in any other languages in Europe.
Q: Which types of schools can compete?
A: Any primary or secondary school is welcome to compete. All students competing must be 19 years old or younger and not have begun university studies though. Our tournaments are designed to be accessible to local schools, international schools, American schools, British schools, public schools, private schools, homeschools, and religious schools.
Q: I’m not sure about a history tournament. I’m more of a science/literature/arts/philosophy/geography/sports/music/whatever person.
A: Our approach to history is highly inclusive, so don’t worry, you’ll still find questions for you! Every field of human inquiry and achievement has its history. Thus, if something happened in the past, it can come up in our questions at a tournament. Expect questions on everything from the Bible to the Beatles, Plato to Pele, Darwin to Dickens in addition to the usual wars, treaties, revolutions, and the like.
Q: How do you answer the questions?
A: Our questions follow different formats, but for most questions, you’ll ring in with a buzzer, like on a quiz show. The questions that you use a buzzer for are called “pyramidal” questions. This means that they start off with harder information and become easier as the question goes on. When you think you know the answer, ring in! But if you’re wrong, then you can’t answer again, and neither can your teammates if you’re playing in the Bowl. This type of question rewards comprehensive knowledge and shows that this is much more than a mere trivia contest.
Q: How do we sign up?
A: Teachers and administrators should click here to register for regional tournaments and click here to register for the European Championships. The cost at the Regional tournaments includes both the Bee and Bowl for up to 6 students on a team. If your school is bringing more than 6 students, then you need to sign up for more than one team. Once you register, we’ll send instructions for how to submit payment.
Q: How are age divisions determined?
A: For the 2023-2024 academic year, in order to compete in the Varsity division of the History Bee, students must have been born in or before August 2007 but not be over the age of 19. To qualify for the Junior Varsity Division, students must be born between September 2007 and August 2009. To be eligible to compete in the Middle School Division, students must have been born in September 2009 or more recently. Some tournaments, including the European Championships, also offer an Elementary Division. At those events, the Middle School Division is then for students born in September 2009-August 2011, and the Elementary Division is for students born in September 2011 or later. There is no younger age limit – a brilliant and mature 8 year-old is welcome to compete (i.e. if there is no Elementary Division on offer at a tournament, those students who would otherwise be eligible for the Elementary Division may compete in the Middle School Division).
Note that in the International Science Bee and the International Geography Bee students who are eligible for either the Varsity or Junior Varsity Divisions in the History Bee may compete in a combined High School Division at certain tournaments if there are insufficient students to have two separate divisions for high school-aged students.
In the History Bowl, students eligible for a younger age division in the Bee may always play on a team with older students, but the team’s division is determined by the age of the oldest student competing on the team. The younger students on a team like this would still compete in the younger age division in the Bee however.
Q: Do I have to play in the tournament in the country my school is in / the site closest to us? Can we play more than once in a school year?
A: There are no geographic restrictions – you can play at whichever site you like. A Swiss school, for example, can play in France, Germany, Italy, Britain, or Sweden for example – it wouldn’t have to play in Switzerland. Students and schools can play at two separate regional tournaments as long as they use separate questions – the question set each tournament uses is listed here on the list of scheduled tournaments. Schools may also choose to play either or both of the question sets online.
The European Championships will use a third question set, and of course, students who qualify for and attend the International History Olympiad, International Geography Championships, and the International Environmental Science Olympiad will play new questions there as well.
Also, it is an official IAC policy that students and schools in Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Greater Caucasus Region can compete on either the IAC Asia Gamma Set tournaments or IAC Europe Gamma Set tournaments (but not both), IAC Asia Beta Set tournaments or IAC Europe Beta Set tournaments (but not both), the IAC Asia Alpha Set tournaments or IAC Europe Alpha Set tournaments (but not both) and attend either the IAC European or Asian Championships (but not both) in any given academic year.
Q: How do we qualify for the European Championships? When and where are they going to be held?
A: If your team finishes in the top half of your qualifying tournament’s draw, or if you finish with at least a .500 winning percentage in your preliminary matches (i.e. 2-2 if you play 4 matches; 3-2 if you play 5), then you qualify for the European Championships. Similarly, if you finish in the top half of the draw in the Bee at your qualifying tournament, you qualify for the European Championships in the History Bee. Host schools of all our European tournaments automatically qualify one team and up to six students for the Bowl and Bee respectively. The 2024 International Academic Competitions European Championships will be held at City of London School in London from May 31-June 2, 2024. For the most up to date information on the Championships, see the tab on the menu bar.
Q: Can teams compete with students from multiple schools / campuses?
A: All teams must be formed with students attending the same school or homeschool association. If we were to allow teams with students from multiple schools, it would effectively turn the competition into a recruiting contest in terms of who could put together the strongest team across multiple schools. Likewise, if a school has multiple campuses, these also must compete separately.
Q: How do we qualify for the the International History Olympiad, International Environmental Science Olympiad, and the International Geography Championships? When and where will these events be held?
A: The next International Geography Championships will be held in Vienna, Austria in July 2024.
The 2024 International Environmental Science Olympiad will be held in Puerto Rico from December 27-December 31.
The 2025 International History Olympiad will be held in Europe in July 2025; the exact location is to be determined, but students can already qualify through competing in History Bee or History Bowl events in the 2023-24 school year.
In principle, any student who qualifies for the European Championships in either the History Bee or History Bowl also qualifies for the International History Olympiad. The same is true for students who qualify for the European Championships in the International Geography Bee (these students gain qualification as well to the next International Geography Championships) and for students who qualify for the European Championships in the International Science Bee (these students gain qualification as well to the next International Environmental Science Olympiad).