The International History Bowl is a buzzer-based history quiz competition for teams of up to 6 students. Four students can play at any one time on a team (the other one or two students, if you have them, can substitute in between the quarters or games). There is no minimum number of students on a team; you can have a team of three, two, or even one student. Teams consisting of just one or two students play for a discounted entry fee. Please see below for a comprehensive account of how the Bowl works. If you have any further questions, please email our Executive Director, Nolwenn Léon Madden
In order to compete in the History Bowl, you must be 19 years or younger at the time of your Regional Bowl. You must also be enrolled in a primary or secondary school at the time of your regional tournament (or have graduated within the past two months, and not yet have started university studies).
For the 2019-2020 academic year, in order to compete in the Junior Varsity Division of the History Bowl, all team members must have been born in September 2003 or more recently. If you wish to compete in the Middle School division, all team members must have been born in September 2005 or more recently.
There is no younger age limit – a brilliant and well-behaved 8 year-old is welcome to compete. Also, younger students can play on a Varsity or Junior Varsity team, but ALL players on a younger team must fulfill that division’s age requirements.
Likewise, there is no limit on types of schools – local, international, public, private, religious, and schools abroad following a home country curriculum are all welcome. Students from the 50 US states may compete if they have not competed yet this school year in the USA; if they have, they must contact firstname.lastname@example.org to gain approval to compete in Asia.
Schools may compete at up to two Regional Bowls in Asia in a school year as long as the two tournaments use different questions (click on the dot on the map and scroll down then to see what question set a tournament runs on), but they do not have to compete in the country they are located in; there is no geographic limit in that sense. No Regional Bee (even those labeled as a “Championships” requires prior qualifying – only the Asian Championships requires prior qualifying.
At nearly all History Bowls held on weekends, there are five preliminary rounds with four quarters each, though teams may have a bye if there are an odd number of teams in a division. (If any tournaments are held after school on weekdays or with a particularly small number of competing teams, these may then have 3 or 4 preliminary rounds). In each round, two teams play each other. Depending on how many teams are in the competition, the top 2-8 highest ranking teams from the preliminary rounds in each division, (usually based first on Win-Loss record, then by total points) then compete in the final rounds (though in some cases, the playoff structure may be different). The three divisions are kept as separate as possible, but unless there are at least 4 Junior Varsity and middle school teams, then some crossover matches (which count like any other game in the rankings) may be necessary. Each round takes about 30-40 minutes to complete; playoff rounds usually go somewhat quicker than the prelims.
The finals are usually single elimination in format; if we take four teams, then the first seed (ranked first by record, then by total points) plays the fourth seed in the quarterfinals, the second seed plays the third. The number of teams who makes the playoffs depends on how many teams register for each tournament.
Teams who finish in the top half in their division (or who win a playoff match, or who finish the preliminaries with at least a .500 winning percentage in their age division) also gain eligibility to attend the Asian Championships at the end of the school year. If we have have 5 teams in a division, then the top 3 would qualify (i.e. we round up).
The History Bowl is a team history quiz competition played over four quarters in each match. Download the sample packet to see how a game progresses! Note that middle school games have slightly fewer questions in the first quarter and third quarter. Students each have a buzzer and on tossup questions, attempt to be the first student to ring in and answer correctly. Students may ring in at any point in the question – they are encouraged to interrupt the moderator to do so. After they ring in (which locks out any other student from answering), they give their answer. If they are correct, they get ten points. If incorrect, neither they nor their team members can buzz again on the question. There are no negative points for any incorrect answers at any point in the Bowl. On bonus questions and 60 second round questions, students consult with their teammates to arrive at an answer – buzzers are not used for these questions.
The team with the most points at the end of the game wins, of course. See the attached sample packet for how a game progresses, and the styles of questions which we use.
Questions will reference the history of the arts, sciences, religion, philosophy, language, historical geography, recent history, and even a bit of the history of sports and entertainment. Of course, many questions will also reference political, diplomatic, social, and military history too. Questions can reference events in the past from all over the world, and from all eras in the past – from ancient Egypt until the present day, so be sure to review some basic information of eras and locations whose histories you might not have covered in your history classes.
Resources for Training
You can find a study guide here. This contains both a list of topics that can be referenced in our tournaments and some strategies for preparation. A full list of Resources, including links to thousands of past questions, is maintained here.
Please also see NAQT’s (National Academic Quiz Tournaments) “You gotta know” pages and the History Channel’s Ultimate History Quiz. Also, see www.quizbowlpackets.com (though this has a heavy US American emphasis and references all subjects) and our past questions (the link is to high school level questions only) from the USA. Please note that the questions you’ll find here are often more difficult and US American history-focused than the questions we intend on using in Asia.