Do students have to be affiliated with a school in order to participate in the National Science Bee?
Students do not have to be affiliated with a school in order to participate in any of our competitions. All students are welcome to participate. We encourage students who attend a school to let their school know they are competing and to participate with other students and teachers from their school, but it is not required. Students do not have to be officially recognized or sponsored by their school to compete. Pseudonyms are allowed in place of school names in such cases, although we will still need to know which school a student attends.
Varsity & Junior Varsity Divisions
In the Varsity and Junior Varsity Divisions, students qualify for the National Championships through the National Qualifying Exam. The National Qualifying Exam can be taken either at any National History Bee and Bowl Varsity / JV Regional or State Tournament site, or online with a teacher / homeschool administrator / community volunteer acting as the proctor. Students must finish either in the top 50% of students at their NHBB tournament site or nationally for their age division (determined by certain dates for each of the three versions of the exam; A, B, and C Set). Students can qualify for Nationals off any version of the National Qualifying Exam; they only need to qualify once.
Middle & Elementary School Divisions
Beginning September 27, students will be allowed to take the free Online Regional Qualifying exam at their school or under supervision at another location. Through this exam, students will qualify for the Regional Finals. Student finish at the Regional Finals will determine qualification for the National Championships.
As of the 2022-2023 academic year, the National Science Bee is divided into the following age divisions:
Varsity – 11th and 12th Graders
Junior Varsity – 10th Graders and Younger
These two age divisions function similarly; i.e. they have only two stages: the National Qualifying Exam and the National Championships. Note that the JV Division is also open to students in 8th grade and younger, but PLEASE NOTE if an 8th grader or younger student qualifies for JV Nationals through the JV National Qualifying Exam, they are NOT automatically qualified for their respective age division in the Middle and Elementary School Divisions. To qualify for Middle/Elementary Nationals, they must qualify through the ORQE and Regional Finals(see below).
There are also four separate Middle School and Elementary School divisions:
8th Grade Division
7th Grade Division
6th Grade Division
5th Grade Division
Elementary School Division (All students in 4th grade and younger)
These four age divisions function similarly; i.e. they have three official stages: the Online Regional Qualifying Exam, the Regional Finals, and the National Championships.
For students who do not have a formally recognized grade, their division will be determined by their birth date. These dates are detailed on the Info for Homeschoolers page.
No. Students must participate in their formally recognized grade, or in the absence of a formally recognized grade, their assigned grade based on their birth date as detailed on this Info for Homeschoolers page. In some rare cases, there may be an insufficient number of students participating in a division, necessitating having them participate in a combined division. However, their scores will still only be compared to those at their grade level for qualification and awards purposes.
For the 2023 National Championships, there won’t be any overlap between the questions used for the Varsity and JV divisions and the questions used for the Middle and Elementary School Divisions.
For the 2022-23 school year:
For the Varsity Division, students must be enrolled as a secondary school student in the 2021-2022 academic year (or taking homeschool coursework that is equivalent to this) and have not yet graduated high school by October 1, 2022. Only 11th and 12th grade students can compete in the Varsity Division.
Only students in 10th grade and younger may compete in the Junior Varsity Division (this includes students who are also eligible to compete in the Middle or Elementary School Division). Homeschooled students with no formal grade must have been born on or after October 1, 2007 to be eligible to compete in the Junior Varsity Division.
For the Elementary School Division, there is no younger age limit. To compete in the Middle School Division, students must be formally in 8th grade or below, and students with no formal grade must have been born on or after October 1, 2008.
No prior experience is required, and we encourage all students to give it a try! We recommend that you do take a look at our rules here and review the past questions available on our Practice Resources page to make sure your student understands the format and the type of questions they will be asked so they are as prepared as possible before coming to a tournament.
Information on the Online Regional Qualifying Exams, or ORQEs, can be found on this page.
There is no limit to the number of students who may take the qualifying exam. Limits for the Regional Finals and National Championships are based on how many students qualify and register before the field cap is met.
We will be happy to answer any questions you have. Please contact us at email@example.com, and we will get right back to you!