At the Varsity and Junior Varsity levels, the National Science Bee’s first stage is the National Qualifying Exam.
To register for the National Science Bee Varsity and JV National Qualifying Exam, please follow the instructions here.
There are three versions of this exam; students need to qualify for the National Championships through any one version of it. The three versions of the exam are the A Set, B Set, and C Set versions of the exam. All three exams are meant to be of comparable difficulty.
A sample qualifying exam and answer key, along with a distribution file, will be posted here by early October 2019 in advance of the first tournament sites.
Students qualify for the National Championships by finishing in the top half of students taking the exam in their age division at each National History Bee and Bowl tournament site, or by finishing above the National Median Score for their age division on any one of the three versions of the Exam. A lower score on any one version will not disqualify a student if they have a qualifying score on a separate version. To provide notification of Nationals qualification at as early a time as is possible, the official National Median Scores for both Varsity and Junior Varsity students are determined on January 1 for C Set, February 1 for B Set, and March 1 for A Set. After these dates, the National Median Scores do not change even though additional students can still take these exams up until mid-April.
For students taking the National Science Bee National Qualifying Exam with a proctor, there is no other method of qualifying that is analogous to finishing in the top half among all students in an age division who take the Exam at a NHBB tournament site. For this reason, it may be easier to qualify for the National Science Bee National Championships at an NHBB tournament site, as that offers the chance to qualify both based on finishing above the National Median, as well as the chance to qualify based on finishing in the top half of students taking the Exam at that site.