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Rules for National Geographic Bee Finals

  1. There are 2 levels of competition in Geography Bee:
    • JGB (Junior Geography Bee): Grades 1, 2 and 3
    • SGB (Senior Geography Bee): Grades 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8
  2. A 1st rank winner at the National Geographic Bee or at the National Finals of the North South Foundation Senior Geography Bee is not eligible for competing in this and future geography contests conducted by the Foundation (National winners of Junior geography bee can participate in the Senior geography bee.) A contestant who participated in a higher level bee cannot participate in a lower level bee in subsequent years.
  3. The National Finals of the Geography Bee will be held in three phases.
    • Phase I is written,
    • Phase II is an oral round while
    • Phase III is a mix of oral and written rounds followed by a Championship sub-phase.
    • The contest may include questions with multiple-choice format and without multiple-choice format.
  4. Contestants are responsible to bring their own pencils and erasers.
    • No parents are allowed in Phase I.
    • No copying of questions or any sort of audio-taping or video-taping are allowed. If caught, contestants will be asked to leave the room and will not be allowed to compete in any more NSF competitions for this year and the future
  5. Contestants are seated in order of their badge numbers from left to right. The pronouncer and judges face the audience. The contestants face the judges and pronouncers. The judges are in complete control of the competition and their decisions are final
Phase I (Written):
  1. Phase I is a written contest with 30 questions. All contestants get the same 30 questions in a booklet. The contestants need to complete this phase in 30 minutes.
  2. Unclear and illegible writing might be open for misinterpretation. So, contestants are expected to write clearly and legibly.
  3. Contestants are required to transfer the answers from the question paper to the corresponding numbered row in the student answer sheet (last page of the question paper booklet). In the case of multiple choice format questions, only the letter needs to be transferred to the student answer sheet.
  4. All Phase I packets should be returned at the end of the contest. It is the responsibility of the contestant to write the badge number on the student answer sheet.
  5. All contestants will advance to Phase II. Contestants will be divided into groups of about 20, and each group will be seated in a separate room in order of their badge number. Badges will specify the group number.
Phase II (Oral):
  1. Phase II contains 3 oral rounds. In each round, each contestant gets a new question. The contestant faces the judges and speaks into a microphone.
  2. The pronouncer reads the question along with the corresponding multiple choices (if the question is in a multiple-choice format) to the contestant. The contestant will provide the answer. In the case of a multiple choice format, the contestant will provide the answer in both the letter form (ex: B) and the text form (the actual text in the choice.) Both the letter and text should match. If there is no match, the contestant is awarded zero points.
  3. The contestant is allowed 15 seconds to provide an answer. The judges may award zero points to any contestant who ignores a request to start giving an answer.
  4. The contestant is awarded one point for the correct answer and zero for an incorrect answer. If a contestant gives an incorrect answer, the judges provide the correct answer. The next contestant will be given a new question from the list.
Phase III (Oral):
  1. Based on the cumulative scores of Phase I and II (total out of 33), the judges determine a list of top 10 contestants who advance to Phase III. Because of potential ties, the judges use tie-breaker rules outlined below to arrive at the number of top contestants to go into Phase III. While contestants are divided into groups in Phase II, those selected for Phase III are all seated in one room.
  2. <>Phase III consists of two sub-phases: (a) Elimination and (b) Championship. Sub-phase (a) is a double-elimination phase where up to seven contestants out of ten are eliminated to determine the top three candidates. Sub-phase (b) proceeds with the top 2 or 3 candidates.
  3. In Phase III, all the rules for Phase II apply with the following changes:


(a) There may be some rounds where all contestants will get the same question. In that case, they will write the answer on a sheet of paper in 15 seconds and show it to the judge when asked. The Chief Judge, at his/her discretion, may allow additional seconds for those rounds. On other rounds, each contestant may get a separate question where the contestant will need to answer after 15 seconds.
(b) If the answer provided by a contestant is incorrect, and if the contestant has reached the limit of two mistakes, the contestant is eliminated.
(c) Contestants who have not reached this elimination limit advance to the next round.
(d) If all the remaining contestants reach the double-elimination stage at the same time, the contestants remain and advance to the next round until there are three remaining contestants. Note that, for all practical purposes, this becomes a single-elimination event at this point.

Some of the Phase III Scenarios and how it is handled

  1. If all contestants are eliminated at the same time, they all will continue. At this point, it becomes a single-elimination process to determine the top three contestants.
  2. If several contestants are eliminated at the same time, and if there are only three contestants remaining, the three contestants advance to the final championship round.
  3. If several contestants are eliminated at the same time, and if there are only two contestants remaining, those two automatically advance to the final championship round. Remaining contestants, however, will continue to determine the third spot for the championship sub-phase.
  4. If several contestants are eliminated at the same time, and if there is only one contestant remaining, that contestant advances to the final round. The remaining contestants will continue till only two contestants remain. These two will move on to the final championship round.
  5. If several contestants are eliminated at the same time, and if there are only four contestants remaining, those four advance to the next round and the process continues till the top three spots are determined.
Championship Round, Winners and Ranks:
  1. The First, Second and Third place winners are decided based on single elimination rounds in the Championship Phase. All three contestants are administered common questions. This is a single-elimination round. There is a possibility of more than two contestants getting eliminated in one round. If that happens, the contest continues for the second and third position but the other candidate is the champion. The first place winner shall be ahead by at least one point to be declared as the champion. If any of these top three positions remains tied after a maximum of about 10 rounds, it will be broken as per the tie-breaker rules outlined below. For the other ranks too, any tie will be broken by using tie-breaker rules as outlined below.
  2. Based on the situation, the coordinator and the judges may reduce or increase the number of rounds allowed for the championship rounds. Their decisions are final.
Tiebreaker Rules:
To break ties, the scheme outlined below is followed in the order given:
  1. Combined Phase I and Phase II score
  2. Phase I score alone 
  3. Phase I score among questions 26-30
  4. Phase I score among questions 21-25
  5. Phase I score among questions 16-20
  6. Phase I score among questions 11-15
  7. Phase I score among questions 1-10
  8. If there more than 10 candidates at this point after the 7 tie-breaker rules have been applied, then only the students who tied for the last position will go through a set of oral tie-breaker questions. This tie-breaker will be single elimination i.e. a student getting an answer wrong will be eliminated. This tie-breaker session will be conducted at the beginning of the time period that is identified as Phase III in the schedule

If the above steps fail to break the tie in question, the Foundation may use additional measures to break the tie.
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