International Bee Rules
The Bee is played in two sections – Preliminaries and Finals. During the Preliminary Section, you will be playing against up to 9 other students in an individual, buzzer-based competition in a race to answer up to 8 tossup questions out of a set of 30 (or 25 for Middle School and Elementary). Each correct tossup answer will earn you one point. Once you reach 8 correct answers, you will earn bonus points based on how quickly you reach the 8th point.

The following table summarizes the bonus structure:
Reaching 8 pts on or before question… Results in this many bonus pts… And thus this many total pts…
Eight                                                                    Seven                                              Fifteen
Ten                                                                       Six                                                Fourteen
Twelve                                                                Five                                               Thirteen
Fifteen                                                                Four                                                Twelve
Twenty                                                               Three                                                Eleven
Twenty-Five                                                       Two                                                   Ten
Thirty                                                                  One                                                   Nine

To prevent matches from going on too long, three incorrect answers will end the opportunity to answer a particular tossup for all students. If the reader is still reading the question, and you give the third incorrect answer, you will be deducted one point. If the reader has finished reading the question, there is no penalty. There is no penalty for giving either the first or the second incorrect answer.

The reader will wait three seconds after he or she has finished reading the question before calling it dead and moving on to the next. If someone rings in during this time, and is incorrect, then the three second count begins again. The reader will also allow you three seconds after you have buzzed in to give your answer. You need to be recognized before you give your answer. Timing decisions are not protestable. If you wish to protest, you must bring it to the reader’s attention immediately, then fill out a protest form at the end of the round.

If the reader botches a question, then there are makeup questions included with each round that can be used. If you speak out of turn, you do not lose a point, but you are disqualified for the question. The question is still alive for everyone else.

If you have specific questions regarding more detailed aspects of the rules, please contact


History Bowl Rules
The History Bowl is played in two sections – Preliminaries and Playoffs. During the Preliminary Section, you will be playing as a team of up to six players against another team of up to six players in a game that consists of four quarters. Only four players are allowed to compete at the same time. You can substitute players in between each quarter. You will hear a series of tossups, bonuses, and lightning round questions.

  • At no point in the course of the games for the Bowl will you be deducted points for a wrong answer.
  • You may substitute members of your team between quarters of play.
  • If you wish to protest a question or answer, you must bring it to the reader’s attention before the first question of the next quarter is read, or before you leave the room at the end of the final quarter. If the reader botches a question, there are makeup questions with each round that can be used.
  • During any tossup question, you may not confer verbally or in writing with your teammates. You may raise your hand, extend your buzzer, or gesture in ways that indicate you know the answer, but not what the answer is.
  • On bonuses and the 60 second rounds (i.e. the 3rd quarter of each match), talking to your teammates is permitted and encouraged. Conferring illegally with your teammates on a tossup will be treated as if you buzzed in and answered the tossup incorrectly.

THE FIRST QUARTER consists of ten short tossups worth 10 points each for a correct answer. The middle school division has 8 tossup questions. After the moderator is done, or after you have rung in, you have 3 seconds to start giving your answer. If one team rings in and answers incorrectly after the end of the question, the other team then receives 3 seconds after the moderator says “Incorrect” to the first team. This holds true in the second and fourth quarters too. Once you start giving your answer, you have three seconds to complete giving it. Players are NOT ALLOWED to collaborate during this quarter.

THE SECOND QUARTER consists of eight slightly longer tossups worth 10 points each for a correct answer. If your team answers one of these tossups correctly, your team will be entitled to one bonus question which is also worth 10 points. Players are NOT ALLOWED to collaborate during the tossup questions but are allowed to collaborate for the bonus questions. In this competition, the other team cannot “steal” or “rebound” your bonus. Our bonuses do not “bounce back”. On bonus questions and 60 second round questions, the captain can designate a team member to give the answer, but the moderator will take the first answer directed at them from any student on the team. On bonus questions, the moderator should prompt for the answer five seconds after having finished reading, and then allow an additional two seconds for the team captain (or designated person) to start giving an answer. After they’ve started giving an answer, they have three seconds to finish giving it.

Once you begin to speak, you can go back and correct yourself until the moderator indicates you are correct or not. You may give extra information if it doesn’t make the answer wrong (e.g. saying “Vienna, Austria” even if “Vienna” would suffice or “Hamlet by Shakespeare”) but you cannot “go fishing” (e.g. “Hapbsurg Empire, Maria Theresa, Schloss Schonbrunn, Vienna!”).

THE THIRD QUARTER is the Sixty Second round. The team that is trailing will have a choice from three categories. For the playoff rounds, the leading team will pick first. Each category has a theme and 8 short questions fitting the theme. Middle School division has 6 questions per topic. A team will have 60 seconds to answer as many of these 8 questions (or 6 questions) as possible. If you don’t know an answer, you may pass, but you will not be permitted to return to passed questions; a pass is treated as an incorrect answer.

The first possible answer the team captain says directed at the moderator will be the answer taken. After the trailing team has finished its round, the other team will be prompted for their answers to the missed questions. These are treated like bonus questions, i.e. the team has five seconds to answer each, then is prompted, then has an additional two seconds, then they must finish giving their answer within five additional seconds. If a team gets all 8 (or 6) questions right, then they get a 20 pt bonus. Theoretically this could happen on the bounceback too.

Then, the other team selects from one of the two remaining categories and the process repeats itself. If a team begins its answer while time expires, it will be counted. The decision if the answer was begun before the time expired is a judgment call of the reader, and is not protestable.

Also, if during the 60 seconds round, a team is not able to finish all 8 (or 6) questions, the other team only gets to hear on the bounceback the questions that had been read to the first team. If a fraction of a question has been read, then only up to that point in the question is read to the other team.

THE FOURTH QUARTER consists of 8 long tossups worth 30, 20, or 10 points each for a correct answer depending at what point in the question the question is answered. On the questions, bold and underlined indicates a point in the question where it is worth 30 points. Bold only indicates where it is worth 20 points. Regular text indicates where it is worth 10 points.