The US History Bee is an academic competition for primary and secondary school students across America which focuses on American history. The US History Bee aims to recognize and reward students for their hard work in the classroom in an entertaining and educational quiz competition.

For the 2019-2020 competition season, there are two stages to the US History Bee: Regionals and Nationals. The Regionals stage consists of the National Qualifying Exam (held at each National History Bee and Bowl Varsity and Junior Varsity Division Regional or State tournament). A student may also elect to have a teacher or homeschool instructor proctor the National Qualifying Exam for them. Click here if you are interested in this option. The National Qualifying Exam has three different versions (Set A, Set B, and Set C) which correspond to the same sets being used at that site’s National History Bee and Bowl Regional or State tournament.

Students qualify for either the Varsity or Junior Varsity (10th graders and younger play Junior Varsity) National Championships by finishing in the top half of their division on any version of the NQE or by finishing above the National Median Scores for any version of the NQE that they take.
Different National Median Scores are calculated for Varsity and Junior Varsity students for each version of the National Qualifying Exam. C Set medians are calculated on January 1, B Set medians are calculated on February 1, and A Set medians are calculated on March 1.
Students only need to qualify once on any version of the NQE. If they have already qualified, and then take another NQE for practice and do not qualify based on the new score, they still qualify off the basis of their original score – in other words, you cannot “unqualify” yourself once you have already qualified.

The 2020 National Championships of the US History Bee for both Divisions will take place on Friday, April 24 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, VA as a part of the International Academic Competitions Varsity and Junior Varsity US National Championships. The USHB National Championships, however, will take place at different times from the events of the other competitions (so that students who have qualified for multiple events can compete in them). The National Championships of the US History Bee is entirely a buzzer-based quiz tournament – there is no exam component at Nationals.

While there is no separate division for the 2019-2020 competition season for middle school-aged students, they are welcome to compete in the Junior Varsity Division of the USHB if they wish.

Beyond the value of just having fun, it is also important to us that our activity reflects what students experience in the classroom. Consequently, we work closely with the National Council for the Social Studies on content and subject matter initiatives and also align our questions with the concepts of the Common Core State Standards. We want the students who excel in their US History classes to excel at theĀ US History Bee!

For additional resources, click here.

If you have any questions or comments about the U.S. History Bee, please don’t hesitate to contact us via email ( or phone (201-661-3524). Email is almost always the quickest way to reach us.

For a list of answers to some Frequently Asked Questions, click here. Good Luck!