The International History Bowl is a buzzer-based history quiz competition for teams of up to 6 students. Four students can play at any one time on a team (the other one or two students, if you have them, can substitute in between the quarters or games). There is no minimum number of students on a team; you can have a team of three, two, or even one student. Teams consisting of just one or two students play for a discounted entry fee.  Please see below for a comprehensive account of how the Bowl works. If you have any further questions, please email our Executive Director, Nolwenn Léon Madden

> Sample Questions for our Australian & New Zealand Tournaments & Other Resources


In order to compete in the History Bowl, you must be 19 years or younger at the time of your Regional Bowl. You must also be enrolled in a primary or secondary school at the time of your regional tournament (or have graduated within the past two months, and not yet have started university studies).

In order to compete in the Junior Varsity Division of the History Bowl, all team members must be in Year 10 or younger in Australia or Year 11 and younger in New Zealand (10th grade at International Schools). If you wish to compete in the Middle School division, all team members must be in Year 8 or younger in Australia and Year 9 or younger in New Zealand (8th grade at International Schools).

There is no younger age limit – a brilliant and well-behaved 8 year-old is welcome to compete. Also, younger students can play on a Varsity or Junior Varsity team, but ALL players on a younger team must fulfill that division’s age requirements.

Likewise, there is no limit on types of schools – local, international, state, private, religious, and schools abroad following a home country curriculum are all welcome.

Schools are only allowed to compete at one Regional Bowl in Australia or New Zealand this year, but they do not have to compete in the state their school is in or at the nearest site; there is no geographic limit in that sense.

Tournament Format

Most of our Australia tournaments will be held on weekdays; New Zealand tournaments are typically held on weekends, though there may be some exceptions to this as well. Tournaments feature 3-5 preliminary rounds and 1 or 2 final rounds depending on the available time for the competition and how many teams register. In each round, two teams play each other. Depending on how many teams are in the competition, either the top 2 or 4 highest ranking teams from the preliminary rounds in each division then compete in the final rounds. Each round takes about 30-40 minutes to complete; playoff rounds usually go somewhat quicker than the preliminaries. The playoff rules can vary slightly from tournament to tournament depending on how many teams register, and how much time is available – the tournament director will clarify at the start of the day how it will work.

Game Format

The History Bowl is a team history quiz competition played over four quarters in each match.

Note that middle school games have slightly fewer questions in the 1st and 3rd quarters. Students each have a buzzer and on tossup questions, attempt to be the first student to ring in and answer correctly. Students may ring in at any point in the question – they are encouraged to interrupt the moderator to do so. After they ring in (which locks out any other student from answering), they give their answer. If they are correct, they get ten points. If incorrect, neither they nor their team members can buzz again on the question. There are no negative points for any incorrect answers at any point in the Bowl. On bonus questions and 60 second round questions, students consult with their teammates to arrive at an answer – buzzers are not used for these questions.

The team with the most points at the end of the game wins, of course. See the attached sample packet for how a game progresses, and the styles of questions which we use.

Question Content

Questions will reference the history of the arts, sciences, religion, philosophy, language, historical geography, recent history, and even a bit of the history of sports and entertainment. Of course, many questions will also reference political, diplomatic, social, and military history too. Questions can reference events in the past from all over the world, and from all eras in the past – from ancient Egypt until the present day, so be sure to review some basic information of eras and locations whose histories you might not have covered in your history classes.

Resources for Training

The IHBB Australia Study Guide contains both a list of topics that can be referenced in our tournaments and some strategies for preparation.

Please also see NAQT’s (National Academic Quiz Tournaments) “You gotta know” pages as well as the History Channel’s Ultimate History Quiz.

Additional Sample Questions

A sample high school level History Bowl packet (this level is used for both the Junior Varsity and Varsity Divisions) for our Australian and New Zealand tournaments can be downloaded on our resources page, along with a Middle School Division packet. Questions we have used in the past at our Regional tournaments in Australia and New Zealand are also posted on that page.

You can find additional question packets from past tournaments we have held in Asia here though keep in mind that these packets lack the standard amount of Australian and New Zealand history questions that tournaments in Australia and New Zealand will use.

Also, see (though this has a heavy US American emphasis and references all subjects) and our past questions from the USA. Please note that the questions you’ll find here are considerably more difficult and US American history-focused than the questions we intend on using in Australia and New Zealand.