The National Political Science Bee is an academic competition for primary and secondary school students across America which focuses on the scientific study of politics, and the NPSB aims to recognize and reward students for their hard work in the classroom in an entertaining and educational quiz competition. In addition to the information contained in the various pages linked through the menu bar, the below-listed FAQs may also be helpful in providing further details on the competition. If, after perusing the website, you have further questions, please feel free to contact info@iacompetitions.com at any time.

For the 2022-2023 competition season, there are two stages to the National Political Science Bee: Regionals and Nationals. The Regionals stage consists of the National Qualifying Exam, taken either in person at Regional tournaments or online, where students may elect to have a teacher, parent or homeschool instructor proctor the exam for them.

For the exam, click here. The National Qualifying Exam has three different versions (Set A, Set B, and Set C). Students qualify for either the Varsity or Junior Varsity (10th graders and younger play Junior Varsity) National Championships 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 December 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.


Q. Is there a younger age limit to compete? Is the competition open to middle and elementary school students?

A. No, there is no younger age limit to compete, though you may wish to review the sample qualifying exam which is posted here to see if the difficulty level is appropriate. There is also no separate division for middle and elementary school students, so they would just compete in the Junior Varsity Division, with other students in 10th grade and younger. We anticipate introducing separate Middle School and Elementary Divisions to the National Political Science Bee in subsequent academic years.

Q. Can homeschoolers compete?
A. Yes, homeschoolers are encouraged to compete! If homeschoolers do not have a formal grade level that they are in, then a birthdate cutoff is used to determine whether they are Varsity or Junior Varsity eligible. For the 2022-2023 academic year, the birthdate cutoff is September 1, 2006 – students born on or after this date are considered Junior Varsity eligible if they do not have a formal grade level.

Q. What is the cost to compete this year?
A. All exams will be administered either in person at Regional Competitions or online. Pre-registration for in person exams is $10 per exam plus a processing fee if paid by credit card. For online exams, registration fees can be paid either by credit card for $15 plus a processing fee, or by check for $15. It is free of charge if taken with an AP US Government and Politics teacher to whom IAC has provided the A Set National Qualifying Exam and answer key.
The National Championships of the National Political Science Bee will cost $75 in 2023, though this amount may change.

Q. Where can I find sample questions to prepare for the National Championships?
A. We recommend looking through past questions on www.quizbowlpackets.com as well as this page which has some of our past questions.

Q. Will questions in the playoff round at Nationals be more challenging than those in the preliminary rounds?
A. Yes, and the questions in the finals will be harder than those in the preliminary rounds on average. Note that the Varsity and JV Divisions will use the same questions though.

Q. Do you have any other tips on preparation?
A. Aside from reviewing past questions, taking AP Government courses, playing quiz bowl and National History Bee and Bowl tournaments, we highly recommend reading The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, and other reputable newspapers and political science-focused publications.