Top Ten Tips for National Geographic Bee


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Top Ten Tips for geography students to succeed in National Geography Bee

- Neeraj Sirdeshmukh
2006, Second place winner of National Geographic Bee

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Top Ten Tips for National Geographic Bee

  1. 1. Top tips for preparing for the By Neeraj Sirdeshmukh 2nd place winner in 2006 National Geo Bee Copyright:
  2. 2. TIP # 1: LOCATIONS Learning geography starts with the basic tool, the atlas. Familiarize yourself with the major cities, countries, provinces/territories, and other physical and political divisions of our planet. A good atlas is Geographica. Another one is National Geographic Family Atlas of the World. A free world atlas can be found online at Go to to find blank maps of every county. Copyright:
  3. 3. Identify what location is represented by each symbol on the blank map: This port city was founded in 1177 when a castle over the Lagan River was built. ANSWER: Belfast, United Kingdom What river is this? ANSWER: Rhine River This is the second largest city in Germany and is located on the Elbe River. ANSWER: Hamburg, Germany This is the southernmost point of mainland Europe. What is it called? ANSWER: Point Tarifa, Spain The best way to memorize locations is to practice filling in blank maps. Copyright:
  4. 4. TIP # 2: CURRENT EVENTS • Keep up with world news every day to know what’s happening around the world. • All current events questions ask about events that happened up to 1 year before the national bee. • Global news is more important than United States news for the Bee. Most current events questions will have a geographic clue. Others might not. For example, a question might look like: On January 2, 2009, the army of which country announced that it had captured Kilinochchi, the capital city of the Tamil Tiger rebels? ANSWER: SRI LANKA • One of the best websites for global news coverage is Copyright:
  5. 5. TIP # 3: CAPITAL CITIES • Memorize the capital of every country in the world. Making flash cards is a great way to do this. • Lets see how much you already know. Here is a short quiz: What is the capital of: ARGENTINA? Buenos Aires RWANDA? Kigali S IERRA LEONE? Freetown MALDIVES ? Male MALAYS IA? Kuala Lumpur BURKINA FAS O? Ouagadougou Copyright:
  6. 6. TIP # 4: PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY Learn physical geography terms through a good reference book or encyclopedia. I used the National Geographic Desk Reference. Again, making flash cards is a good way to memorize terms. Physical geography questions ask mostly about key terms, such as barchan, cirque, moraine, abyssal plain, tarn, and esker. These terms relate to mostly the following topics: world climates, soils, wind and ocean current patterns, glaciers, dunes, rocks and minerals, the ocean floor, rivers, lakes, etc.…. Copyright:
  7. 7. These types of questions pop up CLIMATE GRAPHS occasionally and require you to analyze a climate graph, a chart that shows temperature and precipitation patterns for a particular location. You are given a few cities and asked to find the one that best fits the graph. For example, look at this graph. The red line represents the temperature in degrees Celsius. You can tell that it is hot year round- around 28 degrees C. There are no extremes in temperature. This should immediately tell you that this city is close to the equator. The blue bars represent precipitation. It is very wet. The highest amount of precipitation occurs from November-January. If you know that What city matches this the northeast monsoon winds blow during climagraph? this period, you can tell that this city is located somewhere in southern Asia. SO WHAT CITY IS IT ???? A) Rio de Janeiro B) Stockholm C) Washington, D.C. D) Singapore E) Sydney ANSWER: Singapore Copyright:
  8. 8. TIP # 5: STUDY REGULARLY Don’t forget to study regularly. Utilize any free time you have. Use your weekends, after-school free time and vacations fruitfully. It’s up to you to decide how much you should study. Copyright:
  9. 9. TIP # 6: GEOGRAPHY IS A BROAD SUBJECT. SO WHAT DO YOU REALLY NEED TO KNOW? To give you an idea of how big geography really is, here are some of the different parts of geography: 3) Political geography 4) Physical geography 5) Economic geography 6) Historical geography 7) Cultural (human) geography 8) Travel/tourism There are many other parts.. But for the Bee, these six are the ones you should be familiar with….. Copyright:
  10. 10. What do you need to know about each part of geography? • POLITICAL: Countries, capitals, major cities, autonomous regions, overseas territories/dependencies, bordering countries, international organizations (like OPEC, NATO), flags of major countries • PHYSICAL: other than what we discussed earlier, physical geo also includes where physical features, such as rivers, lakes, mountains, deserts, plateaus, basins, bays, seas, gulfs, etc….. are located. • ECONOMIC: major exports, currencies, natural resources, mining and industrial regions (like the Donets Basin in Ukraine) • HISTORICAL: former names of countries and territories, independence, ancient civilizations and their geographic extent, empires (like the Ottoman, Roman, and Mongol empires) • CULTURAL(HUMAN): Religions, languages, and ethnic groups of each country. Also population pyramids. • TRAVEL: major and (a few) minor attractions, like the Iguazu Falls, Santorini, Hagia Sophia, Harbour Bridge, Guilin, Valley of the Kings, etc…. Copyright:
  11. 11. Other points • Learn to interpret climate graphs, population pyramids, and contour maps. For help with climate graphs, look at the climate graphs slide. Population pyramids show the population distribution of a country according to gender and age groups. Contour maps have contour lines on them that connect points of equal elevation. • For odd man out, the most common questions deal with locations and physical geography. For example, you may be asked, “What is the odd man out?” and given these choices: Angola, Cape Verde, Sao Tome and Principe, Namibia, and Guinea Bissau. The answer is Namibia because it is the only country that did not achieve independence from Portugal out of the five countries. Namibia got its independence from South Africa. Copyright:
  12. 12. QUIZ 1. POLITICAL: Abkhazia, Ajaria, and South Ossetia are three autonomous republics that have been seeking independence from which country? ANSWER: Georgia 2. PHYSICAL: What is the term for a volcanic crack in the ground through which steam and gases escape? ANSWER: fumarole Copyright:
  13. 13. QUIZ (Continued) 3. ECONOMIC: The Darling Downs is a farming region centered around the city of Toowoomba, in which country? ANSWER: Australia 4. HISTORICAL: Which city was once known as Petrograd and later as Leningrad? ANSWER: Saint Petersburg, Russia Copyright:
  14. 14. QUIZ (Continued) 5. CULTURAL(HUMAN): Which country has more Muslims than any other country in the world? ANSWER: Indonesia 6. TRAVEL/TOURISM: The Buddhas of Bamiyan, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, were destroyed by the Taliban in 2001. This event occurred in which country? ANSWER: Afghanistan Copyright:
  15. 15. TIP # 7: EARTH’S EXTREMES Know Earth’s extremes- its highest, lowest, deepest, largest, smallest, most populous, least populous, longest, shortest, hottest, coldest, wettest, most visited, tallest, etc… physical and/ or political features. Making flash cards is again a great way to memorize extremes. Questions on Earth’s extremes and odd man out: 3) What is the deepest lake in the world? ANSWER: Lake Baikal, Russia 2) Where was the hottest temperature on Earth ever recorded? ANSWER: El Azizia, Libya 3) Odd man out: abyssal plain, continental shelf, alluvial fan, trench, continental slope ANSWER: Alluvial fan (it is a river feature, not an ocean floor one) Copyright:
  16. 16. TIP # 8: CREATE YOUR OWN CHART When I was studying, I created my own chart, filled with all the facts I needed to know about every country. Using a chart to memorize is much easier than just reading a book with facts. I made columns for the following: country name, capital, major cities, highest points, physical features, independence, religions, languages, ethnic groups, maps, bordering countries, currencies, major exports, and facts. My table looked like this: Country Capital Major Highest Physical Independence Religion Languages Ethnic Bordering Currency Major cities points features groups countries exports/ facts Copyright:
  17. 17. TIP # 9: PLAY QUIZZES TO TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE Playing quizzes is a great way to prepare, especially if you have limited time to study. Good websites: thousands of questions (you can also view a sample of the chart I created here) go to “Test your Knowledge” new Geo Bee Challenge every day – go to Geography Central top 100 wonders of the world Copyright:
  18. 18. TIP # 10: PARTICIPATE IN GEOGRAPHY DISCUSSION FORUMS One great discussion forum is , where you can keep in touch with many other geography bee contestants and fans like you….. There are also quiz questions, more advice on how to prepare, and other tips. Another one is There is a blog called Geography Central. Copyright:
  19. 19. Thank You and GOOD LUCK ! If you have any questions or comments, please email them to: Copyright: