12 ‘easy’ geography questions that middle schoolers can answer, but will probably leave you stumped

Every year, the National Geographic Society sponsors a geography contest called The National Geographic Bee, wherein students in the fourth through eighth grades compete to see whose geographic knowledge will reign supreme.

National Geographic Society’s website features an online study tool that helps prepare participants for the annual event. INSIDER has compiled a sample test of 10 questions from topic areas that frequently appear in the Geobee, courtesy of the National Geographic Society – and they’re surprisingly difficult.

See if you can pass all 12 questions listed down below.


1. In May 2002, an invasive species of predatory fish was found in a pond about 10 miles (16 kilometers) from the Chesapeake Bay, alarming scientists and wildlife managers in which state?

caption
The fish in question.
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Wie146/Wikimedia Commons

a. Michigan

b. Maryland

c. Maine


Hint: The TV series “The Wire” is based in this state’s capital.

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The Wire.
source
HBO

Barack Obama has cited “The Wire” as one of his favorite television shows.


The answer is… Maryland!

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A Maryland license plate.
source
Madeleine Deaton/Flickr

In July 2002, an angler caught the fish in question: commonly referred to as a snakehead fish, they are able to breathe air, travel across land, and eat native species.


2. Which of these cities is the most populous?

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A tremendously crowded waterpark in China.
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REUTERS/Stringer

a. Quito

b. Buenos Aires

c. Asuncion


Hint: This city was actually founded twice.

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This city was founded twice.
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Milosz Maslanka/Shutterstock

The first time was in 1536; the second time, in 1580.


The answer is… Buenos Aires!

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Buenos Aires.
source
Diego Grandi/Shutterstock

The estimated population of Buenos Aires in 2016 was 2,891,000.


3. Which country on the Scandinavian Peninsula is largest in area?

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A Scandinavian heritage park.
source
Scandinavian Heritage Park/Facebook

a. Sweden

b. Norway

c. Finland


Hint: The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded here.

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Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai shared the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.
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Richard Stonehouse/Getty Images

So far, 16 women have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.


The answer is… Norway!

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A woman riding her bike in Oslo, Norway.
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Anna Jedynak/Shutterstock

Norway occupies a total area of 148746.6 square miles.


4. The highest mountain in Papau New Guinea has the same name as the last kaiser, or emperor, of Germany. Name this peak?

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The emperor in question.
source
Voigt T. H./Wikimedia Commons

a. Mount Wilhelm

b. Mount Scherhorn

c. Mount Ingolstadt


Hint: A commonly used stock sound effect of a man screaming also shares the same name.

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Screaming.
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Chris Haston/NBC

The stock scream was first used in the 1951 film, “Distant Drums.”


The answer is… Mount Wilhelm!

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Mount Wilhelm.
source
Nomadtales/Wikimedia Commons

Emperor Wilhelm II ruled the German Empire and was the King of Prussia from 1888 to 1918.


5. The Potala was the home of the Dalai Lama until he fled into exile in 1959. The Potala overlooks what Himalayan city?

caption
The Potala Palace.
source
Feng Li/Getty Images

a. Thimphu

b. Lhasa

c. Kathmandu


Hint: This city’s name translates to “the Land of Gods.”

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Tibetan monks in the city.
source
Sander Bos/Shutterstock

It is also often called “The City of Sunshine.”


The answer is… Lhasa!

caption
The Potala Palace at night.
source
Lian Deng/Shutterstock

Lhasa is widely considered to be the hub of Tibet’s economic, cultural, political, and religious activities.


6. Which of these Canadian provincial capitals lies in a major oil- and gas-producing region?

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A scene from the city.
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Harold Stiver/Shutterstock

a. Edmonton

b. Halifax

c. Victoria


Hint: This city is sometimes called Canada’s “Gateway to the North.”

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A sun set over the downtown section of the city.
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Nick Fox/Shutterstock

A member of the city council in the region wanted to change its slogan from Canada’s “Gateway to the North” to “The Portal To The Universe” in 2014.


The answer is… Edmonton!

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Two pumpjacks in rural Alberta, Canada.
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Ronnie Chua/Shutterstock

Check out this list of the 100 largest oil and gas producers in Canada.


7. Impressionist painting was developed by painters such as Monet and Renoir in which European country?

caption
Pierre Renoir.
source
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

a. Russia

b. Ireland

c. France


Hint: The capital of this country is commonly referred to as “The City of Lights.”

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A street in the famous city.
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Catarina Belova/Shutterstock

The country’s capital also has no stop signs.


The answer is… France!

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The Eiffel Tower.
source
Viacheslav Lopatin/Shutterstock

Impressionism developed in Paris in the 1860s.


8. Which state is not a leading copper producer for the US?

caption
A copper mug.
source
Williams Sonoma

a. New Mexico

b. Kansas

c. Arizona


Hint: Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz” lived here.

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Dorothy and her companions.
source
MGM screengrab via MovieClips

The region is also nicknamed “The Sunflower State.”


The answer is… Kansas!

caption
Signage welcoming visitors to Kansas.
source
Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock

Check out the top five mineral-producing states here.


9. Which country, made up of more than 13,000 islands, has the second largest area of tropical rain forest after Brazil?

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A rainforest.
source
HuxleyMedia/Shutterstock

a. Malaysia

b. Indonesia

c. Brunei


Hint: The country will celebrate 73 years of independence in August of 2018.

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A temple in one of the country’s islands.
source
Cocos.Bounty/Shutterstock

The country is also the 4th most populous nation in the world.


The answer is… Indonesia!

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Bali, Indonesia.
source
Zephyr_p/Shutterstock

In the early 21st century, Indonesia was the most populous country in Southeast Asia.


10. “Agriculture and Commerce” is the motto of which southern state that is home to much of the Cumberland Plateau?

caption
The Cumberland Plateau.
source
Brian Stansberry/Wikimedia Commons

a. Kentucky

b. Tennessee

c. Mississippi


Hint: This state’s capital is known as the “Music City.”

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The Music City.
source
ESB Professional/Shutterstock

The capital has also been called “The Athens of the South.”


The answer is… Tennessee!

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The Tennessee State Capitol.
source
jiawangkun/Shutterstock

The state motto was officially adopted in 1987.


11. For more than a century, tango dancers have poured into the streets of the working class neighborhoods of Montevideo, the capital city of what South American country?

a. Argentina

b. Uruguay

c. Chile


Hint: This country is named after a river that starts in Brazil and ends in the Rio de la Plata Basin.

It’s also the South America’s second smallest country.


The answer is… Uruguay!

caption
Tango dancers perform in the streets of Montevideo.
source
David Haykazyan/Shutterstock

Montevideo is Uruguay’s most populous city, with an estimated population of 1.3 million residents in 2019.


12. What small country bordered by Germany, France, Italy, and Austria is a confederation of 26 cantons and has four official languages?

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Zurich is one the cantons.
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Roman Babakin/Shutterstock

a. Belgium

b. Luxembourg

c. Switzerland


Hint: Maria from “The Sound of Music” lived here.

caption
Maria Von Trapp sings amid the scenery of the Alps.
source
20th Century Fox

Unfortunately, the glaciers of the Alps have been melting due to climate change in recent years.


The answer is… Switzerland!

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A scenic snapshot of Bern, Switzerland during the winter.
source
Fedor Selivanov/Shutterstock

The four “national” languages include German, French, Italian, and Romansh.