The Regional Bee

What’s The Regional Bee?

Ahhh, the Regional Bee.

For most, it’s the formidable fourth obstacle—after the Classroom, School, and District Bee—that must be conquered before earning a coveted spot in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The Regional Bee is generally the hardest pre-national bee to win, and usually only the first-place winner earns an all-expense-paid trip to the national competition.

The Regional Bee is the final bee you will have to get through before the national competition, and it’s by far the most deadly.

Okay Cool, How Do I Win?

Good question.

Well, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this first: it doesn’t matter how good you are; you’re never guaranteed to win your Regional Bee. History’s given us plenty of examples of people finishing in the top 10 at the Scripps National Spelling Bee and then missing the following year’s competition because they failed to win their Regional Bee. Heck, even the 2018 national champion Karthik Nemmani lost his Regional Bee in that same year. Lucky for him though, Scripps’ RSVBee program—which allows qualified spellers to self-sponsor their way into the National Bee—had just been introduced.

Naturally, some regions are much tougher than others (the bees in Houston, Denver, Dallas, and Jamaica topping the list), but the bottom line is that the Regional Bee should always be taken seriously.

Now that that’s out of the way: you can certainly prepare so that you have a great chance to win. So, how do you go about training if you want to be crowned your region’s champ? Don’t know where to start? Let’s break it down into five main parts:

  • Understand the rules and format of the competition.
  • Memorize Words of the Champions, the Scripps-provided pre-national bee study list.
  • Learn the past Regional Additional Words in this guide and words from the Consolidated Word List.
  • Look at word lists from specific past Regional Bees and/or Regional Bee-type lists, including the Supplemental Study Words in this guide; use those to practice analyzing and spelling unfamiliar words in case you get a word you don’t know on stage.
  • Have a study game plan, use effective study tactics and techniques, know how to handle Bee Day, be able to apply basic general orthographical rules, and be able to apply basic language rules for the major languages.