Frequently Asked Questions

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General Questions

What is Economics Challenge?

In the Minnesota Economics Challenge, teams of students representing high schools from across the state compete in a series of challenging tests of their economic understanding and reasoning abilities. Participants compete in both individual and team categories.


What topics are in the Challenge?

The Economics Challenge tests student understanding and reasoning in three areas of economics: microeconomics, macroeconomics, and international economics/current events.


Who is eligible to compete?

All high school students are eligible. No formal course in economics is required, but students must participate during the year in a course that contains economics content.

Students enrolled in a PSEO Economics class are not eligible to compete. 

For the National Economics Challenge, which is facilitated by the National Council for Economic Education, specific Rules and Eligibility details can be found here.


Who is invited to the Urban Economics Challenge?

The Urban Economics Challenge serves schools with FRL and POC rates greater than 60%. Those schools who qualify under this criteria receive an invitation from MCEE to participate.  If you have not received an invitation, but feel your school qualifies, please contact MCEE at


Competition Details

How does the Economics Challenge work?

Teachers register online to form teams of 3-4 students. These teams will then compete at a Regional Challenge competition or in the online division if they are unable to attend an in-person competition. At Regional Challenges, teams will complete three tests in each of the focus areas; each test has 15 multiple choice questions, and students will be able to collaborate on the International Economics test. Top scoring teams will then face off in a Quiz Bowl round to determine the division champion.

Winners from each Regional Challenge and the online division will advance to the State Competition held Online April 1-May 1, 2020.


What do the different divisions mean?

The Minnesota Economics Challenge has three divisions that schools can compete in to allow students of different abilities and backgrounds to participate. Each division is named for a famous economist, and corresponds to the size of the school and/or rigor of the economics program:

  • Adam Smith Division: Teams are composed of students currently or previously enrolled in an AP, IB, Honors, or other advanced course in economics. Students taking PSEO economics classes are not eligible to compete in Econ Challenge.
  • David Ricardo Division: Teams are composed of student currently or previously enrolled in a general/introductory economics or personal finance course (including economic concepts). Students may only compete in this division once; returning David Ricardo students must compete in the Adam Smith Division.
  • Joan Robinson Division: Teams are composed of students attending a school with enrollment under 600 students. These teams may not advance past the state competition due to National rules.


How much does is cost to participate?

Costs for teams include transportation to and from the regional competitions and, if qualified, travel costs to the state competition.  Other costs include time and commitment to preparing for the competition.  There is no team or individual entry fee.


How many teams can I bring?

Each teacher may bring two teams (four people on each team) per division they are competing in.  Teachers can only compete in two total divisions.


When and where is the Economics Challenge?  

To qualify for the State Competition, teams either compete in a Regional Competition or Online.

Regional competitions are held in person at Centers across the state.  For each regional competition, at least one team from each competing division will be invited to state based on the quiz bowl round scores.  Additional wild card spots are also available.


Great Plains Regional Challenge, March 3 at Minnesota State University-Moorhead in Moorhead

Duluth Regional Challenge, March 4 at the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth

Heartland Regional Challenge, March 6 at St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud

Mankato Regional Challenge, March 6 at Minnesota State University-Mankato

Urban Regional Challenge (Invitation Only), March 11 at the Federal Reserve in Minneapolis

Twin Cities Regional Challenge, March 12 at Saint Thomas University in Saint Paul


Teams may compete in the online competitions instead of the in-person regional competition.  The top team in each division from the online competition will be invited to the State Competition.

  • Online Challenge, from January 1 to March 13

The State Competition is on Online April 1-May 1, 2020. The winning teams will participate in the written Online National Semi-Final May 13, 2020 (Alternate Day: May 14, 2020) exams at their school for a chance to compete in New York City at the 2020 National Economics Challenge, May 16-18, 2020. Only four teams will advance to compete at the National Economics Challenge.


How/When can I register for a regional competition?

Registration opens January 1,2020 and will close on February 21, 2020 for each in person competition. The registration page includes forms for each regional challenge and instructions on how to do so. The online challenge will accept new submissions until March 13, 2020. After signing up for a regional competition, consent forms must be signed and turned in by February 28, 2020. This form can be found here.


How can we prepare for the tests or Quiz Bowl?

Practice tests and sample quiz bowl questions can be found at the Economics Challenge Resources page on our website.

The National Council for Economic Education held two webinars regarding the National Economics Challenge. If your students end up moving upward to that level, or if you're simply curious, they can be found at the following links: Navigating the National Economics Challenge, and Preparing Your Students for the National Economics Challenge.


Can classes from both a fall semester course and a spring semester course compete in the online Challenge?

Yes, however all of the participating students in the fall semester course must take the test at the same time and all the spring semester students must take their tests at the same time. The spring and fall courses can test on different dates from each other, however the students in each course cannot take the tests at a different time from their classmates.


Do students in the Online Econ Challenge need to take the test at the same time or on the same day?

No. While MCEE recommends that all students in a given team take the test at the same time, all that matters is that every test gets taken by the deadline on March 13, 2020.


What are the details of the tests and scoring?

If you're registered for the Online Econ Challenge, each student will take a single 30 question test, for a maximum of 300 points. They will have 35 minutes to complete this. At all in-person competitions (both regional and state), each student will take 3 tests, 15 questions each, for a maximum of 450 points. Each test will allow up to 20 minutes, and the third test will be done in teams.


When will I know whether my students have qualified for the State Competition? How many teams move forward?

If your students are submitting into the online competition, you will be contacted by March 20, 2020 if they have qualified. If you are attending an in-person regional competition, the qualifying students will be announced that day. However, wildcard teams will also be selected for the state-wide Econ Challenge, so if a team does not qualify the day of a regional competition, you may still be contacted by March 20, 2020 about a wild-card berth. Our social media platforms will also be used to announce which students are progressing to the state-wide competition. 19 total teams will qualify.


What will the day of the regional competition be like?

Each regional competition will run from roughly 8:30 AM until 2:00 PM with lunch being provided.


What will the day of the state competition be like?

Should a team advance to the state-wide challenge on April TBD, 2021, the competition will run from roughly 8:30 AM until 2:00 PM. Lunch will be provided, and the day will end with an optional tour of Land O'Lakes once the award ceremony has been completed.


Semi-Finals Competition:

Top team in both Adam Smith & David Ricardo from State Competition will advance to the Semi-Finals on May 13, 2020 (alt. date May 14).

Semi-Finals will be conducted online, individual tests will consist of 65 minutes (20 minutes for each round).

For both divisions (Adam Smith and David Ricardo) the exam is a written multiple-choice test. The test has three sections consisting of 15 four-option multiple-choice questions in the area of macro, micro, and international economics as well as current events. Participants in the competition will have 20 minutes to complete each section of the test. 


National Competition:

Top 8 teams from Semi-National rounds will advance to the National Competition in New York City May 16-18.

The National Finals will consist of five rounds for each division (Adam Smith and David Ricardo) with a Quiz Bowl for the top two teams and a bonus 6th round for the National Champions.  

  • Rounds I–III of the National Finals competitions test consists of 15 four option multiple-choice questions in the area of macro, micro, and international economics as well as current events. Participants in the competition will have 20 minutes to complete each test.
  • Round IV of the National Finals is the Critical Thinking round. Teams will have to prepare an economic analysis and present. Following presentation, judges ask questions of the team members
  • The top two scoring teams in Rounds I – IV will advance to the quiz bowl round to determine the champion.
  • Round V in the National Finals has a quiz bowl format covering all topics in economics.


What is covered by CEE:

While in New York City teams of up to four students and one coach will receive the following paid in full by CEE:

  • 2-Nights Hotel (Saturday and Sunday nights),
  • Dinner on Saturday, Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner on Sunday, Breakfast/Lunch on Monday
  • Special event expenses (dinner cruise and observatory tour).


What is not covered by CEE:

  • All travel costs to and from New York City. MCEE will cover 50% of airfare.
  • Any additional guests are responsible for making their own travel and accommodation plans and may not be able to participate in the scheduled activities due to limited space.