The Rules

For a complete guide on how and when to participate, visit the “how it works” section.

All participants in the National Economics Challenge Wild Card Competition are bound by the following rules.


Team Divisions 

1) There will be two divisions: David Ricardo and Adam Smith. 

2) The David Ricardo Division includes teams of students currently or previously enrolled in one general economics course (or less), or courses which include introductory economic concepts (social studies, business, personal finance, etc.). The course must be taught by a secondary teacher. Students who have never taken an economics course are eligible to compete. Students may only participate in the David Ricardo Division one time. 

3) The Adam Smith Division includes teams of students, currently or previously enrolled in Advanced Placement (AP Microeconomics, AP Macroeconomics, or both), International Baccalaureate (pre-IB and IB), honors, two courses, or any other advanced courses in economics (including courses taught by a secondary teacher where students earn college credit). The course must be taught by a secondary teacher. Students may participate in the Adam Smith Division multiple times. 

4) Any team consisting of one or more students enrolled in a course listed in A.1.c. must compete in the Adam Smith Division. 

5) Teams shall only compete against other teams in their own division. |

Team Composition 

1) Teams shall be comprised of no more than four (4) members. 

2) Competing with only three (3) members, if necessary, is possible and permissible. 

3) All members of a team must be from the same public school, private school, community organization or club, or afterschool program. This means that students from different schools are eligible to be on the same team, if they are all part of one of the groups mentioned in this section (A.2.c). Home-based high school students may join teams of any of the groups mentioned in this section (A.2.c) or may start a team with other home-based high school students in their county. 

4) A team that qualifies for the National Semi-Finals and/or National Finals may reconstitute the members of its team prior to the competition. However, if a team must reconstitute members of a team, the team must retain a minimum of one original team member. All team members of the reconstituted team must meet the team composition conditions in A.2., and students must meet the general student eligibility conditions in A.3., as well as, the eligibility conditions for the division in which the team qualified (see A.1.). 

5) All teams must have a coach, who is an associate (e.g. employee or volunteer) of the team school, organization, or program, and who is fit to accompany students, should the team advance to the finals. 

Student Eligibility 

1) Students must be enrolled for credit in a qualifying public high school, private high school, or home-based high school course (see A.1.b and A.1.c.) at some time during the current academic year. 

2) Students who have taken or are taking economics courses for college credit from a post-secondary instructor are not eligible to compete. 

3) Students who have taken more than one semester of economics at any time must compete in the Adam Smith Division. 

4) No student is permitted to compete in the David Ricardo Division more than one year. Any returning student who has already participated in the National Economics ChallengeSM (at the state-level or higher) must compete in the Adam Smith Division in subsequent years, regardless of previous or current coursework. 

5) Home-schooled students must compete in the Adam Smith Division. 


  • Coaches are responsible for ensuring adequate access to computers and a reliable internet connection.
  • It is not the responsibility of the Council for Economic Education or EconChallenge ONLINE! to resolve or mitigate technical issues on the school’s end. All students will participate utilizing the EconChallenge ONLINE! portal and the school/organization’s internet connection.
  • Any problems resulting from interruptions to internet connections, computer failure, student error, etc., are the responsibility of the coaches and students. To avoid any issues, we recommend teachers have students login and take practice tests
  • Supervision must be provided for the online challenge to ensure legitimacy.
  • From the moment the first student from a given team logs in to take the Wild Card Competition exam, the entire team will be allowed a 3 hour time period wherein each student will have a maximum 35 minutes to complete their portion.
  • Team members are prohibited from working collectively on any part of the exam, nor will they be allowed outside help.
  • During the online exam, each student is allowed a blank piece of paper and a pen or pencil to work out solutions.
  • Aside from the computer that is being used to take the exam, students may not use electronic/personal devices (calculators, phones, laptops, other computers etc) .
  • Aside from the testing portal use of internet or other resource materials is prohibited.
  • If there are enough computers available, each student must use a separate computer.


For the Wild Card Competition online exam, sum of the top three individual scores on each team make up the team score. Scoring on individual tests proceeds as follows:

  • +10 points for each correct answer
  • 0 points for each incorrect answer
  • 0 points for each unanswered question

Questions are randomly pulled from the Council for Economic Education’s database so each student will answer different questions. At the conclusion of the online exam, teachers can log back into their account and download student team scores.

National Economics Challenge Semi-Finalists whose school district is on spring break during the regularly scheduled National Semi-Finals date in mid-May and can provide a valid reason to participate during the make-up date of May 14 should provide written explanation along with any supporting documentation to our staff at

Teams requesting to participate on the National Semi-Finals make-up date must provide   (1)  the reason(s) why they were not able to participate in the National Semi-Finals on May 13, 2020 as well as supporting documentation that has been confirmed by the school principal or equivalent administrator,(2) their school name and address, (3) the teacher/coach’s contact phone number, (4) teacher/coach and team member names and division. The Council for Economic Education will review your request and send the coach/teacher a response accepting or declining the request. (Please allow 48 hours to process during the workweek.)


We strongly recommend that the request is submitted immediately after receiving the invitation to participate. If you have questions don’t hesitate to contact us by e-mail.  Requests will be accepted or declined per CEE's discretion.