Tiers and Advancement

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Open Division​​​​

Page has been updated to reflect CP-IX changes.

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Qualification Rounds. All Open Division teams can participate in these rounds.  A team's performance in Round 1 does not affect its ability to compete in Round 2. Teams missing Round 1 can participate in Round 2.

Advancement to the State Rounds. Team scores from Rounds 1 and 2 are added together to determine placement in one of the three tiers. Each of these tiers (Platinum, Gold, and Silver) has a State and Regional Round. The Platinum Tier leads to the National Finals Competition. Teams in the top 30% of combined Round 1 and/or Round 2 scores are placed in the ­Platinum Tier. Teams​ in the middle 40% of combined scores are placed in the Gold Tier, and the remaining 30% are placed in the Silver Tier. ​​Tier placement is permanent. Teams may not be promoted or demoted and may not self-select tiers. For awards purposes, Platinum teams are always higher than Gold teams, which are always higher than Silver teams.

State Rounds. All teams may participate in a State Round within their tier placements. The State Rounds have different difficulty levels at each tier. Teams that missed Rounds 1 and/or 2 may participate in the Silver Tier State Round.

​State AwardsThe purpose of AFA State Awards is to recognize the top three teams in each state or area. Any team competing in a State Round at any tier level may win a State Award. However, because the level of difficulty is different for each tier and scores are not adjusted for difficulty, Platinum Tier teams are always ranked higher than Gold Tier teams, which are always ranked higher than Silver Tier teams. That is, a Gold team will not outrank a Platinum team, even if it has a higher State Round score. Similarly, a Silver team will not outrank a Gold or Platinum team, even if it has a higher State Round score.

Advancement to the Regional Rounds. Advancement occurs in two stages. First, the top 3 teams in each state at each tier level are advanced (i.e. up to nine teams per state).  All of these teams receive Tier Certificates for their achievement.​ ​Second, for CyberPatriot IX, the teams with the top 36 highest scores nationwide* in the State Rounds that are n​​ot within the top three for their state advance as Wild Cards.

Regional Rounds. Like State Rounds, Regional Rounds have different difficulty levels at each tier.  

Regional Awards. The purpose of Regional Awards is to recognize the top three teams in each region. State Round performance and awards are not factors in Regional Awards. Any team competing in a Regional Round at any tier level may win a Regional Award. However, because the level of difficulty is different for each tier and scores are not adjusted for difficulty, Platinum Tier teams are always ranked higher than Gold Tier teams, which are always ranked higher than Silver Tier teams. That is, a Gold team will not outrank a Platinum team, even if it has a higher Regional Round score. Similarly, a Silver team will not outrank a Gold or Platinum team, even if it has a higher Regional Round score. 

The top three teams within each tier in each region receive Tier Certificates. 

Advancement to the National Finals Competition. Teams with the top 12 scores in the Platinum Regional Round advance to the National Finals Competition. Geography is not a factor in National Finals advancement.


​​​​All Service Division

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Qualification Rounds. Every All Service Division team can participate in these rounds.  A team's performance in Round 1 does not affect its ability to compete in Round 2.  Teams missing Round 1 can participate in Round 2 and the State Round.

Advancement to the State Rounds. Team scores from Rounds 1 and 2 are added together to determine placement in one of the three tiers. Each of these tiers (Platinum, Gold, and Silver) has a State and Category Round. The Platinum Tier leads to the National Finals Competition. Teams in the top 30% of combined Round 1 and Round 2 scores for their category (Air Force JROTC, Army JROTC, Civil Air Patrol, Marine Corps JROTC, Navy JROTC, or Naval Sea Cadet Corps) are placed in the Platinum Tier. Teams in the middle 40% of combined scores in each category are placed in the Gold Tier, and the bottom 30% in each category are placed in the Silver Tier. Tier placement is permanent. Teams may not be promoted or demoted to different tiers and may not self-select their tier. For awards purposes, Platinum teams are always higher than Gold teams, which are always higher than Silver teams.

State Rounds. All teams may participate in a State Round corresponding to their tier placement. The State Rounds have different difficulty levels at each tier. Teams that missed Rounds 1 and/or 2 may participate in the Silver Tier State Round. 

​State AwardsThe purpose of AFA State Awards is to recognize the top three teams in each state or area regardless of category. Any team competing in a State Round at any tier level may win a State Award. However, because the level of difficulty is different for each tier and scores are not adjusted for difficulty, Platinum Tier teams are always ranked higher than Gold Tier teams, which are always ranked higher than Silver Tier teams. That is, a Gold team will not outrank a Platinum team, even if it has a higher State Round score. Similarly, a Silver team will not outrank a Gold or Platinum team, even if it has a higher State Round score.

Advancement to the Category Rounds. Advancement occurs in two stages. First, the top six teams in each category in each tier advance to the Category Round. Second, for CyberPatriot IX, the teams with the top 45 highest scores in the State Rounds, regardless of category, among the remaining teams advance as Wild Cards. All teams advancing to Category Rounds receive Tier Certificates for their achievement.

Category Rounds. Like State Rounds, Category Rounds have different difficulty levels at each tier. here are no Regions in the All Service Division.

Category AwardsThe purpose of Category Awards is to recognize the top three teams in each category. State Round performance and awards are not factors in Category Awards. Any team competing in a Category Round at any tier level may win a Category Award. However, because the level of difficulty is different for each tier and scores are not adjusted for difficulty, Platinum Tier teams are always ranked higher than Gold Tier teams, which are always ranked higher than Silver Tier teams. That is, a Gold team will not outrank a Platinum team, even if it has a higher Category Round score. Similarly, a Silver team will not outrank a Gold or Platinum team, even if it has a higher Category Round score. 

The top three teams within each tier in each category receive Tier Certificates.

Advancement to the National Finals Competition​. The top two teams from each category and one Wild Card in the Platinum Category Round advance to the National Finals Competition.


Middle school

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Qualification Rounds. ​Middle School Division Qualification Rounds are Rounds 1 and 2 and the State Round. All Middle School Division teams may​​​ participate in any or all of these rounds.  A team's performance in Round 1 does not affect its ability to compete in Round 2.  Teams missing Round 1 can participate in Round 2. Teams missing Rounds 1 and​​ 2 may participate in the State Round.

Advancement to the Semifinals. Only teams that participate in the State Round may advance to the Semifinals. Team scores from Rounds 1 and 2 and the State Round are added together to determine placement in the Semifinals. Teams in the top 50 percent of combined Round 1, Round 2, and State Round scores will advance to the Semifinals.

Middle School State AwardsThe top three teams overall in each state will be awarded AFA State Awards based on their combined qualification round scores. A team must participate in the State Round to receive an AFA State Award.​

Advancement to the National Finals​. The three teams with the highest scores in the Semifinals advance to the National Finals Competition.