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About the Chemistry Olympiad

The Alpha Alpha Team represented the United States in the 2008 International Chemistry Olympiad competition. The Chemistry Olympiad is a multi-tiered competition designed to stimulate and promote achievement in high school chemistry. The local and U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad competitions are sponsored by the American Chemical Society. Each year, four students are chosen to represent the United States team at the International Chemistry Olympiad competition. The Chemistry Olympiad consists of the following four stages: 1. 1. 1. 1. Local Chemistry Olympiad Competitions U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad Competition Study Camp International Chemistry Olympiad

Rules
Local Chemistry Olympiad competitions are open to all high school students. You must be a U.S. citizen to participate in the U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad competition.

See a complete list of rules for the National Chemistry Olympiad

Goals of the Chemistry Olympiad

Goals of the U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad are set by a subcommittee of the Society Committee on Education. The Chemistry Olympiad program aims to:

Stimulate all young people to achieve excellence in chemistry Recognize outstanding chemistry students and, in doing so, encourage additional learning at a formative time in their intellectual development Recognize the excellent achievement of teachers and the importance of the school environment Provide contact between ACS local sections and area schools, and foster interest among professional chemists in teaching chemistry Challenge the chemical knowledge and skills of young students in an international arena Foster cross-cultural experiences and acquaint students with similarities and differences between themselves and their counterparts from other nations

Sponsors
Since 1984, the ACS Donald F. and Mildred Topp Othmer Chemistry Olympiad Endowment has been the primary sponsor of the U.S. Chemistry Olympiad, with additional support from the:

U.S. Air Force Academy Advanced Chemistry Development Bedford, Freeman & Worth Publishers Carolina Biological Supply Company Cengage Learning Fisher Scientific Flinn Scientific McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Merck Publishing Group Pearson Prentice Hall Sigma-Aldrich Group

Contact Us
For more information or if you have questions, please email the U.S. Chemistry Olympiad national office at usnco@acs.org or call 202-872-6328 (toll free 800-227-5558 ext. 6328).

Local Chemistry Olympiad Competitions


Approximately 10,000 U.S. students between the ages of 13 and 18 enter local Chemistry Olympiad competitions vying for a chance to compete in the U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad and the International Chemistry Olympiad. ACS local sections conduct local competitions each March to select nominees for the U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad. Coordinators are responsible for administering exams and reviewing teacher recommendations. The local competition is open to all high school students. You do not have to be a U.S. citizen to take a local exam. Special rules apply to those who advance to the national competition.

How to Participate
To register your school (teachers) or home-schooled student (parents), contact the coordinator of your ACS Local Section. If your school will not be registering for the competition, a parent or guardian can contact the coordinator of your ACS Local Section directly. A list of coordinators and associated local sections will be available soon. If your ACS local section is not participating in the Olympiad, email the U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad Office.

Preparing for the Local Competition


Local Chemistry Olympiad Exams will be administered March 231, 2009! If you are a student or teacher:

Review exams from past years to prepare for the competition

If you are a local section coordinator:

The Olympiad Coordinators page contains detailed information, including the competition schedule and handbook

The U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad Local Examination is available (for a fee) through the ACS Division of Chemical Education Examinations Institute. To request an order form, contact Cecilia Hernandez at (800) 227-5558 ext. 6169 or email the national office at usnco@acs.org Be sure to provide additional questions to use as tie-breakers in the event that several students have the same score

Recognizing Participants
Local sections often recognize top students with monetary or other awards. If you are thinking about recognizing students and volunteers, consider:

Awarding framed certificates or plaques to students and teachers *Request recognition certificates (free) Providing monetary scholarships/awards Presenting the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics to students Inviting students, parents, and teachers to a local section awards banquet Purchasing National Chemistry Week t-shirts for students

U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad Competition


ACS local sections conduct local competitions to select nominees for the national exam. Each local section can send 10 students to participate in the national competition. Local sections with more than 1,000 members may send one additional student for every 350 members. To promote widespread participation within local sections, no more than two students per school are allowed to sit for the exam. The 20 top-scoring students are eligible to compete at a study camp for the International Chemistry Olympiad, to be held July 18-27, 2009, in Cambridge, England.

Eligibility
You must be a U.S. citizen to compete in the U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad. Green card holders are not eligible to take the exam. Students who received credit for one year of college-level chemistry are also eligible to compete. Students who participated in a past Olympiad study camp are automatically eligible to take the national exam and do not have to take a local exam. If you won a gold medal at the International Chemistry Olympiad, you are not eligible to participate again in the U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad.

See a complete list of rules for the national competition

National Examination
Exams for the U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad Competition will be administered April 23-27, 2009. Nearly 1,000 students are expected to participate. The three-part, 4.5-hour exam consists of the following (may be administered in any order): Part I

Part II Multiple Choice 90-minutes 60 multiple choice questions Covers broad chemistry topics

Free Response 105 minutes 8 written questions Multi-step problems requiring in depth knowledge of chemical theories and models

Part III Lab Practical 75 minutes 2 laboratory practicals

Involves problem solving in the laboratory

Scoring and Results


Scoring
ACS calculates the average number of correctly answered questions by topic area. Scores are ranked as follows:

below average average above average outstanding performance

Results
Students will only receive the performance ranking on Part I (multiple choice) of the exam. ACS does not distribute individual scores.

Preparing for the National Examination


If you are a student or teacher:

Review past exams to prepare for the competition. Study guides are also available through the ACS Division of Chemical Education Examinations Institute.

If you are a coordinator:


The Olympiad Coordinators page contains detailed information, including the competition schedule and handbook The U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad Local Examination is available (for a fee) through the ACS Division of Chemical Education Examinations Institute (Aimes, IA). To request an order form, call (800) 227-5558 ext. 6169 or email us. Be sure to provide additional questions to use as tie-breakers in the event that several students have the same score

International Chemistry Olympiad


The 41st International Chemistry Olympiad will be hosted by the United Kingdom July 18-27, 2009. For rules and general information, visit:

41st International Chemistry Olympiad (Cambridge, UK) International Chemistry Olympiad Information Center

About the International Chemistry Olympiad


The International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO) is an annual competition for the worlds most talented chemistry students at the secondary school level. Nations around the world send a team of four students, who are tested on their chemistry knowledge and skills in a five-hour laboratory practical and five-hour written theoretical examination. IChO began in 1968 with participants from Czechoslovakia, Poland, and Hungary. Other Eastern European countries joined the program soon after. Western European nations entered in 1974. The United States sent its first team in 1984 and hosted the event in 1992. The IChO helps develop and enhance friendly relations among young people around the world. It also promotes international contacts in chemistry and encourages international cooperation and understanding.

U.S. Involvement

The Alpha Alpha Team represented the United States in the 2008 International Chemistry Olympiad competition. The United States is routinely a strong competitor at the International Chemistry Olympiad. During the past several years, the team won three silver medals and one bronze. In 2002, the four members of the U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad team brought home two gold medals, one silver, and a bronze metal. In 1999 and 2000, a member of the American team won the top gold medal. U.S. teams are selected from 20 students with top scores on the national exam. The students attend a comprehensive two-week study camp each June at the U.S. Air Force Academy and based on performance, four students are chosen to represent the United States at the International Chemistry Olympiad. Two mentors accompany the international competitors, translate the language and arbitrate the scoring of the exams. In addition to the competition, students and mentors have opportunities to interact with one another and to experience the host countrys culture through planned educational and social events.

Learn more about the U.S. National Competition See Past U.S. Teams

U.S. Chemistry Olympiad Competition Process


The Chemistry Olympiad is a multi-tiered competition that brings together the worlds most talented high school students to test their knowledge and skills in chemistry. Nations around the world conduct examinations to choose the most high-performing students for the International Chemistry Olympiad.

Competition Process
Top 20 Finalists (2009)
The nations top U.S. chemistry students 18 boys and 2 girls will participate in an intensive study camp this June for a chance to represent the United States at the International Chemistry Olympiad in Cambridge, England, July 18-27, 2009. Meet the top 20 U.S. finalists The Chemistry Olympiad consists of four stages: 1. Local Competitions The U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad begins in the spring when ACS Local Sections administer local exams and choose nominees for the national competition. 1. National Competition Approximately 1,000 students sit for the 3-part national exam. No more than two students from any given school can compete in the national competition. The 20 top-scoring students are chosen to attend a study camp where they will try to win a spot on the U.S. team. 1. Study Camp The selected 20 students spend two weeks at study camp to demonstrate their ability. Based on performance, four students are chosen to represent the United States at the International Chemistry Olympiad. 1. International Chemistry Olympiad About 60 nations around the world send a team of four students to test their chemistry knowledge and skills. The 41st International Chemistry Olympiad will be held July 18-27, 2009, in Cambridge, England.

Rules and Eligibility


Local Chemistry Olympiad competitions are open to all high school students. You must be a U.S. citizen to participate in the National Chemistry Olympiad competition.

See a complete list of rules for the National competition

Coordinators, Mentors, and Participants

National Chemistry Olympiad Rules

The following rules and information apply to the National Chemistry Olympiad Competition only. See local competitions for information on local exams.

Rules
1. You MUST BE A U.S. CITIZEN to take the U.S. national examination. Green card holders are not eligible. 1. High school students who will graduate no earlier than spring 2009 are eligible. 1. A student's date of birth must fall after July 31, 1989 1. No more than two students per teacher or per high school may be nominated to take the national exam. In the case of magnet programs or split enrollment, a students school is defined as the high school where the student takes science class. 1. Eligible students who have previously attended the study camp automatically qualify for the national exam and do not count against the limit on the number of eligible students from their local section or school. 1. Winners of gold medals at the International Chemistry Olympiad are not eligible to participate in subsequent International Chemistry Olympiad competitions or study camps. 1. Students who have taken advanced placement courses in chemistry are eligible. Likewise, students who have received credit for college level courses (limited to no more than two semesters or three quarters beyond general chemistry) are eligible. 1. A student may participate only in the competition of the section in which the student's high school is located. If the section is not participating, the USNCO national office will assign the student to a section. 1. A student who participates in the Physics Olympiad study camp, the Mathematics Olympiad study camp, or the Biology Olympiad study camp is not eligible to participate in the Chemistry Olympiad study camp during the same summer. * These rules apply to students taking the USNCO national examination. Local sections are encouraged to develop their own procedures for identifying outstanding students at the local level and choosing national examination candidates. The sections are reminded, however, that all students who take the national exam must meet the qualifications outlined above.

Insurance
The American Chemical Society provides an excess insurance coverage during the national examination activities. To ensure proper coverage, the national office must submit a list of all lab practical sites to the insurance company. As a participant, you must submit this information in early March.

Students with disabilities


The USNCO will make accommodations to allow students with disabilities to participate, as long as those accommodations would not require a fundamental modification of the test standards. For more information, email us at usnco@acs.org or call (202) 872-6328.

Translations to other languages


You may translate the Local Section examinations from English into other languages to encourage participation by non-English speaking minorities. If you do so, please send a copy to the ACS Examinations Institute or to the USNCO national office. The National Exam must be administered only in English.

Past Chemistry Olympiad Exams


Local Chemistry Olympiad Exams (2000 2009)
Approximately 10,000 U.S. students between the ages of 13 and 18 enter local Chemistry Olympiad competitions. Exams are administered and coordinated by ACS local sections annually in March, and students are nominated for the U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad competition based on exam scores and teacher recommendations.

National Chemistry Olympiad Exams (1999 2009)


The U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad national exam is a 3-part, 4.5 hour exam administered in late April by ACS local sections. Nearly 900 students participate in the competition each year. Part I

Part II Multiple Choice 90-minutes 60 multiple choice questions Covers broad chemistry topics

Free Response 105 minutes 8 written questions Multi-step problems requiring in depth knowledge of chemical theories and models

Part III Lab Practical 75 minutes 2 laboratory practicals

Involves problem solving in the laboratory