Chemistry Olympiad

Document created by Christine Brennan Schmidt on Mar 15, 2017Last modified by Christine Brennan Schmidt on Mar 15, 2017
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December 2016

I have just submitted the request that the Virginia Section will participate in the Olympiad this year.  I have update the important dates for the 2017 competition.  Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Ann Sullivan, Chair


Important Dates for 2017

December 2016
Announcement to Local Public and Private High Schools i n the Virginia Local Section inviting teachers and student  to participate in the Chemistry Olympiad.   For a list of he counties and cities of Virginia that constitute our
coverage area, click here .
January 1 - February 20
Teachers submit registration form to participate in the Local Examination.   The Online registration should be completed by this final date, the names and contact information for your students need to be submitted at least one week before your examination day.

  Teachers should fill out the Goggle Form and click submit or the older fillable PDF at registration form (click)   Once the fillable PDF is complete, save the file and email  copy to Ann Sullivan at

February 27  - March 24
High Schools who are participating administer the first year a nd second year Local Examination. - Note: the first and second year exam can be given on different days but all students in the school who take either the first year or second year exam must do so on the same day.  Changes to this date are allowed as long as the final test date falls within these dates and the tests remain secure.
March 30
Final Deadline for receipt of Second year Local Examination for grading.  The S econd year examination will be used to determine invitation  to the National Examination.
April 1 - 15
Notification of Students eligibility for the National Examination.   The rules allow for no more than 2 students be nominated from a  given High School.  The Virginia Local Section has 12  eligible slots for participation in the National Examination.
April 22
National Examination will be given by the Virginia Local Section
at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
April 26

Absolute deadline for receipt of the national examination  materials to the USNCO office.

SeptemberAwards Ceremony for  participants of the Olympiad Exam



Who Should Take the Local Section Chemistry Olympiad Exam?

Any student interested in participating who is nominated by their teacher.  The local examination is separated into two levels.

  • the first year exam is for students who are doing well in their first year of chemistry.
  • The second year exam is for students taking a second year of chemistry, AP or IB chemistry or are taking a  college credit course.   This exam is an excellent preparation for an advanced placement exam. These students will be eligible to  be nominated to take the National Olympiad Examination.
  • A teacher can nominate one student or their entire class. A teacher may nominate any student in the school who they feel are prepared to take either exam irregardless of whether the student has taken chemistry.  

Home schooled students are welcome to participate if you can arrange a secure location to provide proctoring for the local exam. I will provide one day in late March in Richmond for this purpose. Contact Ann Sullivan before February 10th.



Organizing the Local Chemistry Olympiad at your school:

Teachers may request to give the examination within their school by providing a secure location in which a counselor or administrator will proctor the exam to their students. The Deadline for submission of the registration form is 20 February 2017. The test must be  completed on a single day within a school between February 27 to March 24.The first year and second year tests may be given on different days within the school during this time period.
  • Neither the students’ chemistry teacher nor anyone directly involved in the instruction of chemistry should be involved in the administration of this examination.
  • The test administrator in each school will be responsible for test security, proctoring the test, and returning the completed answer sheets.  A single copy of the exam will be mailed along with answer sheets and the testing directions to the test administrator at least 24 hours in advance of the school’s selected date for giving the examination.
  • All tests and materials are sent to the administrator of the exam in the school, not to the teacher. It is asked that the test administrator make enough copies of the examination to be given to each student registered in the competition.  If the number of students registered changes (either increases or decreases), the administrator should make a note of the students who participated on the day of the exam.
  • Within 24 hours following the examination, the Administrator must return  ONLY the answer sheets. The administrator is to secure the test booklets until  after April 1 when the examination may be released to the teachers and students.
  • The students should be given 90 to 120 minutes to complete the local examination.
  • They are allowed to use only the materials provided with the exam and a calculator.The directions from the ACS Olympiad committee requires that only < calculators be used.

How do you nominate your student(s)?

  •   Complete the online or paper registration form.
  •   The teacher needs to email or submit a list of students (a spreadsheet would be preferred if possible)  who will participate in the local examination at least one week before their examination is given.  Email this list to Ann Sullivan at
    • For the First year examination, only the student's name and teacher is required.
    • For the Second year examination, the student's name, teacher and the student's home phone number and email address is essential.   If the students is nominated for the National examination, t he student 's chemistry teacher will be the first contact    but the student may also need to be contacted.

Past Reports and Tests

Past ReportsPast Tests

Virginia Section Chemistry Olympiad Chair

  Dr. Ann M. Sullivan  Email:  asullivan@   
Phone at (804)  943-2591 or (804)  523-5777
FAX:  (804) 523-5483  Mailing Address:

1777 Spain Drive
South Prince George, VA 23805-8354

What happens after the Local Exam?

  • Teachers will be notified of their student’s scores and be provided a copy of the local exam    by May 15th, if possible.
  • No later than  April 5, I will contact the teacher of the students  who had the top  twenty scores on   second year examinations.    These students will be nominated to take the National Exam.    I need to have very quick turnaround for this process because I would like to fill all 12 slots and will continue down the list until they are.The student will only be contacted with the provided home phone number  or email only if the student's teacher does not reply within  three days.   
  • According to the rules,  these students must be U. S. citizens or legal permanent residents.   Only two students from each school can take the exam.    The complete rules for the National Examination are available at Exam Rules The National Examination will be given at James Madison University in Harrisonburg on Saturday, April 22 
  • If the student is one of the top 20 scores on the National exam, they will be invited to attend the US Olympiad camp at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
  • From competition within this camp, five students will be chosen the represent the United States at the International Chemistry Olympiad competition.
  • the teacher will receive the answer sheets for your students, along with gift certificates they may have won for having top scores on the test, answer keys to the exam, charts of the results for all the students who took each test, the average score and the standard deviation for each exam and your students.   I plan that you will receive that package in early May.

What to do if you were invited to the National Olympiad?

We will begin testing promptly at 9 a.m. at James Madison University in Harrisonburg.   The students who will be invited will be given directions to the examination location. The national exam contains three parts.  You can view past exams by going to the national Olympiad site at ms.html  There are three documents that you can download

The student should bring a pencil and a non - programmable calculator, such as a TI 30. I will have a few available if the student is unable to locate one for their use. I will have snacks and drinks available throughout the day and a pizza lunch will be provided.  The first test will be Part II of the exam, then we will proceed to Part III, the laboratory practical before lunch.  Safety glasses, gloves and other safety equipment will be provided for the students use. After lunch, we will conclude the testing with Part I. The testing will conclude around 2:30 p.m.

School Categories, Recognition, and Awards:

Schools will be classified into two categories:
  • Small Public, Private  or Governor's Schools  with under 500 total enrollment
  • Large  Public, Private or Governor's Schools  with over 500 total enrollment
Recognitions organized by the above categories.
  • Each student who participates will receive a certificate of participation.
  • The highest scoring student from each school will receive a Chemistry Olympiad pin.
  • The three highest scoring students in each category: 1st, 2nd and 3rd place for each test, will receive a chemistry Olympiad pin and a gift certificate.
  • Within each category, the school with the highest total of the top three student's score for each test,  will receive a plaque and a certificate of award.  This is called the team award.  This award will be given to the Teacher at the Virginia Section's Award Ceremony usually  held in December.
  • The students who are nominated by the local section to take the National examination will represent  all categories and will receive a chemistry Olympiad pin and a gift certificate.