About the Exam
The International Olympiads in Science and Mathematics are prestigious competitive exams for school students. The most popular Olympiads are
- International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO)
- International Physics Olympiad (IPhO)
- International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO)
- International Biology Olympiad (IBO)
- International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI)
- International Astronomy Olympiad (IAO)
These Olympiads serve as a major platform for exceptionally talented minds to showcase their knowledge and problem-solving skills in various scientific and mathematical fields.
Olympiads are divided into two parts namely Science Olympiad and Mathematics Olympiad.
Stages and Procedure
Stages of Science Olympiad
The National Science Olympiad starts with an examination held at nearly 1400 schools across the country and ends with the international Olympiads at different corners of the world. The national-level examinations are designed to evaluate conceptual understanding, logical reasoning, laboratory skills, and above all, ability to apply problem-solving skills to unique situations, both theoretical and practical. Training is included in the third stage of the programme and the first two stages do not necessarily require any specialised coaching outside the regular school system.
The first-stage examination is known as the National Standard Examination (NSE). The Indian Association of Physics Teachers (IAPT) is the institution responsible for the first stage examination. The academic responsibility for Chemistry and Biology lies with the Association of Chemistry Teachers (ACT) and the Association of Teachers in Biological Sciences (ATBS), respectively, while Physics, Astronomy, and Junior Science are administered by IAPT itself.
The National Service Examinations (NSEs) consist of objective-type questions and are available in Hindi and English, with additional languages for Physics.The syllabus is closely equivalent to Class XII (for Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry and Physics) and Class X (for Junior Science) of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).However, the questions in all levels of Olympiads (including NSEs) may be expected to be of a higher difficulty level than the board exams. These examinations are usually held close to the end of November.
The top-performing students from the NSEs (approximately 300 students in each subject) qualify for the next stage—the Indian National Olympiads (INOs). The responsibility of the programme from this stage onward lies with the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (HBCSE). The INOs are usually held in late January at around 18 centres across the country.
The syllabus for this stage is the same as for NSEs. The questions consist of objective-type as well as long-type questions.
The top students from the INOs (approximately 35 students in each subject) are qualified for the third stage, the Orientation-cum-Selection Camps (OCSCs) held at Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (HBCSE) during April to June.Students get orientation for Olympiad-level theoretical, experimental, and observational (astronomy-related) challenges during these camps.
The emphasis is laid on building conceptual foundations and problem-solving skills. Students are exposed to innovative experiments with a focus on conceptual and practical understanding in experimental science.In astronomy, students are trained in the basic fundamentals of astrophysics, astronomical data analysis, and night sky observations. The camp includes a number of theoretical and experimental/observational tests. On the basis of performance in these tests, a few students (numbers specified below) are selected to represent India at the international Olympiads.
The selected Indian teams undergo a rigorous training programme at Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (HBCSE) in theory and practical and in case of astronomy, observational astronomy prior to their departure for the international Olympiads.Resource persons from different top institutions across the country are invited to the training camps.
The Olympiad programme culminates with the participation of the Indian students (4-6 students in each subject) in the International Olympiads. The students are accompanied by 2-4 teachers. Almost every Indian student who has participated in the Science and Astronomy Olympiads has received a medal.
Stages of Mathematical Olympiad
The Mathematical Olympiad Programme in India, which leads to the participation of Indian students in the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO), is organised by HBCSE on behalf of the National Board for Higher Mathematics (NBHM).
This programme is one of the major initiatives by the NBHM. Its main objective is to spot mathematical talent among pre-university students in the country. For the purpose of training and selection of students for the Olympiad competition.A Regional Coordinator (RC) has been assigned to each of the 25 designated regions across the nation.
Additionally, each of the three organisations, the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS), Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti (NVS), and the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), has a Regional Coordinator.
The first stage examination, the Pre-Regional Mathematical Olympiad (PRMO),
Exam Duration: 30 minutes.
No. of questions: 30 questions
Question Paper Language: English and Hindi.
The second stage examination, the Regional Mathematical Olympiad (RMO)
Exam Duration: 3 hours
No. of questions: 6
Question Paper Language: English and Hindi and other regional languages as deemed appropriate by the respective Regional Coordinators.
The top-performing students from the RMO—approximately 900 students—qualify for the third stage, the Indian National Mathematical Olympiad (INMO), which is held at 28 centres across the country on the third Sunday of January.
The top students from the INMO (approximately 35) are selected for the fourth stage, the International Mathematical Olympiad Training Camp (IMOTC), held atHomi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (HBCSE) from April to May.
Students get orientation for the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) during these camps.The emphasis is laid on building conceptual foundations and problem-solving skills.
Various selection tests are conducted during this camp. On the basis of their performance in these tests, six students are selected to represent India at the IMO. Resource persons from different top institutions across the country are invited to the training camps.
The selected team undergoes a rigorous training for about 8-10 days at HBCSE prior to its departure for the IMO.
The final stage of the Olympiad programme culminates with the participation of the students in the IMO. The students are accompanied by 4 teachers.
Eligibility for Science Olympiad
The Science Olympiad programme follows a five-stage procedure. To know more about this process, click here to download the brochure.
The National Olympiad Programme's first stage of student selection consists of the National Standard Examinations in Physics (NSEP), Chemistry (NSEC), Biology (NSEB), Junior Science (NSEJS), Astronomy (NSEA), and Chemistry (NSEB).
- Must be eligible to hold an Indian passport.
- Date of birth between n 1 July 2004 and 30 June 2009, both days inclusive.
- Must be residing and studying in India since 30 November 2021 or earlier. OR Must be studying in an Indian school system since 30 November 2021 or earlier.
- Must not have completed (or scheduled to complete) class 12 board examination earlier than 30 November 2023.
- Must not have commenced (or planning to commence) studies in a university or equivalent institution by 1 June 2024.
- Must not be appearing in NSEJS 2023.
If you meet the above eligibility criteria, click here to know about the enrollment procedure for NSEs.
Eligibility for Mathematical Olympiad 2023–2024
- Students born between August 1, 2004 and January 1, 2011, and studying in Class 8, 9, 10, 11 or 12, are eligible to write IOQM 2023. Please note that NO student born after January 1, 2011 will be allowed to write IOQM 2023.
- The students must be eligible to hold Indian passport.
- The student must be residing and studying in India since 30 October 2021 or earlier OR must be studying in an Indian school system since 30 October 2021 or earlier.
- . The student must not have qualified (or scheduled to appear) class 12 board examination earlier than 30 October, 2023.
- The student must not have commenced (or planning to commence) studies in a university or equivalent institution by 1 June, 2024.
To know more about eligibility criteria, click here to visit official website.
Frequently Asked Questions
International Olympiads are prestigious academic competitions conducted globally for exceptionally talented school students. These Olympiads cover various subjects, including mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, informatics, astronomy, and others.
Each Olympiad has different eligibility criteria for participation, but participants are generally students in the age range of 13 to 19 years. They must meet specific eligibility criteria set by their country's organising authority to represent their nation at the international level.
Students are usually selected through a multi-stage process that includes school- or local-level competitions, national-level Olympiads, and, in some cases, training camps. The best-performing students at each level advance to the next stage.
Numerous subjects are covered in the International Olympiads, such as astronomy, computer science, physics, chemistry, biology, informatics, and mathematics. Each subject has its own Olympiad competition.
The exam format varies by Olympiad and subject. Exams may consist of:
- complex problem-solving tasks
- theoretical questions
- practical experiments
- programming challenges, or a combination of these elements.
The primary purpose of International Olympiads is to identify and nurture young talent in various academic disciplines. They promote excellence in education, encourage critical thinking and problem-solving, and foster international cooperation among students.
Yes, International Olympiads usually include cultural exchange activities, educational programmes, and opportunities for participants to interact with students from other nations. These activities promote coordination and friendship among participants.
The official websites of each International Olympiad provide information about that Olympiad, such as registration procedures, eligibility criteria, and guidelines. Please click this link to visit Olympiads.hbcse.tifr.res.in.
Yes, students who meet the eligibility criteria for multiple Olympiads can participate in more than one Olympiad.
Students of Class VIII-XII(8-12) are eligible to appear for the first stage of mathematical olympiad provided they fulfill the eligibility.