Preparing for Olympiad Exams

Olympiad: The Olympiad Exams are school-level Science and Maths exams directed for the students of Class 1 to 12. The Olympiad is one of the most distinguished and competitive exams to crack. Although clearing this exam doesn’t directly influence the career, it acts as an impetus for students to opt for their higher studies and career in the field of Science and Mathematics. It also helps students prepare for several other competitive exams at national and global levels.

Cracking the Olympiads is a matter of big credit and prestige, and it puts merit to the resume of the candidates. Students who crack Olympiads also get extra importance over others when it comes to admission to schools and colleges as well as jobs.

The Olympiads exams are managed both at national and international levels. The national Olympiads in India, which joins upon International Olympiads, are administered by the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (HBCSE). Check out the compulsory information about the Olympiads in India.

Name of the Program Olympiads
Nodal Centre in India Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (HBCSE)
Exams Conducted Science Olympiad & Mathematics Olympiad
Subjects Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Junior Science, Physics, & Mathematics
Participating Students Students of Class 1 to 12
Type of Exam National Level
Frequency Once a Year
Number of Stages Five for Science Olympiads and Six for Maths Olympiad
Official Website

Olympiad Exams in India
There are two major National Olympiad Programs in India are:-

National Science Olympiad
National Mathematical Olympiad

National Science Olympiad

The National Science Olympiad which comes to a head with the International Olympiads has five stages. Students from around 1400 schools from all over the country participate in the exam. The exam is directed for five subjects – Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Astronomy, and Junior Science. The syllabus of the National Science Olympiad is based on the curriculum of Class XII (for Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics) and Class X (for Junior Science) of CBSE. However, the questions are much more difficult and the scoring is far higher than that of regular school and even board exams. The questions test the students on their conceptual knowledge, application, analytical skills, critical thinking ability, experimental and observational abilities, and problem-solving skills.

The five levels of the exam are as under:

National Science Olympiad Stage 1: National Standard Examination

This is the Preliminary exam for the Science Olympiads. The details are tabulated below:

Name of the Exam/Stage National Standard Examination (NSE)
Organizing Body Indian Association of Physics Teachers (IAPT)
Exam Conducting Body Chemistry – Association of Chemistry Teachers (ACT)
Biology – Association of Teachers in Biological Science (ATBS)
Physics, Astronomy, Junior Science – Indian Association of Physics Teachers (IAPT)
Approximate Number of Participants Approximate Number of Participants
Type of Questions Objective Type Questions
Language English/Hindi (For Physics, Addition Languages Available)
Exam Conducted in the Month November

Shortlisted students from NSE, around 300 in each subject, appear for the Indian National Olympiad. The details of this stage are as under:

Name of the Exam/Stage Name of the Exam/Stage Indian National Olympiad (INO)
Conducting Body Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (HBCSE)
Approximate Number of Participants Around 500 per Subject
Type of Questions Objective Type Questions and Long Answer Type Questions
Syllabus Same as NSE
Exam Conducted in the Month January

Around 30-50 shortlisted students from each subject are invited for this stage which is held at HBCSE. In this stage, orientation is provided to the students with special emphasis on conceptual knowledge and problem-solving potential. Students are also liable to various experiments along with observational tasks. Theoretical and experimental tests are run and based on their performance, 4 to 6 students are shortlisted for the next round. This level is conducted in April/May/June.

National Science Olympiads Stage 4: Pre-Departure Camp

Here, the selected students from the previous stage undergo rigorous training at HBCSE. The training involves both theory and practical/experiments (observational astronomy for students participating in Olympiads for Astronomy). The training sessions are conducted by teachers and scholars invited from various top institutions in the country. Special labs are also developed at HBCSE for the sole purpose of training the selected students.

National Science Olympiads Stage 5: International Olympiad

This is the final stage of the Olympiads wherein 4 to 6 students (per subject) accompanied by 2 to 4 teachers/mentors participate in the International Olympiads.

National Mathematical Olympiad

HBCSE arranges for the Mathematical Olympiad Program in India representing the National Board for Higher Mathematics (NBHM) of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), Government of India. This in due course leads to the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO). It involves six stages as under:

National Mathematical Olympiad Stage I: Pre-Regional Mathematical Olympiad (PRMO)

This is the Preliminary exam conducted to shortlist students for the next stage. The exam INCLUDES 30 questions and is run for two and a half hours. The answers are single or double-digit numbers to be marked on an OMR sheet. The exam will be conducted in English and Hindi.

National Mathematical Olympiads Stage II: Regional Mathematical Olympiad (RMO)

Shortlisted candidates from PRMO will appear in this round. This exam comprises six descriptive problems to be solved in three hours. The exam is conducted in English, Hindi, and any regional language as required.

National Mathematical Olympiad Stage 3: Indian National Mathematical Olympiad (INMO)

Approx. 900 shortlisted students from RMO appear for the third stage of the exam. This exam is conducted on the third Sunday of January.

National Mathematical Olympiad Stage 4: International Mathematical Olympiad Training Camp (IMOTC)

Around 35 of the top students based on their performance in INMO are called for this training and orientation program where special prominence is given to ideal knowledge and sharpening problem-solving skills. This stage is conducted at HBCSE. During the training, tests are conducted and the top six students are selected to speak for India at International Mathematical Olympiads.

National Mathematical Olympiad Stage 5: Pre-Departure Camp

In this stage, the six chosen students go through intense training at HBCSE. The training is run for nearly eight to ten days.

National Mathematical Olympiad Stage 6: International Olympiads

In conclusion, the chosen students, attended by four teachers/mentors, participate in the International Mathematical Olympiads.

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