IAO Exam Pattern

Exam Pattern of IAO

International Astronomy Olympiad (IAO) is a scientific and educational competition that is organised at an international level for students aged between 14 years to 18 years. The main aim of IAO is to help students think in a creative and resourceful manner. Several students around the world participate in this competition to showcase their logical thinking ability and take part in various research-oriented projects. All the participants also get the chance to interact and exchange their ideas with various scientists, students and mentors. 


The IAO’s major goal is to promote astronomy and related sciences in schools, particularly through general education, and to strengthen international collaboration in astronomy promotion. As a result of events like IAO, more high school students are likely to be interested in studying astronomy at the university level, paving the way for the next generation of astronomers. 


IAO Exam pattern and Syllabus

Number of Papers

Total Marks and Pattern

Theory Exam

It includes 50% of the total marks and questions are mainly asked on Mathematics and Physics.

Practical Exam

The practical round includes the other 50% of the total marks. This round tests the observing skill as well as the practical knowledge of the participants.


The latest IAO exam pattern and marking scheme for 2022 will be released on the official website. It is very important for the candidates to go through the exam pattern and syllabus thoroughly before starting the preparation. All the theoretical and practical questions are mainly covered in Mathematics and Physics. In order to score better marks in IAO, a strong understanding of the basic concepts is necessary. 


IAO Exam - Question Pattern and Important Points

The Olympic Coordinating Council is in charge of the scientific and methodical aspects of the Olympiad. The Methodical Commission of Coordinating Council, in collaboration with the Commission of the Astronomical Center, selects and prepares problems for the Olympiad. Given below are the important points which is kept in mind while conducting the IAO Examination:

  1. Theoretical Round: According to the Olympic Coordinating Council's Methodical Commission, the number of theoretical problems should range from four to six. At least four different fields of astronomy should be represented in the theoretical problems. Students in secondary school should be able to solve the Olympic problems using normal high school mathematics and without the use of complex numerical equations.

  1. Practical Round: According to the Olympic Coordinating Council and the Common Commission of the host Astronomical Centre, there should only be one or two practical issues. The practical rounds should be focused on actual research from the host Astronomical Centre.

  2. Observational Round: According to the Olympic Coordinating Council's Common Commission and the host Astronomical Centre, the number of observational problems should be between one and three (each problem may consist of a set of questions).

The complexity of the problems is determined by the participants' different levels of competence. It's best to choose problems that need a high degree of creativity and intelligence to solve.


If any of the initially proposed problems are dismissed, the Commission of the host observatory (scientific centre) must prepare spare problems for the realistic round and one spare problem for the observational round, which will be submitted to the Methodical Commission of the Olympic Coordinating Council. The issue that was rejected cannot be considered again.

Book your Free Demo session
Get a flavour of LIVE classes here at Vedantu
Vedantu Improvement Promise
We promise improvement in marks or get your fees back. T&C Apply*
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is ANRAO?

According to the IAO's Statutes, every participating state should have an Approved National Representative (Astronomical) Organisation (ANRAO): a national astronomical society, a state's department (section) of the EAAS, a leading observatory, a leading university's astronomical department, a ministry of education, or another appropriate competent institution. 

2. How are the students selected?

It is highly desirable that the five (or three) students chosen to compete in the IAO are winners of the final round of the National Astronomy Olympiad (NAO), which is held in each country each year and in which only students from secondary schools (in the current school year) for general education can compete. As a result, each country is required to give the Olympic Coordinating Council a brief report on their National Astronomy Olympiad.


It is highly desirable that the Olympiad's main objective be education and popularisation of astronomy and science in their style, rather than selection.

3. What are the procedures to select an ANRAO?

ANRAO cannot be "selected." ANRAO appeared as the institution in charge of the National Astronomy Olympiads. It was meant to form the country's team to compete in IAO and other AO under IAO jurisdiction, find financial help for the teams, and so on.

Comment