IAO Exam Sample Paper

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IAO Sample Paper with Solutions

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The International Astronomy Olympiad is an annual scientific event for junior high school students. It is an intellectual competition that aims to foster creativity, imagination and critical thinking. Each year, many countries send their candidates to this event who are the winners of their respective National Olympiads or science competitions. The students are accompanied by two team leaders from the respective country. Although a fun event, the competition itself is quite tough. Hence, practicing regularly from the best International Astronomy Olympiad sample papers with solutions will help you stay ahead. 

What Does the International Astronomy Olympiad (IAO) Test?

The Olympiad is intended for students of an adolescent age as it is considered the perfect time to learn astronomy. The syllabus goes beyond the scope of the school curriculum and has become a training ground in itself. So, students must study lots of reference books apart from the standard books. They should also have genuine interests in astronomy, physics and mathematics. The exams are held for age groups 14-18 years and for many, it is a kind of mental sport. 

If you wish to perform well in the IAO or International Astronomy Olympiad, it is important to solve the previous year IAO sample paper with solutions.

The Astronomy Olympiad is also a meeting ground for teachers and scientists where the exchange of ideas takes place. It refines and sharpens technical minds and expands the field of astronomical study. 

Details About The IAO Exam

The entire exam is held in three rounds and students must clear all these rounds to succeed in the exam. The exams were devised by the Chairman of IAO Michael Gavrilov. Following are the three rounds of the IAO

Theoretical Round: This is the 1st round of the International Astronomy Olympiad exam and consists of basic questions from astronomy, astrophysics, space and planetary physics. The questions are based on hypothetical situations and test the student's knowledge on the concept of astronomy. 

Observational Round: The 2nd round of the exam is based entirely on astronomy and astrophysics. This round tests the candidate's knowledge about the star, galaxy, astronomical positions, constellations and estimating the accurate distance of stars. It also involves working with telescopes and other observation instruments. This is quite a fun round where students actively participate and engage in learning.

Practical Round: The last round is called the practical round and entirely based on solving problems. Students are tested on their knowledge about acquiring data results and solving analytical questions. 

Aim of The Exam

The International Astronomy Olympiad aims to foster scientific rigour and passion in students especially in the field of astronomy. Some of the mission of conducting this annual event are:

  • Generating a genuine interest of students in the branches of astronomy, physics and mathematics.

  • Placing students in non-standard situations and testing their observational power.

  • Encourage international contacts and foster the exchange of ideas across different schools spread across geographies.

  • Promoting extracurricular activities in the junior classes of high schools.

  • Helping students to think creatively and inculcate a spirit of research.

  • Encouraging astronomy education across schools in different countries.

The International Astronomy Olympiad Exam Dates 2021

The International Astronomical Olympiad 2021 was scheduled to be held in October in Matera, Italy. However, the ongoing COVID-19 situation across the globe has promoted the Eurasian Astronomical Society to make some changes. The exam can’t be held in the current format and so the dates have been deferred to 2021. The venues will remain the same and the time will be announced later. 



Exam Mode



5 hours each for theory and practical 

Medium of Instruction

English and Russian

Question Type

Multiple Choice and Subjective

Age Bracket 

Two groups participation that is, 15-16 years and 17-18 years

How To Prepare For The Exam?

The International Astronomical Olympiad 2021 is an annual exam held across different centres around the globe. Students who have passed the National Olympiads are sent as representatives from their respective countries. The exam is quite tough and held like an event. Students are advised to practice thoroughly from the International astronomy olympiad sample papers regularly. Always try to keep calm and don’t be too stressed and exam centric. Solving sample papers will help you to:

  • Boost your confidence

  • Enhance your speed and accuracy 

  • A better understanding of the marking scheme

  • Sound revision that will help you to sail through the exam

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is ANRAO and How Can You Register and How are the Students Selected?

ANRAO stands for Authorized National Representative (Astronomical) Organization from every participating country. It can be a national astronomical society, a department of astronomy in the country, a leading observatory or astronomical department registered under the Ministry of Education.  The ANRAO is the official representative from the country participating in the International Astronomical Olympiad. 

It appoints the national coordinator and informs the Olympic coordinating council. The participating delegation is provided with pocket money, fees, and other travel-related expenses.  Students are selected from the winners of the National Olympiad Competition. The number of participating students should not exceed 5. The ANRAO should also send a short report about their activities to the IAO when they hold the National Astronomy Olympiad in their country. Selection is not the main purpose of the Olympiad and the rounds should be educative and should try to popularize science learning. 

2. How to Prepare For IAO Exams from India?

There is no hard and fast rule for clearing the IAO exams. You should have a firm hold on topics of Physics and Mathematics. Moreover, students should have a critical bend of mind and solve the previous year question papers. You can study physics thoroughly from HC Verma and solve IE Irodov problems. You should have no doubts about Mechanics, waves and electromagnetism. Try to grab some good books about stars and constellations and visit some observatory to get a good hold of the functions of the galaxy. Roy and Clarke is a good book for astronomical resources. Most importantly, enjoy your subjects.