IBO Exam - International Biology Olympiad (IBO)

International Biology Olympiad 2020

What is International Biology Olympiad?

International Biology Olympiad or IBO is a premier examination dedicated to encourage and inspire young talents interested in Biology across the globe. This global competition aims at nurturing the promising science students so that they contribute to the field of science in the near future. 

IBO allows students and academicians from all over the world to share this platform and facilitate the exchange of knowledge. With the vision to empower the students of life science to pursue their future career as scientists, the IBO exam takes place once in a year. 

Brief Overview of International Bio Olympiad

The IBO Olympiad was first held in the Czech Republic, Hungary in 1990. Since then, this contest gained immense recognition, and now nearly 70 countries participate in this contest. This examination generally takes place in July, every year. However, this year's International Biology Olympiad 2020 has been cancelled for the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.  

Every year several students prepare to appear for this examination. Nonetheless, before that, they need to know about the eligibility requirements of this contest. 

Eligibility Criteria for IBO

Every member country of the Olympiad sends four students who are also the winners of the National Biology Olympiad. There are a total of five stages that students require to qualify to reach the final International Biology Olympiad. 

Following are the Stages

Stage 1: National Standard Examination in Biology 

Stage 2: Indian National Biology Olympiad 

Stage 3: Orientation cum Selection Camp in Biology 

Stage 4: Pre-departure Training Camp for IBO 

Stage 5: International Biology Olympiad (IBO)

Apart from qualifying each of these stages, participants also need to fulfil other eligibility. For instance, they must pursue secondary education i.e. Class 12 or less. Besides, their age must not exceed 20 years. 

Syllabus of IBO Examination 

Along with eligibility criteria, participants should also have detailed knowledge about the syllabus of IBO. Similar to other international science contests, this one also has two parts - theoretical and practical. Students have to qualify both these parts to secure excellent scores. 

Following is the IBO Syllabus



Animal anatomy and physiology 

Science process skills 

Cell biology 

Basic biological skills 

Genetics and Evolution 

Biological methods 

Plant anatomy and physiology 

Chemical and physical methods 


Microbiological methods 


Statistical methods 


Handling scientific instruments 

The knowledge about the entire syllabus aids participants immensely with Biology Olympiad preparation. 

Exam Pattern of IBO

Every exam follows a specific pattern. Hence in order to excel in that, understanding the exam pattern of the same is imperative. In the case of the International Biology Olympiad, there are two parts. In the theoretical part, further, there are two separate papers, and each of those contains a maximum of 100 questions and for that time limit is 90 minutes. The theoretical part testifies the problem-solving and analytical ability of participants.

On the other hand, in the practical part, students need to conduct a total of four experiments. This segment brings out the different capabilities of participants. 

Following are Some of Them

  • Ability to use different scientific instruments in a standard lab

  • Knowledge of employing different scientific methods, based on the types of experiments. 

  • Ability to interpret visual data 

  • Accuracy of derived conclusion

With this overall idea of the pattern, participants can strategise their preparation and perform well in this exam. The exam pattern was supposed to remain the same for IBO 2020 as well. However, for the next IBO, students should visit the official website of the same. 

Preparation Tips for IBO Exam

No matter how much knowledge you have about the itineraries of IBO, only a concrete preparation is the key to success. Following are some the useful tips that can help you to sail through this tough competition -

  • Start preparing early and divide the entire syllabus into small portions 

  • Emphasise on the fundamentals of each topic and try to delve deep into the core of each concept

  • Try to solve IBO sample papers and previous years’ questions as much as possible

  • Allot sufficient time for revision and never compromise on that

Following some of these simple tips, you can ace the competition with desired results. 

Did You Know?

  • In Hanoi, Vietnam International Biology Olympiad, Indian students bagged 1 gold and 3 silver medals. 

  • Among a total of 12,000 students, these four participants were selected after several tests and sessions. 

With robust preparation and strategic approach to each topic, IBO participants can excel in this competition and win a medal. Moreover, they should also remember that representing their own country to such a global platform is, in itself, no less than winning a trophy. 

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. How Can I Apply For The IBO Examination? 

IBO full form is the International Biology Olympiad. If you are an IBO aspirant, you first need to know about the application procedure of this prestigious contest. The students of secondary education, that is, those who are studying in class 12 or less are eligible to participate in this examination. 

However, before appearing in IBO, the participants must fulfil specific eligibility criteria. For instance, a participant country sends only four candidates who are the winners of the National Biology Olympiad of that country. Moreover, the age of the participants should not exceed 20 years.

2. How to Prepare for IBO?

IBO is one of the most prestigious examinations for students of Biology and its allied subjects. Hence, to score well, students need to have a robust preparation plan. Firstly, they should know about the syllabus it accompanies. Once they know the syllabus, they can start making a study plan so that nothing is left uncovered. 

Furthermore, IBO primarily stresses the conceptual aspect of topics. Hence, it is of utmost importance for participants to prepare accordingly. In this regard, they should solve several questions from the previous years and different sample questions. Along with that, thorough revision is also necessary to crack an examination like IBO. Following these few simple tips, you can prepare well for this competition.