International Biology Olympiad is the fifth and final stage in Olympiad examinations. Each year, four to six representatives from each country compete among themselves to earn prestigious medals on the line. These tests are an excellent way to bring the country’s sharpest minds together, while also developing sciences and infrastructure from the ground up.
The International Biology Olympiad sees over 80 students participate and solve theoretical and practical exams on two different days. This exam primarily challenges the creativity and interest of the participants in the field of Biology. Needless to say, the competition is stiff, and the only effective way to ace the exam includes rigorous preparation and regular participation in the IBO mock test.
Before we move to discuss the importance of mock tests, let us take a brief look at the scheme of the IBO exam.
As mentioned above, IBO is the fifth stage in the series of examinations. Four participants are selected from the pool of candidates who have successfully passed a pre-departure training camp, which is the fourth stage of these tests.
To participate in IBO, candidates must be in class XII or lower, and under the age of 20. Students who have cleared class XII or have started their higher education at university levels are not allowed to participate in the International Biology Olympiad.
Only after completing all prior stages, you will be allowed to participate in IBO. There are no other ways to take part in this examination.
Before solving the IBO mock test, getting acquainted with the exam pattern should help in preparation for the same. Thorough knowledge of the syllabus and exam pattern is mandatory to approach any examination, including IBO.
The IBO exam sees the participants answering both theoretical and practical questions. The theory questions cover a wide range of Biology topics. As per rule, the theory paper can have up to 100 questions, carrying a total weightage of 50% of total marks. The rest 50% is allotted to the practical paper.
The weightage for each area is provided beforehand, and the syllabus is drawn accordingly. This exam primarily aims to challenge the ability to memorise and recall visual data, among other qualities.
The practical exam, on the other hand, tests the ability of participants to apply their necessary biology skills for various experiments. Ability to handle equipment will only be evaluated if informed beforehand, so you should focus more on other areas, such as the following -
Science Process skills
Observation of biological objects
Dissection of plant flower and deduction
Dissection of invertebrates, fish, vertebrates bred for the consumption
Determination and interpretation of animal behaviour
Taxonomic identification methods
Physical and chemical separation techniques, measurements, Electrophoresis
Microbiological Inoculation techniques
Probability and probability distributions
Application of mean, median, percentage, variance, standard deviation, standard error, T-test, chi-square test, etc.
If you are confident in your preparation of the pattern mentioned above, you can proceed to attempt and solve the IBO exam mock test.
After thoroughly studying the syllabus and the exam pattern, the next process involves solving mock tests to test your preparation. Since the exams discourage rote learning, solving as many questions in strict time limits as possible should be your focus.
For the IBO mock test, we recommend going through the past year question papers. These papers are made using strict adherence to the exam pattern. Hence, you will get a good idea about the exam by solving such mock tests.
The IBO authorities maintain an archive for previous years’ examination papers, which you can get by visiting their official website.
1. How Can I Apply for IBO?
The International Biology Olympiad is conducted annually in July or August and sees participants from all over the world compete for the prestigious medals. The Olympiads are conducted in five stages and begin with the National Standard Examination in Biology (NSEB). Any participant that wants to appear in the IBO needs to pass through the previous four stages, and there are no other ways to appear in this exam.
The syllabus for NSEB is broadly based on the syllabus of higher secondary school level. All Indian born students of Class XII and lower, and under the age of 20 can appear in the NSEB exam.
2. How Do I Prepare for IBO?
We thoroughly believe and support a systematic approach to any examination. Solving the IBO mock test and sample papers is one of the best ways to get acquainted with the examination pattern, while also serving as a benchmark for your preparation. Since mark distributions are provided as well, you should have a clear idea on areas you should focus more.
Prepare a summary sheet containing all essential concepts and then revise them thoroughly. Next, figure out the pattern of repetitive mistakes that you make, and areas you need to work on as well. Such briefings should help you identify a working strategy that you can follow to solve the IBO exam.