IBO Exam Pattern 2020-21

IBO Pattern 2020

What is IBO Exam Pattern 2020-21? 

Olympiad holds a special place in the heart of scholars who aspire to explore the world of science in its truest sense. Every year in July, an Olympiad, especially for Biology, takes place in one of the member countries of this competition. International Biology Olympiad or IBO as people call it aims at stimulating interest among secondary students in Biology. 

Every year, several countries participate in this competition; the authority maintains a straightforward IBO exam pattern. However, before appearing for such a difficult competition, students need to be well-prepared. Thereby, learning about exam pattern aids participants to develop an in-depth understanding of the itineraries of this examination. 

IBO Exam Pattern 2020-21

IBO is divided into two parts - theoretical and practical or experimental. The participants need to qualify both these segments to win a medal. However, as per the instructions, each theory question paper can contain a maximum of 100 questions. On the other hand, this practical part can be divided into many sections owing to the increasing competition. However, in that case, the organisers need to ensure that participants are getting equal laboratory facilities. 

Each year different countries host this contest, but the IBO exam pattern mostly remains the same. All participating countries follow the guidelines strictly. Any discrepancy in rules can lead to the cancellation of participation. 

Following are the details of each part of IBO that you should keep in mind while preparing for this exam -

IBO Practical Examination Pattern

  • It contains two different papers. 

  • Examination is pen and paper-based.

  • T-score is the sum of two raw marks of two parts. 

  • Question format includes MCQ, calculations, True/false, completing a flow chart, data analysis. 

Moreover, the questions are primarily conceptual to test your problem-solving ability and in-depth knowledge. Cross-concept questions are asked as well. 

IBO Theory Examination Pattern 

Generally, a total of four rounds of practical parts take place in IBO and each contains a time limit of 90 minutes. This particular part tests participants’ ability to work in a standard laboratory and different biological techniques.  

It also aids in evaluating students’ capability to memorise visual data and other qualities.  The knowledge about the syllabus of IBO is essential along with this exam pattern to secure excellent marks in the contest. 

What is the Syllabus of IBO?

Following is the syllabus for both theory and practical parts of IBO Olympiad -



Animal anatomy and physiology (25%)

Basic Biology Skills

Cell Biology (20%)

Science Process Skills

Evolution and Genetics (20%)

Biological methods

Plant Physiology and Anatomy (15%)

Microbiological methods 

Ecology (10%)

Chemical and physical methods 

Ethology (5%)

Statistical methods 

Biosystematics (5%)

Handling equipment 

Besides the IBO exam pattern, knowing about the syllabus is also crucial to get prepared for this rigorous exam. 

How is IBO Ranking Decided?

Typically, an international team of the jury is in charge of declaring the results based on the detailed evaluation. In this regard, the jury would not declare the result for a team but for an individual who participated in this contest. 

The final ranking of the participants will be decided following several procedures. Moreover, this evaluation will not be made based on the raw score. Instead, they will use a t-score method on both the scores obtained in the practical and theoretical part. 

The qualified participants will receive gold, silver or bronze medals for merit certificates, based on their final results. Nonetheless, IBO pattern 2020 is expected to follow this trend only if that has not been cancelled for the time being. 

Did You Know? 

  • The gold medals are given out to 10% of all the participants. 

  • The International Biology Olympiad first started in 1990. Among a total of 22 participants, only two received Gold and both of them were from Czech Slovakia (the host country).    

Now that you are aware of the IBO exam pattern, keep preparing and ace the upcoming Olympiad. We wish you all the best!

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What Syllabus Should I Follow for The IBO Olympiad?

Every participating country sends four scholars who are already the winners of the National Biology Olympiad of that country. This competition is solely for the students of secondary education that is class 12. Hence students from India first can consult the syllabus of CBSE 12 and any other Boards of the nation, for example, state boards, ICSE and others. 

Moreover, the official website of IBO has the mention of the detailed syllabus for the contest along with the IBO exam pattern. The willing candidates can visit the website, note down the topics and tally them with their respective board curriculum. 

Among those, the topics that are not there in their syllabus can be prepared separately with the help of their subject teachers. Following this method, you can prepare the IBO Exam Pattern 2020-21 lesson as well. 

2. What is the Eligibility for IBO 2020-21?

The students, who are still pursuing class 12 or equivalent, can apply for IBO. Also, their age must not exceed 20 years. However, the students who have passed Class 12 final examination are not eligible to compete in this test. Another vital eligibility requirement of IBO is the participants have to be the winners of the National Biology Olympiad of their country. Moreover, they must possess the official invitation letter from the organising country of IBO. 

As a matter of fact, before appearing for IBO, students have to qualify in four stages. Only after qualifying each step with the desired score, the participants will be allowed at the next level. Hence, it is quite apparent that acquiring eligibility for IBO is a lengthy process where students have to perform their best consistently.