The Steering Committee of the International Chemistry Olympiad has decided to provide a short informational material for the mentors participating in the event. As the Olympiad is growing, the number of people participating in the work has also grown. They can not be expected to gather all this information by experience and word of mouth.
International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), at the University of Karachi, is one of the finest academic research establishment of chemical and biomedical sciences in the developing world.
49th IChO 2017 – International Chemistry Olympiad
The selection of the two mentors accompanying a team to the IChO is a national responsibility. The regulations ask for a good command of English. This should not be taken easily, as the proceedings of the Jury would require that the delegations participate in the discussion, or at least follow them closely. Many countries can afford to have up to two scientific observers to assist in the professional duties of the mentors. Ideally the members of the team are professionals involved in the preparation and selection of the respective national teams. They are familiar with the preparatory problems and the Olympiad regulations including the syllabi. Ideally there is one or more secondary school teacher and one or more person with previous Olympiad experience among them. Split Jury sessions are usually divided between synthetic and physical chemistry problems. In an ideal case this should fit the competence of the individual mentors.
Basic computer and word processing skills (Windows and Word) are also expected from the mentors.
Tentative Schedule for the 49th International Chemistry Olympiad is given below.
IChO 2017 Registration
Registration is organized through the head mentor for each country. The country receives the formal invitation by December. The registration data should be provided on time. If deadlines can not be adhered to, mentors should inform the organizers in time. The host countries usually assist the teams to meet visa requirements.
|Deadline for Country Registration||01 Mar 2017|
|Deadline for Head mentor, mentor, observer and guest registration||01 May 2017|
|Deadline for student registration||15 May 2017|
|Deadline for travel itinerary||01 Jun 2017|
The preparatory problems are published on the web in January without the worked solutions. Hard copies with solutions are sent to each head mentor. Solutions are not made available to the general public before June, since several nations use these problems in national exams.
It has become a custom at the Olympiads that many countries make the problems of their respective national olympiads or selection exams available to mentors of other countries (translated or in the original language). This has been done via printouts, CD-ROMs or websites.
IChO Practical Exam
Some issues quite often arise in the jury meeting regarding the practical exam. The following suggestions were accepted several times previously.
It is possible to have split laboratory sessions. That is, a morning session and an afternoon session can be held. Alternatively, laboratories can also be rotated in two sessions. Students obviously must be strictly separated and the organizers must ensure that the equipment has been properly cleaned and dried if it is being reused.
Theoretical questions in the practical, if any, should pertain to the essence of the experiment.
The following scheme for the grading of experimental measurement results has worked well in the past:
- Full marks should be awarded if the result is in a range that reflects the values expected by the examiners. The expected master value must come from the analytical procedure performed on the exam day.
- No marks should be given to results outside the limits of acceptable values.
Both ranges, expected and acceptable should reflect the examiners experiences.
- Between these two, a linear scale should be applied.
Typical values for a titration would be
- Lexpected = 0.5% relative error in the volume.
- Laccepted = 3 % relative error in the volume.
Ranges need not necessarily be symmetrical. The accepted range above the true melting point should be rather narrow for example.
Students should be allowed to decide on the number of parallel measurements (titrations) they make. Only the final value (probably a mean) as reported by the student should be graded. Marks should depend on experimental values, but not on precision. (This is based on the fact that students may make up concordant results.) The emphasis should be on marking practical work, therefore the results should be recalculated uniformly.
Errors in the calculations should invoke a minor penalty, the magnitude of which should be suggested by the organisers and approved by the International Jury.
Serious mistakes in applying the rules of evaluation of experimental errors can be penalised (e.g. number of significant figures differs in more than two digits from the correct, rounding errors exceeding accuracy). The magnitude of the penalty should be suggested by the organisers and approved by the International Jury. Students can be penalized for asking replacement samples or additional reagent or broken labware.
The 49th IChO preparatory problems are now available to download. The solutions of the preparatory problems will be sent to Head Mentors on February 15, 2017, and then the official version will be published on website in early May.
ICho Marking Scheme
A detailed marking scheme should be presented with the exam to the International Jury. Points for partial solutions are best decided by the organisers using common sense during correction, and they should be Information for IChO mentors 7 awarded uniformly as all possible errors can not be pointed out beforehand.
E.g.: If the question is to provide a balanced chemical equation, then partial credit should be awarded to those who know the reaction partners, but fail to balance correctly.
The Jury should only discuss partial marks in the most critical cases. Students are asked and are expected to show their work. This will help to award partial marks. If a student omits simple or trivial steps from his line of reasoning, or uses a different solution, he should receive full marks, if the results explicitly asked for are correct and his work is shown. However, if just the result of a complicated problem is given without any explanation, no points are due.
Full marks should be awarded for a question, if the student solves it correctly and consistently using a faulty result from another question (consequential marking). There is no double penalty.
The grading is usually done so that the marks are integer (blue points). The final (red) points (60 for theory and 40 for practical) are divided between the tasks using to the predetermined weights.
Previous year Result
Candidates can check the previous year result which was declared by the chair of the scientific committee from below.
50th IChO – July 2018 – Prague and Bratislava, Czech Republic, Solvakia
51th IChO – July 2019 – Paris, France
53rd IChO – July 2021 – Osaka, Japan
Previous Year Problems with Solutions
The Competition Problem with their solution is given below.
- Volume 1 [1st – 20th IChO (1968-1988)]
- Volume 2 [21st – 40th IChO (1989-2008)]
- Volume 3 [41st – 45th IChO (2009-2013)]