International Biology Olympiad

I think we should have a medal for waiting for our results to be marked, just for starters.

The International Biology Olympiad is an international biology competition that is open to all high schools all over the world, and it has several stages. First, one must pass an entrance exam, which tests some biology skills, some mathematical skills, and resource interpretation skills. This test was last Wednesday, the 8th August, and 385 students from New Zealand, from over 60 schools, took part in it, including myself. It can be said that I don’t do biology, so I messed up on those questions, and that I’m really bad at maths, especially if there is no calculator allowed. And, I’m not that flash at resource interpretation (why did I do this to myself?, you must be asking right about now. Well, if I pass, it means I can study biology without doing it at school, which means that I have freed myself an option line at school, which is VERY GOOD, because I need to decide between 11 subjects – and I can only do 6) either, so out of the 75 questions, I’m predicting…maybe 35 right? Something along that mark.

So, in NZ, after you and 59 others have passed the entrance exam, you get a ‘bronze medal’. You then spend the next few months studying and learning the equivalent of Year 12 biology, plus some Level 3 units, as you take intensive tutorials. Then, there’s an actual biology exam, and for the few who pass that, there is a silver medal. 15-20 people get past this stage. For those select few, there is an 8 day practical training camp – fun! (of course, all this costs money…quite a bit of it.) After the 8 days, there is a theory test, and the remaining participants, 4 students, receive a gold medal and become New Zealand’s team for the Olympiad, which occurs in a different country each year.

Anyway, what I found entertaining was that in part of the entrance exam, there was a quote from Blackadder, a series of hilarious British sit-coms with Rowan Atkinson (well known for playing Mr. Bean) playing the bastard Edmund Blackadder, which we own on video. It was this:

Dear enemy, I curse you, and hope that something slightly unpleasant happens to you, like an onion falling on your head.

If only recognising it had been part of the test!


One thought on “International Biology Olympiad

  1. Martyna says:

    Hi there,

    I am a former participant of two International Biology Olympiads from Lithuania. As I noticed, there is no website how to prepare for both national and international biology olympiads so I decided to create a blog dedicated to helping young and enthusiastic students to prepare for their national biology olympiad and IBO. That is why I would like to ask whether you can post a link or advertisement to my blog in your website so that more students get acquainted with my blog: .
    Thank you very much and I strongly feel that together we can make many people fall in love with biology.

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