International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO)

The International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO) has been conducted since 1968, and is a competition for students at the secondary and higher secondary school levels. The IChO boosts the level of chemistry education in the participating countries. It helps develop friendly relations between the young people from different countries.

IChO is an International level olympiad exam in Chemistry. The exam is conducted in two parts: practical and theoretical competitions. For each part, students need to follow the rules specified by the organising authority. The organising country’s Scientific Board of IChO prepares the competition tasks. Participation in the olympiad is decided on the national level through the national olympiads of the participating country. Therefore, the top 4 students get to participate in the IChO.

The Chemistry Olympiad program follows the following 5 stages:

1. Stage I : National Standard Examination in Chemistry (NSEC)
2. Stage II : Indian National Chemistry Olympiad (INChO)
3. Stage III : Orientation cum Selection Camp (OCSC)
4. Stage IV : Pre-departure Training Camp (PDT) for IChO
5. Stage V : Participation in International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO)

NSEC is the first stage of selection of students in the Chemistry Olympiad Programme which is organised by the Indian Association of Chemistry Teachers (IAPT). Every student aspiring to go through successive stages of the programme must enroll for NSEC. NSEC is held at a large number of centres in the country.

Students of Class 11 and Class 12 participate in this examination in the month of November every year.

Day & Date : November 26, 2023

Time of Exam : 11.30 am to 1.30 pm

Registration 2023 last date for NSEC : 14th September 2023

Eligibility : Students must be born between July 1, 2003, and June 30, 2008, including both days. The applicant must be living and studying in India since November 30, 2020, or earlier. Students must not have qualified the class 12 board exam before November 30, 2023.

Exam Pattern : The question paper consists of 80 multiple choice questions and each one has four given options with 1 correct answer. The exam language is English. The exam duration is 2 hours.

Students who clear the NSEC (generally top 300 students) appear for the INChO. This exam is organised by HBCSE in 15 centres all across India. Those who clear this examination get a certificate from the Association of Chemistry Teachers (ACT) which is a prestigious achievement in itself.

Eligibility : Students selected from Stage I examination (NSEC) are eligible to appear for INChO. In addition, those students, who have been exempted from NSEC as described in the Enrollment page, are also eligible to appear for INChO. Besides these two, there is no other way by which a student becomes eligible to appear for INChO.

The top 35 students are chosen from the examination results of INChO and they are invited to attend an orientation camp at the HBCSE centre. They have to pass several tests here in the camp. OCSC in chemistry is organized by HBCSE somewhere between April to June for 2-3 weeks each year. The exact dates are put up on the HBCSE site prior to or along with the announcement of the selection list of candidates for the OCSC.

Eligibility for OCSC : Only the students selected from the merit list of Stage II (INChO) are eligible. There will be no other criterion or provision. This camps includes several experimental as well as theoretical tests.

OCSC merit list is prepared on the basis of the combined experimental and theoretical score aggregated from all of the tests conducted in the camp. In this, 60% weightage is for theory and 40% weightage is for experiment. In the camp, performance of the previous stages (NSEC and INChO) are not considered for the merit list or awards of the OCSC.

Students who are the best 4 of the lot in OCSC chemistry merit list are declared as special merit awardees. The special merit awardees are given Rs.5, 000/- each in the form of books and cash. Apart from this, there are many other special prizes to recognize meritorious performances shown by students in theory and experiments.

These 4 special merit awardees in chemistry, who are selected at the end of the OCSC, are the ones who constitute the 4 member student team for the IChO(International Chemistry Olympiad), provided they satisfy the required criteria of age limit, medical fitness, holding a valid Indian passport andparental consent, etc.

The selected 5 member Indian team undergoes a rigorous training programme at HBCSE in theory and experiments.

Eligibility : The selected 5 member Indian students’ team undergoes a really rigorous training programme at HBCSE in theory and experiments so as to prepare for the IChO. Special laboratories have been set up at HBCSE for the purpose of experimental training for these students. Learned resource persons from HBCSE and many other renowned institutions across the country come and impart training to the students. There is no set duration of this training, it is totally subject to IChO regulations.

The trained 5-member student team, 2 teacher leaders and 1 scientific observer constitute the delegation to represent India at the International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO).

Eligibility : Students must be under the age of 20. They must not be enrolled as regular students in any post-secondary education institution.

Exam Structure and Pattern : IChO consists of two examinations - a theoretical exam and a practical exam.
The exams have durations of up to 5 hours individually, and are held on different days, with the practical exam usually being before the theoretical exam.
The theoretical exam has a value of 60 points and the practical examination has a value of 40 points which make the total 100 points.
Theory and practical, both exams are evaluated independently from each other and the sum of the results of the examinations determines a participant's overall performance.