British Biology Olympiad 2021

8th - 15th March 2021

Medals and Certificates

98% of schools which enter the BBO have students who win a certificate and 81% of schools win medals!

BBO is 25 years old!

As part of our 25th birthday celebrations, BBO 2021 is free to ALL students this year!

COVID19

We are prepared for COVID19. As part of this, BBO 2021 is free to enter this year, with contingencies for students to sit it at home.

Simple sign-up

Simple sign up - simplified from previous years.

About BBO 2021

The first round of the British Biology Olympiad for A-level students

The BBO challenges and stimulates students with an interest in biology to expand and extend their talents. It enables students to demonstrate their knowledge and to be suitably rewarded with publicly recognised certificates and medals.

  • 60% of students receive a commendation and above
  • Felixble timetable to suit all needs
  • Based upoon the A level syllabus
  • Opportuntiy to enter the IBO

The BBO is open to students in post-16 education studying at school or college. The competition consists of two, 45-minute multiple choice papers to be taken online under staff supervised exam conditions.

In addition to encouraging and rewarding pupils in their studies, the BBO is the first stage in selecting a team to represent the UK at the International Biology Olympiad (IBO). The IBO seeks to challenge by both theory and practical tests some of the top pre-university biology students in the world, with over sixty countries taking part.

The top-scoring sixteen students in the BBO will be invited to complete further theoretical assessments in order to select a team to represent the UK at the International Biology Olympiad (IBO).

25

Years

9,520

Students last year

669

Schools last year

0

Cost

About United Kingdom Biology Competitions

A registered charity in England and Wales number 1191037

  • 25 years of experience
  • 100% medal success at the IBO
  • 3 competitions for secondary school students
  • Welcoming to volunteers to support the competitions

UKBC registered as a charity in 2020, after operating as independent group for 25 years. We have extensive experience in writing biology exams for all ages of secondary school students. Every year, we deliver 3 high quality exams for over 60,000 students. We work closely with the Royal Society of Biology and University of Warwick to bring these exams to as many students as possible.

Sign Up for BBO 2021

Fill in the form to sign your school up for BBO 2021. Please note only teachers can sign their students up for BBO 2021. If this is your first time participating, we will verify that you are a member of staff.

This year we can provide the competition for free in celebration of our 25th birthday and in contingency for schools closing due to COVID19.

We are in the process of updating our exam system and will e-mail you teacher and student instructions in early 2021.

I consent to my data being stored and used by UKBC for the purposes of BBO2021 as set out in the privacy policy
I consent to my data being stored and used by UKBC to remind me about future biology competitions as set out in the privacy policy
Loading
Your registration has been sent. If you don't recieve an e-mail: contact us. Thank you!

Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a list of answers to frequently asked questions. However, if you still have a query please get in touch.

  • How many students can I enter?

    There are no limits on participation numbers.

  • The British Biology Olympiad is aimed at students in their final year of pre-university education. Therefore, we specify that all students must be under the age of 19.

    Whilst most students are 17-18, younger students often take part. Younger students are likely to perform better in the Intermediate Biology Olympiad (aimed at 16-17 year-olds) or Biology Challenge (aimed at 13-15 year-olds) which take place after the British Biology Olympiad.

    Students from all types of schools, and from anywhere in the world can take part.

    The examination assumes knowledge of the common elements of the biology A-level syllabi.

    The medal boundaries are set using only students from UK schools, and are then awarded to all participating students.

    Students which have not studied in the UK for the past two years, or who have attended an International Biology Olympiad previously, or who have attended team selection at the University of Warwick previously, are not normally eligible to participate in team selection. However, they may take part in the British Biology Olympiad.

  • Students who usually have extra time in public examinations may have the appropriate proportion of extra time to complete the British Biology Olympiad. It is up to the invigilating teacher to facilitate this correctly.

  • Eligibility for the team selection round to represent the UK at the International Biology Olympiad, and the nature of team selection, closely mirrors the International Biology Olympiad, and is at our discretion.

    We will contact the teachers of the best performers from the British Biology Olympiad to discuss this and arrange invitations to participate in team selection. We are currently expecting invitations for team selection to be sent two weeks after the British Biology Olympiad, and for team selection to take place in the Easter holiday.

    Students which have not studied in the UK for the past two years, or who have attended an International Biology Olympiad previously, or who have attended team selection at the University of Warwick previously, are not normally eligible to participate in team selection. However, they may take part in the British Biology Olympiad.

    The School of Life Sciences at the University of Warwick have carried out outstanding team selection rounds for many years.

  • We successfully hosted the Intermediate Biology Olympiad 2020 at the height of lockdown, which had even more participants than usual. Therefore, we are confident the British Biology Olympiad will go ahead successfully.

    Where schools are unable to open, or students are self isolating, teachers will be able to invigilate them remotely so they can participate from home. Further details on how to do this will be sent in early 2021.

    Team selection may take place remotely.

    The International Biology Olympiad is currently scheduled to take place in Lisbon. The Japanese hosted a fantastic virtual International Biology Olympiad in 2020, at which the UK secured 4 medals.

  • We are hoping to make all future papers available after the competitions. An updated sample paper will be made available in early 2021. Please check back later.

    The British Biology Olympiad is not primarily a test of knowledge. We do not expect students to know things from beyond the normal A-level syllabus, and we do not expect teachers to make special preparations for their students to perform well in the British Biology Olympiad. However, the British Biology Olympiad will cover topics which all students are unfamiliar with. Questions will ask students to use their biological intuition, logic and imagination to answer questions. They will be expected to apply basic principles which they are familiar with to new topics. The British Biology Olympiad is a challenging problem solving competition, however, there will be some quickfire questions of basic knowledge, since students enjoy these.

  • The British Biology Olympiad comprises two 45 minute multiple choice papers. All students must sit both papers. Medals are awarded entirely on the score from these two papers.

    Both papers are entirely online, so all students must have access to an internet connected device - a computer is likely to be easiest for them.

    Teachers are responsible for invigilating their students under normal examination conditions. We verify that registering teachers are part of a legitimate school or examination center.

    Nearer the exam, teachers will be given administrator accounts, and instructions on how students can set up accounts.

    Further details will be sent prior to the competition. Contingency arrangements for students participating from home due to COVID-19 will be sent prior to the competition.

  • The British Biology Olympiad is administered as an exam. Therefore, only your teacher can register candidates, and invigilate them. If you want to take part you must convince your teacher to make the arrangements!

    You could politely and kindly explain that the competitions are free, sign-up is simple, the vast majority of participating schools receive at least one medal, and that invigilation could be as simple as watching you during a lunch-break.

    All contact between UKBC and students should be made via teachers (except for in-person events such as the IBO).

  • This year we have decided to move Biology Challenge to a new date in summer 2021. Please register your interest.

Contact

Please feel free to get in touch. We are always happy to answer questions or hear from interested volunteers!

Write to us:

UK Biology Competitions, Royal Society of Biology, 1 Naoroji Street, London, WC1X 0GB

Call Raghavendra Selvam:

020 3925 3460