Intermediate Biology Olympiad
Open to students in the first year of post-16 education.
Sign up for the iBO 2023
Competition dates: TBC
Teachers can register for the competition from November 2022.
The competition is open to students in the first year of post-16 education anywhere in the world.
The competition consists of a one-hour multiple choice paper to be taken online. Questions are set on topics students are likely to have covered at GCSE and in their first year of A level. Some additional ideas will be introduced requiring their problem solving skills and understanding of core principals.
* Mark-schemes are not provided as these papers do not resemble typical revision aids. Each topic is bespoke to a particular year. Students can use the papers as inspiration and should complete their own research to enhance their understanding. We also provide the papers here to ensure all students have access to them.
students competed last year
schools took part last year
of schools receive at least one award
Frequently asked questions
How much does the competition cost?
How many students can I enter?
There are no limits to participation numbers.
What are the eligibility requirements?
The Intermediate Biology Olympiad is for students in their first year of post-16 education:
- Y12 in England and Wales
- Y13 in Northern Ireland
- S5 Scotland, and
- Equivalent year groups worldwide.
Students from all types of schools and from anywhere in the world can take part.
The competition assumes knowledge of the common elements of the beginning of biology A level syllabi.
The award boundaries are set using only students from UK schools, and are then awarded to all participating students.
How do I register for the competition?
Teachers can register for the competition by clicking the LOGIN link at the top-right of this page.
Full instructions are available on how to register your school for our competitions.
How can students access the competition?
The competition papers can be accessed online via the exam portal. Teachers will be sent details in advance of the competition dates on how to set up their students’ accounts.
All students must have access to an internet-connected device – a computer or laptop is likely to be easiest for them.
When can students take part?
Students can take part any time during the competition dates.
Within a school, we would encourage all students to complete the competition at the same time.
They must all be invigilated by a teacher, similar to other examinations.
Can students have additional time?
Students who usually have additional time in public examinations may have the appropriate proportion of extra time to complete the competition.
Teachers will be made aware on the exam portal how much time student has spent on the competition. It is up to the invigilating teacher to facilitate this correctly.
What will be assessed?
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. As far as possible, content is drawn from ideas taught in the early part of A level curricula.
However, the Intermediate Biology Olympiad will occasionally topics which all students are unfamiliar with.
Most 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. There will be some quick-fire questions of basic knowledge, since students enjoy these.
Questions will aim to teach students about cutting edge and topical biology.
How are students awarded?
E-certificates will be award to students in the following categories: Gold, Silver, Bronze, Highly Commended, Commended, and Participation.
All participating students are also eligible to receive free Royal Society of Biology BioNet membership for one year
Format of papers and invigilation
The Intermediate Biology Olympiad is a sixty-minute multiple choice paper.
The paper is taken entirely online, so all students must have access to an internet-connected device, e.g. computer, laptop, tablet.
Teachers are responsible for invigilating their students under normal examination conditions. We verify that registering teachers are part of a legitimate school or examination centre.
In advance of the competition dates, teachers will be sent administrator accounts, and instructions on how students can set up accounts.
I am a student/parent/carer
The Intermediate Biology Olympiad is administered as an exam. Therefore, only teachers can register candidates and invigilate the competition. If you would like to take part, please request your teacher to make the arrangements.
You could kindly explain that the competition sign-up is simple, the vast majority of participating schools receive at least one award, and that invigilation could be as simple as overseeing you during a lunch-break.
All contact between UKBC and students should be made via teachers (except for in-person events, such as the International Biology Olympiad).
Contingencies for COVID-19
Teachers should invigilate the competition in-person, similar to other exams.
If this is not possible, teachers will be allowed to invigilate students remotely, so they can participate from home.