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FAQs

Q:

 

Where can I find the deadlines and other important dates for the USABO?

A:

 Important dates and deadlines for the USABO may be found in the USABO Calendar found in the dropdown menu What is the USABO?. You may also find the calendar by clicking on USABO Calendar.
 

Q:

 

By the time of the Open Exam, I have only covered approximately one-half of the information my students will have on the exam. Will they be at an unfair disadvantage?

A:

 

Breadth and depth of coverage will be a factor in most schools; thus, an undue advantage or disadvantage will not be provided to any particular school. In addition, the USABO Open Exam is not a “standardized” test. A teacher cannot “teach the test.” However, the teacher can provide the student access to the practice exams and information available in the Teacher Resource Center (TRC), can provide encouragement, and can assist the student in accessing appropriate websites. It is not necessary that the student complete an advanced biology course to be competitive in the USABO. In-depth preparation for the USABO is essentially a “student-centered” activity with the student working independently or with peers also interested in the competition. Any student who has completed an introductory biology course (and has interest, drive, desire, and a strong work ethic) is encouraged to compete.

 

Q:

 

I have some students who are interested in participating in the USABO but they have not completed my course in AP Biology (or some other advanced biology offering? How can I help them to prepare for the examinations?

A:

 

(See the answer to previous question) Preparation for the Open and Semifinal Exams is dependent on individual student effort (or collaborative work by a group of students interested in taking the exams). The teacher can contribute to these efforts by 1) making certain the student fully understands the depth, breadth, and rigor of the exams and the necessity of a concentrated and extended effort, 2) providing the practice questions available in the TRC, 3) providing the list of references and study guides also available on that site, and 4) guiding and encouraging the study effort.

 

Q:

 

If a student participates this year, will it eliminate them from eligibility next year?

A:

 

No. Students are eligible to take the USABO Open Exam every year of their high school career. According to the guidelines of the IBO, a student may only attend the IBO twice.

 

Q:

 

Is there any penalty for guessing on the USABO exams?

A:

 

 For multiple choice questions having a single answer guessing is not penalized. The question will be graded as correct or not correct. In short answer or brief essay questions partial scoring will be used.

 

Q:

 

Does the student need to go to a specific place to take the Open and Semifinal Exams?

A:

 

Yes. The exams can only be administered at a high school or authorized USABO Test Center. It may be given during regular school hours or after school or on a Saturday, but it cannot be taken at a home. A licensed teacher from the host school or authorized USABO Test Center must proctor the exam. A home-schooled student must take the exam at a local host school or authorized USABO Test Center.

 

Q:

 

Is there any scholarship money for students who make it to the USABO Semifinals, the National Finals, or the IBO?

A:

 

The USABO and IBO programs are cost-free to students and the Finalists receive free of cost a lab coat, lab journal, and the most recent edition of Campbell & Reece, Biology. The top four students from the National Finals will continue on to the IBO. CEE does not provide any additional funding to the student beyond the competition itself. Selection as a USABO Semifinalist or National Finalist will hopefully help students in their applications for grants or educational scholarships.

 

Q:

 

Where do the students stay during the National Finals?

A:

 

During National Finals the students stay at a major university. They are housed in dormitory rooms, with young men and young women separated. Four former USABO medalists, now undergraduates, who live in the dormitory act as counselors and teaching assistants. In addition, a full time faculty/staff member remain in the dorms at all times. Parents may visit before the first class begins or after the Finals. Parental and family visits are not permitted during Finals week.

 

Q:

 

The USABO's program conflicts with our school’s district calendar. I'm worried that one of my students will make it to the National Finals and then be unable to attend because it is in the middle of final exams’ week. Does this mean my students are ineligible?

A:

 

It has been our experience that school districts are understanding about conflicting schedules when the student has been awarded a prize or honor as prestigious as the USABO. CEE will make every effort to work with your school district, including possible rescheduling of the student's school exams. We understand that some states have standardized exams that are difficult to reschedule. Even if your student goes all the way to the National Finals and then has to withdraw in order to take his or her exams, s/he will still have the honor of being a 'National Finalist'.

 

Q:

 

What expenses are students responsible for at the USABO National Finals and IBO?

A:

 

USABO National Finalists  are responsible for transportation to and from the USABO National Finals to include ground transportation to and from the transportation hub and the university. Room and board are provided by CEE. Students with financial need should contact CEE should assistance be required. Students should bring cash for any incidental expenses at the USABO National Finals and IBO (film, souvenirs, snacks...).

Students selected for the  IBO will pay any fees associated with acquiring a visa to the IBO host country and passport fees. Transportation and  room and board are provided.

 

Q:

 

Should my school or authorized USABO Test Center make the check/purchase order/money order out to CEE or to the USA Biology Olympiad?

A:

 

The parent organization of the USABO is the Center for Excellence in Education (CEE). All forms of payment should be made to CEE. The taxpayer ID is 52-1256563. CEE is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. CEE's IRS Taxpayer ID form may be downloaded from the CEE website during the online registration process

 

Q:

 

Do students who wish to take the USABO Open Exam need to be currently registered in a biology class?

A:

 

Students do not need to be currently enrolled in a biology course to participate in the USABO competition. Any Freshman through Senior student may take the Open Exam provided the school is registered and a teacher has agreed to administer the exam.

 

 

Q:

 

Where do I find my students scores for the Open and Semifinal Exams? Can my students find their scores on their own?

A:

 

To view your students' exam scores, log into the USABO website with your ID# and password. Select "Exam Results" from the dropdown menu in the Teacher Resource Center. Your students' scores will be available. 

Your students may access their individual score, by logging into the USABO website with their ID# and password and selecting "Exam Results" from the toolbar.

 

 

Q:

 

What is my school code?

A:

 

Your school code is contained within your ID#. The first three digits represent the USABO year, the next four represent the school, and the last three identify you as a teacher or student: