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What's new in the 2020 USABO?

Welcome to the 2020 USABO competition! The 2020 changes reflect the continued development and recognition of USABO where students who are passionate about biology find like-minded colleagues in the USA and abroad.

USABO has a name change in 2020

The USA Biology Olympiad (USABO) officially will be  known as the USA Biolympiad (USABO).

Team USA officially be known as the USA Biolympiad Team.


What is the USABO? page

This page is the landing site for the USABO

  • What is new in biology TODAY? Click on the photo and read the latest in biological research for that day.
  • Click on the Facebook icon at the bottom of the page and friend the USABO. New on the USABO Facebook page:
    • News and interesting facts in biology each day.
    • Opportunities for students at the high school, undergraduate, and graduate level in biological research worldwide.
    • Celebration of a famous biologist's birthday with a link to information regarding his/her contributions to biology.

USABO Registration Site

CEE continues to work on providing a more user-friendly registration site tested for usability by USABO teachers. Once your school information has been entered, it will be permanently stored to ease registration in coming years. Teacher information is not stored as many teachers move on to new positions, retire, or for other reasons no longer participate in the USABO. If you registered your school for the USABO in the years 2011 through 2019, you will find your school in the dropdown menu in the Test Administrator section on the USABO homepage. Although you will find your school in the dropdown menu, all teachers and students will still need to register for 2020.

USABO Exam Question Format

The USABO Open Exam uses Multiple Choice format with one response per question.

The USABO Semifinal Exam uses the Multiple Choice, Short Answer, and Multiple True/False Choice formats.

IBO Theoretical and USABO National Exam use the Multiple True/False Choice format.

Teacher Resource Center (TRC)

The TRC is dynamic. Once your school has completed the registration process and payment has been received, please check the TRC for the latest resources and links to help you to prepare your students for the USABO. Content is arranged according to the seven IBO focus groups:

  • Cell Biology
  • Animal Anatomy and Physiology
  • Plant Anatomy and Physiology
  • Ethology
  • Genetics and Evolution
  • Ecology
  • Biosystematics
  • Neurobiology (Coming)
  • Bioinformatics (Coming)

All Open Exams and the Semifinal Exams from 2003 to 2017 with keys are available online in the Teacher Resource Center (TRC). Test Administrators may use them as they see fit with their students in hard copy format only. Under no circumstances is the URL to be provided to students or linked to school or external web sites!

Student Corner (SC)

This area is open to ALL students whether they have registered for the USABO or not. It includes the following sections:

  • How to Start a USABO Club: Step by step information and guidance from USABO students who have formed USABO Clubs at their schools. Each year, this information is updated with input from USABO participants.
  • General Content: As the title implies, this has information on the areas of the IBO Curriculum.
  • Content: This area has been expanded to include:
    • Suggested sites.
    • Suggested texts for in-depth and supplemental study or reading.
    • Scientist of interest
    • USABO Finalists' Favorite Links
    • Introduction to the seven areas of the IBO curriculum resources where more in-depth resources are found in the Student Resource Center.

Student Resource Center (SRC)

This page has information specifically for students who have registered for the USABO.

  • All seven areas of the International Biology Olympiad (IBO) have been updated with useful links, study problems, and other resources to prepare for the USABO. In addition, two new areas will be added in 2020; Neurobiology and Bioinformatics.
  • The Biodiversity area has an image of a common organism for each taxonomic representative prescribed by the IBO.