Belarusian National Biology Olympiad
Each year the Ministry of Education announces the National Biology Olympiad by sending the official letter to regional committees and schools.
National Biology Olympiad includes the following rounds:
1. The School round (competition among school students of 9th, 10th and 11th grades) takes place in November in the year previous to IBO. About 30-40 thousand competitors participate in the School Round. Winners of this round are invited to participate in the local round.
2. The Local (District) round takes place in December. About 6-8 thouthand competitors participate in the Local Round. Winners of this round are invited to participate in the Regional Round.
3. The Regional round is the competition among winners of the previous Local round, which takes place in January of the current IBO year. This round takes place in each of 6 regions of Belarus plus in the city of Minsk. About 80-100 students compete in each region.
4. The Final round of the Belarus National Olympiad takes place in the last decade of March of the current IBO year. The Final round involves about 120 winners of the previous round, competing with each other.
5. About 8-10 students of the 11th grade and 2-4 students of the 10th grade who scored highest on the Final round are invited to participate in the selection camp, which takes place during one week in late April or early May. At this stage 4 students for the Belarus IBO team are selected.
Round 1 is organized by each school independently. Round 2 is organized by certain schools (one per each District), round 3 is organized by Regional Universities (one per each Region). Round 4 is organized by the host institution (there is a rotation each year among Regional Universities) and the National Olympiad Jury. Rounds 5 is organized by the Faculty of Biology of the Belarusian State University. The organization of all rounds is supervised by the Ministry of Education.
National Biology Olympiad in rounds 1-4 takes place separately among students of the 9th, 10th and 11th years. Each group has its own set of theoretical and practical exams corresponding to the educational program of each grade. Tests for the round 1 are prepared by school teachers and can have various forms but in most cases are multiple choice theoretical tests. Tests for the following rounds are produced by the National Olympiad Jury. Since 2013 theoretical test for rounds 2-4 consists of 45-70 multiple choice questions essentially similar to that of IBO theoretical exam. Practical tests (present at rounds 3 and 4) for each grade consist of 3 labs (e.g. for 10th and 11th grade students these are usually 3 of the following 4: “Plant anatomy and physiology”, “Cell biology and genetics”, “Biochemistry” and "Zoology"). Each lab in its structure and complexity is essentially similar to the IBO practical tests, although some kinds of tasks are not used due to lack of equipment.
The round 1 takes place at home schools, round 2 – at local schools, round 3 – at Regional Universities and the Final round – in one of the Regional Universities with a rotation each year.
Prior to the final round all selected winners of the regional round pass through a training camp for a period of about 10 days in early March. These training camps take place seperatly for the teams ov each region and the city of Minsk
The selected IBO team members are invited for a training camp that lasts for 10 days in June. This camp is organized by the Faculty of Biology of the Belarusian State University.
School and university textbooks are used by students to prepare for the NBO. Tests of the previous NBO’s are available to the students.
At rounds 2-4 of the National Biology Olympiad 45% of participants are awarded with diplomas, medals and prizes. Third degree diplomas (equivalent to IBO bronze medals) comprise 50%, Second degree diplomas (equivalent to silver medals) – 30% and first degree diplomas (equivalent to gold medals) – 20% of all awards. Winners of the final round are accepted to universities without entrance exams (only to the faculties where biology is the main subject, while in cases when biology is the secondary subject sudents only get a maximum possible score for biology but the have to pass exams in other subjects).
Rounds 3 and 4 of the NBO are covered by local as well as national press.
Republic Budget (Ministry of Education). Equipment and materials are provided by hosting institutions.
National Committee of the National Biology Olympiad consists of the Executive Committee and the Scientific Committee. The Executive Committee takes care about all organizational questions. The Scientific Committee is responsible for compilation of the theoretical and practical tests and for their checking and score calculation.
Students of 9th, 10th and 11th grade from all schools in Belarus may take part in the first round.
Belarus NBO rules are described in the Instruction for the Procedure of Organizing National School Subjects Olympiads, issued by the Ministry of Education and are in accordance with IBO rules.
In the year 2014-2015 the following number of students participated / got a diploma at the Belarus NBO:
First round 33,979 / 9,711
Second round 5,603 / 1 563
Third round 557 / 254
Fourth round 123 / 55