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Olimpiada Nacional de Biología


For the State Biology Olympiad (first round), posters and leaflets are sent to all schools. Posters and leaflets are designed by States separately and sent to all schools for the first round. For the second round no posters are needed (National Biology Olympiad).

Each State of the country has a Delegate who is responsible for organizing and obtaining the funds for the State Biology Olympiad. Local researchers and teachers can participate in the organization. The National Commitee is responsible for the design of the theorical and practical test and the organization of the National Biology Olympiad. We only have one category and two rounds. The first round is the State Biology Olympiad and the second is the National Biology Olympiad. The State Biology Olympiad takes place in the last week of October and the National Biology Olympiad in the last week of January. The number of students that participate in the first round is different every year. 90% of the students are from public schools and only 10% from private schools. Some schools have a preselection of the students, the best ones participate in the State Biology Olympiad. The six best students of each State Olympiad move on to the National Biology Olympiad. Elegible participants are between the ages of sixteen and nineteen and must be regular high-school students.

The first round test consists of 60 multiple choice questions and 40 true-false questions. The test is designed in collaboration with Delegates of 13 States and 2 members of the National Committee. Questions are based on the IBO syllabus. The test is the same for every student in all 29 States. Only in 6 States (out of 29), students perform a practical test. The second round tests consists of 60 multiple choise questions and 40 true-false questions. (with a higher degree of difficulty). The tests are designed by professors and researchers of the National Commiittee. These questions are also based on the IBO syllabus. Only the best students (+/-50%) move on to the practical tests. The four practical tests are designed by different professors and researchers of the National Autonomous University of México (UNAM), Autonomous University of Mexico City (UACM) and by reserachers of the National Medical Center. The areas of the practical tasks vary from year to year.

The training for the NBO varies from State to State and depends on the Delegate and local teachers. For the IBO the students have only ten days training that take place during two different weeks (April and June). Training includes some theorical aspects but it is mainly focused on practical skills. The training takes place in the Faculty of Sciences of the National Autonomous University of México and in the National Medical Center.

There are no special materials for the preparation of the students. The suggested textbooks are Campell and other specialized books like Genes, Biochemistry (Lehninger), etc. Students are prepared with former IBO´s tests.

For the State Olympiad the awards vary by State. Some States give them medals and/or certificates. The NBO the winners get bronze, silver or golden medals, and certificates. Golden medals recipients also get a scholarship from the Mexican Academy of Sciences to participate in “ Summer of Research“ program. Students can choose in which lab of the country they want to stay throughout the summer, participanting in all the lab activities. Gold medal recipients also get a scholarship from the National Ministry of Education. This scholarship awards them a small monthly stipend for the whole degree, as long as they have good performance and very good marks.

Media coverage differs by State. Most of them will have some coverage by local press, radio and/or TV. For the NBO we have press, radio and TV coverage (depends on the State were the NBO takes place). For the IBO winners there is press and TV coverage.

Each State covers all the costs of the first round and the transportation of the students and the Delegate to the city where the NBO will be held. The funds come mainly from the State University and some times from the State´s Ministry of Education. The second round is funded by the Mexican Academy of Sciences along with the hosting State University and the State Ministry of Education.. The expenses are shared 50/50. All the expenses for the participation in the IBO are covered by the Mexican Academy of Sciences. The Mexican Academy of Sciences receives the funds for the Olympiad from the National Council of Sciences and Technology (CONACyT). Moreover, the delegates, teachers, professors and researchers that participate in the organization or training, work pro bono.

The National Ministry of Education does not fund the National Olympiad and does not participate in the NBO activities. NBO gold medal recipients get a scholarship from the National Ministry of Education that awards them a with a small monthly stipend for the whole college career, as long as they have a good performance and very good marks.

The same as IBO

Year Number of students
2006 6238
2007 4795
2008 4258


  • 70% boys and 30% girls
  • Only the 6 best students of each State participate in the NBO: ± 180 students every year.
from August to July.
minimum 3 hours/week, maximum 4 hours/week.

Cristina Revilla

Work address: UIMEM- UMAE Cardiología Av. Cuauhtémoc 330. Col. Doctores México City C.P 06720 México
Academia Mexicana de Ciencias A.C. Km. 23.5 Carretera Federal México-Cuernavaca S/N Col. San Andrés Totoltepec Ciudad de México C.P. 14400 México

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by Cristina Revilla-Monsalve last modified Jul 04, 2019 10:43 PM