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Olimpiada Nacional de Biología

1991   (in Spanish (Mexico))

The promotion of the first round varies by state. It can be by: invitations sent to schools, posters, radio or TV spots, press and web sites. The delegate of each state is responsible for sending the information and it has to be in April because the local olympiad (first round) takes place in  the last week of October.

The main organizing institution is the Mexican Academy of Sciences.

There are only two rounds: the local (states) and the national one. The first round takes place in the last week of October and the second round is in the last week of January.

Every state has a delegate who is responsible for the organization of the first round. They are also responsible for getting the funds to perform this first round. The number of students that participate in the first round is different every year. 90% of the students come from public schools and only 10% from private schools.

Some schools have a preselection of the students, the best ones participate in the first round.

Eligible participantes for both rounds are between the ages of sixteen and eighteen and  must be regular secundary school students.

The six first round winners of every state move on to the National Olympiad (second round)

The first round test consists of 100 multiple choise questions (type A) and 50 type B questions, The tests are designed in collaboration with the delegates of 13 states and 2 members of the national commiittee. Questions are based on the IBO syllabus. The test is the same for every student in all 28 states. Only 4 states have a practical test.

The student of each state make the test at the state university and all at the same time.

The second round tests consist of 75 multiple choise questions (type A) and 75 type B questions. The tests are designed by professors and researchers of the national commiittee. These questions are also based on the IBO syllabus.

There are also four practical tests created by different professors and researchers of the National Autonomous University of México (UNAM) and by reserachers of the National Medical Center. Only the best students (+/-50%) move on to the practical tests.

The students make the second roud test at the state university that is hosting the National Olympiad.


The students have only ten days training that take place during two different weeks (April and June).  Training includes lectures but the main focus is practical. During each of these two weeks the students have a chance to practice with previous IBO tests (one in each of the two weeks) and previous NBO tests.

The training takes place in México City and the institutions involved are the National Autonomous University of México and the National Medical Center

The transportation to México City is paid by the sate universities. The hosting in México City is paid by the National Academy of Sciences.

The are no special materials developed for the preparation of the students.

The suggested textbooks are Campell (7th ed) and other specialized books like Genes, Biochemistry (Lehninger), etc.

They practice with previous IBO and NBO tests

During the first rounds the awards vary by state. Some states give out medals and certificates and most of them books (mainly science books).

For the second round the winners get bronze, silver and golden medals, a certificate and books. Golden medals recipients also get a scholarship from the Mexican Academy of Sciences to participate in the Summer of Research. Students can choose in which lab they want to work and they stay there for the hole 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 hole degree, as long as they have good marks. 

Media coverage differes by state. Most of them will have some degree of local press, radio and/or TV coverage.

During the second round we ensure press, radio and TV coverage. For the IBO winners there is press and TV coverage.

Each state covers its funds during the first round. The funds come from the state university and some times from the state´s Ministry of Education.

The Ministry of Education does not participate in the organization

The organization is the responsability of the delegate, and local professors and researchers can participate.

The second round is funded by the Mexican Academy of Sciences along with the hosting state university and Ministry of Education. The expenses are shared 50/50.

All the expenses incurred during the participation in the IBO are paid by the Mexican Academy of Sciences.

The Mexican Academy of Sciences receives the funds for the Olympiad from the National Council for Sciences and Technology (CONACyT)


The National Ministry of Education does not fund the National Olympiad and does not participate in the National Olympiad activities.

Moreover, the delegates, teachers, professors and researchers that participate in the organization or training, work pro bono

The same as IBO

90% of the students are from public schools and only 10% of private schools

Participation (first round)

2006--> 6238

2007 --> 4795

2008 --> 4258

2009 --> 5115

2010 --> 5157

2011 --> 6287


Participation in the NBO

Only 6 students of each state can participate in the second round so the participation is of 168 students each year (second round)


from August to July.
minimum 3 hours/week, maximum 4 hours/week.

Cristina Revilla

Work address: Av. Cuauhtémoc 330 Col. Doctores CP 06720 México D.F. México
Academia Mexicana de Ciencias A.C. Km 23.5 carretera México Cuernavaca s/n Col. San andrés Totoltepec CP. 14400 México D.F. México

Images and files:

Image for the logo PNG image — 12 KB

File for the leaflet PDF document — 1906 KB
by Cristina Revilla last modified Jun 21, 2011 08:52 AM