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Slovak Republic

Biologická Olympiáda

1963 (since 1966 in former Czechoslovakia)

Among other STEM olympiads, Biology olympiad has a long tradition in Slovakia and thus is well known among students and teachers. Many schools take part in the competition. In recent years, the Website of the National Biology Olympiad (NBO) is widely used as an information source by students and teachers. 

The NBO is officially organized by Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic. Slovak Committee of BiO is responsible for tasks, assembly of evaluation commission and selection of the best students from regional level to national level. IUVENTA – Slovak Youth Institute, a state organization directly managed by the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic, operates in the sphere of work with talented youth (school subjects‘ competitions called „Olympiads“), is responsible for administration of the competition. 
The Biology Olympiad is organized in four rounds: school, district, regional and national round. The competition is divided into four categories in primary/elementary schools: C, D, E and F; two categories are running in high/secondary schools: A and B. School children can start with the category F at the age of 9 and finish as high school students in the category A as 18–19 years old. For categories F and D, there are 2 rounds: school round and district round, in the categories C and E there are 4 rounds: school, district, regional and national. The categories A and B have 3 rounds: school, regional and national round. The national level is usually hosted by one of the Slovak universities or top high schools. All categories have specific methodological and organizational guidelines. 

Regarding the focus of the particular categories, categories D, C, B and A are primarily aimed at students interested in the type of tasks also required in the IBO competition. Categories E and F are aimed at students that are more interested in the classical biosystematics and the tasks in these categories specifically concern the student's ability to recognize and describe different species of macroscopic organisms. 

At the secondary school levels (categories A and B), there are practical tasks and a theoretical test in every round. Theoretical tests are multiple-choice exams with an occasional short-answer or numerical response and include 30-50 questions. All subjects of biology are covered in proportions roughly corresponding to those proposed for IBO tasks in Appendix 1. While the school round is organized by the participating high-schools, including the preparation of tasks, for the regional and national round, the preparation of tests and practical tasks is in the responsibility of the Slovak Commission of Biology Olympiad. Members of the editorial board are mostly university teachers and students.

Apart from the categories described above, a competition of projects based on field research or laboratory work is also a part of the NBO. The winners with the best environmental projects or biology projects participate in INEPO or IYIPO competitions.


Below the national level, no nation-wide events are organized to systematically prepare the students for Biology Olympiad. 

After the national round, 8-10 top students from the national round of the categories A and B are invited for one week of theoretical training. Training usually takes place at the Faculty of Natural Science, Comenius University in Bratislava. Students have lectures and seminars in different topics of biology. Lecturers are from Faculty of Natural Science, Comenius University in Bratislava and Slovak Agricultural University in Nitra. This first training is followed by a theoretical tests, where the best 6 students are selected. These are trained for another week, with a focus on practical tasks, with emphasis on the topics proposed for that year's IBO tasks. Following another test, the best 4 students are nominated for IBO. Students are advised to practice with the previous IBO tasks; however, these are rarely used during the organized training (mostly for ecology and biosystematics tasks). 

Both training weeks are usually organized in May and June and together consist of 10 days of focused training. 

Tasks of previous NBOs and some of the IBOs (translated into Slovak) were published every year in A one-time special publication dedicated to IBO tasks was printed and distributed, and now is available on  Campbell and Reese Biology is recommended for students as the main study material.

Winners of all categories at all rounds receive diploma and/or certificates. Best competitors are awarded with science books and prizes, and sponsors gifts. In the national level the Dean the Faculty of Natural Sciences, Comenius University in Bratislava awards some students. Successful participants of the national round are accepted by several Slovak universities without the need to complete admission tests. All Slovak students successful in different olympiads are honored in an official meeting organized by the Ministry of Education at the end of the year.

Regional and local newspapers or radio usually report about successful students from their region. Articles about NBO are regularly published in the Slovak educational or science /environmental journals/magazines and in the News Agency of the Slovak Republic (TASR).

Major financial support comes from Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport  of the Slovak Republic, covering main part of NBO budget.

Ministry of Education is the main source of funding. IUVENTA is responsible for organization of NBO at all levels.

In general, NBO rules follows IBO rules. Younger students could compete in a category for older students (but they have to choose always just one category). To minimize cheating, regional rounds of category A resp. B are organized in a fixed date in all regions. All categories have specific methodological and organizational guidelines. 

Number of participants in regional rounds (2017/2018):

Category A: 169

Category B:   153

Category C:  202

Category D: 868 (district)

Category E: 281 

Category F: 386 (district)

Total number of  participants (competitors) in 2017/2018:

National round: 109 (cat. A, B, C, E)


Regional and district rounds together: 3160

from September to end of June.
minimum 1 hour/week, maximum 4 hours/week.

Miroslava Slaninova

Dept. of Genetics, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Comenius University in Bratislava, Ilkovicova 6, 842 15 Bratislava, Slovakia
Faculty of Natural Sciences, Comenius University in Bratislava

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by Mirka Slaninova last modified Apr 05, 2019 04:53 PM