Schweizer Biologie Olympiade SBO / Olympiades Suisse de Biologie OSB / Olimpiadi Svizzere di Biologia OSB
In August of each year, promotion material is distributed by post mail to all biology teachers of a secondary school in Switzerland. It consists of a letter informing the teachers about the IBO, a poster of the current National Biology Olympiad, the annual report of the association ibo|suisse as well as a copy of the exam of the first selection round.
Public Relation (Media) is organized by the office of the Association of Swiss Scientific Olympiads VSWO (www.olympiads.ch). Local and national print media regularly report about the results of the IBO, as well as the last round of the Swiss Biology Olympiad.
The website of the Swiss Biology Olympiad publishes the results of all students at all selection rounds.
The Swiss Biology Olympiad is organized by the association called ibo|suisse. Its members are exclusively volunteers. Most of them are former participants. Currently, the association counts about 20 active members. The association ibo|suisse is authorized by the Ministry of Education (Staatssekretariat für Bildung und Forschung) to organize the Swiss National Biology Olympiad.
The selection consists of the following steps:
first round: August-September
Secondary school teachers receive a copy of the first round by post mail and are animated to let the smartest students participate. The first round consists of a multiple-choice exam with about 70 tasks. The answer sheets are sent back and evaluated by members of the association. Students are informed by a letter about their results. Furthermore, they receive a login to the NBO-website where they can check their own results, the answer key and the ranking.
Preparation camp: October or November
The best 80 students of the first round are invited to a preparation a duration of one week. The training consists of lectures about the main topics of biology. Lectures are held simultaneously in German and French. The students are provided detailed documents and scripts about each topic, which allows them to prepare themselves individually after the camp.
Second round: January.
All students who have been qualified for the preparation camp round are invited to pass the second round. It is held simultaneously at three to four different places in Switzerland. The second round is a multiple-choice exam of about 120 tasks. It is supervised by members of the association ibo|suisse. After the exams have been corrected, students can check all details about their exam by logging on the IBO website.
Third round: April.
The best 20 students of the second round are invited to a camp of practical preparation. During five days, they pass about 15 practical exams. The results of all practical exams contribute to the final ranking using t-scores. At the end of the practical camp, the four winners are declared in a closing ceremony. During the practical camp, the University of Bern is providing laboratories and material.
Final training: May and June
The four winners of the Swiss Biology Olympiad benefit of some additional training, usually during two distinct weekends. The aim of this training is to complete knowledge or techniques necessary for successfully competing at the IBO. In 2011 for the first time, we have been meeting the winners of the german NBO for a common training of two days just before leaving for the IBO.
The four winners of the Swiss Biology Olympiad participate at the IBO. The team leader, deputy leader and observers are members of the association ibo|suisse. Traditionally, the delegation is doing a post-IBO tour in the host country during one or two weeks.
Swiss Scientific Olympiads Day: Autumn
The international teams of all Swiss Scientific Olympiads are honoured during an official ceremony with representatives of sponsors, politicians and scientists. The best students and teams are winning awards.
The first round consists of a multiple-choice exam with about 70 tasks. Neither books nor other additional material are allowed. It is supervised by the secondary school teachers and lasts 90 minutes.
The second round is a multiple-choice exam of about 120 tasks. It takes about four hours. Neither books nor other additional material are allowed. The portion of the different topics of biology is in harmony with the IBO syllabus. The level of the exam is supposed to correspond to a practical IBO exam.
The third round consists of about 15 practical exams. Each of them is organised similar to a practical IBO exam. This means that students do not know what they will have to do when entering the lab. They just find all material and protocols and must be able to make the best of it. Students have not been specifically trained for the corresponding lab techniques before. The results of all practical exams contribute to the final ranking using t-scores.
The students’ training consists of 6 days of lectures during the preparation camp. During the third round, students are practising techniques during the practical exams. Finally, the four winners of the national selection are specifically trained for the IBO during another 3 to 5 days. In recent years, we are organizing this specific training together with the german IBO team for 2-3 days.
We provide detailed scripts for all participants of the preparation camp. Furthermore, we publish all exams of previous years on our website, accessible for our students.
There is no award of students passing the first and the second round. Students who participate at the third round receive a certificate attesting their successful participation and mentioning their final rank. The 12 best students are winning a medal and a text book (for example "Campbell" or "The Cell"). The students or teams with the best performance among all Swiss Scientific Olympiads are honoured with prizes of up to CHF 1200. There is no further benefit such as grants or access to study places.
Public Relation (Media) is organized by the office of the Association of Swiss Scientific Olympiads VSWO. Local and national print media regularly report about the results of the IBO, as well as the last round of the Swiss Biology Olympiad. Usually we have portraits of two third of the students of the third round in their local newspaper.
We are almost entirely founded by companies and foundations. Fundraising is delegated to the Association of Swiss Scientific Olympiads who employs a manager for fundraising.
Our major sponsors are: Avina Stiftung, BASF, Credit Suisse, Ernst Göhner Stiftung, Fondation Claude & Giuliana, Hasler Stiftung, Jacobs Foundation, Lonza, Merk Serono, Metrohm, Novartis, Roche, Syngenta, USGEB and Walter Haefner Stiftung. Furthermore we have some support from the ministry of education (Staatssekretariat für Bildung und Forschung) and from several districts (cantons). The University of Berne is providing us infrastructure.
The ministry of education of Switzerland (Staatssekretariat für Bildung und Forschung), 20 of 26 federal countries (cantons) as well as the Principality of Liechtenstein support the Association of Swiss Scientific Olympiads. This fond permits to the association to employ a manager as well as assistants to do found-raising and public relation for all Swiss Scientific Olympiads.
The rules of the national competition follow as much as possible the rules of the IBO (IBO rules). In particular, admission of students and the duration of their training strictly follow the IBO rules. The content of the training and the exams is organized as much as possible according to the syllabus of the IBO.
The number of participants of the Swiss Biology Olympiad kept growing during the past years and reached 1300. The following medals could be achieved:
2000: 1x bronze
2002: 1x bronze
2005: 2x bronze
2008: 1x silver, 3x bronze
2009: 2x silver, 2x bronze
2010: 1x silver, 3x bronze
2011: 1x gold, 2x bronze
2012: 2x silver, 2x bronze
2013: 2x silver, 2x bronze
2014: 1x silver, 3x bronze
2015: 1x silver, 2x bronze
2016: 1x silver, 3x bronze