„Olimpiada Nacional de Biología“

  • Established since: 1991
  • Website: Official website
  • Website language: Spanish (Mexico)

Contact data

Country coordinator


Hosting institution

Academia Mexicana de Ciencias A.C.
Km. 23.5 Carretera Federal México-Cuernavaca, Av. Cipreses S/N
Col. San Andrés Totoltepec
14400, Mexico
Ciudad de Mexico, Mexico


Appointing institution

Academia Mexicana de Ciencias A.C.

Los Cipreses s/n, km 23.5 de la carretera federal, San Andrés Totoltepec, Tlalpan,

CP. 14400 Ciudad de México, CDMX

Organization & structure

The National Biology Olympiad is organized in 2 rounds. 

The main organizing institutions of the first round are the State Universities.

The main organizer of the second round, the National Biology Olympiad, is the Academia Mexicana de Ciencias A.C. (Mexican Academy of Sciences)

The first round takes place the last week of October, and the participants are high school students from 31 states of the country.

Each state has a delegate responsible for organizing its State Biology Olympiad and getting the resources required to perform it.

 The second round, the National Biology Olympiad, takes place the last week of November. The participants are six students from each state, the winners of the first round. This round takes place every year in a different state of the country that hosts the National Biology Olympiad. It is sponsored locally by the State University, Ministry of Education, or State government, and the Academia Mexicana de Ciencias (50/50).

The organizing committee, working in collaboration with the state delegate of the host state, is responsible for the organization of the National Biology Olympiad.

Number of students in first round

The number of students that participate in the first round varies from year to year but is around 5500.

55% boys and 45% girls. 90% from public schools and 10% from private schools.

Ten states organize a regional Biology Olympiad, before the State Olympiad (preselection).


The questions for the first round are elaborated according to the IBO syllabus and are 60 multiple choice questions and 40 true/false questions.

For the first round, the tests are prepared by teachers and researchers from universities or research institutions of the 31 states. The exam committee is responsible for reviewing and approving the questions and elaborating the test that will be applied to all the students who participate in the first round. The students will take the test at the corresponding State University.

A practical test is applied in 7 states.

The questions for the second round are elaborated according to the IBO syllabus and are 40 multiple choice questions, and 60 are true/false questions.

For the second round, the theory and 4 practical tests are prepared by members of the organizing committee, composed of teachers and researchers from different universities and research institutes of Mexico City. 


We only train the students for ten days, as is established (April and June)

The time the students spend studying at home or school depends on each student's commitment and motivation and their delegate and teachers' engagement. It is different for each state and school.

Study materials

No special materials are developed to prepare the students. Teachers from the different states prepare the students with their material and make it available to them. The students have access to high school textbooks, university textbooks, review articles recommended by teachers, and practice with former NBO and IBO tests.

Awards & prizes

The students get medals and certificates. Sometimes they get books and some gifts. It depends on the support received from the sponsors. The gold medal winners receive a scholarship to participate in the "Summer of Research" organized by the Academia Mexicana de Ciencias, and they can stay in the lab they choose for the whole summer participating with the researchers in all the lab activities. The Ministry of Education grants them a scholarship to obtain their bachelor's degree in Mexico.


Type of students

Only students enrolled in any of the high school modalities (3) can participate.

School year

The school year starts the last week of August and ends the first week of July

Biology hours/week

4 hours/week

3 hours theory

1 hour laboratory

Hours of Classes/week

Total hours of classes: 26 hours/week

Public Relations


The delegates of the 31 states are responsible for the promotion.

They send invitations and e-mails to the principals of all high schools and publish a call, so all students are informed and can participate in the State Biology Olympiad.

Promotion contact

The state delegate is responsible for sending the information to all the principals and academic authorities of the state's high schools and publishing the call.

Statistics over the years
  • 2020: 3092 students from 0 schools (0% of eligible schools)
  • 2019: 6050 students from 0 schools (0% of eligible schools)
  • 2018: 5230 students from 0 schools (0% of eligible schools)
  • 2017: 5986 students from 0 schools (0% of eligible schools)

According to national statistics reported in 2019 for students enrolled in high school, we have:

4,166,750 students in 11,920 public schools

961,768 students in 5,803 private schools

A small number of high schools participate

Media coverage

In the states, the media are not involved in spreading the information related to the State Olympiad. The media, especially the newspapers, broadcast the results only if the state students won any medal.

The Academia Mexicana de Ciencias press department sends an article to different newspapers before the National Olympiad takes place, informing the details of the Olympiad and another at the end of the Olympiad reporting the results.


Logo of Olimpiada Nacional de Biología [PNG, 45.5 KB] Download Poster of Olimpiada Nacional de Biología [PDF, 1,008.9 KB] Download Leaflet of Olimpiada Nacional de Biología [PDF, 169.9 KB] Download
Description of attached files:

Examples of the posters that are used to promote participation in the State Olympiad.

No need to promote the National Biology Olympiad; the students who participate are the State Olympiad winners.