Chemistry Olympiad

    The International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO), one of the International Science Olympiads, is an annual academic competition for high school students. To demonstrate their expertise, participating students take a series of written and laboratory exams at regional, national, and international levels. Ultimately the top ~200 students in the world are identified, ranked, and awarded gold, silver, and bronze medal status. Click here for the results of the 2019 international competition held inParis, France. The 2020 International Chemistry Olympiad will be held in Istanbul, Turkey.

    Statement on Accommodations from the national office

    The USNCO is a contest. However, the USNCO will consider providing competitors with disabilities with accommodation to enable them to compete within the rules of the USNCO to which all competitors are subject.  Accommodations that fundamentally alter the highly competitive nature of the USNCO contest and/or create undue hardship cannot be granted.  For example, in nearly all cases time extensions cannot be accommodated because they fundamentally alter the competitive nature of the exam and create an undue hardship on volunteers. Competitors must request accommodation as soon as possible to enable the USNCO to consider the request.  

    Competitors requesting accommodation must submit documentation from a school official establishing that the accommodation the competitor has requested is being provided by the secondary school.  USNCO cannot proceed with considering a competitor’s request until he or she provides this documentation.  Upon reviewing the documentation, a designated representative of the USNCO will contact the competitor and/or his or her parent(s) or legal guardian to discuss the need for the accommodation, its impact on the uniformly applied rules of competition for the USNCO and any alternative, effective accommodations.  The USNCO may require the competitor to provide additional medical information and/or to authorize his or her health care provider to share relevant information with representatives of USNCO in connection with a request for accommodation.

    All medical information received by the USNCO will be maintained as a confidential medical record and will only be shared with USNCO officials and representatives who need to know this information because they are, for example, addressing and/or implementing the competitor’s request for accommodation.  Competitors who have questions should email us at [email protected].

    Competition levels

    • Local: (March) All high schools within the Chicago Section may nominate up to eight students for the regional Chemistry Olympiad exam. This exam is administered and coordinated by the Chicago ACS.

    • National: (April) The students with the TOP 19 scores on the Regional exam may proceed to he National exam level with no more than two from any one school. The Chicago ACS also administers this exam, which has both written and laboratory components.

    • International Team: (June) The students with the TOP 20 scores in the nation may proceed to a special "boot camp" at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO. For one month, these students study intensively for international competition.

    • International Competition: (July) The TOP FOUR students from the boot camp proceed to international competition, where they take exams with four-person teams from countries all around the world. 

    Nomination invitation letter:  2020 local exam invitation is now available here.

    Nomination form:  Nominations are now closed; submit your nominations by March 1.

    Locations (all on March 14):  In light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, we have elected to offer neither the local nor the national exam for the Chicago section this year.  We recognize that many of you have worked hard to prepare for the exam and we share your disappointment.  

    Loyola University Chicago, 1068 W. Sheridan Rd, Chicago, IL, Flanner Hall auditorium (room 133)

    North Central College, Wentz Science Center, 131 S. Loomis St, Naperville, IL, room 101

    Libertyville High School, 708 W. Park Ave, Libertyville, IL, in the library (enter at main entrance)

    Munster High School, 8088 Columbia Ave, Munster, IN, in the library (enter at main entrance)


    We are delighted to announce that Allen Ding of Stevenson High School qualified to attend the International Chemistry Olympiad training camp for 2019. Congratulations to Allen and his teachers!