Seventeen Biology Olympiad team members participated in a yearly open examination in which they competed against ten thousand other high school students in the country. Eleven of these students qualified for the United States of America Biology Olympiad (USABO) semi-final exam.
Before taking the semi-final exam, students had to complete the USABO Open Exam, a 50-minute, nationwide multiple-choice exam available to any high school biology student. The exam was structured after the multiple-choice section of the International Biology Olympiad (IBO) Theoretical Examination. Students who scored in the top 10% of the Open Exam qualified for the USABO Semi-Final Exam
“It was a pretty tough competition […] everyone worked really hard to study and go over all over the different types of questions. Overall it was a pretty enriching experience,” semifinalist and senior Jim Wu said of the quarter-final exam.
“We came out with the highest ranking national ranking score [in the quarter-finals] and had the most people that came out as semi-finalists,” biology teacher and advisor of the Bio Olympiad team Roslyn Bierig said. “[The students] work really hard and they’re very dedicated and committed to being able to do well. But the exam is really really tough […] But I have hope,” she said prior to the semi-final.
The eleven semifinalists will proceeded to take another test, scheduledthe semi-final on Wednesday, March 28th, in which the top twenty scores of the country will be picked.
The Semi-Final exam was a 120-minute exam with three different sections: multiple-choice questions with only one answer, multiple choice question with several correct answers and a short answer or essay portion.
“It was definitely a very difficult test,” Wu said after taking the semi-final exam, “There are a lot of questions that require you to think about the topics you already know but there are also a lot of topics that we don’t really know about.” Results for this round are still pending.