National Chemistry Olympiad Rules

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Rules & Eligibility

The following rules apply to the National Chemistry Olympiad Competition only. For information on local exams, go to local competitions. Local sections are encouraged to develop their own procedures for identifying outstanding students at the local level and choosing national examination candidates.

  1. Students must be U.S. citizens or legal, permanent residents of the United States (green card holders) to take the U.S. national examination.
  2. High school students who will graduate no earlier than spring of a year in which they participate in the competition are eligible.
  3. Students must be younger than 20 years of age.
  4. No more than two students per teacher or per high school may be nominated to take the national exam. In the case of magnet programs or split enrollment, a student’s school is defined as the high school where the student takes science class.
  5. Eligible students who have previously attended the study camp automatically qualify for the national exam and do not count against the limit on the number of eligible students from their local section or school.
  6. Winners of gold medals at the International Chemistry Olympiad are not eligible to participate in subsequent International Chemistry Olympiad competitions or study camps.
  7. Students who have taken advanced placement courses in chemistry are eligible.
  8. A student may participate only in the competition of the section in which the student's high school is located. If the section is not participating, the USNCO national office will assign the student to a section.
  9. A student who participates in the Physics Olympiad study camp, the Mathematics Olympiad study camp, or the Biology Olympiad study camp is not eligible to participate in the Chemistry Olympiad study camp during the same summer.


The American Chemical Society provides an excess insurance coverage during the national examination activities. To ensure proper coverage, the national office must submit a list of all lab practical sites to the insurance company. As a participant, you must submit this information in early March.

Students with Disabilities

The USNCO will make accommodations to allow students with disabilities to participate, as long as those accommodations would not require a fundamental modification of the test standards. For more information, email us at or call (202) 872-6328.

Translating to other Languages

You may translate the Local Section examinations from English into other languages to encourage participation by non-English speaking minorities. If you do so, please send a copy to the ACS Examinations Institute or to the USNCO national office. The National Exam must be administered only in English.