Local Chemistry Olympiad Competitions

The Local Chemistry Olympiad competition is the first step in the U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad. Local Section coordinators oversee the administration of ACS Local Exams.

Each year, the ACS USNCO Exams Task Force designs a USNCO Local Section Exam that coordinators can order and distribute among high schools. Local Section Exams can be administered in a classroom environment by high school teachers or at one location (i.e. local university for all students).  Local Sections can also design their own exams or use other methods to carry on local competitions, such as Science Bowls, teacher recommendations, or science fairs.

Local competitions are held each March. The Local Section coordinators determine the date of the ACS Local Section Exam.

Coordinators nominate students for the National Exam based on their performance in the local competitions. Each Local Section can nominate a limited number of students, correlated with the number of ACS members. Each school can nominate a maximum of two students.

Students during the Chemistry Olympiad exam
Students during the Chemistry Olympiad exam.

How to Register Students to Participate


Teachers must contact the coordinator of their ACS Local Section to register students for participation in the program.

If your ACS Local Section is not participating in the competition, contact your local section representative or email us at usnco@acs.org.


Students who are interested in competing must go through a high school chemistry teacher who will register their school to participate in the program.

A parent or guardian can contact the Local Section Coordinator of their ACS Local Section directly only if the school decided not to participate in the competition.

Home-schooled Students

Home-schooled students must contact the coordinator of their ACS Local Section.

Home-schooled students participate in the Local Section competition with the nearest participating high school.

Students who are U.S. citizens living abroad

The competition must be organized by ACS International Chemical Sciences Chapter.

Eligible students must be U.S. Citizens or legal, permanent residents of the United States (green card holders), enrolled in an American school* for at least one year, and under the age of 20.

* American school is defined as a school accredited by either the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSACS), the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges (NCASC), or the Northwest Association of College and Schools (NACS)

For more information please contact us: USNCO@acs.org