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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the IBO? How does it relate to the PBO?

The International Biology Olympiad (IBO) is the world’s premier biology competition for secondary school students. The competition challenges and stimulates these students to identify, inspire, empower and support the next generation of leaders in the life sciences and develop their international network. Students who want to participate in IBO must first become one of the top four (4) students in the Philippine Biology Olympiad.

What’s the difference between the theoretical exam and practical exam examinations?

The theoretical exams focus on conceptual understanding and analysis of biological concepts. The practical exams, on the other hand, involve immersion and actual manipulation of laboratory instruments, collection of experimental data from conducted experiments to provide answers, and interpretation of given figures (i.e., resulting graphs, images, tables), focusing on the comprehension and mastery of biological methods and critical analysis of scientific data.

How can I find the mechanics and guidelines for each event?

Please refer to the Event Mechanics document sent in this confirmation kit, which will contain the mechanics for the Theoretical Exam, Practical Exam, and other events.

Will we need to buy specimens for the dissection workshop?
Will we dissect anything during our practical examinations?

All workshop and laboratory activities are to be announced. Regardless, participants will not be asked to provide any laboratory consumables or equipment in any workshop proper. Laboratory gowns and safety goggles are required during only the Semi-Finals and Finals.

How will the theoretical exam and practical exam scoring work?

The Theoretical Exam scoring, as stated in Section 1 of the theoretical exam Mechanics, will depend on the test taken. Eliminations and Semi-Finals, as stated in Sections 2-3, will consist of 35 different items, which may have figures, with each item consisting of four (4) True or False statements. Each item will be awarded points depending on the number of statements they get correct for each item: 4 correct statements will garner 1 point for the whole item, 3 correct statements will garner 0.5 point for the whole item, while ≤ 2 statements will garner 0 points for the item. The exam will then have a total of 35 points. From here, the curved grading system will be applied. 

Meanwhile, the Final Round, as stated in Section 4, will be a mix of True or False, Matching Type, Sequencing, and Short Answer questions for a total of 35 points. Points will be awarded according to the number of correctly answered questions per item; the specific point system will be indicated in the exam proper.

The Practical Exam scoring will depend on the exam taken. Similar to Theoretical Exam, the Practical Exam consists of three rounds: Eliminations, Semi-Finals, and Finals. Eliminations will be similar with that of the Theoretical Exam, wherein it will also consist of 35 items with four (4) True or False statements under each item for a total of 35 points. 

Semi-Finals and Finals will cover a mix of wet and dry laboratory activities with one 100-point post-laboratory worksheet to be answered within the given three-hour period per round. The number of points allotted per question will depend on the item’s level of difficulty and type. Points will be awarded according to the number of correctly answered questions per item. The contestants will be graded according to the total score and any deduction they have received. From here, the curved grading system will be applied.

What if I need to go to the bathroom or finish my test early?

During the exam, participants are generally not permitted to leave their seats and exit the room once the exams have started. However, if you have a valid reason or an emergency to use the restroom, you may surrender all of your test materials to the proctors before leaving the room. Please note that after surrendering the test papers, you will not be allowed to continue with the exam. Additionally, there will be scheduled bathroom breaks between consecutive categories of the same round. For example, a 5-minute break will be given after the Theoretical Exams and before the Practical Exams.

If you finish your test early, contestants must remain seated until every participant has completed the examination. You are not allowed to use your phones or other devices while waiting.

Am I allowed to use scratch paper? What about a calculator?

Participants will be allowed to write on their questionnaire for their scratch work, and will be allotted enough space to write their solutions. The use of a scientific calculator is allowed only in the PRACTICAL EXAM category of the exam rounds. The use of a calculator in the Theoretical Exam portion is prohibited. Accordingly, the examinees shall be allowed to bring in and use only ONE non-programmable scientific calculator. Any other kinds of calculators and computers will not be allowed and use of such during the actual rounds will be judged at the discretion of the PBO Core Team.

Who can participate in PBO this year, and is there a limit on the number of students per school?

Any high school student, whether from a public or private school across the Philippines, can take part in the Philippine Biology Olympiad 2024: SULONG. Eligible participants must be officially registered high school students, specifically in Grades 7 to 12, and they must have been born no earlier than July 1, 2004. For PBO 2024, there is no limit to the number of students that participating schools wish to register.

How can we prepare our participants for the PBO? Will you provide reviewers?

The PBO Core Team will not provide any resources for the participants. However, participants who wish to prepare for the PBO may consider looking at various online and offline resources that are available to them. This may include studying recent advancements and journal publications on a wide range of topics in Biology, and building on their skills in comprehension and analysis. Participants are also encouraged to review using general biology and chemistry textbooks, such as Campbell Biology. After the elimination round, the semifinalists of the competition will also be required to undergo training and workshops hosted by the PBO Core Team; specific details of these sub-events will be channeled to the semi finalists at a later date.

When and where will the event be held, and will there be an
n-campus event for PBO? 

The Philippine Biology Olympiad 2024: SULONG will be an onsite competition with three rounds. The first round, eliminations, will be held nationwide in different satellite testing centers or partner schools. The semi-finals and finals round will be held on the Ateneo de Manila University campus over three days. So, all rounds of PBO will indeed be held onsite.

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