Preparation Tips

STUDENT PREPARATION for ACADEMIC EVENTS

LEARNING THE RULES

  • Be sure you have the latest version of the event rules.
  • The year will appear at the bottom of the page with page number.
  • Check the event parameters to see what you are allowed to bring.
  • Be sure you know the format for the event as stations, power point, tasks, problems.
  • Check the rules for the content to be covered at each level – regional, state, national.

OBTAINING RESOURCES

INTERNET RESOURCES

  • Internet Resource File – see Science Olympiad website www.soinc.org under the event
  • Search Engines for event topics
  • Search for online text books and lab manuals about  topic
  • Search for College Course Lecture Notes and Labs about topic 

REFERENCE BOOKS and TEXTBOOKS

  • Available from local books stores, schools, libraries, friends, family
  • May be able to get freebies from local school or community colleges in earlier editions

MODELS

  • Available from local schools or community colleges – ask to borrow
  • May be able to get freebies from doctors, dentists, local professional organizations

MAPS

  • Available from local schools, libraries, or on the web
  • Road maps are available from most state or AAA of someone is a member
  • Topographic maps available from USGS by phone, mail, or web as well as through map stores

SCIENTIFIC ORGANIZATIONS and GOVERNMENT AGENCIES

  • Free resources on their scientific area in print form upon request
  • Free teacher resources and training materials
  • Downloadable materials from their websites 

ORGANIZING RESOURCES FOR STUDY – STUDENT BINDER

  • The most effective resources are the ones produced by the students.
  • The process of producing the resources is a major learning tool.
  • Have a copy of the rules in your binder.
  • Have a copy of the lists (birds, fossils if applicable) in your binder.
  • Prepare and organize materials by major topic divisions.
  • Place materials from many different sources into your topic divisions
  • Reduce the size of pictures where possible to get more information on a page.
  • Color code information to help you locate or emphasize key items.
  • Put pages in sheet protectors – two per protector to save space.
  • Use tabs to separate sections.
  • Label tabs so items can be located with ease.

PREPARING FOR THE EVENT

Learning the material

  • Practice for the competition using ALL of your resources.
  • Practice with sample questions and use your resources to answer them.
  • Remember that the events are timed and learn to use time effectively
  • Use a timer when attempting to locate information and answer questions.
  • Modify the information as you use it to make it more efficient.
  • Learn as much of the information as possible and only depend upon a few key items for the resource page to be taken into the competition (as allowed by rules).

Team work skills

  • Use time effectively!  Assign tasks and trust your partner’s skills.
  • Identify and utilize the strengths of each team member.
  • Practice working as a team.

Time limits

  • Practice under competition conditions.
  • Practice effective methods of using the strength of each team member to maximize the use of allotted time.
  • Make up sample questions and stations to practice completing tasks within an assigned time limit.

PREPARING COMPETITION RESOURCES

  • Check the event parameter so you know what is allowed in the competition.
  • Since the events are timed, organization of materials is essential for the most effective use of the materials during the competition.
  • Organize materials on each page to maximize available space.
  • Cut and paste items to organize materials more effectively on a page.
  • Write notes in margins or with pictures.
  • Color code information to help you locate or emphasize key items.
  • Use front and back of the page.
  • Place the page in a protective sleeve or laminate it so it won’t get wet or damaged.

DOING THE COMPETITION

General questions

  • Ask the event supervisor if the test can be separated for packet-type tests.
  • Be respectful of the event supervisors. Remember they have volunteered their time to provide a competition for you.
  • If there is a question about the rules, show the supervisor that section of rules to make your point. 

Answer Sheet

  • Be sure to put your team name, team number, and individual team member names.
  • Print information so it can be easily read and understood.
  • Place answers in the appropriate place on the answer sheet.
  • Be sure to put units after any measurements or calculations.
  • Be sure answers to essay questions are organized and easy to read.

Team work skills

  • Use time effectively!  Assign tasks and trust your partner’s skills.
  • Keep on task and be sure to finish each part of the assigned question.
  • Try to use the last few minutes to check each other's work if you have split up tasks.

Answering questions

  • Carefully read all questions to determine exactly what is being asked.
  • Take a moment to determine if your answer makes sense.
  • Be certain that you have completely answered each question.
  • Pay attention to details in the questions and in your answers.

Measurements and Calculations

  • Be sure to analyze the instrument to determine its capacity (range) and increment values to ensure the proper use of the instrument.
  • Make measurements to the accuracy of the instrument.
  • Select the most appropriate type of instrument for the type of measurement requested.
  • Read the increment carefully. 
  • Be sure to remember any special considerations such as a meniscus.
  • Use the same instrument for multiple measurements to improve precision.
  • Give your answer in the proper units and be sure to include the units with your answer.
  • Be sure calculations are set up and carried out properly. 
  • Work in a neat organized fashion showing all work where partial credit is possible. 
  • Be sure your answer makes sense.
  • Remember that calculations may be used for breaking ties.

GOOD LUCK!  Have fun and do your best.