Frequently Asked Questions

Clarifications & FAQs open October 1 and close May 1. Official Rules Clarifications are made to correct the rules printed in the Science Olympiad Rules Manuals. FAQs are replies to commonly asked questions. If a FAQ reply changes the meaning or corrects a rule it will be posted as a Clarification. The Official Rules Clarifications and FAQs apply to all states and all tournaments and originate at the National level (please check your Regional or State Website for special updates pertaining to your regional or state events). Please review the Official Rules Clarifications in addition to the FAQs. The official event rules can only found in the Science Olympiad Rules Manual that is sent to each registered member.

To view posted FAQs or to Submit a Question for a Rules Clarification, please select one of the five titles in blue below.  To search for a key word use the search function. To see all FAQ responses, use the Printer-Friendly Version button below. To see if a similar questions to yours has been asked, click on the Reveal Questions button. For Trial event questions, please submit them under the Reveal Questions button at the very end under Trial Events.

The Submit a Question form is to be used to ask questions about a specific section and paragraph number in the event rule that might be unclear, not to be a help or answer desk. Only specific clarifying questions will receive replies. They will be posted if they are not a repetition of what is already stated in the rules. Concerning specificity about what is allowed please read the Code of Ethics and General Rules. For general info about team size and an overview of Science Olympiad, see Background under About SO.

Questions that will not receive a reply: those that are already answered and posted, what materials to use, how to build a device, if a device complies to the rules, what will be covered on a test or how to coach the event. These questions should go to your coach or see the links under Events.

General tournament, facilities or site-specific questions should go to your State Director.

Division B Events

Division C Events

General Questions

Coaching/Team Requirements

Trial Events

Division B Events

Questions must be directed toward the rules. We cannot pre-judge your device by answering questions on whether it complies.

Earth/Space Science

Dynamic Planet - Div B

Rocks and Minerals


Road Scholar

Reach for the Stars


Bottle Rocket

Fast Facts

Experimental Design - Div B

Write It Do It - Div B

Life/Personal/Social Science

Microbe Mission

Disease Detectives - Div B



Invasive Species - Div B

Physical Science/Chemistry


Food Science

Crime Busters



Wind Power - Div B



Mission Possible



Wright Stuff

Division C Events

Questions must be directed toward the rules. We cannot pre-judge your device by answering questions on whether it complies.

Earth & Space Science


Dynamic Planet - Div C

Remote Sensing

Rocks and Minerals

Inquiry & Nature of Science

Experimental Design - Div C

Game On


Write It Do It - Div C

Life, Personal & Social Science

Anatomy and Physiology

Ecology - Div C

Disease Detectives - Div C

Invasive Species - Div C

Microbe Mission - Div C

Physical Science & Chemistry

Materials Science

Wind Power - Div C

Hovercraft - Div C



Chem Lab

Technology & Engineering


Electric Vehicle

Robot Arm

Towers - Div C

General Questions

Please do not use this form for EVENT RULE questions as they must be submitted by selecting one of the 46 events listed. This page refers to questions that apply to all events and to Science Olympiad in general. 

2008-08-21 13:11 General Rule 4 on the last page of each manual states that participants may not communicate with the outside. How will the laptops be checked to insure that their internet capability is disabled?

Event Supervisors are not willing to share their methods of insuring that students do not communicate with the outside during an event.

2008-08-21 13:12 In past years, there have been live links for the various events to access online resources. Did I miss them, or is there a change in policy?

Material on the website has been contributed by coaches, event supervisors and workshop presenters from all levels of competition. Any additional material will be posted as it becomes available. If you would like to contribute material (non-copyright) please contact the Science Olympiad National Office.

2008-08-21 13:13 When will the Rules Manual be sent?

Depends on where the order was sent, when it was sent, and if the order was received.

First check with your main/business office to determine if and when the order was sent and to whom it was sent. Do not assume that if you gave your office an order that it was sent. It often takes as much as 6 weeks before orders are approved by the school board.  If it has been more than 7 working days since your order was actually sent, you may want to call  the office that it was sent to, to determine if your order was indeed received.

2008-08-21 13:13 Where can I find answers to questions about the rules?

Answers to all questions about rules can generally be found in the Rules Manual by reading the rules carefully. The Clarifications and individual Event FAQ pages have only selected answers to corrections or common misunderstandings.

2008-08-21 13:14 Where is the best website to obtain info and materials on how to make devices for competion?

Researching information is part of the competition and is the responsibility of the contestants. Some information available from Science Olympiad on the internet can be located on the page for that event. To access event pages, go to Event Info, Division, event name.

2008-08-21 13:17 Why aren't the rules on the web?

The rules are copyrighted and may not be placed on the web without the permission of the Science Olympiad National Executive Board of Directors. They have voted unanimously NOT to post the rules on the website for numerous reasons. Some issues and concerns that had an impact on the decision were; membership timing and delays, graphics and charts, bogus electronic copies, school's inability to download or open documents, downloading platforms and other problems. Other Science Olympiad manuals (but not the Rules Manual) contribute to the revenue which keeps the organization financially sound and able to provide the high-quality educational experience that it does.

Additional copies of the Rules Manual may be purchased from the Science Olympiad store on this website.

2008-08-21 13:17 How far in advance of the regional and state tournaments are the schedules sent out so coaches can figure out student placement in events?

This depends on each tournament Director's timeline. You may need to inquire about the schedule directly with each of your directors. The very tentative national schedule is generally posted in the Coaches Manuals.

2008-08-21 13:19 If our school has two teams, are students allowed to participate with both teams?

No, students may not compete on 2 teams in the same tournament.

2008-08-21 13:20 May a 9th grader compete in both the B division and C division, since B is 6-9 and C is 9-12?

No, you must choose one or the other at a tournament.  You may not be on two rosters at the same tournament.

2008-08-21 13:21 What is the policy of using resources during competition this year?

Allowed resources are different for each event. Please read each Event Rule and the General Rules in the Rules Manual for information on using resources.

2008-08-21 13:23 May a team member participate in the state competition if they cannot participate in the regional competition?

Each tournament is independently organized. Your team may be composed of any students who meet the requirements. They do not have to be the same as those who competed in previous tournaments.

2008-08-21 13:24 I was looking for FAQs for an event, but there aren't any questions or answers for that event.

You are correct.  There are very few questions and answers posted this year because the rules have been generally well written and we have received few questions that are worthy of posting.  We are responding to all questions that come in but be aware that responses may take up to a week.    Please be sure to read the parameters that we use to decide what questions we will or will not answer. These parameters may be found at Event Info/FAQs...

2008-08-21 13:26 On what dates are the regional, state, and national tournaments, or where might I find them?

Contact your Regional and State Director for information about those tournaments. All known future National Tournament dates can be found on the "Tournaments" page on this website and in the current Rules Manual.

2008-08-21 13:49 Where are the event rules on this website? I would like to be able to print the rules instead of copying from someone else's manual.

The rules are copyrighted and may not be placed on any website. Copies of the Rules Manual containing the rules for all events are generally sent to the coach when a team is registered.  Additional copies  may be purchased from the Science Olympiad Store on this website.

2008-11-26 14:15 Why aren't the schedules for nationals, state and regionals all the same? It is very difficult to reorganize the teams at every level of competition because of time conflicts with the studied events. Why aren't all competitions required to be con...

There are 500 different tournaments with 500 different sets of unique limitations. The national schedule is posted in September. You might ask your local tournament director but keep in mind that they must build their schedules around limitations such as availability of space, event supervisors, equipment, etc.

2012-10-26 14:31 How much is the initial registration fee?

The National registration fee is $60 per team and is included in the state registration fee. Please check with your State Director to register. State websites can be accessed through the

2015-11-12 14:30 Can we laminate cheat sheets?

See General Rule #1.

Coaching/Team Requirements

Questions on coaching a team, study resources and membership requirements.

2008-08-11 16:25 If a student no longer attends the school but is at another school that does not have a team, may she compete on our team?

No, but they are welcome to form a new team even if it is with only a few students at first. Remember that a parent, a community member or any educator, etc. may be a coach, but be sure to notify the principal and follow all of the school rules.

2008-08-11 16:27 If we qualifiy for nationals, but are short team members, may we use alternate team members to fill in?

Each tournament is independently organized. Your team may be composed of any students who meet the requirements on page 2 of the Coaches Manual and Rules. They do not have to be the same as those who competed in previous tournaments.

2008-08-11 16:46 What is the official rule on alternate team members?

There is no "official" rule on "alternate" members.  Alternates may participate only if one of the 15 regular team members can't make it the day of the competition or if a team member becomes ill or injured. Alternates may not fill in if there is a schedule conflict or if the schedule changes on the day of the competition.

Some tournaments restrict the number (if any) per team and sometimes allow them to participate in trials events and drop off impound items. Many tournaments issue and require "regular" team members to wear "hospital style" wrist bands so alternates do not "accidentally" cover for a late member.

2008-08-11 16:47 Where can I find information/help on coaching a team?

The informal Science Olympiad Coaches Discussion Group has many experienced coaches that can can offer assistance. To join go to:

2008-08-11 16:49 Do you have to be certified to coach a team?

Science Olympiad does not certify coaches. We accept any adult that the school accepts as a coach. It does not have to be a teacher or an administrator of the school. It could be a parent or a community member. Each school may have different requirements for coaches.

2008-08-11 16:49 Are there any other places where we can get practice tests for the events?

Yes, dozens of them, but the best sources are the Test Packets from each National Tournament that can be ordered from the Science Olympiad Store. Many others are listed under event info on the National Science Olympiad website.

2008-08-11 16:51 If a school has grade levels below those designated for their division (A3-6/B6-9/C9-12), may students from the lower grades participate on a team in a higher division?

With the concurrence of your tournaments organizers, to encourage and support the inclusion of all children who wish to participate in Science Olympiad, schools with grade levels lower than those designated in a division (e.g., K-8, 3-7, 7-12) are permitted to invite members below the Division grade level designations if no other outlet (such as a division-specific team) is available. We prefer and encourage students to participate in the division that matches current Science Olympiad grade level designations. Participation is limited to age-appropriate events (as determined by a coach, principal or tournament director) and prohibited where safety is a concern (such as the use of chemicals).

2008-08-11 16:53 Where can I find answers to questions about the rules?

Answers to all questions can be found in this knowledge base. The Clarifications  and individual Event FAQ pages have been merged into this Knowledge base.

2008-08-11 16:54 May we put a team together & register outside the school, having the team made up of students from the school? May the coach be a parent or does it have to be a teacher from that school?

Please see the official Science Olympiad policies on Team Size & Grade Levels ( and Team Qualifications ( for team composition questions. While parents or other adults are excellent team coaches, a principal must sign the team roster, and most school administrators will require a contracted person, staff, or faculty member to organize all school paperwork necessary for travel to Science Olympiad tournaments, including permission slips, and medical and media release forms. As the Science Olympiad team is representing the school, the school needs to follow all the proper procedures for student supervision, liability and safety. Please see our Volunteers page for more info. (

2008-11-10 16:11 Please tell me how to find and print the event rules. We are having trouble navigating the website.

The rules are copyrighted and are not placed on any website. Copies of the Rules Manual containing the rules for all events may be purchased from the Science Olympiad Store.

2008-08-11 16:21 Trial/Pilot Events

For general information and pdfs regarding trial events, please visit the Trial Events information page.

To ask questions about a Trial Event or to find out which events will be held, contact your Regional or State Director.