Coaching/Team Requirements

2008-08-11 15:25 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 15:27 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 15:46 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 15:47 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 15:49 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 15:49 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 15:51 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 15:53 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 15:54 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 15:11 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.