Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs open October 1 and close May 1. Please review the Official Rules Clarifications in addition to the FAQsOfficial Rules Clarifications are made to clarify or correct the rules printed in the Rules Manuals. FAQs are replies to commonly asked questions.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 additional information). If you need copies of the official rules (only found in the Rules Manuals), see your coach or go to the Science Olympiad Store

To see posted FAQs or to Submit a Question for a Rules Clarification, please select one of the events below or to search for a key word use the "search box" (HINT: to see all FAQ responses: use the "Printer-Friendly Version" Button). 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, how to coach the event. These questions should go to your Coach or see the links under EVENT INFO.

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

Fossils - Div B


Road Scholar

Solar System


Bottle Rocket

Picture This

Experimental Design - Div B

Write It Do It - Div B

Life/Personal/Social Science

Bio-Process Lab

Disease Detectives - Div B

Anatomy and Physiology

Green Generation - Div B

Entomology - Div B

Physical Science/Chemistry


Can't Judge a Powder

Crime Busters


Crave The Wave

Simple Machines

Air Trajectory


Wheeled Vehicle

(section: 3 / paragraph: c / line: 1)

2014-10-22 09:36 Can other parts of the vehicle (not the wheels) extend beyond the 25cm by 60cm rectangle in a ready to run configuration?

Yes, rule 3.c. applies only to the wheels.


Bridge Building

Elastic Launched Glider

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

Fossils - Div C

GeoLogic Mapping

Inquiry & Nature of Science

Experimental Design - Div C

Bungee Drop

(section: 3 / paragraph: b / line: 3)

2014-10-21 21:08 The phrasing for the sentence beginning "An attachment mechanism... " has very confusing wording. What exactly is it saying about attachment mechanisms (could you reword it for us?)

Rule 2.b.line 3 The phrase should be a complete sentence starting with the wording "Supervisors will supply an attachment mechanism......."

Technical Problem Solving

Write It Do It - Div C

Life, Personal & Social Science

Anatomy and Physiology

Cell Biology - Div C

Disease Detectives - Div C


Green Generation - Div C

Physical Science & Chemistry

Air Trajectory

Compound Machines

It's About Time


Protein Modeling

Chem Lab

Technology & Engineering

Bridge Building - Div C

Mission Possible

(section: 1 / paragraph: a / line: 4)

2014-10-22 08:57 Does each golf ball need to end up in its own container?


(section: 4 / line: 1)

2014-10-22 09:02 What is the difference between the Action Sequence List transfers and the Bonus Energy Transfer Sequences? When is which used, etc?

All actions/transfers must be included on the submitted Action Sequence List. The Bonus Energy Transfer Sequences must be included in the submitted Action Sequence List.

(section: 4 / paragraph: a / sub-paragraph: 3 / line: 5)

2014-10-22 09:07 Can objects, other than scoring golf balls, be placed inside of the scoring jugs, provided that they do not alter the inside surface of the jug?

No, objects other than the scoring golf balls may not be inside the scoring jugs. The inside of the scoring jug may not contain any objects, excluding scoring golf balls, throughout the duration of the run.

(section: 4 / paragraph: b / line: 1)

2014-10-22 09:11 For two consecutive ETS will the golf ball at the end of first ETS be the same as the golf ball of the second ETS?

Yes, the ending ball from one ETS may be the starting ball for the next ETS. There does not need to be an intermediate step between two consecutive Bonus Energy Transfer Sequences.

(section: 4 / paragraph: b / line: 2)

2014-10-22 09:13 Does an ETS have to be initiated by a golf ball specifically falling into a scoring jug (4.b, line 2) or simply initiated by a golf ball "Prior to entering a scoring jug (4.a, line 8)"?

The Bonus ETS must be initiated by a golf ball specifically falling into a scoring jug.

(section: 4 / paragraph: c / line: 3)

2014-10-22 09:24 What is the specific definition of "immediately," as in "The last ball will count for points if it immediately drops into a jug"?

Immediate is not specifically defined in a tenth of a second or seconds so as not to put a burden on the Event Supervisor for timing. It is up to the Event Supervisor to determine the definition of "immediate". A team should not take chances of the ball taking more than 1-2 seconds.

(section: 5 / line: L)

2014-10-22 09:30 Only 6 Energy Task Sequences score points. Can any number of golf balls be given 2 points, though after the first 6, they use non-scoreable Actions?

Yes, any number of golf balls may receive 2 points with non-scoreable actions.


Wright Stuff

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

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?

Any adult can be a coach (teacher, parent, administrator, previous competitor, counselor, engineer, local businessman, dentist, shop owner, rock hound, etc,). The only requirement is students must be from the same school and the principal must verify that the competitors are members of that school.

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.