The Southern California Section of the American Chemical Society has been offering the Chemistry Contest since 1914, at which time Nordhoff High School was the top-scoring school. It became the High School Chemistry Olympiad in 1968 when National ACS began sponsoring it. In 2008, the Section won a National award for 25 years of continuous support of the Chemistry Olympiad. In 2014, we celebrated 100 years of offering the High School Contest. The Southern California Section has the longest-running contest in American Chemical Society history.
The Chemistry Olympiad is a way for the Section to locate and recognize high-achieving students and mentor them in chemistry. Each year, we offer the test at over 30 high school campuses all over Los Angeles County. The test is designed to test a student’s knowledge of a wide variety of topics in chemistry. The top scorers on the local exam are nominated to compete in the National Exam. The top 20 national winners are invited to attend an all-expense paid two-week study camp. The top four finalists from the camp are then selected to represent the United States at the International Chemistry Olympiad which is held in a different country each year. We recognize the top local students at an Educational Awards Banquet in May with monetary awards and certificates.
Online Registration is now open. The Online Registration deadline for the 2023 exam is March 6th. Contact the office for registration questions: (310) 327-1216.
The Local Exam is a two-hour multiple-choice test prepared by the National Office of the American Chemical Society, Education Division. It is designed to test the student’s knowledge of a wide variety of topics in chemistry. If you would like to review previous years’ exams to practice or to determine if you would like to participate in the contest, you may check out the American Chemical Society website www.ACS.org and type in “Olympiad Local Exam” under the search topic. We strongly encourage teachers to have students prepare for the test by reviewing previous years’ exams. The test essentially covers the same material each year. The exam is not only a way for your students to gauge how well they compare to other students in Los Angeles County, but the results can also indicate how your chemistry program compares to that of other high schools. A score of over 45 is usually needed to be considered for the National Exam.
This year, the Local Exam top 12 scorers (must be U. S. citizens or permanent residents, with no more than two from any one school) will be nominated to compete in the National Exam, which will be held on Saturday, April 29th at a location to be determined. The top 20 national winners will be invited to attend an all-expenses-paid two-week study camp at the U. S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. At this camp, four finalists will be selected from the U. S. Team to represent the United States in the International Chemistry Olympiad (ICHO).
The annual SCALACS High School Chemistry Olympiad Awards Night which may be held this year in May will recognize and honor the Local Exam winners, the National Olympiad nominees, the individual school high scorers with 10 or more participants, and their teachers. The student who scores the highest will receive $500. Monetary awards and certificates will also be awarded to the remaining top 20 students. School team awards will be presented to the school with the highest combined scores for the top ten participants and to the school with the highest combined scores of ten first-year chemistry students.
The online registration deadline for the 2023 exam is March 6th. Contact the office for registration questions: (310) 327-1216.
For more information about the U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad, visit: https://www.acs.org/education/students/highschool/olympiad.html