Feb 25, 2019

International Chemistry Olympiad

  • Crimson Education
  • Istanbul, Turkey
University Selection Competition Workshop Skill Building Other


The International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO) is an annual academic competition for high school students. It is one of the International Science Olympiads. The 52nd ICHO event will be held in Istanbul, Turkey, on 6-15 July 2020. 

The delegations that attended the first events were mostly countries of the former Eastern bloc and it was not until 1980, the 12th annual International Chemistry Olympiad, that the event was held outside of the bloc in Austria. Up to 4 students for each national team compete around July in both a theoretical and an experimental sections, with about half of the participants being awarded medals.

Each delegation comprises of up to four students and two mentors (one of them is appointed as the head of the delegation or "head mentor"). A delegation may also include guests and scientific observers. Students must be under the age of 20 and must not be enrolled as regular students in any post-secondary education institution. The International Information Center of the International Chemistry Olympiad is based in Bratislava, Slovakia.

Any country who wishes to participate in the IChO must send observers to two consecutive olympiads before their students can participate in the event. The competition involves two examinations, both a theoretical and practical examination. Both have durations of up to 5 hours, and are held on separate days. Each examination is evaluated independently from the other and the total of the results determines a participant's overall outcome. A scientific jury, which is installed by the host country will suggests the task. There is an international jury which consists of the two mentors from each of the participating countries. Their role is discussing the competition tasks and translating them into the language of their students' preference.

For more information visit the official website here.

Type of Opportunity

Extracurricular Activity

Age Range




Only 4 students are accepted and represent the national team.

Participation Cost


The participation fee is determined by the number of years from the first participation or from hosting an olympiad.
Annual increase in country fee - $100 USD
Upper limit of fee - $2000 USD
Starting fee for new countries- $1000 USD

For New Zealand, their first participation was in 1992 and therefore their participation fee is currently $2000 (USD)

Observer Participation Fee: $ 1,500 / person (Max. 2 observers per country)
Guest Participation Fee: $ 2,500 / person

Accommodation + flights range: $1500-3000/ person

Minimum Technical Skill Needed


A high proficiency in knowledge of chemistry.

Time Commitment


This is a one off event held annually, but will require a lot of preparation and study by the participants before.

Application Deadline

Due to Covid-19, application deadline is subject to variability - TBA.

Application Process Includes

Due to Covid-19, ICHO would like to ask you to confirm by April 20 2020 whether your delegation would still like to participate in the Olympiad in this new format through our registration site. Each delegation has to re-register (form will be published as google forms and send to contact person of your country)!

The New Zealand program involves:

A 2- hour written exam in late October or early November which selects 80-100 students,
A series of problem based assignments (February – March),
A second exam in March to select the training group (about 30 with no more than 4 students from any one school),
The camp (about 30 students) that takes place in the Term 1 holidays and includes a practical exam and a theory exam that are used to determine the final team of 4 students to represent NZ at the International competition,
A training program during term 2 for the final 4 students (in anticipation of international competition).
The International Chemistry Olympiad examinations are arduous and involve a 5 hour practical examination followed 2 days later by a 5 hour theoretical examination.