Virginia Section

Virginia Section Chemistry Olympiad

May 2014

I have completed the final reports, certificates and will be sending the gift cards soon to all the students, teachers and proctors who participated in this years Chemistry Olympiad. I want to thank everyone for their hard work, including Joe Pompano and Kevin Moore who took over some of the jobs needed to run this activity.   I plan on doing this again next year and hope that the teachers and schools that participated this year, will consider participating again next year. 

The Schools that won either the Team or School Awards in 2013 and 2014 will receive special recognition at the September Meeting of Virginia ACS at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia.  These schools include:   Albemarle High School (2013 & 2014), Prince George High School (2013), The Covenant School (2014), The Steward School (2013), The Governor's School of Southside Virginia (2013), the Governor's School @ Innovation Park (2013) and Western Albemarle High School (2013). 

 The tests are posted:  First year Exam and Key, Second year exam and key

 The final report with corrections:  May 2014 Report

Ann Sullivan, Chair 

Past Reports and Tests

Who Should Take the Local Section Chemistry Olympiad Exam?

Any student interested in participating who is nominated by their teacher.  The local examination is separated into two levels.  
  • The first year exam is for students who are doing well in their first year of chemistry.   The exam is an excellent preparation for the SOL Chemistry exam. 
  • The second year exam is for students taking a second year of chemistry, AP or IB chemistry or are taking a college credit course.  This exam is an excellent preparation for an advanced placement exam.  These students will be eligible to be nominated to take the National Examination.  
  • A teacher can nominate one student or their entire class. A teacher may also nominate students who have taken chemistry previously and are still attending the school but are not presently in a chemistry class.  
Home schooled students are welcome to participate if you can arrange a secure location to provide proctoring for the local exam. I will provide one day in late March in Richmond for this purpose.  

Organizing the Local Chemistry Olympiad at your school:

Teachers may request to give the examination within their school by providing a secure location in which a counselor or administrator will proctor the exam to their students.  The Deadline for registration is 22 February 2014. or 2 weeks prior to the test date.    The test must be completed on a single day within a school between February 28 and March 26. The first year and second year tests may be given on different days within the school during this time period.  
  • Neither the students’ chemistry teacher nor anyone directly involved in the instruction of chemistry should be involved in the administration of this examination.  
  • The test administrator in each school will be responsible for test security, proctoring the test, and returning the completed answer sheets.  A single copy of the exam will be mailed along with answer sheets and the testing directions to the test administrator at least 24 hours in advance of the school’s selected date for giving the examination. 
  • All tests and materials are sent to the administrator of the exam in the school, not to the teacher.  It is asked that the test administrator make enough copies of the examination to be given to each student registered in the competition.  If the number of students registered changes (either increases or decreases), the administrator should make a note of the students who participated on the day of the exam.  
  • Within 24 hours following the examination, the Administrator must return ONLY the answer sheets.  The administrator is to secure the test booklets until after April 1 when the examination may be released to the teachers and students.
  • The students should be given 90 to 120 minutes to complete the local examination.
  • They are allowed to use only the materials provided with the exam and a calculator.  The directions from the ACS Olympiad committee requires that only non programmable calculators be used. 

How do you nominate your student(s)?

  • Complete the online or paper registration form.
    • Teachers should fill out the online registration form (click)   Once the fillable PDF is complete, save the file and email a copy to me.   I will email you back with verification that I have received your registration form
    • The paper form can be mailed or faxed to the Chemistry Olympiad chair.
  • The teacher needs to email or submit a list of students who will participate in the local examination at least one week before their examination is given.  Email this list to Ann Sullivan at  
    • For the First year examination, only the student's name and teacher is required. 
    • For the Second year examination, the student's name, teacher and the student's home phone number and email address is essential. If the students is nominated for the National examination, the student's chemistry teacher will be the first contact but the student may also need to be contacted if the teacher is not available..

Important Dates for 2015

December 2014Invitation sent to local public and private high school within the Virginia Section.  See region map for cities and counties within the Virginia Section. 
February  Deadline to register students for the Examination Locations
March 2 - 27Local Section Examinations Given at individual High Schools or by special request at College testing centers
March 30 - April 3Notification of student's teacher for Eligibility to take National Exam by email and phone 
April UNSCO National Examination for Local Section, J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, Downtown Campus, Richmond, Virginia


The Absolute deadline for receipt of the national examination materials from coordinators at the ACS DivCHED Examinations Institute for grading.  Exam Answer Sheets must be sent by UPS in the prepaid envelope provided. Exams received after this deadline CANNOT be graded.


 The USNCO National Office will start contacting, by telephone, the local section coordinators of the 20 students chosen to attend the study camp.  (Letters announcing the final results will be mailed to other sections as soon as a final roster has been determined.)

By May 15

Teachers receive grades, certificates and awards for their students who have taken the local examination, Grades will be emailed to teachers before certificates are mailed.


Twenty students attend the study camp at the US Air Force Academy in Colorado. Team to represent the U.S. at the IChO will be announced at the study camp closing ceremony on June
July 20 -29The  International Chemistry Olympiad competition
September 2015 Award Ceremony for award recipients

Virginia Section Chemistry Olympiad Chair

Dr. Ann M. Sullivan

Phone at (804) 943-2591 or (804) 523-5777
FAX:  (804) 523-5483

Mailing Address:

1777 Spain Drive
South Prince George, VA 23805-8354

What happens after the Local Exam?

  • Teachers will be notified of their student’s scores and be provided a copy of the local exam by May 15th, if possible.  
  • No later than April 1st, I will contact the teacher of the students who had the top twenty scores on second year examinations.  These students will be nominated to take the National Exam.   I need to have very quick turnaround for this process because I would like to fill all 12 slots and will continue down the list until they are.  The student will only be contacted with the provided home phone number or email only if the student's teacher does not reply within three days.     
  • According to the rules,  these students must be U. S. citizens or legal permanent residents.   Only two students from each school can take the exam.  The complete rules for the National Examination are available at Exam Rules The National Examination will be given at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College in Richmond on Saturday, April 19. 
  • If the student is one of the top 20 scores on the National exam, they will be invited to attend the US Olympiad camp at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. 
  • From competition within this camp, five students will be chosen the represent the United States at the International Chemistry Olympiad competition. 
  • The teacher will receive the answer sheets for your students, along with gift certificates they may have won for having top scores on the test, answer keys to the exam, charts of the results for all the students who took each test, the average score and the standard deviation for each exam and your students.  I plan that you will receive that package in early May.

What to do if you were invited to the National Olympiad?

We will begin testing promptly at 9 a.m. in room 605 of the Downtown Campus of J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College.  The directions for the test and to the campus are available on the Virginia Chemistry Olympiad website at     The address for the Downtown campus is 700 E. Jackson Street, Richmond, 23219 at the corner of 7th Street and E. Jackson Street.  Some street  Parking is available and with validation  there is parking in the JSRCC parking deck with access off of 8th Street.  Pull a ticket to access the parking deck.      Do not park in the VCU parking deck.

The national exam contains three parts.  You can view past exams by going to the national Olympiad site at  

There are three documents that you can download

The student should bring a pencil and a non - programmable calculator, such as a TI 30.   I will have a few available if the student is unable to locate one for their use. 

I will have snacks and drinks available throughout the day and a pizza lunch will be provided.  The first test will be Part II of the exam, then we will proceed to Part III, the laboratory practical before lunch.  Safety glasses, gloves and other safety equipment will be provided for the students use.    After lunch, we will conclude the testing with Part I. 

The testing will conclude around 2:30 p.m.


School Categories, Recognition, and Awards:

 Schools will be classified into two categories:

  • Small Public, Private or Governor's Schools with under 500 total enrollment
  • Large Public, Private or Governor's Schools with over 500 total enrollment

Recognitions organized by the above categories.

  • Each student who participates will receive a certificate of participation.
  • The highest scoring student from each school will receive a Chemistry Olympiad pin.
  • The three highest scoring students in each category: 1st, 2nd and 3rd place for each test, will receive a chemistry Olympiad pin and a gift certificate.
  • Within each category, the school with the highest total of the top three student's score for each test,  will receive a plaque and a certificate of award.  This is called the team award.  This award will be given to the Teacher at the Virginia Section's Award Ceremony usually held in December.
  • The students who are nominated by the local section to take the National examination will represent all categories and will receive a chemistry Olympiad pin and a gift certificate.
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