The Royal Society of Chemistry reveals the grade boundaries for the first round of the 56th Chemistry Olympiad

A bar chart showing UK Chemistry Olympiad scores. 29.9% of candidates got no award, 36.8% got bronze, 25% got silver and 8.3% got gold with a mark of 30 or more.

Students had to score 10–17 marks for the Bronze award, 18–29 marks for the Silver award and 30 or more for the Gold award

The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) has released the 2024 grade boundaries for the first round of the UK Chemistry Olympiad. On 25 January, 14,915 students from 1,025 schools took part – a fantastic new participation record. More than 70% of the students who took part achieved Bronze, Silver and Gold awards. To receive a Bronze award, participants had to score 10–17 marks, they needed 18–29 marks for the Silver award and 30 or more marks for the prestigious Gold award. Students can request their scores from their teachers, and pdf certificates will be distributed in March.

The 2024 paper covered topics such as the composition of the FIFA 2023 Women’s World Cup trophy, iodate salts, fuel-producing bacteria, the MRI contrast agent gadopiclenol and sulfur-containing molecules in the atmosphere. This year’s paper was more challenging than last year’s, which is reflected in the grade boundaries, with a decrease in the marks required to obtain each award.

RSC Education executive and competition organiser, Sophie Redman, congratulates and thanks the teachers and students involved: ‘I would like to congratulate all the students who took part in the first round of the UK Chemistry Olympiad. We are delighted to see a big increase in the number of students participating, year on year, and we extend our thanks to all the teachers who gave their time to facilitate this stage of the competition.’

A total of 34 students have been selected for the second round of the competition (one more than last year), which will take take place at the University of Nottingham from 4–7 April. Four standout participants will then go on to represent the UK in the highly prestigious international final, which will take place in Saudi Arabia from 21–30 July.

Past papers

Students who would like to practise answering questions can access past papers with mark schemes with answers. The 2023 question paper, student answer booklet, mark scheme and examiners’ report are now available.