Discover tips and supporting resources to help you prepare for the Chemistry Olympiad and the round one paper

Are you registered for the Chemistry Olympiad and wondering what to do next? Fear not – we have plenty of Olympiad resources to support teachers and students alike. Use this guide to help you plan your preparation and make the most of the resources available.

Learn what to expect from the round one paper

There isn’t a syllabus for the Chemistry Olympiad, but with a bit of knowledge from studying Chemistry A-level (or an equivalent qualification) students should be able to give the Olympiad questions a go. The questions are difficult – they require students to apply their knowledge, solve problems and make educated guesses. The key is not to give up, and remember that even a seemingly low mark can earn an award. For example, in 2021 students needed 17 marks out of 85 to earn a bronze award. We always encourage students to look carefully through the whole paper so they don’t miss any questions that they can try, and be sure to give any multiple choice questions a go.

The question papers come with a periodic table and list of useful constants and quantities. This usually comes at the back of the question paper so students can pull it off and refer to it to help answer the questions.

Chemistry Olympiad questions are based on fascinating real-world chemistry, so the most important tip is to enjoy the chemistry and the chance to tackle an interesting new paper each year.

Try some simpler questions

A really good place to start is our introductory questions. These questions are suitable for students with GCSE-level knowledge and each comes with an explainer that walks you through the logic and calculations needed to answer the questions.

Get your head around some worked answers

The next step is to let the experts guide you through some real Olympiad questions. Our Chemistry Olympiad worked answers are split into three difficulty levels and each question has a video explaining how to get to the answer. Students can give the questions a go themselves and check their answers, or watch the video whenever they get stuck.

For more worked answers, have a look through the Chemistry Olympiad support booklet, which gives a written overview of how to answer each question.

Practise with new and unfamiliar topics

Tricky topics that often come up in Olympiad papers include unit cells and organic synthesis. However, students can be extra prepared for these topics by working through our explainers. Each resource begins with an introduction to the chemistry before providing some past Olympiad questions and worked examples to practise on.

Tackle the past papers

With Chemistry Olympiad past papers stretching back to 2003, there is no shortage of papers to practise on. Working through past papers is particularly useful to familiarise yourself with the style of the questions and the timing of the paper.

Next steps

  • Find out how the competition works, including key dates for your diary.
  • Check out the support booklet for teachers, with additional tips and guidance on how to approach Olympiad-style questions.
  • Start exploring the full range of supporting resources, from introductory questions and explainers to past papers.