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USABO 2017-2018

24

Replies to: USABO 2017-2018

  • MuscleMan001MuscleMan001 Registered User Posts: 27 New Member
    This is my first time reading Campbell's, so I'm spending a day (or two) per chapter. Once I've read it entirely, I'll reread about 2 chapters a day. I'm hoping it'll be easier to read the second or third time.
  • awesomepolyglotawesomepolyglot Registered User Posts: 3,557 Senior Member
    Unless you're very good at reading college-level science textbooks or have the majority of the day to study, it will not be easy to get through the book that fast.
  • MuscleMan001MuscleMan001 Registered User Posts: 27 New Member
    I have the entire summer to myself. I was too dumb to do any signing up for volunteering camps, etc. The only other things I'm doing is self studying for the AMC and for the SAT.
  • Uber721Uber721 Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    edited June 24
    @meiying That is a blank notebook. Sorry for the disappointment XD
  • suisagrementsuisagrement Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    I'm a upcoming junior, and this is my first year that I'm participating in USABO. I'm hoping to make it to the national level, though that's probably out of reach lol. A lot of the USABO members in my school usually start studying in December, and usually, only our top members usually make it to semis. Our school has never had a student make IBO or the camp, and the highest a student has gone is to the national level.

    I've looked at past USABO threads and usually see Campbell and Ravens being recommended as the two best textbooks for making it past opens, and even past semis. I bought a binder version of Campbell and I've been reading it for the past 4 days at a rate of ~3 chapters a day. My current plan for the summer is to speed through Campbell quickly, and branch out from there. I saw a post from a past thread that a IBO gold medalist was answering questions on, which mentioned that during their prime, they were able to read the entire textbook in just a few hours. I'd be surprised at myself if I could finish the textbook in a week, but I think that's a good goal to aim for, however impossible it might be.

    I still have some lingering questions regarding USABO however:

    1. How difficult are the open exams? Seeing the cutoff for past years have ranged from 20-30 is slightly concerning for me lol.

    2. How specific are the questions? Not sure if the questions are concept based or memorization (i.e why is cysteine important vs what is the R-Group of aspartic acid.)

    3. Are there any websites with past exams? A lot of the websites I've looked at from past threads no longer have the tests on them, not sure if it's because nobody uses it in the summer or something.

    Any help would be appreciated :)
  • MuscleMan001MuscleMan001 Registered User Posts: 27 New Member
    @suisagrement This link: http://biolympiads.com/2015/01/usabo-past-papers-to-download.html should have all the Open Exams from 2003-2013 and their answer keys (no answer key for 2013). I haven't actually taken the Open Exam before, but I've seen past exams and in my opinion the tests are very hard if you haven't read Campbell's fully.
  • ltwixsterltwixster Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
    Are you guys taking notes as you read Campbell's? I've gotten mixed messages from reading the threads from past years... Some people say it's good to help you remember but others say it'll take way too long to read the textbook if you try to take notes.
  • Uber721Uber721 Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    edited June 26
    @suisagrement
    1. Open is very difficult until you fully understand Campbell. Fully as in every word. By then, the open shouldn't be too hard to pass. I'd recommend a slower reading speed, like 1 chapter per day, but everyone has a different style. You should know/memorize every minor detail in Campbell. The amino acid side chains and properties are crucial to memorize and will likely net you 1 or 2 points.
    If you have extra time, Raven's is a good resource to understand since plant A&P is a major topic that historically has little problem solving. Don't make the textbook a primary focus though.

    2. Questions are very specific that require both memorization and conceptual ideas. The tests up to 2014 don't really reflect this year's test style, but expect ALOT of reading and problem solving (and **** wording).

    3. 2003-2013 test and key: http://varunyilunusabowebsite.weebly.com/usabo-exams.html
    2013 key: https://www.usabo-trc.org/sites/default/files/USABO 13 Semifinal Answer Key.pdf
    For 2014 open and semi, feel free to pm me.

    @ltwixster
    I used to take notes and found them pretty much worthless. I highlight the minor details that I'm likely to forget and read them during review.
  • suisagrementsuisagrement Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    Just wondering, I heard that more recent USABO exams have been a lot more challenging than prior ones. Which year do you guys think that the tests became harder? I want to get an accurate understanding of the true difficulty of the test.
  • MuscleMan001MuscleMan001 Registered User Posts: 27 New Member
    Can someone fill in the question marks?
    \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/
    Open Exam
    Number of Questions: 50
    Points per Question: 1
    Guessing Penalty: none
    Skipping Penalty: none

    Semifinal Exam
    Number of Questions: ?
    Points per Question: ?
    Guessing Penalty: none
    Skipping Penalty: ?
  • awesomepolyglotawesomepolyglot Registered User Posts: 3,557 Senior Member
    My experience:
    Number of Questions: a lot of really hard ones
    Points per Question: either 1 or 2 depending on the question I think
    if there's no guessing penalty how is there a skipping penalty (read: not that I know of)
  • MuscleMan001MuscleMan001 Registered User Posts: 27 New Member
  • awesomepolyglotawesomepolyglot Registered User Posts: 3,557 Senior Member
    @MuscleMan001 always trying to help! that's why my best friends call me Helpful Steve.

    (lol idk where that came from i think summer is rotting my brain)
  • MuscleMan001MuscleMan001 Registered User Posts: 27 New Member
  • MuscleMan001MuscleMan001 Registered User Posts: 27 New Member
    If I finish Campbell's completely at least twice and I truly understand it, will that help me get a 4 or 5 on the AP Biology Exam?
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