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USABO 2017-2018


Replies to: USABO 2017-2018

  • awesomepolyglotawesomepolyglot Registered User Posts: 3,557 Senior Member
    edited June 30
    If you finish Campbell's completely at least twice and truly understand it, you're nearing god status. Yes. But some of the stuff in Campbell's (even the AP edition!) is irrelevant for the AP exam.
  • FearlessLlama5FearlessLlama5 Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    Surely, the USABO open exam cannot be extremely difficult if you fully and thoroughly read Campbell Biology, right? Besides remembering and applying concepts, how else are the USABO exams very difficult? Reading through this thread, it sounds like the exams are ruthlessly difficult.
  • awesomepolyglotawesomepolyglot Registered User Posts: 3,557 Senior Member
    idk man it just hard
  • littlescientistlittlescientist Registered User Posts: 9 New Member
    I've only done USABO once, but I ended up with a 123 on the semifinal. Here's my advice to everyone:

    I've heard recommendations for Campbell, Raven's, Albert's, and Human Physiology by Sherwood. I've also heard frequently that if you don't know every single concept in Campbell, it's a waste of time to move on to any of the others. For open exam especially, don't worry about them. That being said, I use a pdf of the 10th edition and a hard copy of the 8th, and both of those work just fine. Honestly, upgrading to a new edition is a very expensive way to get not much advantage at all.

    I wouldn't spend less than a day on a single chapter, especially if it's your first time through. Plan ahead of time so that you can spend a good amount of time learning, rather than cramming. A good generic plan would be to read the book once over the summer (two days per chapter), and a second time by the end of November or so (spend as much time as you want, but this goal accounts for school work getting in your way). Then you have Thanksgiving and Christmas break to grind (perhaps read Campbell again, but 2-3 chapters a day), and throughout January study using practice exams. Take each one, and spend at least a whole day correcting and studying everything you missed. Look through this thread, a couple of people have included good links.

    If you are a previous semifinalist or can consistently score over 30 on the open exams from 2004 onward, read this paragraph. Otherwise, it will not help. First off, learn to skim the book. Pick and choose the most important chapters (for example, respiration is much more significant than "themes of biology," and chapter 51 is weighted with the same percentage of questions as chapters 26-34), as well as the chapters that you struggle with most. In addition, break it down even further to the sections of each chapter. Personally, I know much more about the first half of each chapter than the last half. I have no clue why. Lastly, find new ways to study. USABO has a lot of resources, but make sure they are relevant and concise before spending too much time. In addition, look at MIT open course ware for various biology related courses. Take practice tests for semifinal exam, IBO, and biology olympiads from other countries (as long as you speak the language). Finally, if you have time left over, crack open Raven's or Albert's. The advice I stumbled across from a couple IBO medalists a few years ago was that Raven's is good for diagrams and pictures that Campbell lacks, whereas Albert's is too dense to read cover to cover and should be used for specific topics where necessary.

    This last note goes to all. Don't just listen to me. I've done a significant amount of research for myself, as well as judging from my own experiences last year. Look through old threads, check out studyoflife.org, ask friends about their experience, and most of all, don't ever stop. Lastly, don't do any of this unless you have a genuine passion for biology. It looks good for college apps, but that shouldn't be what you're thinking about. It's easier than USAMO, USNCO, and USAPhO, but that also shouldn't matter at all. You will not be successful unless you study for fun. Hopefully this won't apply to any of you, but keep it in mind if you ever have to give someone USABO advice.
  • littlescientistlittlescientist Registered User Posts: 9 New Member
    For anyone interested, here are some cutoff scores for previous open exams:

    2004: 24
    2005: 26
    2006: 26
    2007: 30
    2008: 29
    2009: 27
    2010: 21
    2011: 29
    2012: 24
    2013: 25
  • FearlessLlama5FearlessLlama5 Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    Why aren't there any available open exams on the Internet since 2014 onward?
  • littlescientistlittlescientist Registered User Posts: 9 New Member
    @FearlessLlama5 CEE has a page where teachers can access past exams, but only released 2003-2013
  • FearlessLlama5FearlessLlama5 Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    Thanks. Do you think they'll plan on updating exams from 2014 onward in the future?
  • Uber721Uber721 Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    2014 is released. PM me.
    There is a 2-year blackout period, so expect 2015 to be released sometime between December and January.
  • MuscleMan001MuscleMan001 Registered User Posts: 27 New Member
    Thx @awesomepolyglot Sorry haven't been on this thread in a while.
  • FearlessLlama5FearlessLlama5 Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    Anyone know how Team USA did? I know they all got gold medals, but I'd like to know where each individual placed specifically.
  • Uber721Uber721 Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    Alexander Tsao: 2nd
    Edward Lee: 10th
    Thomas Xiong: 13th
    Catherine Wang: 23rd
    Replay available here: https://www.pscp.tv/w/1MYGNXvAoqnxw
  • FearlessLlama5FearlessLlama5 Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    Yeah I saw yesterday. USA did pretty well this year.
  • dana_kdana_k Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    For those that have a USABO club at their school, how often do you meet and what do you do at those meetings? I started one last year but it wasn't very active but I would like to make it so
  • DankMeme2019DankMeme2019 Registered User Posts: 42 Junior Member
    @dana_k we have meetings once a week where the officers just go over random biology concepts on a whiteboard.
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