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USABO or USNCO?

altacctaltacct 33 replies9 threads Junior Member
I want to start studying to participate in a science olympiad next year I'm having trouble deciding between USABO and USNCO. I find both topics really interesting. I've heard USABO is more memorization based.

I took H bio this year and will take AP bio and H chem next year but I don't know if that makes much of a difference because I know both will require a lot of self studying anyway.
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Replies to: USABO or USNCO?

  • LovebiologyLovebiology 3 replies0 threads New Member
    My kid took the USABO Open exam this year. Horrible experience. CEE (the test administrator) allows students to take the paper test any time during a 10-day period so people cheat by taking advantage of the timing difference. Also, CEE allows test prep coach to proctor the exam. They must have never heard of the term called “conflict-of-interest”. One test proctor, who also offers extensive online USABO tutoring service, very conveniently leaked the test questions to her out-of-state student. So CEE very conveniently cancelled the scores of the students who sat for the test with this proctor/tutor. The majority of her students got to keep the scores and she had 10 students this year who made semifinalist. So save your efforts for USNCO.
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  • udonlordudonlord 52 replies5 threads Junior Member
    It depends on what you like more. I did both, and I can say from experience that it's unnecessarily stressful to grind for an olympiad that you're not passionate about.

    I love biology, and will spend any time I have hankering after research papers and current events regarding the subject, so preparing for the test felt more like having fun than studying. On the other hand, I deluded myself into thinking I was into Chemistry (probs should have tried the USAPhO instead) and could barely bring myself to do half the work that it required (still got the highest score in my school, but FAR from qualifying. On the up side, it made the AP Chemistry test feel like nothing) I would advise you to try to pick a favorite between the two, and gun for that if you really want to try to enter the olympiad scene
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