how hard is it to be a USNCO finalist?

<p>If you read Atkins book on chemistry, will you have a high chance of being a finalist?</p>

<p>I made USNCO and just took AP Chemistry (got a 5, and also an 800 SATII CHEM).</p>

<p>Do you mean top 20 finalist, or just qualifying for the national exam? Technically, USNCO finalist means you qualified for the national exam, whereas you must specify top 20 finalist for the study camp. If you read Atkins and thoroughly understand its material, you must also take the practice national exams available on the chemistry olympiad website. You should be able to score 55+/60 on the multiple choice, 90+/100 on the free response, and average or above on the labs to have a very good chance of qualifying for the study camp. </p>

<p>However, you can just take AP Chemistry and study the local exams a bit to qualify for the national exam.</p>

<p>How do you register for the local exam?</p>

<p>I thought USNCO semifinalist means qualifying for national exam?</p>

<p>Is there a step between the local exam and the national exam?</p>

<p>On the certificate you get if you qualify for the national exam, it says you are a USNCO finalist. I would call it semifinalist to distinguish it between the top 20 finalist ranking, but that's what the official certificate says. </p>

<p>There is no step between the local exam and the national exam. Passing the local exam makes you qualify for the national exam.</p>

<p>EDIT: You will have to talk to your chemistry teacher on registering for the local exam (which is handled by your local ACS section).</p>

<p>Thanks! In order to become a finalist - I mean just to qualify for the national exam - you have to take the local exam and finish top 2 in your school correct? Or do you have to score a certain score AND finish top 2?</p>

<p>I think like 98% of the time you just have to score in the top 2 of your school. But that also depends on what region you are from. I think I've read somewhere that some schools require you to score a certain point. At most schools, top 2 would be sufficient.</p>

<p>Well my school is not very competitive at all so hopefully top 2 will suffice but I will inquire about it anyways...</p>

<p>And on a side note, why is there not a sub forum for the Olympiads in the Test Prep forum?</p>

<p>Is it easier to be top 20 for USNCO compared to USABO or USAPhO? Since just reading Atkins and understanding it doesn't sound really hard.</p>

<p>I'm assuming Atkins is very advanced, and it depends on which you are better at pretty much</p>

<p>Any USxxO at top 20 level is not easy.</p>

<p>Saying that you can read atkins and understand it doesn't mean you can actually do it easily. They're all tough to qualify for top 20.</p>

<p>What Atkins book in question is being referenced here?</p>

<p>Chemical Principles: The Quest for Insight by Peter Atkins.</p>

<p>Atkins seems WAY too in-depth for a test like this. I mean... when I was reading it, I encountered Calculus...</p>

<p>It's very helpful for the national exam though, for USNCO. You will not need the calculus portions of Atkins' book for the national exam, but the other theories and problem-solving are helpful. Now for the local exam, a regular AP Chem book and practice with the local exams is sufficient to pass with a score of 55+/60 to the national test. But the national test is pretty tough without knowledge of some of the higher level theories revealed in Atkins'.</p>

<p>For reference, I got a 45/60 on the m/c of the nationals exam and I got honors. So you can get around 15 wrong on m/c and still be in top 152</p>

<p>@ninmage621,</p>

<p>How did you get back your scores? ACS and my local coordinator all said that they don't release national exam scores?</p>