By Nicolai Bogo Stabell (Stabell#6680) & Kwanwoo Park (fizzest#0001)
Version 2.0 (August 29th, 2022)
Author Note: The guide is an ambitious attempt to cover everything that a competitor needs to know about our competition structures. This guide is written as detailed as possible for the competitor to reference.
Jeremy's Note: The guide on the website (you're reading it!) is not guaranteed to be as complete or up-to-date as the Google Docs. As such, please check the Google Docs.
Orange's Note: There may be typos when transferring from the Google Docs to the website. As such if you discover a typo, please do let the staff know.
The guide is an ambitious overview of our four competition’s structures, tier system and placements. This document will be reviewed and updated to reflect any changes during the year.
Our competitions are seasonal, the first in October and latest in July. Each competition has a distinct exam format and emphasis, but share some similarities. Most competitions utilize our tier system - separate question sets from bronze to gold tier. Most also have two rounds for each tier: a Main round for all participants and a Final round for its highest scoring participants. The very best total scorers receive awards, diplomas, and even a promotion to the next tier.
The first competition of each year will be our autumn competition, which its outcome is heavily dictated by your accuracy, but your speed as well.
In the Main round, participants are expected to take 20 Multiple Choice Questions within 60 minutes. Some questions may have multiple answers. Guessing or incorrect answers will be penalized in the main round. Participants that do exceptionally well within the main round will advance to the final round.
The Final round is composed of four Free Response Questions with multiple sections which participants are expected to complete within 120 minutes. Each tier will have an Organic, Inorganic, Analytical, and Physical Chemistry question.
Each participant’s score is composed of accuracy (80%) and time of completion, also known as speed (20%).
More information about the competition and our mathematical model can be found in the ACOT 2022 Rulebook.
WCC emphasizes your ability to use teamwork to solve questions in a multiple round competition. Any combination of up to four members (regardless of tier) may compete together in this competition.
The first round is composed of a 4-question 90 minute individual exam. Participants may expect at least one question from any of the four topics in this exam: physical, inorganic, organic, and analytical chemistry.
In the second round, bronze and silver tier teams will work for 120 minutes on a 6-question closed-book team exam that is time-intensive and truly puts teamwork to the test.
Those competing in the gold tier will work together for 240 minutes in a 4-question, open Internet exam (e.g. Open Round of SOCC ’21) that tests the teams’ knowledge and capability to tackle real-life scenarios and problems that is hard to come by in traditional chemistry olympiad.
The Final round will be Cleaving Bonds, a fast-paced teamwork competition with live-scoring present. Each team will be given twelve rounds of three short-answer questions that become increasingly difficult with only 90 minutes on the clock. As all teams work through their rounds, their scores will be graded live on the spot during the competition, making it very exciting to watch as both a participant and a spectator.
SOCC is a competition modeled after the USNCO exam (United States National Exam), as one of the most competitive national chemistry olympiads.
For the Main round, all participants will take the same USNCO National Part I style exam, involving 60 multiple-choice questions. All participants will be given 90 minutes to attempt the exam. Participants that do exceptionally well will advance to the final round.
The Final round is a USNCO National Part II style exam (8 free-response questions, 105 minutes). Those that do exceptionally well in the final round will be awarded with awards and prizes!
SChO is our summer competition, based on the IChO (International Chemistry Olympiad) structure. Unlike our other competitions, there is only one round for the SChO and all the problems are free responses. The exam format depends on the tier a competitor chooses to participate in:
|Tier||# of Questions||Time Allocated|
|Bronze||4||2 hours(120 minutes)|
|Silver||7||3.5 hours (210 minutes)|
|Gold||9||5 hours (300 minutes)|
Topics involved in this competition are physical, inorganic, organic, and analytical chemistry.
Our tier system is inspired by the one used in the United States of America Computing Olympiad (USACO). The goal of the tier system is to create more differentiation in our competitions, allowing more people to participate at a level that is appropriate for them. The tier system consists of three levels (tiers) which corresponds to:
This system can be found in ACOT, WCC, and SChO. The topics of the three tiers are outlined below:
The Bronze Tier is the entry tier at which every person competing in a CODS Competition begins unless placed differently from a Chemistry Olympiad achievement. The average difficulty and problem-solving level for the bronze tier is around A-level/AP Chemistry, and equivalent. We want all competitions to be somewhat challenging for newcomers, although the concepts involved should be relatively straightforward. For the detailed syllabus, check the Appendix (Scroll to the bottom of the page). For book recommendations, tips, and tricks read our Introductory Guide from our website.
The Silver Tier is a tier higher than the bronze tier. This tier aims for a difficulty around a country's chemistry olympiads national/final level. It involves all topics in the bronze tier and the advanced topics listed below, such as Organic Chemistry (although limited to the knowledge you can find in Klein’s Organic Chemistry or equivalent). For the detailed syllabus, check the Appendix (Scroll to the bottom of the page). For book recommendation, tips and tricks read our Intermediate Guide from our website.
The Gold Tier is the highest proposed tier for CODS Competitions. The average difficulty and problem-solving level for the gold tier will be of the difficulty of IChO, Mendeleev (IMChO) or higher. It should involve a more sophisticated level of advanced topics and should be very challenging. Therefore, the syllabus for gold tier will always be the current year's IChO exam and preparatory problems, which are released for the upcoming IChO.
In each competition, promotion and demotion will occur in order to make sure that all participants are in the tier most useful to them.
|Tier||Promotion Requirement||Demotion Requirement*||Decay|
*In the case that the total number of participants in a tier who took the competition's exam is 9 or lower, no participants will be demoted.
For example, Silver tier participants who place within the Top 10% of any competition will be promoted to the Gold tier. Additionally, Silver tier participants who do not compete in four consecutive CODS competitions in a row will be subjected to demotion (decayed) to the lower tier.
The decay number indicates the number of competitions that you can not take before you will automatically be demoted. For example, silver tier's decay is four which means that if you are inactive for a whole 4-competition season, you will be demoted to bronze.
If the number of participants in a tier results in a fractional number of participants to be promoted to demoted, the number is rounded to the nearest integer. Also, if one of the rounds contains a free-response exam, participants with score(s) within 2% of the last participant who received promotion, demotion, or round qualification will also receive it.
Based on your country and your achievements in the National Chemistry Olympiad, you will start in a higher tier than bronze.
If you have an achievement in a competitive chemistry competition from the current or last season, you must be promoted to a higher tier. The tier to which you will be promoted is dependent on the strength of your achievement, which we evaluate in two ways: level of achievement and competitiveness of the contest at which the achievement was made.
We classify the level of achievement into four categories:
We hope these four categories are comprehensive enough to cover all countries. If not, or if your achievement was in a competition that is not the IChO, don't hesitate to contact the CODS Staff for guidance.
In order to ascertain the competitiveness of the contest, we look at the country's Chemistry Olympiad performance. As a benchmark, we use IChO results for the individual countries - since national competitions work independently to find their nation's four best chemists to represent their country at the IChO.
The model we use divides all participating countries into a competitiveness group system from I to IV based on their percentile performance score. This score is calculated from the numbers of different medals and HM (honorable mentions) received at IChO during the last 10 years. This will be updated after each IChO has been held.
For example, a higher ratio of gold medals compared to other prizes will result in a higher tier. Table 1 below shows the result of these calculations:
Table 1 - Competitiveness tier division of countries based on their last 10 years of results from the IChO. The countries in each group are given in alphabetical order.
|I||100%-60%||Australia, Austria, Belarus, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Chinese Taipei, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Thailand, Turkey, USA, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Vietnam.|
|II||60%-40%||Armenia, Azerbaijan, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Israel, Finland, France, Georgia, Latvia, Malaysia, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan.|
|III||40%-20%||Bangladesh, Belgium, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Kyrgyzstan, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Norway, Pakistan, Salvador, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Venezuela.|
|IV||20%-0%||Cuba, Portugal, Iceland, Egypt, Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Montenegro, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago.|
*If a country is not shown in the table it will automatically be in group IV of competitiveness.
In the table below, the three colors represent the three tiers: Bronze, Silver, and Gold. For example, a participant who has achieved Honors level in a competition of group I country will be promoted to silver tier. A participant that achieved IChO level in a country of group III will be silver tier. Regardless of your achievements and countries competitiveness group, you will always be able to fight through the tier system in our competitions.
Table 2 shows what tier you can be promoted to based on the level of achievement for a country's group of competitiveness:
Table 2 - Level of achievement relative to group of competitiveness
To summarize the process, you must first find out which of the four levels of achievement you belong to. Based on that and your country's group of competitiveness (see table 1) you can with the use of table 2 find which tier you will be promoted to. However, you must always apply to be promoted, which is done in the current competition sign-up from.
It is your job as a participant to inform us about previous achievement and country when sign-up to our competitions. So that we ensure you participate in the correct tier based on your level. If you do not comply with this, you will be punished according to our CODS Honor Code. If you are in doubt or need help, please contact us.
Prizes will also be available for our competitors and are rewarded independent of each of the three tiers.
Each diploma will include an associated reward title, which is based on the participant’s individual or team scores.
Some, but not all, of the diploma recipients may also receive a t-shirt or a sticker. The amount of awards given at each competition can be found in the given competition’s Rulebook. In the situation where the number of participants in each tier is lower than 30 participants or 15 teams, adjustments to the number of prizes, titles and diplomas may change. You will be able to find previous competitions and their results on the CODS Wall of Fame (soonTM).
All participants will absolutely need to find out their CIN. You will need this 6-digit number to sign up for a competition and do any other forms. All scores will also be released by CIN.
This year, we are offering two types of proctoring for all competitions:
Physical participants are able to take any given exam (with their proctor) any time during a 7-day window, a full Monday-Sunday week. Online participants are able to take the exam any time during the last 48-hours of this window, Saturday-Sunday. Some competition rounds, such as Cleaving Bonds, may be limited in time slots due to the nature of the competition. Some competitions, such as Cleaving Bonds, may be limited in time slots due to the nature of the competition.
In physical proctoring, participants can have any school administrator, teacher, professor, coach, or tutor proctor (watch you take) the exam. As such, you will have the option to either receive:
In order to be physically proctored: you will need to give your proctor’s name, relation (i.e. chemistry teacher), and professional email OR your proctor can sign you up. We will then verify any first time proctors and send all proctors the exam and script in advance.
You do not have to do any online forms of proctoring in in-person proctoring. As such, you will not need to give us access to your screen or camera.
In remote proctoring, participants will receive:
This form will also request two permissions before you can view the exam: video proctoring and screen proctoring.
As these proctoring forms are necessary to provide a fair testing environment for remote participants, turning off your camera or screen recording any time before you submit your exam may result in your disqualification. Additionally, participants are required to have a functioning webcam (for workspace) and a phone or scanner to scan their hand-written answers for submission. Multi-accounting is considered cheating and will be a network-bannable offense. Testing security is a big focus in CODS competitions and any evidence that confirms cheating will be taken seriously and punished.
In the case you cannot undergo either video or screen proctoring, please request an appeal at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The appendix features a detailed syllabus of the bronze and silver tiers. The gold tier uses the IChO standard syllabus and, as such, is not detailed here.
As shown in the table below, a more detailed description can be found about the bronze tier syllabus.
|Groups 1 and 2|
|Groups 13-18 and Hydrogen|
|Group 17 (Halogens)|
As shown in the the table below, a more detailed description can be found about the silver tier syllabus:
|Group 1 and 2|
|Group 13-18 and Hydrogen|
|Acids and Bases|