Wednesday, December 6, 2017

How to NOT Procrastinate for Olympiads

Okay, let’s just be frank—we ALL procrastinate. Every single one of us. No matter how exceptionally brilliant we might be or how frustratingly hard-working we are, we just love to put off work for the indefinite future instead of doing it right now. Now whether your goal is to nail the Biology Olympiad or simply to write a short blogpost about procrastination, procrastination can be a really debilitating disease keeping you from completing your objectives in time. What’s worse, excelling at Olympiads, national or international, can be a really tough job—you have to go through enormous volumes of textbooks, solve several past papers, and make sure you have a clear understanding of the subject. That’s a LOT of work. And having to tackle procrastination on top of that can be a major drawback as you watch an entire year go to waste only to binge study the night before the regional round. But don’t worry, you’re not alone in this battle against procrastination. And, hopefully, the following tips will help you beat this disease of the mind and be more efficient and productive.

Set smaller tasks with shorter deadlines

It is rather easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer size of a regular textbook and even thinking of getting started can frighten you. So instead of deciding to complete an entire textbook within a month or two, try finishing a chapter per week. The smaller the task the less stressed you’ll be which means you won’t be as much intimidated to start as you’d be otherwise. Now you’ll probably pile up work anyway but hey, isn’t it better to have only one chapter to complete before the weekly deadline rather than having the whole book on your shoulders just a week before the regional round? Also, people tend to procrastinate less when the deadline is closer.

Put up “motivational” posters

As stupid as it may look, this is a method I personally love using. If you ever get a chance of visiting my place, you’ll probably be shocked, if not in coma, by the sight of my room. At first sight, it might appear as if some criminal psychopath has scribbled hate messages all over my walls but look closer and you’ll realize that these are only desperate attempts made by a lazy teenager to force himself to work. Trust me, it actually works. When you wake up every day to see things like “You are a loser” or “Get to work, you lazy slob!” staring you in the face, you don’t really have much choice other than actually getting to work.

Visualize the future you want

A very effective source of motivation would be none other than your own imagination. Imagine that it’s the awarding ceremony of an International Olympiad and your name’s just been announced. Try to feel the joy, the glory, the pride as you walk up the podium with our flag wrapped around your shoulders. A medal gleaming above your chest. Isn’t that just wonderful? I believe that’s enough motivation to keep you pumped up for days!

Remind yourself that the future you is you too

It may sound weird but yes, it is true. The people most prone to suffer from procrastination are those who feel “detached” from their future selves. You can realize this by trying to imagine yourself ten years from now. I, for one, imagine myself as an accomplished physicist working as a researcher at a reputable organization. And yes, that does seem like a different person entirely from who I am right now. But what I fail to see is that it is me who has to do all that hard work, it is me who has to work his way to the top. We procrastinate to avoid the stress associated with all these tasks at hand but all we end up doing is creating more stress for the future us. Convincing yourself that it is you who will have to solve all those question papers anyway (with much less time) might actually help you get started.

Avoid distractions

Not only is procrastination about avoiding stress or other bad feelings that come with work, it has also got to do with the immediate pleasure of doing more “fun” things instead. For example, playing video games. Now I’m not going to ask you to abandon doing what you love most, we all deserve to get a break every now and then but you should always remember to keep it within a limit. Never let yourself get addicted to something. If you find yourself wasting more than two hours a day on a particular task, you know that it’s getting out of hand. It is rather common nowadays to see a kid spend his/her entire day on various social media platforms like Facebook. How to tackle this addiction? Simple. Switch off your phone and tuck it off safely in a place that is away from your immediate line of sight.

The hacks mentioned above, as simple as they may sound, can actually make a difference to the way you study. Now these are no magic tricks; it is you who has to be determined enough to get the job done. And the best hack is to believe in you. Know that you can do it. And that you WILL do it! So waste no more time and get started with whatever it is you’re procrastinating working on right now because I know you wouldn’t be reading this post otherwise. Best of luck!

Writer: Mubtaseem Ahnaf

Ahnaf is a veteran of 9th International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics (IOAA) and 14th International Linguistics Olympiad.  His interests range from mathematics to history, but true passion lies mainly in the fields of astronomy and physics.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Bangladesh Physics Olympiad 2018

Registration for Bangladesh Physics Olympiad 2018 is going on. There will be three categories in this year. Students who are studying at class 7 and 8 will be in the 'A' category; Students who are studying at class 9 and 10 will be in the 'B' category; Students from 11th and 12th grade will be in the 'C' category. 

Students who appeared H.S.C or A Levels exam this year will not be able to participate in any circumstances. Based on the performance of training camp, top 5 students will be selected for next year's International Physics Olympiad (IPhO) 2018 to be held in Portugal.

For online registration, Click Here.

Check these Preparatory Materials and Books.

Past papers from IPhOs and National Physics Olympiads: Click Here.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

How I prepared for the IESO and what helped me at Internationals: 6 Tips

Hello readers! I am Katherine Zhang from the United States of America. I was a Silver Medalist at the International Earth Science Olympiad 2016, Mie, Japan. In this article, I will suggest to the future participants of USA and around the world some preparatory guidelines based on my own experience. 

1. Start Early

The IESO covers a broad range of topics, including but not limited to: geology and mineralogy, sedimentology, meteorology and climatology, solar system astronomy, and remote sensing. You may not have even heard of nor studied some of these areas. Beginning early and establishing a schedule by which you’ll study is the basis for succeeding in the IESO.
2. Focus on application of material, as opposed to memorization

Of course, you’ll need to know the basics of every topic you study. And learning essential information may involve an initial period of memorization which precedes internalization of that information. But beyond that period, pure memorization won’t take you far; most of the competition is based on application of material. For example: rather than asking you to regurgitate the percentage composition of basalt, a question might ask you to identify a type of rock based on the nearby structural geology. Then (in multiple parts), it might ask you to use the information and data you’ve gathered to address real societal needs and concerns, such as disaster relief.

3. Use Practical Aides

Reading textbooks isn’t enough. Invest in kits, especially for rocks and minerals, to help you learn hands-on. The IESO competition involves identification of rocks and minerals samples, and your first-hand experience is vital in helping you complete those sections. Kits are not always available nor affordable, so if they’re beyond your reach, use visuals to aid you in your studying.

4. Search for application in your daily life in order to strengthen and supplement the information you’re learning

Hey, maybe I’m just a weird rock person, but I look for application of my knowledge wherever I go. Transfer the information from your computer screen to a tangible platform. Keep your eyes open; identify instances in your everyday life in which you can stop to visualize the information you’ve learned. For example, at the beach, you can see ripple marks in action. Pause to identify the rocks at the side of the road (or maybe in a safer place). Quite possibly, there’ll come a time in which you’ll recall vital information by remembering a specific time you applied your knowledge in a real-world setting.

5. Look at old IESO Tests

Refer to past tests to get an idea of the types of questions you’ll be asked. See the bottom of this post for links to those resources.
6. Recognize that the IESO is based in cooperation

Medals are great and shiny, but they represent only individual accomplishment. Team achievement is equally, if not more, important. During the IESO, you will participate in the International Team Field Investigation and the Earth Science Project. Both of these require you to work in a group. If you refuse to recognize that the basis of your success in these portions of the competition is your ability to compromise and connect with your global peers, then you’ll have walked away from the competition with a fraction of the knowledge and benefit you would have otherwise gained. This focus on international camaraderie is what will get you not only titles in the competition, but also bring you into a global network of friends that you’ll come to treasure, and that will take you farther than any medal will.
A list of books that I’ve used

Smithsonian Fossil Guide
Meteorology Today by C. Ahrens
The Complete Guide to Rocks and Minerals by Hermes House
Syllabus: Link Past Tests/Papers: Link

Pathway to the BioCamp

You guys probably have heard that the Bangladesh Biology Olympiad is going to take place soon. Those who are going to excel at the national round will make it to the BioCamp. This writing is a short treatise on guiding the BioCamp aspirants.

Let’s get straight to the business. Firstly, Campbell Biology (Download) is considered as the Bible of for Biology Olympiad's preparation. When you’ve the best book in hand, you shouldn’t waste a single minute reading other non-comprehensive books. That will be counterproductive. Given there are around 90 days remaining for the National, and Campbell has 56 chapters, if you study religiously about one to two chapters each day with proper understanding, you'll most likely make it to the national camp.

Only reading won't suffice, you need to properly understand the concepts- which is a prerequisite for solving problems in any scientific Olympiad. Now, while studying the book, you may come across concepts which are poorly explained. In such case, you can watch videos from 10 Minute SchoolArmando HasudunganAll About Molecular Biology, or Khan Academy to clarify your understanding. Also, take as many notes as possible while preparing for the competition. 

Finally, do not forget to solve problems from other countries' national Olympiads (i.e. Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, British - they have papers uploaded online. Just Google or look at the Google Drive for Biology Olympiad at SOB). If you work for the next couple of months with determination, you'll surely be able to secure a spot at the National Camp for Bangladesh Biology Olympiad. 

So, what are you waiting for? Buckle up your seat belt, and start your journey for the BioCamp. If luck is on your side, you might also make it to the national team for International Biology Olympiad! Best wishes.

Resources: Campbell Biology Slides (Link), Campbell Biology Short Notes (Link), Science Olympiad Blog All Biology Olympiad Resources Google Drive (Link), Biology Olympiad Textbooks for Download (Link). 

Pathway to Bangladesh Physics Olympiad

Hello readers! My name is Munirul Alam, and I was a regional champion of the Bangladesh Physics Olympiad in 2016 and 2017. I’m writing this blogpost in order to share my experience, which I hope will be helpful to guide you in your preparation.

So let’s come to the main point. In order to win a medal at the Physics Olympiad, you don’t have to be a superhuman or something. People who participate in PhO and win there are all normal people just like you. So, how do they manage to triumph over the battle?

In this post, I will try to answer your question. First of all, there are three categories in BDPhO, and I will divide my post in three segments based on each category. 

Three categories in the Bangladesh Physics Olympiad are Category A (Class 7-8), Category B(Class 9-10) and Category C (Class 11-12).

Category A

It’s very nice to know that you are fascinated about physics at such an early age! Usually people who start early end up as one of the most successful ones. পদার্থবিজ্ঞান প্রথম পাঠ by Dr. Muhammamad Zafar Iqbal will be a nice and easy book to start off. It contains a lot of good problems, and the text is more accessible to beginners. You can also going through the class 9-10 physics textbook. But I personally prefer the first book. 

As a beginner, you can also start with non-calculus physics textbooks like "College Physics by Alan Giambattista, Betty McCarthy Richardson, and Robert C. Richardson” or "Physics by John D. Cutnell, Kenneth W. Johnson”.

Category B

If you are in Category B, your first and foremost task will be finishing the class 9-10 Physics textbook properly. You can also have a look at the older version of the textbook, which used to be little more comprehensive. When you’re done with 9-10 textbook, you can move on to building up good problem solving skills. You can find previous problems here (Click Here). Pause.

Now that you’re done with your physics textbook, you should aim higher and start reading either “Physics by Halliday, Resnick, Krane (HRK)” or “University Physics by Young and Freedman”.  Keep in mind that these books are calculus-based physics texts, and a prior knowledge of Calculus will give you an upper hand. This note by Emroz Khan (one of the past problem setters of Physics Olympiad) will be helpful in this regard (Click Here). Or, you can read any good Calculus textbook or take online course to solidify your mathematical knowledge.

Category C

Now it’s time for Category C. Well, if you are in category C and wish to do well in BDPhO, you should have finished HRK or University Physics by now. You should start studying An Introduction to Mechanics (Kleppner and Kolenkow), Electricity and Magnetism Third Edition (E.M Purcell and David Morin), and Thermal Physics (Schroeder) to strengthen your understanding on particular topics.

Also, you should start solving the past IPhO Problems , which can be found here (Click Here). A lot of other stuffs can be found at the BdPhO website (Website) and Science Olympiad Blog's server (Click Here). Quora (Link) has a lot of nice answers on Physics Olympiads ranging from national to IPhO. You may want to check those.

Hope that you’ll rock on the Physics Olympiad! All the very best.

Written by Munirul Alam.
Edited by Shahreer Zahan.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Join Science Olympiad Blog

Science Olympiad Blog is recruiting International Ambassadors. Students from any country associated with Scientific Olympiads or Science Competitions can apply. We’re planning to establish a stunning science website with resources and guidelines for the Olympiads as well as updates about worldwide science competitions and summer science programs to help the young science lovers around the world. You’re welcome to be a part of this endeavour.

Also, Science Olympiad Blog does not want to confined to a single country. Since the blog's most of the readers come from Bangladesh, United States, India, Brazil, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Singapore, and so many other countries, we want to include ambassadors from different countries and promote their respective countries competitions as well.

Ambassadors can be high school or college (university) students who excelled in their National Olympiads as well as International Olympiads / International science competitions and want to help others to achieve the same feat. They will prepare guidelines, post updates about their country's upcoming Olympiads and science competitions, translate questionnaire, etc. In summation, ambassadors are expected to play an important role in promoting the website’s activity in their countries in order to motivate young science lovers.

To be an International Ambassador, write an email to ‘’ mentioning your interest. On the text box, you must include your name, country, grade, institution, your past involvement in science activities, your awards in any scientific Olympiads, and how you can contribute to the Science Olympiad Blog? Deadline for application is 25th October, 2017. If you have any further queries, you're welcome to ask!

Friday, October 13, 2017

How to win medal at the IESO?

Hello Everyone! Thanks for reading.

I am Fahim Rajit Hossain, and recently I have won Bronze Medal at the International Earth Science Olympiad 2017 held at France. I am writing this article in order to help the future participants of International Earth Science Olympiad. First, let's start with the National Earth Olympiad. Although the organizing committee recommends "High School Earth Science" book from wiki-book which is freely available and easy-to-understand, I'll suggest the Stephen Marshak's book "Earth: Portrait of a Planet" (Click here to Download) for a comprehensive introduction to Geology. Here, I'm taking the opportunity to share that one of my seniors, Samen Yasar (won Silver at IESO 2016), prefers "Understanding Earth by John P. Grotzinger and Thomas H. Jordan" (Click Here to Download) instead of my suggested book. Both of the books are equally good and should be explored by aspirers for an IESO medal. 

For further practice, I recommend New York State Education Department's Regent Earth Science exams (Click Here to Download). If you want to clarify you understanding of different concepts, you can watch these videos from the YouTube playlist that I created while preparing for the IESO (Link). 

Last but not the least, Try to solve as many problems as possible from the past papers of the International Earth Science Olympiad. I have created a Google Drive for the past papers. You can download the papers from here. (Link). Here's the Cherry on top: My Collection of Study Materials for IESO (Google Drive Link

Also, don't forget to look at the resources available at the Science Olympiad Blog. (Link). All the best for your journey to winning a medal at the IESO. Cheers! 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

International Science Olympiads 2017

It's been a long time since I wrote my last blog post. The past year was tough as I was getting accustomed to my new life : College life. Now that I'm well settled in my new life, I have decided to invest some time at the Science Olympiad Blog and increase the number of helpful posts for the science olympiad enthusiasts. 

In this blogpost, I want to share where this year's International Science Olympiads are going to take place. First, International Mathematics Olympiad. 58th IMO is going to take place at one of the most beautiful places on earth - Rio de Janeiro. This year's IMO participants seem to be extremely lucky! The timeline is 12 to 23rd July, 2017. 

Official Website:

Next is International Physics Olympiad. Like IMO, IPhO is also going to take place in an exotic place : Yogyakarta, Indonesia. This is going to be 48th edition of the Olympiad. It's going to begin on Sunday, July 16 and end on Monday, July 24. This year, approximately 88 countries are going to compete in this prestigious contest.

Official Website:

The University of Warwick at Coventry, UK is going to host the 27th edition of International Biology Olympiad (IBO). United Kingdom's Royal Society of Biology is going to organize this year's contest, and 69 countries are expected to participate in the competition. 

Official Website:

"Bonding the World with Chemistry" - with this beautiful motto, IChO (International Chemistry Olympiad) is going to take place in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand. The competition will held from 6 to 15 July.