First Step Towards International Olympiads In Science Subjects 2020-21

 Indian Olympiad Qualifier (IOQ)

The National Olympiad Programme in science subjects for the year 2021 has been disrupted by the Covid19 pandemic in the country. In view of the prevailing situation, the examination has undergone a major change in its pattern and the number of stages has reduced as compared to previous years. 

A three-hour and two-part examination called as Indian Olympiad Qualifier (IOQ) will be jointly organised by the Indian Association of Physics Teachers (IAPT) and Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (Tata Institute of Fundamental Research) – HBCSE (TIFR).

Categories of Indian Olympiad Qualifier 

  1. Indian Olympiad Qualifier in Junior Science (IOQJS)
  2. Indian Olympiad Qualifier in Astronomy (IOQA)
  3. Indian Olympiad Qualifier in Chemistry (IOQC)
  4. Indian Olympiad Qualifier in Physics (IOQP)
  5. Indian Olympiad Qualifier in Biology (IOQB)

Different Stages of Science Olympiad 

A usual three-stage procedure for the selection of the teams to represent India at the international Olympiads that has been followed in previous years, the selection procedure for the 2020-2021 cycle has been changed to just a two-stage process as a one-time exception only. 

Stage 1 – Indian Olympiad Qualifier (IOQ)

This IOQ will be a 3 hrs examination which will be both objective and subjective. Paper 1 will be Objective of 1 hr and Paper 2 will be purely subjective of 2 Hrs. Students who clear the cut off for the Paper 1 only their answer sheets will be checked for paper 2. 

Stage 2 – Orientation Cum Selection Camps (OCSC)

In this stage the student undergoes some theoretical and experimental sessions and only 35-40 students from all over India compete against each to Qualify for Pre Departure Camp. At these camps, orientation is provided to students for Olympiad level of theoretical, experimental and observational (for astronomy) tasks. Emphasis is laid on developing conceptual foundations and problem-solving skills. 

Stage 3 – Pre Departure Camp 

In this stage, only 4-6 students who qualify from stage 2 undergo some rigorous training programme at HBCSE in theory and experiments before the departure to compete at International level. Special laboratories have been developed in HBCSE for this purpose. Resource persons from different institutions across the country are invited to the training camps.

Stage 4 – International Olympiad 

The Olympiad programme culminates with the participation of the Indian students (4-6 in each subject) in the International Olympiads. The students are accompanied by 2-4 teachers or mentors.

Eligibilty For IOQ ( Indian Olympiad Qualifier) 

  • DOB – January 1, 2006 -December 31, 2007, both days inclusive.
  • Must not have passed class X before November 30, 2020.
  • Must not be appearing for any of IOQA, IOQB, IOQC or IOQP 2020.
  • DOB – July 1, 2001, and June 30, 2006, both days inclusive.
  • Must not have passed (or scheduled to complete) class XII before November 30, 2020.
  • Must not have enrolled in college or an equivalent institution or college by June 1, 2021.
  • Must not be appearing for IOQJS 2020.


Examination Syllabus 
IOQP (Physics) Is broadly equivalent to senior secondary level (up to and including Class XII) of CBSE.
IOQC (Chemistry)  Is broadly equivalent to senior secondary level (up to and including Class XII) of CBSE.
IOQA (Astronomy) Is broadly equivalent to senior secondary level (up to and including Class XII) of CBSE. There will be greater emphasis on Physics, Mathematics and Elementary Astronomy.
IOQB (Biology) Is broadly equivalent to senior secondary level (up to and including Class XII) of CBSE.
IOQJS (Junior Science)  Is broadly equivalent to secondary school level (up to and including Class X) of CBSE. All the basic subjects of science (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) and Mathematics may have roughly equal emphasis.

Exam Date and Time 

Exam  Date And Time 
IOQP ( Physics) February 7, 2021 (Sunday) 9:00 – 12:00 hrs
IOQC ( Chemistry)  February 6, 2021 (Saturday) 14:30 – 17:30 hrs
IOQA ( Astronomy ) February 6, 2021 (Saturday) 9:00 -12:00 hrs
IOQB ( Biology) February 7, 2021 (Sunday) 14:30 – 17:30 hrs
IOQJS ( Junior Science)  January 17, 2021 (Sunday) 14:30 – 17:30 hrs

Examination Pattern 

The paper pattern for IOQ will consist of both subjective and objective questions. Paper 1 will be the objective type ( Multiple Choice Questions) of 1 hr and Paper 2 will be subjective of 2 hrs. Students will have to clear the minimum cutoff of paper 1 to be eligible for evaluation of paper 2 answer sheets. Only the performance in Paper 2 of the students will make them qualify for OCSC( Orientation cum Selection Camp).

Paper Duration : 3 Hrs 

Mode: Offline 

Type of Exam: Subjective & Objective 

Negative Marking: -1 For Incorrect Answer In Part 1. 

Note – The No of Questions in both paper 1 and Paper 2 will be updated as more information is updated on the official page of IAPT and HBCSE. 

Application Form 

Online enrolment for IOQ is expected to start on the IAPT website ( by 15 October 2020. Further confirmation regarding this and detailed information regarding eligibility, enrolment and syllabus for IOQ will be announced shortly.

Event  Start Date  End Date 

Other National And International Level Olympiads

NTSE National Talent Search Examination
NSTSE National Science Talent Search Examination
KVPY Kishore Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojana
PRMO Pre-Regional Mathematical Olympiad


Q1. What Is IOQ 

Ans: Indian Olympiad Qualifier 

Q2. What is the online link from where a student will register online for the IOQ exam 

Ans: Student can register for the exam at

Q3. Will the student give both Paper 1 and Paper 2 simultaneously?

Ans: Yes, the student will be giving both the papers Simultaneously 

Q4. What is the webpage link of the HBCSE official website for Science Olympiads?



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