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The international Olympiad movement is aimed at bringing the most gifted secondary and higher secondary students of the world together in a friendly competition of the highest level. The Olympiads do not lead directly to any career benefits; rather, they provide a stimulus to begin a career in science or mathematics, to undertake a lifelong journey into the realms of exciting intellectual challenges. India has been participating in the international Olympiads in Mathematics since 1989, and later started participation in Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Astronomy and Junior Science as well. Enrollment of students in each subject has grown steadily over time, and currently stands at between 15000 and 50000 in different subjects.

The national Olympiad programme follows a five stage process and the examinations are designed to assess the conceptual understanding, logical reasoning, laboratory skills, and above all, ability to apply problem-solving skills to novel situations, both theoretical and experimental.

Note: For Mathematical Olympiad, students should refer NBHM website.

Stage I National Standard Examinations (NSEs):

National Standard Examinations in Astronomy (NSEA), Biology (NSEB) Chemistry (NSEC), Junior Science (NSEJS), and Physics (NSEP) constitute the first stage of selection of students in the National Olympiad Programme. Every student aspiring to go through successive stages of the programme and participating in the international Olympiads must enrol for the NSEs in the respective subjects. Students from all States and UTs need to be encouraged to appear for the first stage examination and a nationwide representation for INO Stage II is desirable. State wise quota also available for stage 1 selection.

Stage II Indian National Olympiad Examinations (INOs):

The second stage in the selection process, the Indian National Olympiads in Astronomy (INAO), Biology (INBO), Chemistry (INChO), Junior Science (INJSO) and Physics (INPhO) will be organized by HBCSE. These examinations will be held at about 18 centres in the country. The aim of the first stage examination is to have a wide reach, to progressively increase this reach and to attain nationwide representation for Stage II. To be eligible for the Stage II INO exam leading to the International Olympiad, a candidate must secure a score equal to or greater than a Minimum Admissible Score (MAS) set in stage I. Candidates who have represented India in the International Olympiad on a previous occasion (IOAA, IBO, IChO, IJSO and IPhO) need not appear for the first stage NSE examination in the respective subject.

Stage III Orientation-Cum-Selection Camps (OCSCs):

On the basis of performance in the Indian National Olympiads students will be selected in each subject for the Orientation-Cum-Selection Camp (OCSC) in that subject. At these camps orientation is provided to students for Olympiad level of theoretical, experimental and observational (for astronomy) tasks. On the basis of performance in these tests, few students are selected to represent India at the international Olympiads. These students also receive merit awards in the form of books and cash. To the extent possible, care is taken that the camp dates do not overlap with the national level competitive exams, (e.g. NEET-UG, IIT-JEE or AIIMS).

Stage IV Training of Indian teams for International Olympiads at HBCSE:

The selected Indian teams undergo a rigorous training programme at HBCSE in theory and experiment and in case of astronomy, observational astronomy prior to their departure for the international Olympiads. Special laboratories have been developed in HBCSE for this purpose.

Stage V Participation in International Olympiads:

Indian students have excelled at all the international science Olympiads ever since participation started in 1998. Almost every student has won a gold, silver, bronze medal or an honourable mention. Over the years several Indian students have also won special awards for best performances in theoretical or experimental components.


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