How to best prepare for Chemistry Olympiad? (Australia)

I was just wondering what level of knowledge was needed to achieve a high enough score on the qualifying round of the Chemistry Olympiad to be selected into the camp? Would year 11 knowledge suffice or should I study more into year 12 chemistry? What could I do to prepare for this apart from doing past papers? Thanks in advance.


I am Simon Yang and I was a member of the Australian Chemistry International Team 2016 and currently a tutor at Crimson.

In the ASOE (Australian Science Olympiad Examination) or qualifying round, normal high school chemistry helps, but is not enough to allow you to get into the training camp. Since the Australian chemistry syllabus is rather society based (focus is on impacts on society etc.) and there is very little theoretical chemistry, a lot of self study is needed.

You should pick up some textbooks or find a program (like Crimson :P) that teaches the necessary components. Purely going through past papers is not a viable option, because the knowledge base is quite wide and not all necessary information is covered by the answers to the past papers.

I hope this helps and please ask more questions if you have any concerns.


Thanks for the reply!

What are some textbooks that you recommend for self-study? Also, what program does Crimson have that will teach the necessary components? Thanks in advance!

Most first year Chemistry textbooks are a good starting point. They will cover most of the content required - although the questions will be in a slightly different format and varying levels of difficulty.

I think it is worth noting that the ASOE aims to test the student’s ability to respond to new information. For that reason, I think that yes, knowledge is definitely important, but equally important is being able to solve chemical problems with the background knowledge required only given to you in the exam.

At Crimson, you can book study sessions with a tutor (like me!) who has gone through the program and knows what the markers are looking for and the different topics that they like to test. We will also teach you the material that is most likely going to come up in the exam and how to cope with new information and apply that to questions.

I hope that this helps!

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