How to prepare for competition

Study the Rules

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If your students are looking to compete, but don't know the rules (from the Rules Manual download) it would be like playing baseball not knowing how many bases there are in the diamond. How could you ever win? Answer - you couldn't. Study your events and know the rules better than the judges!!

Attend Invitationals

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You MUST attend as many Invitational (practice) competitions as your school can afford to attend. Study the rules, build your binders, create and develop your "cheat sheets", learn from early mistakes, and then go to local invitationals (LISO, Bayard Rustin and Garnet Valley for example) and compete!!

Practice, practice, practice...

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Nobody is great right out of the box. So be prepared to fail - both big fails and small fails! But this is science, and we learn more from our failures than we ever could from our successes. Success (big wins and student medals) will come, but if we don't learn from our mistakes, we will be doomed to repeat them. Failing? Not really... it's called learning!!!

Starting your team...

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Though the maximum number of students on a team is 15 (and each school is permitted up to 3 teams) you can start a team with fewer members. Ask around. See who is interested. Once word gets out, you will see the excitement to compete will spread!

Meeting deadlines!

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They say that to do any job right, 90% is preparation. The same is true of Science Olympiad. There are important deadlines that must be met, such as registrations, scheduling, etc... The most important of these is to first register with NY State by the end of November (or earlier if possible!)

Building school culture :)

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Ask any current - or former - team member about how SciOly has helped to improve their school culture and change their lives. They will surely tell you how being on the team is like being with friends and family - lots of fun plus lots of learning!!

...More Competition Prep!

Fusion 360 for builders?

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Many teams this year are using CAD (computer-aided design) software to plan their builds ahead of actual building. Fusion 360 is offering students & coaches free downloads for educational use  https://www.autodesk.com/products/fusion-360/students-teachers-educators 

Test Trading/Sharing?

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Scroll under Invitationals (below) to get started preparing your teams by trading, sharing, and writing tests that will help to take NYC to Nationals this year!

SOSI - Science Olympiad Summer Institute

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If your school can send you, it is worth every penny to be part of the SOSI. For one week in sunny (and very hot!) Phoenix, Arizona, you will learn about every new event in the lineup for the upcoming year. Here is a link on the National site to tell you more!

Meet with your team often!

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You must meet and re-group often! Whether you meet with the whole team (like we did here this summer) or with smaller groups of team members, the library is always a great place and usually very accommodating!

What's an "Alternate"?

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An "alternate" is a team member who is permitted to only compete in "trial" events. There is a lot on trial events and alternates so click on these two links so read and learn more!

Coming soon...

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 Coming soon... 

Pennsylvania Coaches Clinic

A very special opportunity!!

In the past - and hopefully again in the future - NY State has hosted Coaches Weekend Clinics. This year Pennsylvania is holding their own clinic and is inviting coaches from surrounding states to attend. This is a great opportunity to learn, early on, about the events that will be run for the current year. The Rules Manual is a must have, but to have experienced Event Supervisors go through each event in detail - and to be able to ask questions about them - is absolutely invaluable! Taking more than one coach is well-advised to be able to sit in on all events. It is very reasonably priced ($80 for experienced coaches and $40 for new coaches (0-1 years of experience). It will be held November 2, 2019 at:

Mount Nittany Middle School, 656 Brandywine Drive, State College, PA.

Here are the links: Online or Paper and then make your Payment. If you want more information, this is the Pennsylvania SciOly website.

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Invitationals and other competitions!

To have a successful team they need to compete with other schools at local competitions before the NYC Regional on March 7, 2020! Pick and choose whichever Invitationals you like, but keep in mind that for us, here in the city, going out of state requires a coach bus, so we always recommend going to LISO first!

12/7/2019

Long Island Science Olympiad (LISO)

All day

Syosset High School, NY

Event Details

12/7/2019

Long Island Science Olympiad (LISO)

This is one of the most popular Invitationals for both Long Island as well as New York City (because it is so close). It is a MUST ATTEND because we can attend and use a yellow bus (no coach bus necessary!) Registration at this link. (**If you are looking to trade tests with schools in other states, this is your first opportunity!)  Website REGISTRATION CLOSED>

All day

Syosset High School, NY

1/4/2020

Bayard Rustin Invitational (PA)

All day

Bayard Rustin H.S., 1100 Shiloh Road, West Chester, PA

Event Details

1/4/2020

Bayard Rustin Invitational (PA)

One of the best invitationals you could attend! Lots of competition and a great way to see how your team is coming along! Here is the website and sign-up. REGISTRATION CLOSED.

All day

Bayard Rustin H.S., 1100 Shiloh Road, West Chester, PA

1/25/2020

Garnet Valley Invitational (PA)

All day

Garnet Valley Middle School, 601 Smithbridge Road, Glen Mills, PA 19342

Event Details

1/25/2020

Garnet Valley Invitational (PA)

This year will be Garnet Valley's 3rd year of hosting a SciOly Invitational and they are doing a great job!! Registration opens Thursday, September 5th! Go to Registration link or the Website. STILL OPEN!!


All day

Garnet Valley Middle School, 601 Smithbridge Road, Glen Mills, PA 19342

2/14-16/2020

Cornell University Invitational (Ithaca, NY)

All day

Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

Event Details

2/14-16/2020

Cornell University Invitational (Ithaca, NY)

A 3-day event that gives students not just a flavor for Science Olympiad, but lets them interact with college students on campus! Registration closed.

Website

All day

Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

4/7/2020

NY City Regional

All day

Grover Cleveland High School, 2127 Himrod St, Ridgewood, NY 11385

Event Details

4/7/2020

NY City Regional

This is the big day you have all been working so hard towards all year. It is our Super Bowl! Please make sure you have submitted all forms early (and preferably online) to make your on-site event preparation go as smoothly as possible. REGISTRATION OPEN!!!

All day

Grover Cleveland High School, 2127 Himrod St, Ridgewood, NY 11385

More Events

Test Trading/Sharing

This is a MUST READ section!

When our school began Science Olympiad in 2015, our team had never heard of test “trading”. In fact, we never even knew there were tests available with or without trading. In fact, we only really learned about the practice of test trading when I attended the Science Olympiad Summer Institute of 2018. It was there I met another coach who was generous enough to open his “library” of tests on his Google drive that he had traded with other schools in other states. He had quite a library and with that library, our students were then able to meet up with other students/schools from across the country and begin sharing or trading tests.


To be honest, at first I was a bit skeptical and actually wrote a piece on scioly.org stating my desire to do away with the practice altogether. But as I came to learn, all the top teams across the country had formed hundreds of relationships where they were actively sharing/trading tests, mainly from invitational competitions that they would never possibly be able to attend. For example, here in NY, many teams attend some of the top local invitationals that someone in say, Texas, would never be able to attend. So if students from a school here in NY meet up with students online from Texas - and the Texans have attended invitationals that our New Yorkers would never attend - they trade their tests.


I understand that if your school does not “trade” or “share” tests with other schools, you might feel it puts you at a disadvantage - and you would be right! It is the same disadvantage your Living Environment or Earth science students would have if their teachers were not preparing them at the end of the school year by using old Regents exams. New York currently posts online Regents exams dating back to the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. Now the question becomes, “Isn’t this cheating?” While it took me a while to come to terms with the idea of test trading, I now believe the answer is no. It is not cheating and it is not unethical. In fact, if you are not using old invitational tests to study from your team will be competing at a decided disadvantage. Is it cheating for medical students to study prior MCAT exams that are posted online? Or for law students to study LSATs that are posted online. And how about those NYS Regents test-takers downloading tests from the 60’s? So, here is the answer. Test trading is not cheating. Many invitational locations actually post their examinations! Trading tests is not illegal and if your team is not using these exams to prepare, you will be competing at a decided disadvantage. We simply cannot put the toothpaste back in the tube. [The only caveat here is if a particular SciOly invitational school (such as Harvard) requests that you do not share the tests, then do not share these tests.]


Is there another way to find/study/trade tests? There are three:

  1. If you are on the scioly.org website (and your teams should be registered and on it every day!) you have seen there is a menu at the top that includes a “Test Exchange” section https://scioly.org/tests/. Test here go back a few years. While some of the information changes from year to year (A & P or some builds), many of these tests are virtually identical to the previous year (Crime Busters, Road Scholar, etc…) Have your team members register on scioly.org and start studying with these exams.
  2. There is also a similar scioly.org WIKI section https://scioly.org/wiki/index.php/Test_Exchange_Archive Dig in and get started!
  3. And finally, there is one more method of accumulating tests that is becoming very popular. It is called the “make your own team tests and share them with any other teams across the country” approach. Over the summer, scioly.org (such a great site for us!) ran a Summer SciOly Study Session (SSSS) where if you wrote a test, and it was accepted by them, they would give you access to ALL the tests that ALL other students submitted to the SSSS. This is available for teachers as well. I submitted an A&P test and have had access to all tests for the past month. The bigger benefit from this is that if your test is not “up to par” they will give you an extremely detailed response telling what needs to be done to make your test “invitational” ready! (A couple of our kids wrote tests they told them were considered “national” level. Start this as soon as possible!) And by writing their own tests, the students gain a better understanding of the material and will do better in competition. I also think I heard that scioly.org will be having another “test writing” forum in the fall. Watch for it!


I will speak more about test sharing/trading when we meet at this year’s coach’s meeting at the beginning of January, but until then, please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions you may have about this critical “need to be in it to win it” approach to SciOly prep! And start researching old tests today!


Once again, my #1 goal this year is to see one of our great NYC teams head to the National competition (in North Carolina next year). To get there, we need to do what other cities and schools - who make it to Nationals every year - are doing. This is a big step moving forward!

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