The Biology Olympiad program follows the following 5 stages:

Exam Schedule:
Events Dates
Stage I: NSEB Last/second Last Sunday of November.
Stage II: INBO Last week of January
Stage III: OCSC April – June
Stage IV: PDT July - November
Stage V: IBO July – December

Stage I: National Standard Examination in Biology (NSEB)

NSEB is the first stage of selection of students in the Biology Olympiad Programme. The examination is being organized by the Indian Association of Physics Teachers (IAPT). It is compulsory for every student to enroll for the NSEB examination in order to appear in the examination.


  • All Indian students who are born on or after July 1, 1997 and, in addition, are in Class XII or lower are eligible to appear for NSEB 2018 – 2019 examination. Those students who have already passed the Class XII examination are not eligible to enroll for NSEB.
  • All those students who have applied for the NSEB examination need to ensure that the eligibility criteria provided by them are true failing which he/she may be disqualified from the program.

Syllabus and Format:

  • The syllabus for NSEB examination is asked from the senior secondary level (Class XI and Class XII) of CBSE Biology. This is only a rough guideline, and no detailed syllabus is given for NSEB examinations.
  • The question paper for NSEB examination consists of 80 multiple choice questions, each with only one of the four options correct.

Stage II: Indian National Biology Olympiad (INBO):

The second stage is the Indian National Biology Olympiad (INBO), which is organized by HBCSE at about 15 centres in the country.


  • Only those students who have successfully qualified the Stage I examination (NSEB) are eligible to appear for INBO. Besides this, there is no other way to appear for INBO.
  • Note:Those students who are appearing for INBO examination are eligible for TA/DA as per norms of the programme.

Syllabus and Format:

  • The syllabus for INBO is broadly similar to NSEB. The syllabus, however, is only a broad guideline and no detailed syllabus is given for INBO. The questions asked in National Olympiads are usually non-conventional and of high difficulty level, comparable to International Olympiads.
  • On the basis of performance in INBO, the top 35 students in the merit list are selected for Stage III Orientation Cum Selection Camp (OCSC) in biology There is no other criterion or provision for selection to OCSC apart from the stated above.

Stage III: Orientation cum Selection Camp (OCSC) in Biology

HBCSE organizes OCSC in biology sometime in the month of April to June 2018 for 2-3 weeks. Those candidates who have successfully qualified the merit list of Stage II (INBO) are eligible for OCSC. Prior to this, there is no other criterion or provision for entrance into OCSC.

About the Orientation cum Selection Camp (OCSC):

  • One goes through several theoretical and experimental tests in the camp.
  • Orientation is provided to the students especially dring experiments.
  • The camps end with a valedictory function where well-known scientists are invited to articulate to the students.
  • The merit list of OCSC is prepared on the basis of theoretical and experimental scores.
  • The total weightage for the theory is 60%, while 40% weightage is given to the experiment.
  • The top 4 OCSC biology merit lists are declared to be special merit awardees.
  • The selected awardees are given Rs. 5,000/- each in the form of books and cash.
  • Special prizes are provided to the meritorious performances in theory and experiments.
  • The top 4 OCSC awardees are selected for the International Biology Olympiad (IBO) provided that they satisfy the required criteria such as age limit, medical fitness, parental consent, valid Indian passport, etc.

Note:Performance in previous stages (NSEB and INBO) is not considered for the merit list and awards of the OCSC.

Stage IV: Pre-departure Training (PDT) Camp for IBO

The selected 4 members undergo a rigorous training programme at HBCSE in theory and experiment.Special laboratories have been developed at HBCSE for this purpose and resource persons from HBCSE and different institutions across the country train the students.

Stage V: International Biology Olympiad (IBO)

The International Biology Olympiad (IBO) is a science Olympiad for secondary school students (Class 12) under the age of 20. Every participating country sends four students, who are the winners of the National Biology Olympiad. These four students are accompanied by two team leaders who stand for the country. The main aims of the IBO are as follow:

  • To promote a career in science for talented students.
  • To compare educational methods and exchange experiences.
  • To evaluate educational methods in biology, that will facilitate exchange experiences among academicians from all over the world.
  • To stimulate contact between students and teachers from many countries in a friendly environment.

Syllabus and Format:

  • 20% weightage are given to Cell Biology, Microbiology, Biotechnology & Structure and function of cells: chemical components, organelles, cell metabolism, protein synthesis, transport through membranes, and mitosis and meiosis.
  • 25% weightage is given to Animal Anatomy & Physiology (emphasis on vertebrates), Structure and function of tissues and organs involved in: digestion and nutrition, circulation, reproduction and development, regulation (neural and hormonal), respiration, excretion, and immunity.
  • 15 % weightage are given to Plant Anatomy & Physiology (emphasis on seed plants) Structure and function of tissues and organs involved in: photosynthesis, transpiration and gas exchange, transport of water, minerals and assimilates, growth and development, reproduction (ferns and mosses included).
  • 5% weightage are given to Ethology, behavioural systems, conflict behavior, causes of behavior, and learned behavior.
  • 10% weightage are given to Ecology, ecosystems, bio-geochemical cycles, population structure and dynamics, biosphere and man, food relationships, energy flow, and succession.
  • The IBO examination is composed of a theoretical and practical element. The theory exams cover a wide range of Biology syllabus which includes Cell Biology, Molecular Biology,
  • Plant Anatomy and Physiology, Animal Anatomy and Physiology, Ethology, Genetics and Evolution, Ecology, and Biosystematics. The marks are scaled so that each theory and practical components have a weighting of about 50%.
  • All participants are ranked based on their individual scores. Gold medals are awarded to the top ten percent of students, silver medals are awarded to the next twenty percent of students and bronze medals are awarded to the next thirty percent of students.

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