Information Please!

For anything Science Olympiad-related that might not fall under a specific event or competition.
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AngelinaAnastasio
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Information Please!

Post by AngelinaAnastasio » June 25th, 2020, 8:17 pm

Hi, I've been looking into starting science olympiad. How much time commitment is required generally? What is the preparation like? I am currently a sophomore in high school, is it too late for me to start? What else is important to know before I join? Any pros and cons, other tips or information would be great!! Thanks

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Re: Information Please!

Post by Umaroth » June 25th, 2020, 10:18 pm

It really depends on how competitive your school is. Sophomore year is definitely not too late to join. It would probably be more beneficial to ask members of your school's team to see what they would expect. The amount of work that you want to put in varies by event and how well you want to do. If your school is a casual competitor, obviously on average you'd probably be spending less time than national powerhouses.
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Re: Information Please!

Post by Booknerd » June 26th, 2020, 8:37 am

To kind of add onto what Umaroth said, it all depends.

First off, sophomore year is definitely not too late. You can join any year, as long as you have the passion and interest to pursue science olympiad.

As for time commitment, it depends on the events you do and how much time you are willing to put into it. If you're willing to put your blood, sweat, and tears into a build event such as boomilever, you may be spending hours every week building and testing. But you can also do pretty well on an event with only a little bit of prep. It all depends on how much you're willing to commit. Just realize, if you commit a lot more, the experiences you take out of science olympiad will be much more memorable and successful.

Prepping for science olympiad depends on the events you do and your team dynamic. Some teams only meet up once a week and have 1hour practice sessions. The expectation for that is that the team does a lot of work at home individually. Some teams meet up a lot more often, and more work is done at school during practice. I would recommend looking into your school's team and see what it's like.

Some teams also go to invitational competitions (practice competitions) before their regional/state tournament, so team members get a sense of what to expect at a competition. These are always very helpful, especially for first-time competitors. I would recommend seeing if there are any invitationals that your school team competes at.

As for now, I would spend some time reaching out to your school's science olympiad coach, as well as members of your school science olympiad team. Since I go to a different school and live in a completely different region, my experiences from science olympiad are probably different from what you will experience at your team. People at your school will probably be able to provide a more accurate description of what science olympiad is at your school.

But in the end, the experiences you take out of science olympiad depend on what you do in science olympiad. I've created fond memories from science olympiad because I embraced it and spent time learning and exploring. Not only that, but I made new friends and became a part of a large community of other people who share an interest of science with me. But I've also seen people who didn't have as great of an experience in science olympiad, partly because they don't take it seriously and didn't enjoy what science olympiad has to offer. So my one piece of advice would be is, if you do join science olympiad, embrace it and make it into the meaningful experience you want it to be.
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Re: Information Please!

Post by jaspattack » June 26th, 2020, 9:09 am

It's never too late to join any activity, as long as you really enjoy it. College applications make it seem like if you don't do something all four years it doesn't matter, but that's really not the case. As long as you show dedication to what you do, you could do something for just a year and it still stand out on your applications.

That being said, Umaroth makes a good point about the culture at your school being a very important part of judging things like time commitment and things of that nature. If your school is highly competitive, you might have to go through something like tryouts or generally be expected to put a lot of time into preparing for events. This might not be for you if you have a lot of previous commitments or aren't willing to split your time. However, schools with a high enough turn-out might have multiple teams where people who aren't willing to put as much time into Science Olympiad can still compete.

As for the pros: I think what makes Science Olympiad shine is that competitors get the chance to learn real, applicable knowledge in basically any field they want. Every single event teaches valuable skills and can create a better understanding of the world around you, which is what science is all about! (I promise, I'm not sponsored by SOINC.) There are 23 events every season, so I'm sure you could find something you're interested in. Cons matter much more on the state and the way things are organized: sometimes awards can take a long time, or the tests might not be... quality controlled. Event Supervisors vary wildly from state to state (or even region to region) and not all of them are created equal. I guess it just means that you cherish it a lot more whenever you encounter a good test.

TL;DR: If you think you're willing to put in the time to make materials and study for your events, then go for it! Even if you just do one or two events, then that's still something that can be really enjoyable. Science Olympiad is for everyone, and I'm sure you'll find something you love in it.
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Re: Information Please!

Post by EwwPhysics » June 26th, 2020, 10:59 am

Also, I'll just add that you don't need to have experience to do well in science olympiad! A lot of people start in 6th grade (or if your middle school doesn't have science olympiad, 9th grade) so it may seem like their years of experience will give them a huge advantage. Although it's hard to make up for years of work, I've found that it's possible to succeed as a new member, as long as you work hard.
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Re: Information Please!

Post by Fyren » June 26th, 2020, 11:33 am

EwwPhysics wrote:
June 26th, 2020, 10:59 am
Also, I'll just add that you don't need to have experience to do well in science olympiad! A lot of people start in 6th grade (or if your middle school doesn't have science olympiad, 9th grade) so it may seem like their years of experience will give them a huge advantage. Although it's hard to make up for years of work, I've found that it's possible to succeed as a new member, as long as you work hard.
For example, I was able to get 2nd in Fossils at my regional competition and made it into the top 10 for Fossils at IL State even though it was my first year competing. I was also competing against mostly 8th and 9th graders that year, which really does show that experience only takes you so far in SO.
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Re: Information Please!

Post by SilverBreeze » June 26th, 2020, 7:27 pm

Normally, experience matters far less that commitment. With events regularly rotating in and out, experience is something that can give you an advantage, but not something you can rely solely on. It's never too late to start, even as a senior.

This year, without event rotations, you'll be at a disadvantage since people have been studying the exact same material for a whole school year, while normally they would be forced to pick up new information, putting you on more level ground. That's not to say it's not worth trying, but you will have to work harder than a normal year.

Make sure you know what you want from SciOly and what your team members want from SciOly. If they don't match well, it could lead to a lot of pain. For example, do you want to join SciOly to learn more about specific fields of science? Do you want a shiny medal and the satisfaction of knowing your hard work paid off? Are you looking to make memories and have closer bonds with your team? A mixture of all three?
If you are able to choose partners, try to find ones that have similar goals. For example, if you want to do well at competition and your partner is just doing SciOly for fun, you might have to do the majority of the work. If someone just wants to learn more about, say, birds, their partner might get annoyed that they're wasting time studying things that aren't on the rules.
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Re: Information Please!

Post by RiverWalker88 » June 26th, 2020, 11:20 pm

Hello!

I, as well, am from New Mexico, and it's really nice to see someone else in the forums from this state!

Science Olympiad is amazing and I highly suggest doing it. I know that our team met twice a week last year from 3:30 to 5 or so from the start of October until state and got 4th, so time commitment (in general) should not be a huge issue of you have time once or twice a week to meet. Once again, that depends on which team you are going to be on, so take that with a grain of salt.

Science Olympiad does require a large amount of preparation, especially if you take 3+ events (which you might or might not, it really depends on your commitment, enthusiasm, and interest), but once you actually start, it doesn't seem like as much, especially for New Mexico competitions. However, preparation for the right events if you are really interested in them not seem like a chore, but will be fun. Opinions expressed on this site are not official; the only place for official rules changes and FAQs is soinc.org.

It is never too late to start Science Olympiad, our team has had seniors join that did really well and had a lot of fun. In this state, experience only goes so far. Someone really dedicated to learning and working on their events is likely to place higher than someone who has done scioly for 7 years, so doesn't put as much effort in. Starting as a sophomore will give you three excellent years in Science Olympiad if you so choose to join.

Science Olympiad is fun on so many fronts. To give you an idea, imagine spending your time learning and building on something you really enjoy doing for months. Then, you go to a competition and get to test how well you did, by running around and taking really strange tests (New Mexico does have some interesting ones) or holding your breath while your partner pours another container of sand in a bucket. Then you have time to waste until awards, so you and your team find something to do (hide-and-seek is a classic for us). Then at awards, you have a high-energy ceremony, and even if you don't win anything, it's worth it just to be there. And if you wind up making it to state, you get to do it one more time. This is an oversimplification leaving out some of the best details, but it is why I will stay in Science Olympiad as long as I can.

Also, if you don't mind me asking, what team are you thinking about joining? If you don't want to post it on the public forum, you can Private Message me by clicking on "Private messages" in the top right, clicking "New PM", adding RiverWalker88 to the recipients field and filling the rest out like a normal email.

Hope to see you this season! (And sorry for such a long post).
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Re: Information Please!

Post by pepperonipi » June 27th, 2020, 3:30 pm

Welcome to Scioly.org and Science Olympiad. :D

I'd say if you have the available resources to start a Science Olympiad team at your school (such as a supervisor, some funding, and people who want to join), and you decide that Science Olympiad is a good fit for your school and those who are interested, then I would recommend that you consider starting a team! I agree with a lot of the advice that people here have given about the program. I joined in sophomore year having no idea what Science Olympiad was, and I'd say it's truly changed my life.

Most of the friends I talk to today are people I met in Science Olympiad or Scioly.org, and they are awesome people who have genuine passions and love what they do! We've had so many great times as a team together, and I would not trade anything for them. I've gotten the chance to learn about cool and interesting things, like birbs and thermodynamics. Additionally, other projects I've done for Science Olympiad have been amazing also, whether it be building a Javascript test sorter for the team or a Python bot to go around and edit the wiki and make dumb posts on the forums lol. The club has also given me some great life skills, whether it be managing my time to get all things done, working with partners, or planning for trips. Without Science Olympiad, I can't say anything like that would have happened.

So, good luck if you decide to pursue Scioly. Keep your mind open, and maybe I'll see you at a tournament one day :)
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Re: Information Please!

Post by bearasauras » June 29th, 2020, 5:58 pm

Welcome to Science Olympiad! Sophomore year is definitely not too late! I didn't join Science Olympiad until junior year in high school.

In the short two years, Science Olympiad changed my career and my life. It taught me what science and engineering really are. It gave me the opportunity to practice leadership skills. It also developed some of my best memories and friendships in high school. And many of these friends continue to be great friends today and with one of them being a Regional Director now.

One thing I learned that I haven't seen mentioned above yet is this: I learned what I don't like - biology. I had gotten a 5 on AP Bio so I tried to study for Disease Detectives and Cell Biology. It was these two events that made me realize maybe I shouldn't major in biology, despite how I did on the AP test.

If you are interested in joining Science Olympiad, this is the prime time for you. Find out the expectation for joining the team and put in as much time and effort as you'd like and can. You'll learn a lot of science and even more about yourself.
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