Scoring refers generally to the process by which Science Olympiad is scored, either on an individual event basis or, more often, the tournament as a whole.
The current most common method of scoring, sometimes known as the national method, gives each team a number of points equal to their rank in each event - the team's ranks in every event are added up to form the team's score, with lower scores being more desirable. This method has been in use at the National Tournament since 2001.
Many tournaments make modifications to the national method. Some tournaments drop the team's worst few scores from the team score. Tournaments in some areas, such as Texas and Wisconsin, add some events in addition to the national events, and score teams out of only 23 events (see Rules Manual§Event Slate Modification for more detail). Some tournaments use a points cutoff, where all teams ranked lower than a certain point get the same score. For example, for several years teams at the Michigan state tournament ranking between 40th and 48th in an event were all awarded 40 points.
Some tournaments continue to use the older high-score-wins method of scoring (used at the National Tournament prior to 2001), where the lowest-ranked team in an event earns 1 point and the highest-ranked team earns one more point than the total number of teams at the tournament. When this method was used at the National Tournament, a points cutoff was common - for example, in the late 1990s the top team in each event earned 41 points, with all teams ranked 40th or below earning 1 point.
When "scoring" is used to describe individual events, it most often refers to build events or other events involving a detailed scoring method specified in the rules (such as many Physics events).
The majority of study events are written tests or similar, and are scored as such, with the rules typically stating no more than that high score wins and predetermined questions should be used to break ties. Some events break down the scoring by topic, specifying a rough percentage for each topic (for example, Forensics).
Build events (such as all Engineering events, and some other events like Air Trajectory, Bottle Rocket, and Bungee Drop) typically outline a specific scoring method in the rules. This is most often high-score-wins, with the exception of the vehicle events, which are usually low-score-wins. Physics events, with the exception of Air Trajectory (which is a typical build event) usually involve both a test component and a build component.