Participants are to be able to interpret, collect data, and make conjectures from maps, usually road and/or topographic maps. Competitors must also be able to draw maps. Participants are given 50 minutes to answer questions pertaining to the map.
Some Helpful Websites to Check out
http://imnh.isu.edu/digitalatlas/geog/basics/topo.htm Includes some general information, how to make a topographic profile, measuring stream gradient, and a sample map.
http://www.cis.ksu.edu/~dha5446/topoweb/guide.html Lots of pictures and detailed directions. Includes using contours, calculating slope angle, and reading map symbols. This site also includes links to other resources.
http://education.usgs.gov/common/undergraduate.htm#maps this has tons of links to other places
Participants should become familiar with reading topographic maps as well as road maps, and knowing what symbols mean on a map. See the USGS (http://www.usgs.gov/) for a list of road map symbols. A good study Tool is HTe coaches handbook whu=ich goes in depth with all the things you need to know.
Many practice tests can be found on http://www.tufts.edu/as/wright_center/products/sci_olympiad/sci_olympiad_road_scholar.html. You may need to order maps from http://www.usgs.gov/ to complete the tests.
You should make sure that you are bringing the right things into the competition. Because you're allowed to bring anything you want, you should take all the notes that you have. It is also absolutely necessary that you bring a ruler, protractor, and a map symbol sheet into the competition. A calculator is also helpful because it saves time.
It is wise to split the test between you and your partner while in a competition because of the time limit. You may think that 50 minutes is a long time, but when you get in the competition the time seems to fly by. You may want to practice with a time limit so that you can learn to use your time wisely. Also make sure you use different state maps while practicing so that you don't just remember where things are and you actually have to find them on a map. Also try and purchase or find different test to practice with.
Also try to memorize the more important formulas like stream gradient so you don't have to look for them when you need it.