Science Olympiad preps for success

Junior Troy Leighton and senior Timothy Wang wearing their first place medals in Astronomy and Remote Sensing from the previous Science Olympiad RAHS Invitational.
Photo Courtesy of Abigail Quinsay

Science Olympiad went to the Curtis Invitational on 13 Jan. 2018. Sophomore Troy Leighton and SciOly Secretary senior Adeline Bader are both on the studying team, which involves extensive research and test taking.

“I do three different events,” said Leighton. “Astronomy, which is focused of course on astronomy and space. Specifically, this year, Type II Supernovae and Stellar Evolution. I’m also in Remote Sensing, which is focused on using satellites to look at earth’s atmosphere, and use that to make judgments about what’s going on in our atmosphere. I’m also in Dynamic Planet, which this year is focused on plate tectonics.”

The competition goes from 8:30am to 4:00pm, with studiers taking tests and builders testing their creations at individual periods throughout the six hours.

“Generally, there are 6 different hours for taking a test. For builders they have an impound at 8:30. [The test hours] go from 9:00 to 2:00,” said Leighton. “You’ll take your tests in your allotted time slots, which can vary depending on competition.”

The main event for studiers is taking tests, which can be done with a partner and a sheet of notes.

“For most events, you’re allowed at least a sheet of paper of notes,” said Bader. “So you and your partner have your notes, you’re allowed to talk within each other, and you just tackle that test and try to get as much correct in the limited fifty minutes. Whoever has the most correct points then wins.”

Before competitions, studiers will meet three times a week to collect knowledge and compile it into notes. Although this time is intended for work, being near friends can often be a hindrance.

“We are supposed to be studying this whole entire time and working and gaining knowledge and collecting notes for when the competition occurs,” said Bader. “But sometimes, you know, [it’s] school and your friends are all around you, so you get distracted and sometimes you’ll just be talking to your friends. Usually the week before a competition everyone is studying till last minute.”

Bader’s favorite part about these competitions is the competitiveness, even if it’s something as seemingly boring as taking a test.

“You’re saying, ‘oh yeah, this is so exciting, you’ve been studying for this.’ Usually for most people they think ‘oh man, just taking a test, that’s so boring,’” said Bader. “But when you get into that room you see all the other teams and you’re just scrambling, you’re like ‘oh man, I really wanna beat these people, I wanna get a higher score.’”

Having a higher score means that the team is more likely to get a higher ranking in that event (1st, 2nd). The judges awards 1st place with 1 point and 2nd with 2 points and so on for all the rankings. At the end of the competition, those points are averaged across all of the events the team competed in. Whichever team has the lowest average gets first place.

“If your event’s called, you go down and you’re handed a metal, and you get it placed on, and you go up,” said Bader. “If [your team] has the least amount of points, because they sort of do it like golf-style scoring, you want the least amount of points, you end up overall with your whole team placing. Then you get another trophy, which is really fun. So I love that.”

Leighton did well last competition, and thought he would do equally as well on this next one.

“I am in Varsity 1, and I got two first place [awards] last competition,” said Leighton, “so I’m hoping to get a couple more this competition.”

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