The Singapore Chemistry Olympiad (SChO)


SChO2019 Final Results

Singapore Chemistry Olympiad 2019

Theory Exam

Date: 9 Nov 2019 (Saturday)
Time: 1pm to 4pm
Venue: To be confirmed
Duration: 3 hours
Format: Long-structured questions only
Syllabus: Refer to IChO basic syllabus. A copy can be downloaded here, and the basic syllabus is found in Appendix C, pages 12 to 13. (Excludes topics under: “Examples of concepts and skills allowed in the exam only if included and demonstrated in the preparatory problems”)
References: IChO question papers 2019
  IChO question papers and solutions 2018
  IChO question papers and solutions 2017
  IChO question papers and solutions 2016

Practical Exam

Date: 22 Nov 2019 (Friday)
Time: 9am to 12noon(tentative, TBC)
Venue: Teaching Lab, Blk S5 Level 1, Faculty of Science, NUS

Background of the Singapore Chemistry Olympiad (SChO)

The SChO is jointly organised by the Singapore National Institute of Chemistry (SNIC), Chemistry Department of National University of Singapore and the Ministry of Education. The inaugural Singapore Chemistry Olympiad was launched in 1989 and has been an annual event since then. The competition is open to JC 1 students. It consists of a theory test and a practical test, each of approximately 4-5 hours, taken over two days.

Participants are awarded medals (Gold, Silver and Bronze) and certificates based on their performance. There are 2 additional categories of awards: The Best Student Award (for participant with the highest overall score) and The Best Team Award (for the school with the highest combined score of its best three participants).

The general aims of the Singapore Chemistry Olympiad are to:

  • promote an interest in Chemistry,
  • provide an opportunity for academically inclined Chemistry JC students to pit their knowledge in Chemistry and spar against each other,
  • identify a pool of students who are talented in the Chemistry discipline for training for eventual selection of a national team to represent Singapore in the International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO).

Singapore National Olympiad Council

The Singapore National Olympiad Council promotes and oversees activities related to the Singapore National Olympiads and International Olympiads. The council comprises members from the National University of Singapore, National Institute of Education, A*Star, Ministry of Education and the professional associations viz. Singapore Institute of Physics, Singapore National Institute of Chemistry, Singapore Mathematics Society and Singapore Institute of Biology.


Background of the International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO)

The IChO is a competition where students below the age of 19 years compete against each other in intellectual prowess in Chemistry. Intellectual skills such as analysis, deduction, induction, problem-solving and decision-making are needed. Besides pitting their knowledge and skills against their academically talented counterparts from other countries, students also interact with their counterparts and university lecturers.

The general aims of the International Chemistry Olympiad are to:

  • identify and challenge students who are talented in the Chemistry discipline,
  • foster friendly international relations among students and teachers from different countries, and
  • share information on educational issues and practices throughout the world.
  • Medals won at IChO by Singapore

The Competition

The International Chemistry Olympiad has been held annually since 1968. Each country sends a team of 4 students and 2 delegation leaders. (The IChO competition is organised on the same line as the IPhO). It consists of a theory test and a practical test, each of approximately 4-5 hours, taken over two days. A programme of visits and social events is also organised for the participants. Awards for the IChO are given to individual participants rather than to a team. There are four classes of awards: Gold, Silver, Bronze and Honorable Mention.

Singapore first participated in the IChO in 1988. Since 1990, we have been participating annually in the IChO.

Selection and Training of our teams

Every year, the team to the IChO is selected through two rounds of tests. At the first round, about 150 students will participate in the SChO. Based on their performances, about 25 students are selected for the rigorous training for each Olympiad. The group is co-trained by JC teachers and NUS/NIE lecturers. The training programme comprises lectures, problem solving tutorials, practical lessons and tests. These training sessions are usually held on Wednesday afternoons from Feb to May of each year, including 1 week of Intensive training during the March school holidays and June vacations. The final 4 students are selected based on merits – performance in the tests and undergo 2 weeks of intensive training (inclusive of 1 week of residential training in NUS) during the June vacations.

The NUS leader for the IChO is the chairperson of the organising committee. He/She is also the co-ordinator of the International Olympiad training team comprising NUS and NIE lecturers and JC teachers. The Team Leader and the Deputy Leader for the IChO are usually a lecturer from the National University of Singapore and a JC teacher respectively. The leaders from the JCs have helped in the training of the respective teams for a period of 2 consecutive years.

Performance at Previous Olympiads (1988 - 2019)

From 1988 to 2018, Singapore has sent 120 students to the International Chemistry Olympiad. Our teams’ performance is creditable and commendable for a small country. Our students have won a total of 116 medals. The breakdown is given in the table below.

Performance from 1988 - 2019

No. of Olympiads Singapore participated 31
Gold 33
Silver 51
Bronze 36

Latest Update

Singapore team, led by Dr Tan Wee Boon and Dr Hoang Truong Giang from the department, won two Gold Medals and two Silver Medals in the 51st IChO held in Paris, France, from 21 to 30 July 2019.. Mr Hu Yongao attained 14th position among 308 delegates.. The road to representing Singapore at the IChO started from participating in the Singapore Chemistry Olympiad (SChO) in November 2018. Afar rigorous training and extensive examinations, selected students were invited for further training at NUS-Chemistry, conducted by school teachers and our staff. Singapore first participated in the IChO in 1988, and has since won a total of 33 gold, 51 silver and 36 bronze medals.

Past and future International Chemistry Olympiads


  • The 57th IChO will be held in United Arab Emirates, 2025
  • The 56th IChO will be held in Saudi Arabia, 2024
  • The 55th IChO will be held in Zurich, Switzerland, 2023
  • The 54th IChO will be held in Nankai, China, 2022
  • The 53rd IChO will be held in Japan, Osaka, July, 2021
  • The 52nd IChO will be held in Turkey, Istanbul, July, 2020
  • The 51st IChO was held in France, Paris, July, 2019
  • The 50th IChO was held in Bratislava and Prague, Slovakia & Czech Republic, 19 - 29 July 2018.
  • The 49th IChO was held in Nakhon Pathom, THAILAND, 6 - 15 July 2017.
  • The 48th IChO was held in Tbilisi, Georgia in 23 July - 1 Aug 2016
  • The 47th IChO was held in Baku, Azerbaijan in 2015
  • The 46th IChO was held in Hanoi, Vietnam in 2014
  • The 45th IChO was held in Moscow, Russia in 2013
  • The 44th IChO was held in Washington, DC•United States of America in 2012
  • The 43rd IChO was held in Ankara City, Turkey in 2011.
  • The 42nd IChO was held in Tokyo, Japan in 2010.
  • The 41st IChO was held in Cambridge, England in 2009.
  • The 40th IChO was held in Budapest, Hungary in 2008.
  • The 39th IChO was held in Moscow, Russia in 2007.
  • The 38th IChO was held in Gyeongsan, South Korea, July 1-11 2006.
  • The 37th IChO was held in Taipei, Taiwan, July 16-25 2005.
  • The 36th IChO was held in Kiel, Germany, July 18-27 2004.
  • The 35th IChO was held in Athens, Greece, July 5-14 2003.
  • The 34th IChO was held in Groningen, The Netherlands, July 5-14 2002.
  • The 33rd IChO was held in Mumbai, India, July 6-15 2001.
  • The 32nd IChO was held in Copenhagen, Denmark, July 2-11 2000.
  • The 31st IChO was held in Bangkok, Thailand, July 4-11 1999.
  • The 30th IChO was held in Melbourne, Australia, July 5-14 1998.
  • The 29th IChO was held in Montreal, Canada July 13-22 1997.
  • The 28th IChO was held in Moscow, Russia, July 14-23 1996.
  • The 27th IChO was held in Beijing, China, July 13-20 1995.
  • The 26th IChO was held in Oslo, Norway, July 3-11 1994.
  • The 25th IChO was held in Perugia, Italy, July 11-22 1993,
  • The 24th IChO was held in Pittsburgh and Washington, USA, July 11-22 1992.
  • The 23rd IChO was held in Łódź, Poland, July 7-15 1991.
  • The 22nd IChO was held in Paris, France, July 8-17 1990.
  • The 21st IChO was held in Halle, German Democratic Republic, July 2-10 1989.
  • The 20th IChO was held in Espoo, Finland, July 2-9 1988.