Before the International Biology Olympiad (IBO) 2017

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This year the International Biology Olympiad (IBO) will begin on Sunday 23rd July at the University of Warwick, Coventry, United Kingdom.

For Practical exams, HERE you can find a list of useful techniques for the olympiad. Check if you know all of them and if not, Google  it and familiarize with them.

The Official IBO guide can be found HERE.

Also check out the guidelines for Designing a reliable Theory Test for the International Biology Olympiad HERE.

Really useful lab protocols can be found in


Practical Task Topics

This year competitors will be asked to complete practical tasks in the following areas:

  • Plant biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Developmental physiology

For plant biology, it is essential to review plant cross sections and floral diagrams as well as practice some plant dissection and slide preparation.  Browse for some useful handouts. Also, here you can find a study guide which includes comprehensive cross section of all plant body parts and biosystematics:

For biochemistry, browse Also, since it is only few weeks away from the IBO, read Biochemistry  by Richard A. Harvey. Useful biochemistry books are uploaded here.

The third topic is quite tricky. Developmental biology explains how the single cell formed at fertilisation forms an embryo and then a fully formed adult organism. For this to happen, the fertilised egg must grow and divide to produce the many cells within the adult organism. Different types of cells (such as nerves, muscles and skin) must be produced, and these cells must be arranged together to form the organs of the body. These organs must also be positioned appropriately in the body.

Altogether, these ensure, for example, that hands form at the ends of arms, not legs, and flowers on stems, rather than roots. Our understanding of developmental biology is having a significant impact on our understanding of evolution and modern medicine, including treatment of birth defects, infertility and cancer in humans. Browse here for lab protocols: .

Study the biosystematics list that you need to know.

IBO Biosystematics List 2017

To help you remember these key biosystematics groups, you can purchase a comprehensive biosystematics revision table with descriptions and illustrations here:

Theory Task Topics

Usually, the theoretical exam is divided into Part A and Part B. Some useful general biology notes are uploaded here.

The best way to spend these last couple of weeks is to skim through all the graphs illustrations from Campbell Biology, one Human Anatomy and Physiology book, one Biochemistry textbook, one Genetics textbook and Raven’s Biology of Plants!

Also before Olympiad practice questions from different biology olympiads using our Online Question System that you can access here.