Start a Team

Learn how to form a Science Olympiad team at your school and have a successful season!

Forming a Team and Registration

  • Head Coach
    Each school/team is led by a Head Coach. The Head Coach is an official representative of the school (usually a school teacher or district employee), and must be authorized by the school's principal to represent the school in case of a medical emergency, a scoring dispute, disciplinary action, school sanction, etc.
  • Team Size and Composition
    Each team may consist of up to fifteen (15) student participants. Although the Science Olympiad "Club" at a school may have more than fifteen students (training or helping prepare), a maximum of 15 students may compete on the day of the tournament. It is not uncommon for teams to have fewer than 15 students. There are also additional grade-level requirements for teams. Please refer to https://www.soinc.org/start-team/team-size-grade-levels for more details. Teams will need to submit an official team roster on the morning of the tournament documenting the student participants.
  • Registration Requirements
    In order to attend a Science Olympiad tournament, teams must have a head coach approved by the school, submit the online registration form, pay any membership dues, and depending on the tournament site, submit proof of insurance (a certificate of insurance). More information can be found on the registration page, and any requirements will be sent to the head coach.

Preparing for the Tournament

  • Rules Manual
    Once the rules are released the Tuesday after Labor Day, they can be downloaded for free online from the national website. The rules manuals, along with any posted Rules Clarifications, lay out the requirements and parameters of the events.
  • Rules Changes/Clarifications
    Rules Changes are made to correct or change the meaning of a rule. Rules Clarifications are made to clarify any questions teams may have regarding the rules. All Rules Changes/Clarifications posted here apply to all Regional and State Tournaments in Southern California, and must be treated as part of the rules. Some Regionals may have post their own clarifications in addition to those posted on this website. Clarifications for a tournament usually close 1-2 weeks before the tournament, so teams are not affected by any last-minute changes. Teams should check with their tournament to find out their policies on clarifications.
  • General Rules
    There are general rules that apply to all events. Often these rules are overlooked as attention is given to the detailed event rules. These general rules cover a number of frequently-asked questions and are published in the Rules Manuals each year. The general rules can also be found online here.
  • Team Number
    Once a team has completed registration for a tournament, they will typically receive a Team Number. The Team Number is typically specific to that tournament, and is used in identifying and scheduling the team. The Team Number usually consists of a letter specifying the team's Division, followed by a two-digit number. Some examples are "B04", "B27", "C01", and "C39".
  • Scheduling Events
    Once the preliminary schedule for a tournament is posted, teams should make sure to check the schedule to know what the event groupings/conflicts (events that happen at the same time) are. The schedules are typically shown by Team Number. Examples are shown below.

    Reading the Schedule:
    schedule-example-1
    For this event, Division B teams with a team number between B23-33 (B23, B24, ..., B32, B33) would compete from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM. Division C teams with a team number between C01-12 (C01, C02, ..., C11, C12) would compete from 12:15 PM to 1:15 PM. Division C teams with a team number between C12-22 (C12, C13, ..., C21, C22) would compete from 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM.

    Event Conflicts:
    schedule-example-1
    Take for example a high school (Division C) student who wants to compete in both Astronomy and Circuit Lab. Even if Team Numbers have not yet been released, they can see that they cannot compete in both of those events. Anatomy and Physiology, Astronomy, and Circuit Lab are in the same "grouping" - they have identical schedules of teams. No matter whether the student's Team Number is C01-11, C12-22, or C23-33, those events will always run at the same time for their team. This means that another student will have to fill in for them on one of the events. Events that conflict for one team will conflict for all teams, so no one team has any advantage from scheduling.
  • Self-Scheduled Events
    Some events (usually events that do not take a full hour), are "self-scheduled". This means that teams can choose when they compete in that event, giving them the flexibility to work around participants' conflicts. The self-scheduled event signups typically occur several weeks before the tournament, once registration for the tournament is complete. Teams usually pick times for their events on a first-come, first-served basis. Most self-scheduled events allow participants to show up any time during their selected timeblock, but some events may still require the participants to be present for the entire timeblock. Make sure to check the tournament scheduling information.

Day of the Tournament

  • Home Base
    Each team should have a Home Base (or Home Room, if indoors) at the tournament. The Home Base is a staging area for the team, where team members can rest in between events and keep First-Aid, materials, equipment, and devices. Depending on the tournament, Home Base locations may be assigned prior to the tournament, picked on the morning of the tournament, or teams may be free to make Home Bases wherever they find space. If the Home Base is outdoors, teams typically bring pop-up tents/canopies and camping chairs. Teams also usually bring snacks, lunch, and drinks. Generally, the venue does not allow cooking, food warming, or open flames of any kind - exceptions are rare and will be communicated if so.
  • Impound
    Some events, typically ones involving building, may require "impounding" on the morning of the tournament. The impound period is oftentimes the hour before the start of the first event, and is run at the same time as check-in. Missing impound usually carries heavy penalties, so teams should make sure to arrive early.
  • Arbitrations and Appeals
    If they feel that an event has been conducted in a manner inconsistent with the official Event Rules, a team's Head Coach can file an Appeal. An Arbitrations team will review and investigate the Appeal and make a ruling. Rulings of the Arbitrations team are final. The process for filing an appeal varies from tournament to tournament, but typically requires filling out a paper or online form.

Register Now

If you have any questions, please email director@socalscioly.org.
Got your team formed? Register now to reserve your spot in a tournament.

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