WEP Previews ’22: Biology Olympiad

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By: Adriel Loi (22S03D)

Do you want to wow your friends with complex biological terms that probably no one would be able to spell? Are you interested in studying the complex anatomy of animals of different species in detail? Do you want to pull out a prawn’s appendages and its digestive tract? Then, Biology Olympiad is very much for you!

We have our very own Biology Olympiad training programme. Training sessions take place on Wednesdays, with each session focusing on either theory or practical skills. There will be a series of lectures covering a wide array of topics from animal anatomy and physiology to biosystematics, conducted by our own Singapore Biology Olympiad (SBO) alumnus. 

More significantly, you will get the opportunity to do exciting practicals that are vastly different from the typical Biology practical sessions. Sessions include DNA separation, dissection of animals such as earthworms, prawns and even squids, as well as plant sectioning. Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 situation this year, some lectures and practical sessions had to be conducted online.

Of course, a simple selection test will be held for those applying for the training programme. Don’t worry, a quick revision of the year 4 Biology content and a skim-through of Campbell Biology (aka our holy bible) will be sufficient.

Biology Olympiad first involves a theory round in November, where participants will have 3 hours to complete an MCQ test. Those who perform well will be qualified to enter the practical round in December, which consists of 4 practical tests, each testing on the topics of: Animal biology, Plant biology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. 

This might sound daunting to some, but as long as you keep up with the lectures and complete the practical experiments, acing the tests will become significantly easier.

Of course, a substantial amount of self-study will also be required to fully prepare you for both rounds. The post-promos period will be an amazing opportunity for you to familiarise yourself with the textbook, Campbell. There are also other textbooks such as Raven Biology of Plants and Molecular Biology of the Cell if you would like to focus on different fields of biology. (Most can be found in the school library). 

As much as building up your content knowledge is important, Biology Olympiad is heavily skill-based. Vital skills such as data interpretation and the application of knowledge can be cultivated through consistent practice. For practicals, you can also purchase your own dissection kit and buy animal specimens to practice on. 

It is without a doubt that Biology Olympiad will require self-discipline and dedication which extends beyond training since it is impossible to cover everything during training sessions.

If you are interested in Biology and the thought of learning concepts beyond the H2 Biology syllabus excites you, then you should definitely give Biology Olympiad a shot!

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