International Medicine Olympiad
Rules and Regulations
The exam content is the unpublished, confidential, and proprietary material of the International Medicine Olympiad.
Communicating, publishing, reproducing, or transmitting any part of an exam, in any form or by any means (e.g. verbal, electronic, written, etc.) for any purpose is strictly prohibited.
ANY reproduction or disclosure will result in the immediate filing of civil and/or criminal charges against the student and anyone directing or conspiring with the student.
During the multiple choice tests, you will not be permitted to go to the restroom once the exam begins. Please use the restroom before the exam. If a student absolutely requires to use the restroom, a chaperone of the same gender will accompany the student at all times.
After the first exam, there will be a break of 30 minutes. After the break, the student must return to his or her assigned, original seat to take the second exam.
Unauthorized personal items may not be brought into the test room. Such items include, but are not limited to: outerwear, hats, food, drinks, purses, briefcases, notebooks, pagers, watches, cell phones, recording devices and photographic equipment.
Written notes, published materials and other testing aids are strictly prohibited
All materials issued by the IMDO must be returned at the conclusion of testing. Used scratch paper must be returned before new scratch paper will be issued by the proctor during the exam.
Talking to other students in the test room and looking at other students’ tests are strictly prohibited.
On day 2, the multiple choice exams will be graded and the results and rankings posted in the evening.
On day 3, the Medicine Bowl will be in the quiz bowl format and will be a seeded single elimination tournament. The seeding of the teams will be based on the results of the multiple choice exams.
The following is adapted from the competition rules of the National Science Bowl.
Medicine Bowl Rules
1. The Questions
1-1. Two types of questions will be used: toss-up and bonus questions. A toss-up question may be answered by any of the 4 members of either team that are actively competing. A team answering a toss-up question correctly will always get a chance to answer a bonus question; the other team is ineligible. No communication among team members is allowed on toss-up questions, but communication is allowed on bonus questions. The high school question categories are: Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, Genetics, Human Physiology, and Human Disease.
1-2. No team will have more than one opportunity to answer a toss-up question. If neither team answers a toss-up correctly, the moderator will proceed to the next toss-up question.
1-3. Questions are either multiple-choice or short-answer. A participant may answer a multiple-choice question with either the letter answer (A, B, C or D) or the verbal answer; however, if the verbal answer is given, it must be exactly as indicated in the question or as read by the moderator. The only acceptable answer to a multiple-choice question will be the best of the 4 choices indicated in the question; in the event that more than one of the 4 choices is equally correct, then any of the correct choices will be acceptable.
1-4. Once read in its entirety, a question will not be re-read.
1-5. For toss-up questions, the first player on either team to activate the lock-out buzzer system (or “buzz in”) earns the right to answer the question, except that no player may buzz in until AFTER the moderator has identified the subject area of the question. If a player buzzes in prior to the reading of the subject area, the moderator will inform the player that he/she has buzzed in too soon, and may add time back to the clock, if necessary.
1-6. On any toss-up or bonus question, the first response given, as determined by the officials, is the only one that counts. However, if a participant gives both a letter answer and a scientific answer to a multiple choice question, both parts must be correct. Any prefacing remarks that do not directly answer the question, such as “my answer is” or repeating the question, will be considered delaying the game and counted as an incorrect answer. (Note: a very short “um”, “er”, or vocal stumble is acceptable, provided the officials do not consider it delaying the game.) The moderator may interrupt a player in the process of giving an incorrect answer at any time, so as to continue the flow of the game.
1-7. If the first team’s answer to a toss-up question is wrong and the question was completely read, the other team is given the opportunity to answer it. The second team is allowed another 5 seconds to buzz in after the moderator indicates the answer is wrong or that a blurt or communication has occurred. (See Rules 2-1 and 2-2.)
1-8. The answer to a bonus question must come from the team’s captain. Moderators must ignore an answer from anyone but the captain on the bonus question. If the moderator inadvertently responds to someone other than the captain while indicating whether an answer is correct, or to the captain before the answer is being given, the next bonus question will be read to the team eligible for the bonus. If this situation occurs on the last question of the round, the officials will obtain a replacement bonus question.
1-9. The team that is not playing the toss-up or bonus question must remain quiet while the opposing team hears and answers the question. If the non-playing team engages in behavior that is visually or verbally distracting, the opposing team will be awarded the following:
a) For toss-up questions: 4 points for the toss-up question, the option of having 20 additional seconds run off the clock, and the opportunity to answer the bonus question. The moderator will then proceed to the next toss-up.
b) For bonus questions: 10 points for the bonus question and the option of having 40 additional seconds run off the clock. The moderator will then proceed to the next toss-up.
During each round, each team will be allowed one “accidental” buzz during questions for the opposing team. All subsequent buzzes during questions will be called distractions.
2. Verbal Recognition & Communication
2-1. The only player who may answer a toss-up question is the one who has buzzed in first. Before answering a toss-up question, the team member who has buzzed in must be verbally recognized by the moderator or scientific judge. (Before the match, the official who will be recognizing participants will be identified.) If a student from a team that has buzzed in answers before being recognized, it is termed a blurt and the moderator will award 4 points to the opposing team, but will not indicate whether the answer was correct or not. The toss-up question is then offered to the opposing team, if still eligible. If the question has not been completely read, the question is reread in its entirety, and the opposing team has an opportunity to answer the toss-up question, and, if correct, a chance to answer the bonus question.
2-2. On toss-up questions, no communication among team members may occur. Prior to buzz: Should communication among any of the team members occur without a team member buzzing in, or if any team member should give an answer without buzzing in, any answer given does not count, the moderator will not indicate whether the answer given was correct or not, and the team loses the right to answer the toss-up question. The question is then offered to the opposing team, if still eligible. After a buzz: If communication occurs, the communication is then classified as a blurt as in Rule 4-1, and 4 penalty points will be awarded to the opposing team.
2-3. If the moderator inadvertently gives the answer to a toss-up question without giving either team a chance to respond, the moderator will proceed to the next toss-up question. If this situation occurs on the last question of a round, the officials will obtain a replacement toss-up question.
2-4. If the moderator inadvertently gives the answer to a toss-up question before allowing the second team to respond (after an incorrect answer, or an answer given without the team member having been recognized) the next toss-up question will be read to the second team in place of the inadvertently answered question. If this situation occurs on the last question of a round, the officials will obtain a replacement toss-up question.
2-5. On a toss-up question, if the moderator inadvertently recognizes a player other than the one who buzzed in, the player who buzzed in will be allowed to answer as though he/she had been correctly recognized. If the player who was inadvertently recognized answers the question, it will be considered a blurt, with 4 points awarded to the opposing team.
3-1. The match is played until either the time expires or all of the toss-up questions (and earned bonuses for correct toss-ups) have been read. Regional competitions will have two 8-minute halves with a 2-minute break. Halves at the National Biology Bowl® Finals will be 10 minutes with a 2-minute break. Each half begins with a toss-up question. Note: At the National Biology Bowl® Finals, some of the single elimination rounds will contain visual bonus questions. The rounds containing visual bonus questions will have two 12-minute halves with a 2-minute break.
3-2. After reading a toss-up question, the moderator will allow 5 seconds for the 2 teams to respond before proceeding to the next toss-up question. Timing begins after the moderator has completed reading the toss-up question, including all choices on a multiple-choice question.
3-3. A participant who has buzzed in on a toss-up question must answer the question promptly after being verbally recognized by the moderator or scientific judge. After recognizing a participant, the moderator will allow for a natural pause (up to 2 seconds), but if the moderator determines that stalling has occurred, it will be treated as a wrong answer.
3-4. After a team member has answered a toss-up question correctly, the team is given the opportunity to answer a bonus question. The team will have 20 seconds for its captain to begin to give its answer to the bonus question; timing begins after the moderator has completed reading the bonus question, including all choices on a multiple-choice question. Note: On visual bonus questions at the National Biology Bowl® Finals, the team will have 30 seconds for its captain to begin to give its answer to the visual bonus question.
3-5. On a bonus question, the signal “5 SECONDS” will be given by the timekeeper after 15 seconds of the allowed 20 seconds have expired. Additionally, the timekeeper will indicate the end of the 20-second bonus period by saying “TIME.” If the team captain has not begun the response before the timekeeper calls “TIME,” the answer does not count. If the team captain has begun the response, he/she may complete the answer, but must proceed through it without stalling. Note: On visual bonus questions at the National Biology Bowl® Finals, the signal “5 SECONDS” will be given by the timekeeper after 25 seconds of the allowed 30 seconds have expired.
3-6. If a toss-up question is begun before time expires in a half, that question will be finished under the usual rules of play, including the bonus if the toss-up is answered correctly. The half is then over. A question will be considered to have been begun if the subject area has been completely read. The second half will begin with the first toss-up question not read in the first half.
Summary of Timing
Teams have 5 seconds to buzz in after question is read. If no team has buzzed in, say “TIME”.
Toss-up: Buzz in after Toss-up has been read
Must answer within natural pause (up to 2 seconds). If no answer, say “TIME”.
Team gets 20 seconds to discuss. After 15 seconds, Timer will announce “5 seconds”. If no answer after 20 seconds, say “TIME”.
End of Game
Each half is 8 minutes. At 8 minutes, say “Game”. If team is in process of answering a question, just turn off the clock and announce “Game” when process of the question has been completed.