All About Olympiad

Olympiad exams or Olympiads are the means for students to compete with other students on a similar educational level. Such exams promote the learning of skills in subjects like mathematics, science, computer technology or English language among students. An Olympiad helps students analyse their strengths and weaknesses based on their performance in the nationwide or international level examination. These exams provide an absolute assessment of students’ knowledge and motivate them towards academic improvement. The participating students are judged based on their scientific-reasoning and logical-ability.

Olympiad exams are conducted by the Science Olympiad Foundation (SOF), a non-profit organisation that works to promote scientific temperament among students. SOF organises a number of Olympiads including:

  1. National Science Olympiad (NSO)
  2. National Cyber Olympiad (NCO)
  3. International Mathematics Olympiad (IMO)
  4. International English Olympiad (IEO)
  5. International Company Secretaries Olympiad (ICSO)
  6. International General Knowledge Olympiad (IGKO)

Olympiad – Benefits

Olympiad exams prove extremely beneficial for students. Open to class 1 to 12 students, these national or international level exams help students in a number of ways. The following are the benefits offered by Olympiads:

  1. Olympiads give a boost to students’ reasoning abilities.
  2. They help students assess their capabilities and have a better idea of their potential.
  3. They help students understand their weaknesses which can then be worked upon.
  4. Olympiads challenge students’ intellect in such a way that it promotes a deeper understanding of scientific facts.
  5. They sharpen the students’ analytical skills.
  6. Competing at the national or international level provides students a different level of exposure.
  7. The questions asked in the Olympiad exams help students better understand the concepts that they are taught in class.


SOF Olympiads – Objective

The Olympiads conducted by SOF are designed to test students on various skills. The general objective of SOF is to use these Olympiads to identify and nurture future scientists, technologists and IT talent at the school level. Moreover, all six Olympiads conducted by SOF have specific objectives. The table below talks in detail about the objectives of SOF Olympiads.

Objectives of Olympiad exams

Sr. No.SOF OlympiadObjective
1NSOTo cultivate scientific reasoning and logical ability among students
2NCOTo help students assess their knowledge of cyber concepts
3IMOTo help students test their mathematics skills and mathematics-based knowledge
4IEOTo help students assess their English knowledge and usage of English language
5ICSOTo prepare students for higher examination by testing their knowledge in Economics, Business Studies, Accountancy and Quantitative analysis reasoning
6IGKOTo develop an interest in General Knowledge and current affairs so as to help a student’s all-round development


Olympiad – Eligibility

Each SOF Olympiad caters to a particular group of students. The table below discusses the eligibility criteria for participating in different Olympiads.

Eligibility for Olympiad exams

Sr. No.OlympiadEligibility
1NSOClass 1 to 12 students
2NCOClass 1 to 12 students
3IMOClass 1 to 12 students
4IEOClass 1 to 12 students
5ICSOClass 11 and 12 students
6IGKOClass 1 to 10 students


Olympiad – Exam Sections

Awareness about the contents of the Olympiad exam will help participating candidates in their preparations. The question papers are divided into various sections. The table below describes the exam sections for various Olympiads.

Exam Sections

Sr. No.OlympiadExam Sections
1NSOFor Class 1 to Class 10

Section-1: Logical Reasoning

Section-2: Science

Section-3: Achievers Section

For Class 11 and Class 12

Section-1: Physics/Chemistry

Section-2: Achievers Section

Section-3: Mathematics/Biology
2NCOSection-1: Logical Reasoning

Section-2: Computers and Information Technology

Section-3: Achievers Section
3IMOSection-1: Logical Reasoning

Section-2: Mathematical Reasoning

Section-3: Everyday Mathematics

Section-4: Achievers Section
4IEOSection-1: Word & Structure Knowledge

Section-2: Reading

Section-3: Spoken & Written Expression

Section-4: Achievers Section
5ICSOSection-1: Quantitative Analysis Reasoning

Section-2: Economics

Section-3: Business Studies

Section-4: Accountancy

Section-5: Achievers Section
6IGKOSection-1: General Awareness

Section-2: Current Affairs

Section-3: Like Skills

Section-4: Achievers Section


Olympiad – Key dates

SOF organises its Olympiads around the same time each year. Candidates interested in taking part in any of the Olympiad should be aware of the key dates so as to avoid missing the deadlines. The table below highlights the key dates for various Olympiad exams.

Key dates for Olympiad exams

Sr. No.OlympiadExam Dates*
3IMODecember – January
4IEOOctober – November
5ICSODecember – January
6IGKOOctober – November

*These dates are tentative and are subject to change based on the discretion of SOF.


Olympiad – How to apply

The eligible students interested in applying for the SOF Olympiads can do so through the following steps-

  1. Prospectus containing the registration forms will be sent to the schools registered with SOF. Students can receive the registration forms from their respective schools.
  2. In case the school is not registered with SOF, it can still request the prospectus by contacting SOF through phone (0124-4951200) or email (
  3. Students must fill the registration forms with the required details and submit it to their respective schools.
  4. The schools must then return the duly filled registration forms to SOF before the due date.

It must be noted that the applicants will also need to pay a registration fee in the following manner-

  • A registration fee of INR 125 (including GST) per student for schools in India
  • A registration fee of USD 9 per student for international schools

Schools may collect an additional amount of INR 25 (USD 1 for International schools) per student towards honorarium of incharge, remuneration to teachers to teach, guide using study material supplied by SOF and other miscellaneous expenses.


Olympiad – Awards

Students, as well as schools participating in the Olympiads, are felicitated with various awards depending on the rank they achieve. The award details for various SOF Olympiads are shown in the table below.

Awards for Olympiad exams

Sr. No.OlympiadAwards
1NSOUp to INR 50,000 + Gold medal + Certificate of Outstanding Performance
2NCOUp to INR 50,000 + Gold medal + Certificate of Outstanding Performance
3IMOUp to INR 50,000 + Gold medal + Certificate of Outstanding Performance
4IEOUp to INR 50,000 + Gold medal + Certificate of Outstanding Performance
5ICSOUp to INR 1,00,000 + Gold medal + Certificate of Outstanding Performance
6IGKOUp to INR 50,000 + Gold medal + Certificate of Outstanding Performance