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International Junior Science Olympiad (IJSO)

International Junior Science Olympiad (IJSO) is a competition in science for students who are fifteen years or younger on 31st December of the competition year. In this article, find all you need to know about IJSO Exam Pattern!

IJSO is held in the first week of December of every year, in different countries. Currently around 50 member countries participate every year.

The academic competitions of the IJSO includes challenging tests in topics of science, both as theory questions and practical tasks. The tests are designed to address students’ understanding of concepts, and their ability to apply concepts to the situations described in the tests. Participation in the IJSO either by a host country, a delegation or an observer, signifies acceptance of the statutes governing the IJSO. Read on to find out about IJSO Exam Pattern and syllabus!


  1. Particles, waves and matter
  • What things are made of
  • Structure of particles and atoms
  • Elements, isotopes and compounds
  • Composition of molecules, chemical substances
  • Mixtures, colloids and suspensions
  • Periodic table – concept, organization and structure
  • States of matter and its properties
  • Solids, liquids, gases and plasmas – characteristics and differences
  • Lattices as a special form of solid matter
  • Properties of matter
  • Phase transitions and their influence on the properties of matter
  • Water and its different phases

  • Waves
  • Frequency, wavelength, speed of propagation and its relation
  • Difference between transversal and longitudinal waves
  • Superposition of waves
  • Classical Doppler effect
  • Sound
  • Light
  • Wave and particle interpretation of light
  • Propagation and speed of light in vacuum and media, refractive index
  • Connection between wavelength and colour, electromagnetic spectrum
  • Reflection and refraction of light at mirrors and lens.
  • Formation of images with mirrors and lenses
  1. Energy

Nature of energy and energy conservation

Various forms of energy

Transfer of energy

Energy conversion / transformation and its efficiency

Sources of energy


  1. Interactions


  • Nature of forces and types of forces
  • Mass and weight, center of mass
  • Newton’s laws, inertial systems
  • kinematics of a point mass: linear and circular motion
  • Momentum and change of momentum
  • Levers
  • Elastic forces, Hooke’s law and harmonic motions
  • Pressure

Electric, magnetic and gravitational fields

Type of chemical bonding – nature, structure and strength

Chemical Reactions

  • Chemical equations – balancing and stoichiometry
  • Types of chemical reactions
  • Basic and most common reactions for determination of unknown substances
  • Rate of reactions, factors affecting reaction rate like catalysts, temperature and
  • concentration
  • Dynamic equilibrium and Le Chatelier’s principle
  • Common ion effect
  • Diffusion, osmosis and surface tension
  • Principle of thin layer and paper chromatography
  • Effects of radiation on organisms
  • Forms of communication
  1. Structure, properties and functions

The students should know the structure of the following components and understand in which way they fulfil their functions

  • Cells
  • Basic structure of cells and its constituents
  • differences between animal, plant cells and bacteria
  • Basic concepts of the biochemistry of molecules.
  • Parts of the body
  • Anatomy and function of main organs and tissues in animals and humans
  • Properties of muscles
  • Homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysts
  • Acids and bases
  • Properties of acids and bases
  • pH values and neutralization
  • Indicators
  • Formation and effect of acidic rain
  • Electrolysis
  1. Systems

The students should be able to employ the concepts of:

Continuity principles in closed systems/cycles


Scales of nature

Basic concepts about cycles in nature


  • Levels of organization in the biosphere
  • Factors affecting ecosystems (abiotic and biotic)
  • Interactions between organisms
  • Producers, consumers and decomposers
  • Food chains, food webs
  • Basic principles of conservation of biodiversity
  • Factors affecting growth of populations, typical growth-curves for populations
  • Pollution effects of different modes of power generation
  • Organisms as systems
  • Transformation of matter and energy in organisms
  • Basic knowledge of digestive, circulatory, respiratory, excretory, nervous, immune and endocrine systems
  • Plant physiology
  • Respiration and exchange of gases
  • Absorption by roots, diffusion, osmosis
  • Photosynthesis
  • Tropism of plants
  • Electric Circuits
  • Components of circuits
  • Ohm’s law, charge, current, voltage
  • Series and parallel circuits, Kirchhoff’s laws
  • Difference between AC and DC currents/voltages
  • Qualitative knowledge of electromagnetic induction and Lenz’s law
  • Basic principles of generators and motors
  • Thermodynamical system
  • Astrophysical systems
  1. Development and Evolution
  • Strategies of environmental adaptation
  • Theory of evolution
  • Cell cycle and cell division
  • Reproduction in humans, animals and plants
  • principles of creation of new life
  • human reproductive organs and sex cells
  • changes that take place in boy’s and girl’s bodies during puberty
  • basic principles of plant reproduction (asexual and sexual)
  • basic knowledge of the development of fetus during pregnancy
  • Genes, chromosomes and genetics
  • Diseases
  • cause and transmission of diseases
  • immune systems
  • principles of vaccination
  • antibiotics such as the penicillin group
  1. Mathematics skills
  • equations involving
  • fractions
  • logarithms and exponential functions
  • powers and roots
  • polynomials (e.g. solving quadratic equations)
  • trigonometric functions
  • transformations of equations to obtain linear relations
  • plots of functions
  • simple geometry
  • basic vector algebra (decomposition and addition of vectors)
  • simple statistics (mean values, standard deviations, basic notion of probabilities)
  • error estimation
  • rounding of numbers and representing data with the proper number of digits /significant figures
  1. Laboratory Skills

They should in particular be able to

  • work in the laboratory following safety regulations
  • employ basic techniques for measuring the quantities mentioned in part B
  • make observations using the five senses
  • identify and use basic laboratory equipment
  • use more sophisticated equipment if proper instructions are given
  • collect data from an experiment being aware that instruments affect measurements
  • identify error sources and estimate their effects

IJSO Exam Pattern: Stages

The IJSO exam pattern follows the following 5 stages:
Stage I: National Standard Examination in Junior Science (NSEJS)

NSEJS is the first stage of selection of students in the Junior Science Olympiad Program. NSEJS is organized by the Indian Association of Physics Teachers (IAPT). The top 300 qualify for the next round.

Stage II: Indian National Junior Science Olympiad (INJSO)

INJSO will be organized by HBCSE at about 15 centers in the country.  Syllabus is similar to NSEJS and top 35 will qualify for the next round.

Stage III: Orientation cum Selection Camp (OCSC) in Junior Science

OCSC in Junior Science will be organized by HBCSE for 2-3 weeks. Only the students selected from the merit list of Stage II (INJSO) are eligible. There will be no other criteria or provision.
The camps include several theoretical and experimental tests.

Stage IV: Pre-departure Training Camp (PDT) for IJSO

The selected 6-member student team will undergo a rigorous training program at HBCSE in theory and experiment. Top 6 students in the merit list are special merit awardees, who will be given Rs.5000 worth of books and cash.

Stage V: Participation in International Junior Science Olympiad (IJSO)

The 12 student member team (two six member teams) and 3 teacher leaders will constitute the delegation to represent India at the International Junior Science Olympiad (IJSO).

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