How to Get Into the National Science Bowl

One Methods:Rules

The National Science Bowl is an annual middle and high school competition held by the U.S. Department of Energy in Washington, D.C. in late April or early May. Teams of 5 students from schools across the nation compete to answer various science-related questions. This article will show you how to get into the National Science Bowl and the rules of the competition.


  1. 1
    Attend your school's meetings. The meetings discuss the rules and basics of the Science Bowl.
  2. 2
    Go to the practice when available.
  3. 3
    Keep practicing and studying until the regional and national events.
    • Study hard about all the subjects in science and math. Get familiar with multiple categories on science. Use a textbook or a studying tool on the Internet.
  4. 4
    Make sure you know all the rules on the regional and national competitions. Teams lose points because students don't know all the rules.
  5. 5
    Win your regional Science Bowl competition.


  • Rules at the national event may be different from the regional event.
  • This show includes a buzzer system similar to the ones on Jeopardy.
  • Two types of questions will be used: Toss-up and bonus. Toss-up questions are worth 4 points and bonus questions are worth 10.
  • There are six categories in the event: Biology, Chemistry, Earth and Space Science, Energy, Mathematics, and Physics.
  • Each question is either multiple-choice or short answer.
  • For multiple-choice questions, the letter choices are W, X, Y, and Z instead of A, B, C, and D.
  • It is considered an "interrupt" while the question is being read and someone buzzes in during a toss-up question.
  • The only player who may answer a toss-up question is someone who buzzes in first. Before answering a toss-up question, the team member who buzzed in must be recognized by the moderator or scientific judge. If the team member was not recognized, it is considered a "blurt".
  • Middle school students get into a car competition to design and race their model cars.
  • Calculators and electronic devices are not permitted.


  • If the question is a multiple-choice question, and you know that the correct answer is not W, X, and Y, buzz in. Interrupt and say "Z!"
  • Parallel Structure

Some of the science bowl questions follow a distinct pattern within the answer choices in multiple choice type questions. With these type of questions you will be able to deduce the letter choice (which is a little trickier) or buzz directly in and format your wording accordingly based the known answer choices. (from the structure of the first answer choice) This can also occur with number questions where usually W) may be the highest or lowest value and either increase of decrease steadily as the answer choices approach to Z). For examples, visit and go under the tips and advice section and click on the .doc for science bowl strategy guide.

  • Format

The question may already include a key word which will be left out from the answer choices. They usually won't repeat themselves using the same key word in the answer choices. However, if you are unsure, wait for the first answer choice and the rest of the answer choices can be deduced from parallelism. (If answer choice doesn't have the principle or law following the beginnings the rest won't)

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Categories: Science