Two AP Chemistry students advanced to the National Chemistry Olympiad Exam, the second tier of the United States Chemistry Olympiad.
Jordan Barkin ’18 and Marcus Leher ’18 were the top scorers of the school on the local exam and took the national exam April 22.
The local exam consisted of 60 multiple choice questions in 110 minutes, and students had to score at least 44 questions correct to be eligible to take the national exam.
“The Chemistry Olympiad has been a great experience,” Barkin said. “Walking into the local exam, I had no idea what to expect. Everyone in AP Chem was required to take the test, and none of us had studied much at all. Nevertheless, we were pretty well-versed in most of the concepts from class.”
Although several Harvard-Westlake students scored over 44 on the local exam, only two students per school were allowed to take the national exam according to the Olympiad rules.
The national exam consists of three parts, a multiple choice section, problem-solving section and a lab practical section.
“Advancing to the second round has been awesome since there’s a 90-minute laboratory component on the exam,” Barkin said. “It’s nice to have an opportunity to apply our lab experience toward solving a problem we’ve never seen before.”
The Chemistry Olympiad has been a great opportunity to expand knowledge of the field, Leher said.
“The Chem Olympiad is a great opportunity to advance my interests in science,” Leher said. “It is a chance to compete against some of the smartest high schoolers in Southern California, and is a fun and rewarding challenge.”
The top 20 scorers of the national competition will have the opportunity to attend a study camp for training in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The top four students in the study camp will be able to represent the country in the International Chemistry Olympiad July 6-15.