CEF provides study materials to help students succeed at every level of the Challenge and expose them to the fascinating world of chemistry and its real-world applications. The Passport to Science Exploration is divided into three sections that correspond to the each level of the Challenge:

  • The Core of Chemistry – Local Challenges
  • Chemistry Connections – State Challenges
  • Chemistry Concepts in Action - National Challenge

To prepare for a Challenge competition, students should carefully read and review the information in the Challenge study materials. Competition questions are based on an overall understanding of chemistry and science concepts presented in these study materials, as well as the relationships among concepts. Questions are largely derived from information contained in CEF’s study materials but are not limited solely to this information.

CEF does not provide any suggestions or recommendations for any participants regarding outside resources, but we encourage students to seek additional examples and explanations of chemistry concepts from outside resources. Doing so will help students to answer questions that require them to connect concepts, apply their knowledge of chemistry to familiar and unfamiliar situations, and learn more about the world around them!


Study Core of Chemistry study materialsMaterials for the Challenge Qualifier and Local Challenges

Disclaimer: Please note that these sample questions are provided as a reference only and should not be altered or adjusted. These sample questions are not an indication of what will be seen in future Local Challenge competitions, but are a small set of questions that have been previously used.


StudyChemistry Connections study materials Materials for State Challenges – coming in 2016

  • Passport to Science Exploration: Chemistry Connections
  • The Periodic Table of Atomic Weights
  • Element Index for Chemistry Connections
  • Students should also continue to review Local Challenge study materials


StudyConcepts in Action study materials Materials for the National Challenge – coming in 2016

Please note: Participants attending the 2016 National Challenge will receive a copy of these study materials by mail.
In addition to the reviewing the study materials below, students should continue to review The Core of Chemistry and Chemistry Connections and both versions of the periodic table to prepare for the National Challenge.

  • Passport to Science Exploration: Chemistry Concepts in Action
  • Element Index for Chemistry Concepts in Action


Next Generation Science Standards

CEF works with a team of chemistry experts and Next Generation Science Standardseducators, including professors and industry professionals, to develop the Challenge study materials. The materials align to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and include science concepts covered in many state assessments. Learn how each section of the study materials align to the NGSS:


Previous YBTC Challenge Cycle Study Materials

CEF releases updated versions of the Local, State, and National Challenge study materials each year. This year’s updated study materials are posted at the top of this page, but you can check out last year’s Challenge study materials below to see what past participants learned!

Please note that study materials from previous Challenge cycles are outdated and should NOT be used to prepare for the 2015-2016 YBTC Challenge competition. Challenge questions for the 2015-2016 YBTC Challenge cycle will NOT be derived from the study materials directly above. Participants must refer to the materials posted at the top of this page for the 2015-2016 Challenge study materials.



Please note: CEF does not endorse or approve the use of any questions for the purposes of preparing for any level of the Challenge. Challenge competition questions (including the Challenge Qualifier) are for competition purposes ONLY. Students should NOT receive or use questions (from the current year or any previous years) at any point to study. Use of Challenge competition questions for study purposes is grounds for disqualification.