Listed below are the 2016-2017 You Be The Chemist Challenge ® Official Rules as established by the Chemical Educational Foundation® (CEF). These rules pertain to all levels of the competition, with the exception of the 2017 National Challenge, for which CEF will provide a separate rules document.

A.   Participation Requirements

In order to participate in the 2016-2017 You Be The Chemist Challenge® cycle, participants must meet the following requirements:

  1. They must be in grades 5-8, and must not pass beyond grade 8 on or before April 1, 2017.
    • An academic classification for the participant above grade 8 must not have been declared to any entity for any purpose by the participant, their parent/guardian, or a school official acting on the participant’s behalf.
  2. They must not reach the age of 15 before July 1, 2017.
  3. They may not compete in a Challenge competition in which their parent, legal guardian, or other family member is a Challenge Organizer, Judge, or Moderator.
  4. They must participate through their school, homeschool association, or other CEF-approved student group (“school”).
  5. They must compete at the Local and/or State Challenge competition location assigned to their school.
  6. They may not attend any Local or State Challenge competitions other than those in which they are participating during the current school year.
  7. They must enter State and National Challenge competitions in the same school year in which they qualified from their Local Challenge competition.
  8. They must not have been declared the Champion of a previous National Challenge competition.

Any participant who is not in compliance with any of the eligibility requirements noted above may be disqualified. Disqualified participants may be required to forfeit prizes, title, and any benefits awarded to the participant as a result of his/her participation in the Challenge.

B.   Structure

The Challenge timeline (“Challenge cycle”) begins in September with site and school registration and concludes with the National Challenge in June. The Challenge cycle consists of the following levels of competition:

  1. Challenge Qualifier
    • A multiple-choice test administered by participating schools to determine which participant(s) will advance to the Local Challenge competition.
  2. Local Challenge competition
    • A timed, interactive question-and-answer competition organized according to geographic regions determined by CEF and Challenge Organizers, often counties/boroughs/parishes. The competition will determine which participant(s) will advance to the State Challenge competition or, in states with only one Local Challenge competition (no State Challenge), which participant will advance directly to the National Challenge competition.
  3. State Challenge competition
    • A timed, interactive question-and-answer competition organized within a state and used to determine which participant will advance to the National Challenge competition on behalf of that state.
  4. National Challenge competition
    • A timed, interactive question-and-answer competition used to determine the National Challenge Champion. Each participating Challenge state sends one participant to the National Challenge (the State Challenge Champion or, in states with only one Local Challenge, the Local Challenge Champion).

The event structure of each participating Challenge state is determined by CEF and the Challenge Organizers for that state. Any modifications or exceptions to the Challenge structure listed above must be approved by CEF.

The number of participants advancing from each level of competition to the next is also determined by CEF and the Challenge Organizers for that state. Alternates will advance to the next competitive level if the Champion or runners-up (as determined by the Challenge Organizer and approved by CEF) are unable to participate. Each participating state will send one State Champion to the National Challenge.

C.   Challenge Organizers

Each Local and State Challenge requires at least one volunteer to serve as the Local or State Challenge Organizer. The Challenge Organizer(s) is/are responsible for coordinating all aspects of student participation and competition logistics. Organizers must be approved by CEF and must be at least 18 years of age.

Each Local Challenge and each participating school must register with CEF. Each Local Challenge Organizer must confirm participation data for each registered school. In order to register a Local Challenge site, Organizers should ensure the participation of at least 30 students, unless otherwise approved by CEF.

Challenge Organizers are required to enforce the You Be The Chemist Challenge® Official Rules at all competitions.

D.   Study Materials & Content

CEF provides study materials and supporting information for participants on the CEF website. Participants are encouraged to review these study materials, including the Periodic Table, to prepare for each level of the Challenge competition. Participants should review the information on the periodic tables and be familiar with using the periodic table to determine additional information about an element or a set of elements.

CEF provides all competition questions and corresponding answers for the Challenge Qualifier, Local Challenge, and State Challenges. Challenge competition questions are largely derived from information contained in CEF’s study materials but are not limited to this information. Questions are based on an overall understanding of chemistry, general science concepts, and the relationships among various concepts.

Study materials and competition questions and answers are the intellectual property of CEF, and any copyright notice displayed on the materials and content shall not be removed. Questions and answers are to be used only for competitions and are not to be distributed for any other reason. Participants should not receive or use competition questions (from the current year or any previous years) at any point to study. Parents/guardians of Challenge participants may not be involved in disseminating the Challenge Qualifier or Challenge questions, determining competition format, judging or scoring the competition, or any other content-related or judging aspect of the competition. Improper use of Challenge competition questions or content is grounds for disqualification of a single participant or a Challenge site.

E.   Challenge Qualifier

Use of the Challenge Qualifier is determined by the Local Challenge Organizer. The Challenge Qualifier should be administered and graded in the format deemed appropriate by the Organizer, provided it meets the following requirements:

  1. The Challenge Qualifier must be administered at a public venue.
  2. The Challenge Qualifier must be administered to a group of at least 10 participants, unless otherwise approved by CEF.
  3. Participants taking the Challenge Qualifier must be enrolled at the school administering the Challenge Qualifier, unless otherwise approved by CEF.
  4. The Challenge Qualifier must not be distributed to participants or others at any point outside of the test session itself and participants may not keep copies of the Challenge Qualifier.
  5. Participants must complete the Challenge Qualifier individually and adhere to any other standards set by the Organizer or educator who is administering the Challenge Qualifier.

F.   Local & State Challenge Competitions

Challenge Organizers may determine the format and structure of their competitions, provided they meet the following requirements:

  1. Local and State Challenge competitions must only use questions supplied by CEF for the 2016-2017 Challenge cycle and that level only.
  2. Only answers supplied by CEF should be accepted as correct, unless otherwise determined by the competition Judges.
  3. All levels of the competition must consist of at least 40 questions, with the exception of the Challenge Qualifier.
  4. Competitions will take the form of rounds. The number of questions per round may vary, but should be outlined and reviewed by participants in the Challenge Format document.
  5. Questions and answer choices must be simultaneously displayed to the participants and audience during the competition.
  6. A Moderator will state each question and each answer choice once. Questions and answers will not be repeated, unless requested to do so by the Judges.
  7. Participants will have limited time to provide the Judges with their answer. Participants will be made aware of the time limit for each question.
  8. Participants will use an electronic response system to submit their answers.
  9. When answering questions, participants should select the best answer choice available for that question.
  10. The Moderator will read the correct answer once time has expired.
  11. After each round there will be a short break, during which the Judges will tally scores, and, if necessary, after the break Judges will announce any participant(s) who have been eliminated.
  12. The participant(s) with the fewest correct answers will be eliminated; the number of participants eliminated per round is determined by the Organizer.
  13. If more than one participant has the same score, a Tiebreaker Round may be used to determine who is eliminated.
  14. A Champion, First Runner-up, Second Runner-up, and Third Runner-up will be determined at the end of the competition, based on participant scores.
  15. After participant eliminations are announced, all scores are final.

G.   Judges

Each Local and State Challenge Organizer must designate at least two competition Judges according to the following requirements:

  1. One Judge will act as Speaking Judge. The Speaking Judge will announce any decisions made by the Judges and will have the final decision on appeals.
  2. Judges’ responsibilities include the following:
    1. Ensuring the competition is in compliance with all rules.
    2. Observing participant behavior.
    3. Listening to questions and answers for consistency and ensuring question and answer choices are displayed and read clearly.
    4. Monitoring time during the competition rounds.
    5. Calculating and tracking total participant scores throughout the competition.
    6. Announcing round and competition results.
  1. All Judges’ decisions are final.

H.   Appeals

Participants may appeal competition questions. The Judges will determine the outcome of all appeals. All Judges’ decisions are final. CEF does not exercise operational supervision over Local or State Challenge competitions and will not render judgments relating to the outcome of these competitions. An appeal must meet the following requirements:

  1. Participants may not consult any other individual prior to making their appeal.
  2. Participants may only raise an appeal after a round in which they participated. Participants may not raise an appeal after they have been eliminated.
  3. Participants must appeal directly to the Judges immediately following a round and prior to the announcement of any participant eliminations for that round.
  4. Judges will report the result of each appeal privately to the appealing participant and then to the audience prior to the start of the next round.
  5. The appeal process during a Tiebreaker Round is at the discretion of the Challenge Organizer and/or Judges.

I.   Participant & Audience Conduct

Participants and audience members must comply with the following rules of conduct. Violation of the below requirements may result in a participant’s disqualification from the Challenge.

  1. Participants
    1. Participants may not talk to one another or audience members regarding the Challenge Qualifier questions or competition content during the event.
    2. Participants may not possess cell phones or other electronic devices while the Challenge Qualifier or competition is in progress or during breaks.
    3. Participants may not have CEF study materials or related reference materials while the Challenge Qualifier or competition is in progress or during breaks (except periodic tables distributed to participants for competition purposes).
    4. Participants may only use scrap paper provided by Challenge Organizers or CEF. Participants may not use the scrap paper to communicate with other participants or audience members.
    5. Eliminated participants must remain in the audience for the remainder of the competition.
    6. Any participant behavior deemed by the Organizer or Judges to be distracting, questionable, or dishonest is grounds for disqualification from the Challenge.
  1. Audience
    1. Audience members may not disturb the competition or participants at any time.
    2. Audience members may not approach the Judges at any point during the competition. Audience members may not approach the Judges about competition scoring or any competition rulings before or after the competition.
    3. Audience members may not, in any way, record, disclose, or publish any competition questions. Audio and video recording is not permitted. Photographs are allowed as long as competition questions do not appear in full.
    4. Any audience member deemed to be exhibiting distracting, questionable, or dishonest behavior will be asked to leave the competition. Any behavior that is deemed to be dishonest, or perceived as giving an unfair advantage to a particular participant, is grounds for disqualification of that participant.

J.   Disability Guidelines

A participant who is identified as having a physical impairment that substantially limits one or more of the participant’s major life activities may require reasonable accommodation to participate in the Challenge. Requests for accommodation at a Local Challenge should be sent to the Local Challenge Organizer. In order to make arrangements for reasonable accommodations the Challenge Organizer must be notified at least 14 days prior to the Challenge Qualifier or at least 30 days prior to the Local Challenge event, as applicable, in which the participant wishes to compete. Requests for reasonable accommodation at the state and national levels should be sent to CEF at least 30 days prior to the State and National Challenge events that the participant is qualified to attend.

For questions, please contact the CEF staff at