Participating in the You Be The Chemist Challenge® is an exciting opportunity for your student to explore chemistry concepts and their real-world applications! This page provides parents and guardians of interested Challenge participants with: 

  1.  A Challenge introduction;
  2.  Directions for getting your child’s school involved;
  3.  Resources to prepare your student for the competition; and
  4.  Answers to Frequently Asked Questions.


1. Challenge Introduction

The Challenge is a free academic competition that encourages grade 5-8 students to engage with chemistry concepts and their real-world applications. All participants enter the competition through their school where the first level of the competition occurs. Participants compete individually at each level of the Challenge by answering a series of multiple-choice questions.

Please consult this chart for an overview of each competition level. Additional details are available in the 2018-2019 Official Competition Structure: Public Edition.


2. How to get your student involved

While the Challenge is an individual competition, all students must participate through their school. To get your child’s school involved:

  •  Identify your child’s “school”
    • The Chemical Educational Foundation’s® definition of schools includes public schools, private schools, charter schools, home-school groups/associations, and other CEF-approved student groups (e.g. Boys & Girls Club, YMCA, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, etc.). Your child may participate in the competition through any of these groups.
  •  Identify a School Coordinator
    • School Coordinators are authorized representatives of the school who ensure that participants are preparing for and participating in the Challenge according to the competition requirements.
    • *DISCLAIMER* Because they will have access to the Challenge Qualifier, School Coordinators may not be parents/guardians of any participant.
    •  Visit our Educators & Schools page for an overview of the School Coordinator Role.
  • Identify at least 5 participating students
    •  Per the Official Rules, all participating schools must administer the Challenge Qualifier to a minimum of five students.
  • Locate the closest Local Challenge in your State

Once you have completed these steps, the School Coordinator can register your school between October 23, 2018 and January 22, 2019!

For more detailed school participation requirements, read the Official Rules and Official Competition Structure: Public Edition.

Interested in promoting the Challenge at your child’s school? Direct educators and schools towards these resources:


3. How to help your student prepare for the competition

CEF provides a number of resources to help your child study for the Challenge. They include:

Attending a Local or State Challenge? Make sure you and your child know what to expect by reading the 2018-2019 Official Competition Format (available Winter 2018). There you will find details on round order, elimination points, tiebreaker procedures, etc.


4. Frequently Asked Questions

4.1  My child’s school is unable to participate in the Challenge. Can my student participate in the competition as an individual?

 No, in accordance with the Official Rules, your child may not register for the Challenge as an individual. To ensure the fairness and competitiveness of the competition, all students must enter through their school and each school must have at least 5 participating students. For more information and outreach materials to help get your child’s school involved, please read section 2 (“How to get your student involved”).

4.2  Can my child participate in the Challenge at a different school than the one they attend?

No, in accordance with the Official Rules, your child must be a member of the school where they plan to participate in the Challenge. They may not join a school for the purpose of participating in the Challenge.

4.3  Can my child participate through their after-school club, homeschool association, or other student group?

Yes! The Chemical Educational Foundation’s definition of schools includes public schools, private schools, charter schools, homeschool group/associations, and other CEF-approved student groups. Your child may participate in the competition through any of these groups.

4.4  Are parents allowed to serve as School Coordinators?

No, in accordance with the Official Rules, parents of participating students may not serve as School Coordinators since School Coordinators have access to Challenge questions. The School Coordinator must be an authorized representative of the school and are typically administrators or teachers.

4.5  Are parents allowed to aid School Coordinators in preparing students?

Yes! Parents may offer to lead or help with group study sessions, or perform other tasks that School Coordinators may suggest. The only School Coordinator tasks that are off-limits to parents/guardians of participants are: registering a school; acting as official point of contact; administering and grading the school-based Challenge Qualifier.


Want more information? Complete the Parent Inquiry Form and review the Official Rules.