Roller Coaster B

Question: National FAQ: Please give an example of the added rule: The beginning and the end of each Gap must be at least 0.5 cm above the next surface(s) below them. (section: 3 / part:  / paragraph:  / sub-paragraph:  / line: 6)

Response: There has to be a step down to the next 'level' surface below the beginning and end of a gap. There can't just be a line drawn on a continuous surface. The Event Supervisors should be able to take a ruler, place it at the end or beginning of a gap, vertically oriented, and measure a minimum of 0.5 cm from the surface of the track before they hit something below it. A drawing will be posted on the website.

Herpetology B

Question: National FAQ: "One two-inch or smaller standard binder" should refer specifically to the rings in the binder being two inches or smaller, correct? (section: 2 / part:  / paragraph: a / sub-paragraph:  / line: 1)

Response: Yes, the standard for measurements of a binder are based upon the inner size of the rings. For round ring binders, the size is determined by measuring the inside diameter of the ring(s). D-ring and slant-d ring binders are measured by the straight edge of the ring.

Potions and Poisons B

Question: Can you clarify the type of "...any needed probes" that may or may not be used and their purposes as noted under the "Event Supervisor will provide..."? (section: 2 / part:  / paragraph: d / sub-paragraph:  / line: 2)

Response: For example, the Event Supervisor may ask students to measure the pH of a solution to a higher precision than pH paper is able to determine. In that case, the Event Supervisor will provide the necessary probe(s) needed to get the additional precision.

Codebusters B

Question: National FAQ: If students make errors while decoding the first question, but still receive full or partial credit per 4.b.ii., will this be counted as answering "correctly" for purposes of earning the timing bonus? (section: 4 / part:  / paragraph: c / sub-paragraph:  / line: 1)

Response: There is no partial credit for the bonus. In order to be considered solved for rule 3.i.v. the team must solve the timed question with 2 or fewer errors within the 10 minute timer. After the 10 minute time has passed, the timed question is scored like any other question under rule 4.b.ii. such that a team may still receive points for solving it with 3 mistakes, but no bonus is awarded.

Disease Detectives B

Question: National FAQ: What is the focus of Disease Detectives this year? (section: 1 / part:  / paragraph:  / sub-paragraph:  / line: 1)

Response: Disease Detectives has been reorganized for 2019 and the topic rotation has been dropped. See the 2019 rules for the emphasis in each area. For an outbreak investigation, needed background will be provided.

Boomilever B

Question: Is the loading block considered one piece, or are you allowed to remove the threaded eye bolt and wing nut from the loading block to mount it on the boomilever, and re-connect the threaded eye bolt and wing nut after mounting? (Section: 5 / Part: ll / Paragraph: b / Line: 3)

Response: The "Loading Block" is only the square block with the hole (5.b.i.); it is separate from the threaded eye bolt and wing nut (5.b.ii.). Both are components of the Loading Assembly (5.b.), which, per 4.Part II.c., is allowed to be disassembled.

Experimental Design

Question: National FAQ: Will participants be required to write a "Statement of problem" even though it is not included in the rubric? (Section: Rubric / Line: 1)

Response: No. Students may write a Statement of Problem but the Hypothesis will contain information necessary to determine what is happening in the experiment.

Fossils B

Q: National FAQ: Will binders be measured using the binding or the rings? (Section: 2 / Paragraph: a / Line: 2)

A: Binders will be measured by the size of the rings. A 3" binder has rings that have a 3" diameter on the inside of the rings. The binding of a 3" binder will be larger.

Question: National FAQ: Cannot find the Official S.O. Geologic Time Scale. Found a reference in old 2010-11 event that went to a dead GSA site link, so I assume you're using the latest GSA Time Scale (v. 5.0), but that is not the way it's described in the rules. (section: 3 / part:  / paragraph: d / sub-paragraph: viii / line: 1)

Response: The Official Science Olympiad Geologic Time Scale was modified from the Geological Society of America Time Scale and is available on the Science Olympiad website.. The Geologic Time Scale was updated in 2018, but the Science Olympiad Official Time Scale will have 2019 in the title, to reflect use for the 2018-19 season.

Anatomy and Physiology

Q: In this section, I am told to interpret ECG readings on strips. However, there are many complicated heart conditions that can be read on ECG strips. I'm wondering whether we have to know about all of these heart conditions or just a few basic ones. (Section: 3 / Paragraph: a / Line: 2)

A: ECG interpretation will be simple and straight forward for B division. It is more about understanding how than diagnosis.

Mystery Architecture

Q: For Mystery Architecture, how do you distinguish a tunnel from an arch? Must a tunnel be curved? (Section: 3 / Paragraph: c)

A: The tunnel would be a completely enclosed passage leading from point A to point B. The tunnel does not have to be curved. For an arch, it would be a curved symmetrical structure spanning an opening and typically supporting the weight of a mass.

Herpetology

Q: For Herpetology are the species’ information based on North America only? For example, in population is it for North America or the whole world? (Section: 1 / Line: 1)

A: Questions relating to species' information will be limited to North American groups and organisms included in the official herpetology list. However there might be a one or two broad, generalized questions about major, exotic groups (populations, examples) elsewhere in the world.

Codebusters

Q: Are xenocrypts only limited to Spanish? The wording makes it unclear. (Section: 3 / Paragraph: e / Line: 7)

A: Yes. For this year, all Xenocrypts will be in Spanish.

Q: For aristocrats with spelling/grammar errors, should the errors be included in the final answer? (Section: 3 / Paragraph: e / Sub-Paragraph: iii / Line: 5)

A: Yes. The final answer should exactly match the errors in the encoded text. Specifically if the aristocrat was LFOE JG KOI GNFQJH then the correct answer would be HEAR IS BAD SPELIN in order to count as zero mistakes.

Q:  Is xenocrypt necessarily monoalphabetic substitution? (Section: 3 / Paragraph: e / Sub-Paragraph: vii / Line: 1)

A: Yes. All Xenocrypts will be mono-alphabet substitution following the same substitution rules of Aristocrats.

Q: What type of baconian Cipher is being tested, the one in which V and J do not have a unique code or the one where all the letters have a unique code? (Section: 3 / Paragraph: e / Sub-Paragraph: vi / Line: 1)

A: The Baconian ciphers will use the 24 character alphabet in which I and J are both represented by ABAAA and U and V are both represented by BAABB.

Q: Will the crib necessarily be provided in the exam? (Section: 3 / Paragraph: f / Sub-Paragraph: iii / Line: 1)

A: Not for all questions. "cribs" (also known as Hints) will only be supplied for cipher types under rules 3.e.iii.(1), 3.e.iii.(3), 3.e.iii.(5), 3.e.vi, 3.e.vii, 3.f.iii and 3.f.vi.

Q:  Does "Mathematical Cryptanalysis of the Affine Cipher" refer to merely decoding a cipher given the a and b values, or determining the a and b values from given ciphertext? (Section: 3 / Paragraph: f / Sub-Paragraph: vii / Line: 1)

A: Mathematical Cryptanalysis of the Affine Cipher means that the student has to decode the entire plain text of the cipher given two plain text characters to match the cipher text.

Q:  For monoalphabetic ciphers, is an error defined as per incorrect letter or does one error encompass everything from that letter matching to an incorrect letter? If A is B and if the word AA is translated by mistake to CC is that 1 or 2 errors?. (Section: 4 / Line: 1)

A: Errors are counted against the decode phrase and not the alphabet. If A is supposed to map to B, then AA mistakenly translated to CC would count as two errors.

Q:  Must competitors finish the first question before moving on in order to obtain points for the bonus, or may one or two students move on from the first question while others work on the first question in the first 10 minutes? (Section: 3 / Paragraph: d / Line: 1)

A: Rule 3.d states that "participants are free to answer the questions in any order, working individually or in groups, attempting whichever of the questions seem right for them." Therefore, there is no requirement to complete question 1 before moving on to the other questions to be eligible for the timing bonus on the timed question.

Q:  Are different types ( i.e. pencils, highlighter, pens, etc.) of "writing utensils" acceptable? (Section: 2 / Paragraph: a / Line: 1)

A: Yes. pencils, highlighters and pens are all valid writing instruments. However, any solutions written must be readily read by the person grading the test and an answer written only with a yellow or other color highlighter may be scored the same as a non-answered question.

Circuit Lab

Q: Are the breadboards mentioned limited to solderless breadboards, or will they involve soldering? (Section: 3 / Paragraph: b / Line: 1)

A: Only solderless breadboards will be used.

Q: Define the word "Basic." What is considered a Basic Multimeter? What is not considered a Basic Multimeter? Could it be digital? Auto ranging? What part is discretionary? (Section: 2 / Paragraph: d / Line: 1)

A: Basic multimeter refers to those devices that are hand-held, battery powered, analog or digital, manual or auto ranging, measuring volts, amperes and ohms. Multimeters with advanced features, such as graphing, time waveform displaying, fft/frequency-domain functions, non-contact voltage sensing, current clamp probes are not considered basic. Whether to allow participants to use their own multimeters is at the discretion of the event supervisor. For example one regional supervisor may allow it, while another regional supervisor may not and require all participants to use multimeters they provide.

Boomilever

National Rules Clarification

(Section: 3 / Paragraph: e)

A: 3.e. should read: "Before and throughout loading, no portion of the Boomilever may touch the testing wall below the Contact Depth Line which is 20 cm (Div. B) or 15 cm (Div. C) below the center of the hole for the Mounting Hook (5.a.iii.)." ("more than" has been removed from the text.

Q: If Wood is turned into wood string, would that still qualify for build materials? (Section: 3 / Paragraph: a / Sub-Paragraph: i / Line: 1)

A: No, string made from wood can not be used.

Disease Detectives B

Question: National FAQ: Are the steps of an outbreak investigation based on the 13 steps as listed on the CDC site, or on the 10 steps provided in previous years' event description. (Section: 3 / Paragraph: c / Line: 1)

Response: The updated event outline uses the 13 steps that are listed on the CDC site and in the textbook listed in the resources. It is the most up-to-date format. The process is the same, but the division into 13 steps emphasizes the validation of the hypothesis.

Roller Coaster B

Question: National FAQ: Please give an example of the added rule: The beginning and the end of each Gap must be at least 0.5 cm above the next surface(s) below them. (section: 3 / part:  / paragraph:  / sub-paragraph:  / line: 6)

Response: There has to be a step down to the next 'level' surface below the beginning and end of a gap. There can't just be a line drawn on a continuous surface. The Event Supervisors should be able to take a ruler, place it at the end or beginning of a gap, vertically oriented, and measure a minimum of 0.5 cm from the surface of the track before they hit something below it. A drawing will be posted on the website.

Potions and Poisons B

Image from:  Bishop Ludden Library

Q: Can you clarify the type of "...any needed probes" that may or may not be used and their purposes as noted under the "Event Supervisor will provide..."? (section: 2 / part:  / paragraph: d / sub-paragraph:  / line: 2)

A: For example, the Event Supervisor may ask students to measure the pH of a solution to a higher precision than pH paper is able to determine. In that case, the Event Supervisor will provide the necessary probe(s) needed to get the additional precision.