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.

Designer Genes

Q: What is the difference between the "molecular consequences of mutations" (Regional & State topic) and "mutations" (National topic)? (Section: 3 / Paragraph: b / Line: 15)

A: Categories of mutations (nonsense, missense, etc) are included in the "basic principles of genetics" in relation to their molecular consequences. More specific questions about mutations themselves can be considered to be a National level topic.


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.


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.

Herpetology C

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.

Wright Stuff C

Question: National FAQ: In the downloaded rules there are no dimensions presented for the
horizontal stabilizer. Does this mean it can be any dimensions as long as
it is smaller than the largest surface? (section: 3 / part:  / paragraph: d / sub-paragraph:  / line: 4)

Response: Yes, the stabilizer doesn't have a size restriction as long as it is
smaller than the single largest surface. There are fewer size restrictions
this year and are listed correctly in the rules.

Mission Possible C

Question: National FAQ: What defines a balloon, for example, do they have to be commercial or can they be homemade as long as they follow a certain definition such as "a nonporous bag that can be inflated with air" ? (Section: 4 / Paragraph: b / Sub-Paragraph: i / Line: 1)

Response: The balloon should be considered a balloon to most people who see it. For example, a paper bag is not a balloon although it might be filled with air. To be sure it is accepted, a team should use one that is marketed as a balloon.

Disease Detectives C

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.

Mission Possible C

Question: National FAQ: Are products marketed as "resistance programmable" allowed so long as they do not use software? (section: 3 / part:  / paragraph: i / sub-paragraph:  / line: 1)

Response: No, anything labeled programmable would not be allowed per rule 3.i.

Question: National FAQ: Can the battery be under the influence of a magnetic field if it is not directly touching the magnet? (section: 4 / part:  / paragraph: c / sub-paragraph:  / line: 4)

Response: No, per Rule 4c the battery must be free standing. If it is under the influence of a magnetic field, it is not free standing.

Question: National FAQ: Does the completed extension of the Final Action deduct from the dimension score or is it excluded from the measurement of the devices dimensions? (section: 5 / part:  / paragraph: h / sub-paragraph:  / line: 1)

Response: The extension of the completed Final Action is not part of the measured device dimensions.

Question: National FAQ: What qualifies as 'guided' for the balloon? (section: 4 / part:  / paragraph: b / sub-paragraph: i / line: 1)

Response: Any part or piece of the machine placed strategically to direct the balloon toward the part of the machine it is designed to strike. There must be enough room between the balloon and the other parts of the machine to allow the balloon to move randomly. Examples might include but are not all inclusive - A wall, tube, object, material, wires, string, weights, etc.

Forensics C

Question: National FAQ: When the rules say each participant may bring a sheet of paper does that mean that each partner in a team can bring a sheet, or that each team can bring one sheet only? (section: 2 / part:  / paragraph: b / sub-paragraph:  / line: 1)

Response: Yes, each person may bring 1 sheet of paper per the rules. Therefore, a team of 2 students can have a total of 2 sheets of paper.

Mousetrap Vehicle C

Question: National FAQ: Does the statement, No part of the jaw/hammer may extend more than 1.0 cm beyond the base, refer to the base of the mousetrap or the base of the vehicle as a whole? (section: 3 / part:  / paragraph: a / sub-paragraph:  / line: 2)

Response: The base of the mousetrap (in its lowest energy state (tripped)).

Sounds of Music C

Question: National FAQ: Does a 3-D printed mouthpiece violate the rule since they are not purchased but manufactured? (section: 3 / part:  / paragraph: a / sub-paragraph:  / line: 4)

Response: No, that does not violate the rules. 3D printed parts are legal.

Question: National FAQ: Will horse hair, like for violin bow replacements or on the bows, be allowed as a type of string? (section: 3 / part:  / paragraph: a / sub-paragraph:  / line: 4)

Response: Yes, per Rule 3.a., strings of any type of permitted.