Frequently Asked Questions

How long has WUCT been around?

WUCT was started in 2016 by a group of undergraduates, and we ran our first tournament in April 2016, which brought 30 teams from across the Midwest. The 2017 tournament will mark WUCT’s second year, and we plan to expand to 50 teams from across the nation.

What will teachers accompanying teams do on competition day?

While students take exams, teachers will participate in interactive faculty-lead workshops to discuss effective strategies and resources available that focus on establishing critical thinking and collaboration in their own classrooms. Teachers will have the opportunity to meet other coaches, students, and parents throughout the day and attend any break-time activities of their choosing. Teachers can also look over exams and answer keys once students finish. We may need the teachers to help proctor the team round later in the day.

Would any student be able to participate in the competition?

Any high school student in grades 9-12 on a full team is eligible for attending WUCT. For students planning to enroll in their first year of chemistry, we recommend studying ahead with the plethora of online tools available and asking tour teachers for guidance.

How can I prepare for this competition?

While this competition may use a general high school curriculum as a basis for the concepts covered, it expands and explores applications of these topics in engineering, biochemistry, and even in a creative round involving coffee. Because the competition is intended to challenge high school students to use fundamental problem-solving strategies, we strongly recommend preparing outside the classroom. We have uploaded our sample and competition problems from 2016. We will upload our sample problems for WUCT 2017 by early January.

I am an individual or a group of less than 6 students. Can I still come to the tournament?

We strongly urge teams to consist of 6 students as teams otherwise will be at a significant disadvantage throughout the tournament. If you are an individual or a group of less than 6 students and cannot find a team of interested students within your school, we recommend that you contact other individuals from within your state. If this does not work, please contact us, and we will try our best to accommodate you. Schools with full teams will be given preference for attendance over schools with incomplete teams if we reach our maximum capacity.

How is WUCT different from existing competitions like the ACS Chemistry Olympiad?

The competition provides students an opportunity to practice and apply their chemistry skills. This tournament is different from existing competitions in that we have dedicated our question writing to incorporate high school topics with biochemistry, engineering, and other real-world applications. We promote an environment where students think critically about problems collaboratively with their team members and justify their explanations rigorously. Our individual and team rounds will require various problem solving techniques and strategic approaches that require a deeper understanding of fundamental principles rather than encouraging memorization of chemical ideas and concepts. Unlike the Chemistry Olympiad, all but one of our rounds have team members working together to solve questions. Because of the collaborative nature of the tournament, we expect that students distribute the workload according to different chemistry concepts, resulting a greater in-depth study of each topic.

I came to WUCT last year. What are the main differences for this year?

  1. 1) We have created a new round called the Broken Bonds round to replace the Relay round from last year. The main ideas of speed, accuracy, and live-scoring are still present in this round. Please see our official rules page to understand the format of the round.

  2. 2) There is only one individual exam; the others have been replaced by a topics test round that includes Chemistry of Coffee, Chemistry of Life, and Chemistry of Industry. Teams will split themselves into three pairs and each pair of students will work together on one of these exams. Schools may not place more than one pair in the same topic exam.

  3. 3) Faculty members will host education workshops for high school teachers while students take exams. Please see response to earlier FAQ question.

  4. 4) We are expecting 300 students this year compared to the 180 from WUCT 2016.

When will registration be open?

Regular registration will be open from November 28, 2016 to February 10, 2017 and late registration from February 11, 2017 to March 10, 2017. Late registration will include a $15 late fee. Registration will be on a first-come basis for up to 50 teams.

Can schools send more than one team?

Each school will be allowed to send one full team of six students per 1500 students attending the school in grades 9 through 12. A maximum of two teams per school can be sent.

I’m a member of the St. Louis community. How can I get involved?

Email us at wuct@su.wustl.edu. We will then give you a list of possible volunteer roles.

I have more questions. How can I get in contact with the organizers?

We welcome questions, comments, and suggestions from students, parents, and coaches. Please email us at wuct@su.wustl.edu We will get back to you as soon as possible.