Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering

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The Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering (WYSE) Academic Challenge is a high school academic competition run in Illinois and Missouri by the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign and Missouri University of Science and Technology, respectively. The team competition consists of 14-person teams from multiple high schools each taking two exams. There are seven subject areas from which each student chooses their two tests: Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering Graphics/Drafting, English, Mathematics, and Physics. Awards are given to both teams and individuals at three progressively harder levels; Regionals, Sectionals, and the State Finals.

Test format[edit]

The tests are 40 minute multiple choice tests. Each test has a different number of questions. Computer Science and Mathematics are 30 question exams; Physics 35; Biology 50; Chemistry, and Engineering Graphics 40; and English 80. These questions are divided into subcategories in each field; for instance, there are 14 Algebra questions, 7 Geometry questions, etc. on the Mathematics exam at the Regional Level.

Competition format[edit]

Schools competing in the WYSE Competition are divided into 4 divisions based on their IHSA classification enrollment; Division 300 features schools with a maximum of 300 enrolled students, Division 700 features schools with an enrollment larger than 300 and smaller than 700, Division 1500 from 700 to 1500, and Division Unlimited for schools larger than 1,500 students.[1] The tests are the same in each division.

Schools are divided geographically into Sectionals; nine in Illinois, two in Missouri. Each Sectional is divided again into smaller Regionals, and Sectionals can have anywhere from two to five Regionals within it. Schools from different divisions can and do attend the same Regional and Sectional, even though they do not compete against each other. Some Regionals may not be represented in certain Divisions if no schools of that enrollment participate in the competition.

Scoring system[edit]


Tests are graded and ranked from highest score to lowest score. At Regionals and Sectionals, the top 3 scores in each test, including ties, are awarded medals. At the State Finals, the top 6 scores including ties are awarded medals.[2]


Individual tests are graded and ranked from highest score to lowest score. The two highest scores in each subject for a school are added together to determine the school's Raw Score for that subject. If a school has only one score in a subject, the Raw Score is zero.[2]

The highest Raw Score for a subject is considered the Normalizing Raw Score. This Raw Score is divided into 100 to find the Normalizing Constant. (100/Top Raw Score=Normalizing Constant) Every Raw Score for that subject in that division is then multiplied by the Normalizing Constant to find the school's normalized score. This is done for each subject in each division.[2]

Once the normalized scores have been found, the school's score is determined by adding the normalized scores for five of the seven tests together. The five tests are English, Chemistry, Mathematics, and the two highest normalized scores of the remaining four tests (Biology, Computer Science, Engineering Graphics, and Physics).[2]


Individuals and teams advance from Regionals to Sectionals to the State Finals based on their placement at the current level of competition.


Individuals who place 1st or 2nd, including ties, at either Regionals or Sectionals advance to the next level. Thus, if there is one 1st place individual and a four-way tie for 2nd, five individuals will advance to the next level for that subject.[2]

At the Sectional level, individuals can also advance to the State Finals by scoring a pre-determined qualifying score on a test. This prevents Sectionals from advancing only the top two scores when there are additional high scores below the 2nd place finisher(s).[2]

If an individual qualifies to advance for one test, that individual still takes two tests at the next level, even if their school does not advance with the individual.[2]


Teams advance to the next level based on their finish compared to the number of schools competing. If there are 1 or 2 teams competing, both advance. If there are from 3–7 teams, the top 2 advance. If there are from 8–12 teams, the top 3 advance. If there are from 13–16 teams, the top 4 advance. If there are more than 16 teams, the top 5 advance.[2]


  1. ^ "Registration Information | Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering - Illinois". Retrieved 2018-04-18.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Lausell, Sahid (2018). "2018 Academic Challenge Coaches' Guide" (PDF).

External links[edit]

WYSE Website