What is the National Biology Competition?

The National Biology Competition (NBC) is an annual competition for secondary school students (grades 9 to 12). This competition provides high school students with an opportunity to test their knowledge and understanding of biology. The NBC was paused due to disruptions caused by COVID-19, it will be revived in an online format starting the 2024 school year. The date for the online competition is April 18th, 2024. Teachers will be required to proctor the exam in their school for their registered students. On the day of the exam, this will require ~2 hours of time commitment from the teachers. NBC school account registration begins February 25th 2024.

Quick Facts

Competition Date & Time

The exam is taken between the hours of 10am ET April 18th and 4am ET April 19th, 2024 [Convert this into my time zone]

Registration Deadline

11:59pm ET April 16, 2024


$10 CAD per student
There is a minimum registration of 3 students per registration.

Exam Length

The exam is 75 minutes in length


50 multiple-choice questions; prepared and reviewed by faculty members in the departments of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and Cell & Systems Biology, University of Toronto. (Competition materials are available only in English.)


Each of the multiple-choice questions will have five answer choices, for which only one choice is the best answer. To correct for haphazard guessing, the score of the examination is based on the number of questions a student answers correctly minus one-third of the number of questions answered incorrectly. No points are deducted or awarded for unanswered questions. Calculators are not permitted.


Any student can participate in the National Biology Competition, and on more than one occasion (e.g., a student can write both the 2019 and 2020 exams). Registered students in attendance at a secondary school are classified as official contestants and are eligible for individual awards and team competition, including students who complete their studies at the end of the first semester. Students in their first year of CEGEP in Quebec are also eligible.

Team Competition

Schools with at least 5 eligible students will be automatically entered into team competition and ranked on the Top Schools lists. The team scores are calculated by totaling the scores of the top 5 eligible students at each school.

The top three Canadian schools and the top three schools outside of Canada will each receive a Certificate of Excellence.

Schools entering fewer than 5 eligible students are not eligible for team competition.