Selection Process

Every year, a National Astronomy Competition (NAC) will be held to select the US team for the upcoming IOAA. As of 2017, there are two rounds of proctored exams (with multiple choice and free response questions), held in February and March (or April) respectively. We conduct free online training with the selected students for free. This training lasts for several months. USAAAO does not support any organizations that claim to prepare students for our exams in exchange for payment.

First Round

The First Round exam will be a ~75 minute long, ~30 multiple choice pen & paper exam covering all parts of the IOAA Syllabus to be taken between January 26 and January 30. The exam must be proctored by a teacher. If no teacher can be found, students can email us at info@usaaao.org. Students are allowed a scientific calculator, as well as the provided table of constants. Additionally, there is a $25 registration fee, though we will offer financial aid on a case by case basis. Depending on the scores of the First Round, students who place above a cutoff score (TBD) will be invited to take the National Astronomy Competition.

National Astronomy Competition

The NAC will be a ~2.5 hour long free response exam covering all parts of the IOAA Syllabus. The exam must be proctored by a teacher. If no teacher can be found, students can email us at info@usaaao.org. Students are allowed a scientific calculator, as well as the provided table of constants. The top 10* performers on the NAC will be invited** to represent the USA at the upcoming IOAA. Additionally, based on performance, solutions, and a variety of other factors, additional students will be invited to be a part of the several months long online training program.

Online Training

After the selection is made, USAAAO organizes free weekly online training sessions. Through readings, assignments, homework and discussions, the goal of the training is to prepare students for the IOAA. The coaching team consists of the past IOAA participants and professional astronomers and astrophysicists. All our coaches are volunteers. To learn more about the current team and our volunteers you can read here.

USA Astronomy and Astrophysics Team*

USAAAO will send 10 students whenever the IOAA host country permits, otherwise we will send 5 students. Since 2020, the transportation cost and the registration fees for IOAA have been funded by the generous donation of “The Masson Family Fund”.

Eligibility**

Note that you must be a US Citizen or Permanent Resident to qualify for the team, however, you may still take exams if you are not eligible to be on the team.