BAAO Junior Astro Challenge

Competition date:
Opens Friday 5th Nov and closes at 18:30 on Wednesday 24th Nov 2021
Entry Deadline: Wed 3rd November 2021 at 17.00. Logins are sent out on Thursday evening.
Year Group: Year 10 (but Y9 and Y11 also)
Length: Consists of two, 25-minute online sections
Location: Within your school, any time between Fri 5th Nov and Wed 24th Nov 2021
Marked: Online competition
Cost: £20.00 registration fee per school with up to 500 entries
Prizes: Certificates
The BAAO Junior Astro Challenge is open to students in Year 10 or below, and also to Year 11. The competition consists of two twenty-five minute online multiple-choice papers (30 questions per paper).


The questions will be based on an assortment from the history of astronomy, the Solar System, the Moon, observational techniques, diurnal cycles, star patterns, and general astronomical knowledge to give the main topics. Some questions are done by a process of elimination, some are general knowledge and not likely to be covered in lessons, and some are from the school curriculum. It is an interesting Quiz and not an exam.

Please see some sample questions here: BAAO Junior Astro Challenge Sample Questions.pdf

Registering your school: Registration is open from September until the Wed 3rd November 2021. To order, visit the online store. Login details with instructions will be emailed out after 5.00pm on Thurs 4th November 2021. This will enable teachers to set the accounts for pupils who wish to participate. When to take the test: BAAO Junior Astro Challenge will take place between Friday 5th and Wednesday 24th November 2021. The competition consists of two, 25-minute online sections that can be sat continuously or on two separate occasions. The competitions are taken in school under staff-supervised conditions at any time convenient during the competition dates. A desktop or laptop is needed for this exam. Tablets can be used but the system is not optimised for small or touch screens. Calculators, pens and paper should be available.

Prizes: Schools will be able to conduct the BAAO Junior Astro Challenge in whatever way best suits their pupils, ensuring that they enjoy participating and have a reasonable expectation of recognition for their achievements. Their pupils’ scores will be used to offer selected students from non fee paying schools a place on a one-day workshop in the Department of Physics, University of Oxford. Schools will be encouraged to award their own prizes and to make use of certificates provided for them.

Further details: The Junior Astro Challenge competition is designed to engage and challenge students of all abilities by offering them a range of problems to solve. Although most of the questions are based around the current GCSE curriculum, students will be able to gain more marks if they have a general knowledge in astronomy as well as taking a keen interest in the night sky. The key aim is that students enjoy taking part and are encouraged to do more astronomy. They do not need to cover technical topics outside the syllabus, but they might be shown some pictures of famous astronomers or astrophysicists and asked to identify one (Hawking, Galileo or Copernicus for example). Some general knowledge and everyday interest in physics would also be an advantage. The purpose is to fun for the student and to be inclusive rather than discriminating between very able candidates.

Report and Grade Boundaries for May 2020 Competition
BAAO Junior Astro Competition Nov 2020 Report.pdf

For teachers:

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