ExCEL Academic League

National Ocean Sciences Bowl


The NOSB (National Ocean Sciences Bowl) is a nationally recognized and highly acclaimed high school academic competition that provides a forum for talented students to test their knowledge of the marine sciences including biology, chemistry, physics, and geology. The NOSB was created in 1998 in honor of the International Year of the Ocean and since its inception, the competition has grown to include 300 schools and over 2,000 students participating annually. www.oceanleadership.org

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Ocra Bowl  - March 3, 2012

  University of Washington

General Topics of Study
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Geography
  • Geology
  • Math
  • Physics
  • Marine Policy
  • Social sciences (including economics, history and human interactions)
  • Technology (including instrumentation, remote sensing, & navigation)
  • Current Events
 *Questions on estuaries and the Great Lakes will also be included.


Regional Competitions
Each February or March regional competitions are held at
25 locations across the country.  Teams of 4-5 students are tested on their knowledge of scientific and technical disciplines through quick answer buzzer questions and more complex team challenge questions (TCQs).  The winning team from each of the 25 regional competitions is provided transportation and room and board accomodation to advance to the NOSB Finals Competition held in a different location each year in April.  The teams that place 1st-4th in the NOSB Finals win an experiental award trip to exciting locations.

General Format of the Competition
The NOSB is a timed competition (defined as the use of “lock-out” type buzzer systems and clocks) between two teams. Each match consists of a series of toss-up questions that individual team members must answer without collaboration. A team that correctly responds to a toss-up question is given a bonus question to answer as a team.
Additionally two TCQs are provided in written form and require teamwork and extra time to complete. Unlike the toss-up and bonus questions, both teams can answer the TCQ and win points for their correct responses.  Each match has two TCQs and approximately 14 toss-up questions paired with an equal number of bonus questions. Matches consist of two 6-minute halves with a 2-minute break.  Competitions consist of ~15 matches (or rounds) including tie-breakers, as necessary. Additional time is given during the break for team challenge questions.  Please see the
Competition Rules for more details.