At a Science Olympiad Tournament, students work together in teams of up to 15 to compete in 23 events. The events change from year to year, covering fields and topics including: anatomy and biology, earth science, chemistry, physics, geology, mechanical and structural engineering, and technology. Some events entail taking a test, while others involve doing hands-on labs, or even building and bringing a device to the tournament.
Teams participate in a single division. Division A is 3rd - 5th grade and is VASO's introduction to its larger, more competitive program for older students. Division A has two stand-alone tournaments in northern VA in the fall. Division B is middle school (5th - 8th) and Division C is high school (9th - 12th). Division B and Division C have multiple levels of tournaments, as well as opportunities for Invitational practice tournaments.
Each Science Olympiad season begins in September, when the Event Rules are released and Registration opens. In Divisions B and C, teams then spend several months preparing for their Regional Tournament held in the winter or spring of the next year (dates vary depending on the exact Regional). The top teams from each Regional go on to compete at the Virginia State Tournament in March, vying for the title of State Champion and the opportunity to represent Virginia at the National Tournament in May.