What is the Brain Bee Challenge?

The Australian and New Zealand Brain Bee Challenge (ABBC & NZBBC) is a competition for high school students in Years 10 (Australia) and 11 (New Zealand) to learn about the brain and its functions, learn about neuroscience research, find out about careers in neuroscience and to dispel misconceptions about neurological and mental illnesses.  

The program was started in Australia in 2006 to address a number of deficiencies in the public’s perception of science in general, and neuroscience in particular. The ABBC and NZBBC provides current and accurate information on the latest advances in neuroscience research, its value to the community, and promote careers in science and technology.

There are 4 Rounds to the Australian and New Zealand Brain Bee Challenge.

Round 1: Online Quiz

Round 1 is held during the month of March and over Brain Awareness Week. Students study through Education Perfect (Brain Bee lessons can be found here). They then complete an online quiz to determine their knowledge and understanding of the structure and function of the brain. The online quiz is hosted on the Education Perfect testing platform. The assessment for Round 1 can be done any time between March 1 and 31.

Round 2: Regional Finals

Round 2 are the Regional Finals, held in each state/region in Australia and New Zealand. Students who achieve a high score in Round 1 are invited to attend a full day of activities at a university campus/research institution in their capital city.  As well as participating in two rounds of live questioning to determine who will become the state/region champion, students also have a day filled with activities to educate them about neuroscience and associated research. This may include lab tours, demonstrations, lectures, experiments and the opportunity to speak to researchers. There is also a team competition on the day where schools compete against each other to win prizes for their school.

Round 3: National Finals

Round 3 is the National Final where 8 Australian students and 2 New Zealand students compete against each other to become the Australian Brain Bee Challenge Champion, or the New Zealand Brain Bee Challenge Champion. Round 3 has been held annually since 2007 at the Australian Neuroscience Society (ANS) conference. Students compete in 4 challenges, held over 2 days including an anatomy challenge, a written short answer challenge, a patient diagnosis challenge and a live question and answer challenge. Students also have the opportunity to attend ANS scientific sessions and meet with scientists, researchers and students involved in neuroscience.

Round 4: International Finals

Round 4 is the International Brain Bee (IBB). The IBB is held at an international neuroscience/psychology conference and in the past has been held in places such as America and Italy. In 2012 the IBB was in South Africa and was won by the Australian representative, from Brisbane, Teresa Tang. In 2013, the IBB was held in Vienna, Austria and was won by Australian representative, from Brisbane, Jackson Huang.

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