Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to participate in the Brain Bee competitions?

The Brain Bee is a program designed to motivate teenagers (ages 13 to 19) to learn more about neuroscience.  No student is allowed to participate in more than one Local Chapter brain bee per year. No student is allowed to represent their region in the International Brain Bee World Championships more than once. For countries that conduct Regional Championships, no student is allowed to compete more than once. 

What are the benefits of participating in the International Brain Bee competition?

Awards for the participants and winners of the local chapter and regional competitions vary. They usually include certificates, prize money, trophies, and trips for the winner to the next level of the competition. In the IBB World Championship, the third place winner receives $1000; the second place winner receives $2000, and the first place winner receives $3000, an individual trophy, a traveling trophy for his or her school to display, and a summer internship with an esteemed neuroscientist (prizes may vary).

By participating, teenagers learn about the brain and its vital function in our lives. They gain an appreciation for neuroscience that might one day lead them to become neurologists or neuroscientists to treat and conquer the very diseases covered in the Brain Bees. Local Chapter and Regional Brain Bee coordinators gain publicity for their companies, programs and institutions when students, their friends and families and even the press come to see the competition. These coordinators as well as our many sponsors can take pride in knowing that they have helped inspire students to become future researchers and physicians.

What is the format of a Brain Bee?

Formats vary within and among local and national Bees. Most commonly, individuals give short answers orally on stage to questions about the brain. Some Bees ask the entire group the same questions, one at a time, and they write their answwers on a pad of paper. Depending on local resources, some competitions may also include neuroanatomy laboratory components, patient diagnosis components, group components, or other forms of testing. Depending on the number of competitors, some competitions may have preliminaries in written form or on the Internet.

How can I prepare to compete in a Brain Bee?

Questions in Local Chapter brain bees are created from material in one of two books. Most English-speaking countries use Brain Facts which is freely downloadable from http://www.brainfacts.org/book. Most Non-English speaking countries use Neuroscience: The Science of the Brain which is freely downloadable from http://ibro.info/publications/neuroscience-science-of-the-brain/.

Most Regional Championships use Neuroscience: The Science of the Brain. If a neuroanatomy laboratory component is included, students should also be prepared to know the name and function of the surface parts of whole and half brains by reading a basic neuroanatomy textbook. If patient diagnosis is included, students should also know the signs, symptoms, and diagnostic criteria of common neurological and psychiatry disorders. A concise place to fine this is in the Medical Encyclopedia of Medline Plus which can be found at the National Library of Medicine website: https://medlineplus.gov/encyclopedia.html

The International World Championship will use different source material. Please see the "Study Materials" page under "Student" in this website.

Where can I get a copy of Brain Facts?

A downloadable PDF form of the publication is available through the Society for Neuroscience here. Students or coordinators interested in requesting a hardcopy of the publication should also visit that site for more information.

Where can I get a copy of Neuroscience: The Science of the Brain?

Copies can be freely downloaded from the web site of the International Brain Research Organization here. Students or coordinators interested in requesting a hardcopy of the publication should also visit that site for more information.

Are there any sample questions that I can look at?

Because it is difficult to create questions that will thoroughly challenge our competitors, only a few sample questions have been released. These questions can be found near the bottom of our "For the Competitor" page.

I would like to participate in the IBB, but there are no local chapter bees in my area. What should I do?

If there are no local chapter bees in your area, we welcome you to participate in any bee that is convenient to you. If you are in the US, please review our list of current local chapter brain bees here to see if any of our current competitions might work for you. If you are outside of the US, please review our list of current regional brain bee coordinators here and contact your respective coordinator for more information.

If there are no local brain bees in your area, we would love for you to start one! Starting a local chapter brain bee is a fun and easy way to enhance neuroscience awareness and to expose teenagers to local colleges and universities. If you are a student interested in starting a brain bee in your area, please have one of your science teachers or school administrators contact founder Dr. Norbert Myslinski directly. Neuroscientists and college professors are also encouraged to contact Dr. Norbert Myslinski, or to visit our page "How to Start a Local Chapter Brain Bee."

I am interested in starting a local chapter brain bee. What should I do?

We love opening new chapters of the local brain bee! If you would like more information on how to bring the competition to your area, please visit "How to Start a Local Chapter Brain Bee."

Who started the IBB competition?

The International Brain Bee was started by Dr. Norbert Myslinski of the Department of Biomedical Sciences at University of Maryland School of Dentistry in Baltimore. The first Brain Bee was held in Maryland in 1998. The following year, 1999, fifteen cities in the USA and Canada conducted Brain Bees. Twelve of them sent their winners to Baltimore for the first International Championship. Today there are Brain Bee Coordinators in 175 cities in 50 regions and 6 continents. Dr. Myslinski still directs all the coordinators, as well as the International Brain Bee World Championship and the USA National Championship. The organization is not for profit and is funded by the donations of individuals and organizations who believe in the cause.

Why is the International Brain Bee so important?

Not only do our students gain invaluable knowledge about human anatomy and physiology for their personal enrichment, they have the potential to serve others through continued research in this field. Neuroscientists are currently on the verge of discovering treatments for many devastating diseases like autism, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, and we hope that some of our student competitors will eventually go on to serve the world community in similar ways.