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Charged Up

Students will be tested on their knowledge of electricity and related concepts. The exam will cover circuits, conductors, diodes, voltage, current, resistance, schematic drawings, meter reading, electrical sources and safety.

Study Guides

Training Videos


May students bring in a notes pages, handwritten or otherwise?


The only item students should be bringing into the competition is a pencil.

I am having issues getting the LED's to light when running a circuit. Can you give me some advice?

An LED must be connected with the correct polarity and the correct voltage in order to light up.

The longer lead of the LED is the (+), the shorter lead of the LED is the (-).

The (+) of the battery must connect to the (+) lead of the LED.

An LED requires a power source of two batteries in series (3 volts).


Please refer to the Event Coach Handout and the Kit Study Guide on the website.

Is there a section in the test on the topic of safety?

There is not a dedicated section on electrical safety. How ever there will be some questions on safety in the True/False and multiple choice questions. 

I have seen conflicting answers to a particular Charged Up question (#12). Can you clarify?

A good way to figure out the answer to any example like this is to actually create the simple circuit and prove it.

The question is: Will the light bulbs light?

In the case of circuit #12, the answer is no, because both ends of the battery connect with the same part of the light bulb, creating a short circuit.  The red lines show the path of electric current. The extra wire connecting the bottom terminals on the bulbs does not help, because it instead should connect to the negative terminal on the battery.

Circuit #3 gives an arrangement which does work.

Will students be asked to calculate the voltage drop across a component (resistor or bulb) in a Series circuit?

There could be measurements or calculations on series circuits. If there is, it will just be simple addition or subtraction.

Besides knowing the symbol, what will the students need to know about diodes?

They should know its effect on a circuit, e.g., will a bulb light or not?  They may be asked to use one in a circuit.

What is the correct arrow direction for the schematic of a Normally Open and Normally Closed switch?

The arrow on a switch points in the direction of activation... So a Normally Open switch will point from an open position to a closed position.

Will students need to know how to draw a schematic incorporating SPST, SPDT, DPST or DPDT switches?

Yes- there could be questions on SPST, SPDT, DPST or DPDT in the drawing section. You can see examples in the extravaganza handout.

Will students be expected to build circuits that include SPST, SPDT, DPST or DPDT switches?

There could be SPST, SPDT, DPST or DPDT switches in the construction area.


What make and model of multimeter is used in the tournament?

The model of multimeter we use in our event is a Craftsman model 82140, and looks like this: 

May students bring a pre-constructed circuit tester or a multimeter?

Circuit testers, or the equipment to make one, are provided and students may not bring their own.

Students will be told specifically what piece of equipment to use at each station.  At the "Multimeter" Station, that equipment will be provided for their use.   At the "Build a Circuit Tester" Station, students will have the option to construct a meter.

The Mystery Cards card could be part of either the "Multimeter" Station or the "Build a Circuit Tester" Station.

When calculating resistance, will the students be required to calculate the tolerance values?

Example submitted with the FAQ:

If the resistance of a resistor is 15 Ω, with a tolerance of 10%, will they need to identify the resistance as 13.5 - 16.5 Ω, or will 15 +/- 10% be sufficient?


This type of question would be broken down into separate parts on the exam.  For example:

     What is the resistance of the resistor shown? Answer: 15Ω

     What is the tolerance of the resistor shown? Answer: +/- 10%

Will the resistors all be 4 band, or will 5 band also be included?

4 Band only.

We want the students understand the color code identification system.

The 5th band doesn't cover any new concepts and only adds some confusion for some students.

Can you provide an example of a question related to the resistor color code?

What is the resistance of the resistor shown above?

Answer: 230 Ω

What is the tolerance of the resistor shown above?

Answer: +/- 2%

Should students memorize resistor color codes?

Students should know how to use the color code chart, and one will be provided at the station.

To maintain uniformity and fairness, the students are not allowed to bring any reference material or equipment. Everything they need will be provided.

What questions might be asked regarding whether an object is a conductor or insulator?

An example question can be found in the Event Coach Workshop handout.

My Charged-Up kit has a motor and propeller. Will motors be used at the tournament?

Yes we may be using motors at the tournament.

The motor and propeller are included in the Charged-Up Exploration Kits to add another interesting element to experiment with when learning about polarity and the effect of different voltages.  And it’s fun.

Will there be questions on calculating resistance, current or voltage based on the data given or circuit diagrams?

Possibly - but it would only require addition and subtraction.  No complex calculations are required (as in resistance of a parallel circuit).

Did you not find the answer to your question in the FAQs?

Ask your rules clarification question here

Event Supervisor

Ken Kutchek

Macomb Science Olympiad

P.O. Box 763, Sterling Heights, MI 48311

For questions about the Elementary division, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.