Orange County Section

ACS High School Exam

The First-Year American Chemical Society Exam is an annual event run by the Orange County Section of the ACS. It is open to any first-year chemistry student enrolled in college-prep and honors.

Participation continues to grow, and now routinely attracts about 300 students from over 40 Orange County High Schools, a substantial increase since the early 60s when about 25 schools participated in this contest.

The best performers in the High School Exam and the Chemistry Olympiad are honored at the OCACS High School Awards Banquet, an extremely well-attended event usually planned for later in May.

Eight students from each High School may take the exam. The top-scorer from each school gets his/her name engraved on a perpetual plaque, which is presented at the Awards Dinner. The Bruce Davis Award is given to the top scorer in the county. His/her name is also engraved on the school's plaque, also given at the Awards Dinner.

Team Awards are given to the six best High Schools based on the total score of the five highest ranking students. Each School plaque, with the names of the top five student competitors, is presented at the Dinner to the top scorer from each school and his/her teacher.

The plaques are showcased at the participating schools throughout the year. All the winning students and their teachers are invited to the Awards Dinner, compliments of the ACS Orange County Section.

Here is an example of a retired ACS 1st-year Exam, and the corresponding Answer Key.

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2018 High School Exam

The 2018 First Year Chemistry Test was held on April 28, 2018, at California State University Fullerton. There were 329 students from 49 High Schools participating in the competition.

The 2018 OCACS High School Awards Banquet, held on May 22, 2018 at California State University Fullerton, honored all the students and teachers who participated. There were 275 people at the Dinner.

2018 High School Awards Dinner notice
2018 High School Awards Dinner program with all the winners' names
Photos of the 2018 High School Awards Dinner

2017 High School Exam

The 2017 First Year Chemistry Test was held on April 29, 2017, at California State University Fullerton.

The 2017 OCACS High School Awards Banquet, held on May 23, 2017, honored all the students and teachers who participated.

2017 High School Awards Dinner flyer
2017 High School Awards Dinner program with all the winners' names
Photos of the 2017 High School Awards Dinner

2016 High School Exam

The 2016 First Year Chemistry Test was held on April 23, 2016, at California State University Fullerton. 44 schools sent a total of 302 students.

The 2016 OCACS High School Awards Banquet, held on May 24, 2016, honored all the students and teachers who participated.

2016 High School Awards Dinner flyer
2016 High School Awards Dinner program with all the winners' names
Photos of the 2016 High School Awards Dinner

2015 High School Exam

The First Year Chemistry Test was held on April 25, 2015, at California State University Fullerton.

The annual OCACS High School Awards Banquet, held on May 18, 2015, honored all the students and teachers who participated.

2015 High School Awards Dinner flyer
2015 High School Awards Dinner program with all the winners' names
Photographs of Students before the Exam

2014 High School Exam

The First Year Chemistry Test was held on April 26, 2014, at California State University Fullerton. 42 schools sent a total of 280 students.

The annual OCACS High School Awards Dinner, held on May 19, 2014, honored all the students and teachers who participated. Click on the links below for details:

2014 High School Awards Dinner flyer
2014 High School Awards Dinner program with all the winners' names
Photographs of High School Award-winning Students 2014