Frequently Asked Questions

To learn more about the details of the online (or on-site) competitions, please take some time to browse or search the questions and answers below. In case you have specific questions not discussed here, feel free to send us a message via the Contact Us page.

Sign up

If you’d like to to sign your students up to participate in HighFour Competitions, have a look at the School Signup page to check the annual registration fee. Once your school’s payment has been confirmed, and your school’s information has been entered in the system, you and your colleagues may register teacher accounts for themselves. Creating accounts for students and setting up teams is all done from within teacher accounts.

The annual fee provides access to all your school’s teachers and students for the school year in all available subjects. Your students will receive access to

  • participate in monthly (from September to June) team and individual competitions online in multiple academic areas,
  • practice past competition questions using the random question generator, where they can practice questions based on specific strands,
  • monthly certificates showing their achievements in the monthly rounds,
  • monthly team competitions that not only allow but require team work,
  • monthly individual competitions that they can do anytime anywhere, within the pre-determined 48-hour window,
  • and much more.

The annual fee provides access to all your school’s teachers and students for the school year in all available subjects. You and your colleagues will receive

  • a free 6-month premium memberships to the International School Community website
  • statistical analysis of their students’ performance in the monthly competitions
  • PDF versions of the competition question sets 4 days prior to the actual starting day of the competition (to give time to prepare hard copies, if needed),
  • access to the PDF versions of past competition questions and answers/explanations,
  • the priority in participating in the annual on-site competition,
  • and much more.

For just about the same annual fee, other platforms offer competitions

  • only in Mathematics (vs. H4 offering multiple subjects to create the culture of competitions in multiple areas),
  • usually 4-6 times per school year (vs. H4 offering monthly rounds from September to June to build continuity throughout the school year),
  • for individual students (vs. H4 offering both team and individual competitions to promote collaboration amongst students even in a competitive setting),
  • using multiple-choice questions (vs. H4 offering free-response questions to raise the level of difficulty),
  • within a limited time period (vs. H4 offering a 48-hour window monthly to allow teachers around the globe to find the best time that works for their students),
  • with none of very limited statistical feedback to teachers (vs. H4 offering detailed statistical report to teachers about the performance of their teams and students alike).

Considering the above differences, the cost of the annual registration at HighFour Competitions is quite negligible and provides a great value for teachers and students alike. At the time of writing these FAQs, there are no online platforms that provide collaborative team competitions in any subject, let alone in multiple subject areas. Additionally, HighFour Competitions continues to bring in new features and updates throughout the year to make sure teachers and students enjoy the competitions and learn to love their subject matter even more!

Currently monthly competitions (team and individual competitions alike) are available in seven academic areas: Mathematics, History of Mathematics, General Sciences, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and World History. The complete list of categories available within these subjects may be viewed here. As HighFour Competitions aims to improve every aspect of its service, additional subjects may be offered in the future if there is significant interest shown by schools. .

The complete set of rules with further information may be viewed here. Please note that although the rules are similar for both the team and individual competitions, their setup are quite different.


If your school not yet signed up to participate but you would like to create your account, please sign your school up first through this page. Once this signup process has been completed, you will be able to create your teacher’s account here.

If your school has already signed up but you don’t yet have your account, you may create one on this page.

If you are unsure whether your school has signed up or not, you may check your school’s name in the dropdown list shown here.

Please note that to prevent fake/spam registrations, all teacher accounts must be activated manually by a HighFour Competitions administrator. This approval generally takes less than 12 hours. In order to speed up this process, all teachers are strongly advised to use their school-provided e-mail address when creating their accounts.

After logging in with your teacher account, you may click on STUDENTS in your dashboard. Here you can click on NEW STUDENT to enter your student in the system. (When entering the student’s information, please pay attention to the spelling of their name as this is the name that will appear on the certificates.) Once you have entered all your students’ names, you may assign them to teams as you see fit.

After logging in with your teacher account, you may click on TEAMS in your dashboard. Here you can click on NEW TEAM to form teams as you see fit. Please note that teams are created within subjects, which means that the same student cannot be part of more than one teams in the same subject. However, the same teacher can add the same student to a team in another subject.

No, a student may not be assigned to more than one team within the same subject. However, as teams are created within subjects, it is possible to add the same student to multiple teams, given that they are created within different subjects. (Please note that it is possible to move a student from one team to another at any time within a subject.)


There are at least two ways to help students prepare:

  1. As a teacher, you have access to full past competition questions sets in PDF form. (This is accessible from within your account in the PAST COMPETITIONS page in your dashboard. These question sets are accompanied by acceptable answers and complete solutions and explanations.
  2. As a teacher, you may have your students practice random questions from any of the past competitions. This question bank increases by 20 questions monthly in every subject/category and provides an excellent opportunity for students to practice past questions based on strands.

The new feature coming in SY 2018-2019 will provide teachers with the option to assign specific questions to specific students, that are required to be completed by specific deadlines. This “assignment” feature will allow teachers to customize (i.e. differentiate) the assignments based on students’ need.

After logging in your teacher account, you may click on UPCOMING COMPETITIONS in your dashboard. Here you will see a list of PDF files that contain the official team competition questions for the upcoming round. These files are made available 4 calendar days prior to each competition to allow teachers enough time to prepare paper copies, if necessary.
Please note that these files are strictly confidential and must not be shared with students for any reason prior to their start of the 30-minute online competition session!

As individual competition questions are randomly generated (taking difficulty levels of questions into consideration), there is no PDF version available for them.

The dates of the competitions are set in May/June for each following school year. These dates are made available in advance in the Digital toolkit. Once the school year has closed in June/July, these dates are also made available on the homepage in PDF format. The dates of the three upcoming competitions are also highlighted on the home page of the website.

Competitions are available starting at 08:00 (GMT +8) on the dates posted, for a period of 48 hours. Within this 48-hour period,

  • teachers need to schedule a 30-minute session for their teams to complete the 20-question team competitions online.
  • Individual students need to designate a 60-minute session for themselves to complete the 20-question individual competitions online.

Online Competitions

From the moment they click START, teams have 30 minutes and individual students have 60 minutes to complete all 20 questions and enter all their answers online. A countdown timer is displayed on the competition page and starts flashing towards the end of the round. Give that the time used is also a factor in determining placement on the scoreboard, students are encouraged to answer questions as quickly as possible, while making sure their answers remain accurate.

In order to help with possible internet or electricity issues, the system is designed to save answers automatically when the student clicks outside the given textbox. In case of internet problems or power failure, be assured that the system has saved all answers entered in the relevant textboxes.

Additionally, teachers supervising team competitions have the option to have their team complete the 30-minute team competition sessions offline, have their students write their answers on the answer sheets (second page on the hard copy of the questions), scan, and e-mail them to to make sure they’re included in the monthly round.

Unfortunately, as individual competition questions are randomly generated, the same offline submission of answers is not available to students participating in individual competitions.

There are three designations for calculator use, namely (1) required, (2) not allowed, or (3) not required, depending on the subject. The phrase not required means that students may use a calculator if they so wish, however, all questions may be solved without their help. The list of subjects and whether they allow the use of calculators may be found on this page but this is also mentioned on the cover page of the PDF version of the competition questions (for team competitions only).

The use of dictionaries (electronic or otherwise) is allowed for all subjects and all categories. However, teams are given 30 minutes to answer the competition questions and the excessive use of dictionaries might allow less time to answer questions. Similarly, individuals have 60 minutes to solve 20 questions, so the excessive use of dictionaries is not recommended.


HighFour Competitions started organizing on-site events annually in SY 2016-20117, with the first events being held in Shanghai, China. Since then, these on-site events became more popular and are now regular events for schools in and around Shanghai. If your school is located in Shanghai or a nearby city, please contact us to express your interest to participate. To find out more information about the next on-site event, please visit this page.

The annual on-site events are held in different locations annually. If your school is located in or in close proximity of the host city (or cities), please contact us for more information. If, however, your school is too far to join the on-site event, you may consider offering to host the next event at your school. Let us know if you’re interested in hosting a future event and we’ll help you get the details sorted. (Please note that the annual on-site event is usually held in November, however, there were spring dates in the past as well. If you’d like to host an event, please let us know your intent no later than early June, before the summer break and we'll get you all sorted.)

Absolutely, yes. Participation in the on-site competitions does not require participation in the online competitions. However, in order to get familiar with the styles of the questions and to allow students to better prepare for the on-site event, it is highly recommended that the school signs up for the online competition rounds as well.

Unfortunately, no. As many rounds of the on-site competitions require team work, it is not possible to join as an individual student. The least number of students that can join the on-site event is 8 (one team of four students in each of the two categories, G6-8 and G9-10), which means individual students cannot join these events. If you’d like to join nonetheless, approach your teacher(s) and convince them to bring a team!

During the various rounds of the on-site events, students may work individually or in teams. In either case, this time is for them to be with their teammates and students from other schools. Parents are welcome to come and attend the award ceremony at the end of the event but they are not allowed to observe the competition rounds themselves.


Yes, teachers have option to supervise their teams’ 30-minute competition sessions online, have them record their answers on the provided answer sheets (second page of the PDF version of the competition questions), scan, and e-mail these to to make sure they’re included in the monthly round.

Teams are ranked according to the number of points they have received in the given round. (One correct answer is worth one point.) When two teams earn the same number of points, the team with the least amount of time used (from the given 30 minutes) is ranked higher. Teams that receive the same number of points and have the same amount of time left are ranked at the same place. Please note that only the top 4 team names are posted publicly (here) and the placements of the other teams are only made available to their teachers (and the teams themselves) within their accounts.

Similarly to teams, individuals are ranked according to the number of points they have received in the given round. When two individuals earn the same number of points, the one with the least amount of time used (from the given 60 minutes) is ranked higher. Individuals that receive the same number of points and have the same amount of time left are ranked at the same place. Please note that all individual nicknames are posted publicly (here).

Please note that the point-value of each question corresponds with the difficulty level of the questions, in other words,

  • questions marked as 1-star difficulty level () are worth 1 point,
  • questions marked as 2-star difficulty level () are worth 2 points,
  • questions marked as 3-star difficulty level () are worth 3 points,
  • questions marked as 4-star difficulty level () are worth 4 points,
  • questions marked as 5-star difficulty level () are worth 5 points,

Thus, as the 20-question round contains 4 questions in each of the 5 difficulty levels, the total maximum points available for a round is (4×1) + (4×2) + (4×3) + (4×4) + (4×5) = 60.

After logging in, you may click on TEAM RESULTS in your dashboard. Inside this menu point, you see the list of your teams, their submitted answers, and the overall points they received. Please note that this is only available after the competition has been closed, which is usually after 24 hours of the closing time of the round.

After logging in, you may click on TEAM RESULTS in your dashboard. Inside this menu point, you see the list of your teams, their submitted answers, and the overall points they received. This is also the place where you may download the completed certificates of your students in PDF form, ready for printing.

After logging in, you may click on STUDENTS in your dashboard. Inside this menu point, find the name of your student and click on EDIT to change the student’s information. Once you change the name, refresh the page, and download the certificates one more time, now with the correctly spelled name.

Technical issues

Although the website has been tested literally hundreds of times and have been running successfully for a long time, at times some users may face some technical challenges. If that is the case, please provide answers to the questions below so that we may find and correct any possible errors:

  • Did the homepage load and allow you to enter the username and password?
  • Was the homepage slow to load or did not load at all?
  • After loading the home page, entering the username & password, and clicking "login", did the site log you back out or the site has never even loaded?
  • If the home page or the other pages after logging in did not load from a laptop, did they load from another device (phone, tablet, or a different computer)?
  • Does the home page load in your browser’s incognito mode?
  • Which browser(s) have you used/tried?
  • Did any error message appear at any time? If yes, can you send a screenshot of this error message?

The more information you can provide about the technical issues, the more likely it is that the tech team can identify and resolve the problem. Please use the Contact Us form to send us this information.