Preliminary Round 2021

Key Points (and FAQ below)

When: Monday 25th January 2021, during school hours.

Invigilation: Teachers should invigilate their students via Zoom / Teams etc. The test can be completed in any 2 hour 30 minute slot during school time. This is timed and a warning will pop when time is finished. Your school link won’t work on another day.

What is it?

  • The questions and boxes for submitting answers are on one page, fully online.
  • The 5 questions take 2 hours and there’s 30 minutes to cover printing the questions out (if there is a printer at home) and writing down a copy of the answers in case of any tech issues.
  • Results will be sent to the teacher contact within a week.
  • There is an honour code for the AILO 2021 Preliminary Round. Students must not share any questions, answers with anyone online or otherwise.

What does a student need?

  • Chrome browser ideally. It won’t work on Internet Explorer.
  • Scrap paper for working out the puzzles, pens, coloured-pens are useful.
  • They may print the questions if they have a printer but if not, writing down key data is important to work out the puzzle.
  • They must keep a record of their answers on an answer book or any page as they go.


  • Registered teachers will receive a link to the online test at 8am on Monday 25th Jan
  • Students who registered interest will not receive the link (it goes to the teacher email address they submitted as their invigilator)
  • Teachers should share the link with their students via Zoom / Teams etc.
  • This link brings students to a Welcome Page with guidelines for students to read. Guidelines including agreeing not to sharing any questions/answers with anyone else online or otherwise.
  • Only click ‘Start’ once your teacher says so.

Question Page:

  • Once the students click ‘Start’, they access the Question Page and the 2.5 hours begins.
  • Student fill out their details and their email address (for once-off confirmation of submission email). If a student doesn’t get a confirmation email from us (by Monday eve), they should email If we don’t have a submission for some reason, we will request the student’s copy of their answers.
  • Students can’t submit at the end if they haven’t filled in their details.
  • There are 5 questions with answer fields, all on one scrolling page.

Registering: Teachers can register their school at before 12pm 22nd January 2021.


How long do I have?: You have 2 and a half hours once you click ‘Start’. This is timed by us so we can see submission time. You will get a warning to submit when time is up.

Can I get a paper version?: Students can print the questions from the question page (after they press Start) if they so wish and have a printer at home. Again, these must not be shared with anyone. Writing down key observations / data is another important option if they don’t want to / can’t print.

>> Trouble-shooting >> If it won’t print, go to save as PDF, and then print again.

Where does it take place?: The AILO Online Test System. A link for the Preliminary Round will be sent out at 8am on Monday 25th January 2021 to registered teachers. Teachers can share their link with their class group to access the test and supervise via Zoom etc. The link must be exactly correct.

>> Trouble-shooting >> If you get an ‘invalid id’ message, please check the link is exactly as your teacher gave. It is easier to click on the link they send to ensure it’s fully correct. Email ailo@adaptcentre,ie if there are further issues.

What’s it like? Students can try out puzzles at to see how it will work. You won’t get immediate results on 25th though.

What is the Honour Code?: It is a condition of taking part in the AILO Preliminary Round, that students agree at the beginning of the test to not share any questions / answers online or otherwise.

How the Preliminary Round Will Work?

On Monday 25th January, registered teachers will receive a email from us with a link to the Preliminary Round. Teachers will also receive the  Online Preliminary Round 2020 Technical Details. It is very straight-forward and the two important things are to use Chrome and to make sure students write down their answers as they go / save or print a copy of their answers. Students will be prompted to do this by the online system. We have allocated 30 minutes extra to the online round this year to ensure students have time to write down their answers.

What will I see?

Once students access the link, they reach a welcome page with guidelines. Once the teacher says it ok to begin, they can click ‘Start’, They must add their name, school, date of birth and an email address. The email address will be used to send out a ‘confirmation receipt’. If any student doesn’t get an email on Monday, they can email Students will then begin the test. All 5 questions will be on the link along with space for inserting the answers. Students can print out the online test if they so wish and have access to a printer. It is a condition of the test that students do not share the questions / answers with anyone else.

They will also need some scrap paper for working out the puzzles per usual. Students should note their answers on paper as they go. It is important they don’t go back and forth on the system as they could lose information, like any online form.

What if I have Technical Issues?

The Chrome browser should be used for accessing the link. On Monday 25th January, we will be online at for any technical issues that arise. We ran a successful pilot in November 2019 and the Preliminary Round pilot in January 2020, so we don’t envisage issues with the online system.

What did I get Invalid ID?

If students get an error message with ‘invalid id’, it means the link hasn’t been entered correctly. It’s easier to click on it click to ensure it’s correct.

Computing Resources?

Please contact us at if there any issues with students accessing the test online.

Why do I need to write down my answers?

We have always asked teachers to keep a photocopy of answer booklets prior to posting them to us. With the new online round, we still want to make sure everyone gets a result! Please do ensure students write down their answers as they go or save a copy locally on the computer/print.  It is really important to keep a copy of the answers as there is nothing else we can mark if someone’s computer crashes etc.