The competition consists of two rounds: an experimental exam and a theoretical exam.
There is no discussion of the problem texts, it is the responsibility of the international academic committee of the Olympiad to guarantee the quality of the problems. Academic committee is also responsible for the grading of the problems (if necessary, they can appoint additional markers). The problem texts are short, so the leaders are expected to be able to complete the translation of both theoretical and experimental problems within an hour.
IPhO-style moderation of the marks is substituted by appellation: it is the responsibility of students to appeal any unjust grading (leaders can be present during the appellation and, if needed, translate the communication).
During the theoretical round (5 hours), there are three problems, one of which is very difficult, one is moderately difficult, and one is relatively less demanding. Full solution of each problem gives 10 points, grading granularity is one point. Partial credit is given for each idea or formula which is used in a full solution. During experimental examination (5 hours), there will be one or two tasks.
The award thresholds in points is determined after appellation as such smallest numbers that at least 8% of participants will receive a gold medal, at least 25% – a gold or silver medal, 50% – a gold, silver, or bronze medal. The results of participants from non-European countries do not affect the award thresholds, but all the contestants with marks above the thresholds are awarded with medals.