Top of the Bench


Top of the Bench is a national competition run by the RSC for 14-16 year old students. The competition begins with heats run by RSC Local Sections to select a team to represent the section in the UK final the following year.

The teams should consist of: 

  • cup
    two students from Year 9 (in Scotland one from S2)
  • one from Year 10 (in Scotland two from S3), and 
  • one from Year 11 (in Scotland one from S4).                     

The selection period is usually during the autumn term (around October-December) and the selected school team is nominated in December/early January. 

The format of the heats is not fixed, which allows Local Sections to run their competition in a way that is appropriate for their section resources. Local Sections are encouraged to allow as many schools as possible the opportunity to take part in the heats.

The final is normally held in the following March/April and is organised by our Education department. It includes the following events: 

  • a short test of factual chemical knowledge, 
  • a practical chemical problem solving team exercise                    

Prizes are given for the best overall school performance (the Top of the Bench Team) and for the five runner up teams. The Jacqui Clee Award is given for an outstanding individual contribution to the day. A celebrity normally presents the prizes.

Schools please contact your nearest Local Section Secretary to find out more about entering a team for the heats.  Contact RSC Education for further details about the competition.


Top of the Bench 2014 Winners

The 2014 Top of the Bench Final was held on 29 April 2014 at the University of Loughborough.

Local Sections

There are 35 Local Sections throughout the UK and the Republic of Ireland

Contact and Further Information

Education Department
Royal Society of Chemistry, Thomas Graham House, Cambridge Science Park, Milton Road, Cambridge, CB4 0WF
Tel: 01223 432221