Welcome to the British Physics Olympiad

The BPhO is to encourage the study of physics and to recognise excellence in young physicists through ten annual physics competitions. Why not take the challenge!

All our competitions are running this year. Round 1 papers in November will be emailed out rather than posted. For practical activities you could look at Saturday Science where you will find many small to large scale activities which students can use to develop investigation skills and “learn about stuff”.

STOP PRESS - Round 1 marking for the UK is finished and the results have been sent to teachers. Final tally: 1768 entries from 297 schools.
Another 1800+ papers from overseas have been marked also.

  • The BAAO Competition takes place on Saturday 27th February at 9am (GMT) and the Round 2 Competition on Saturday 6th March at 9am (GMT). Invites have been sent out via teachers. These papers will be invigilated over Zoom. Preparation details are on the web pages for the papers.

  • The Senior Physics Challenge Competition (AS) will be a multiple choice paper this year, and will be online. It will accessible on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 3rd, 4th, 5th March. Entry is via the online shop.

  • The Intermediate Physics Challenge (Y11) will also be a multiple choice paper this year, and will be online. It will be available Thursday and Friday 4th and 5th March, and on Wed, Thurs, Friday 10th, 11th, 12th March. Entry is via the online shop.

  • We hold ten competitions organised through two strands:

    BAAO Competitions

    All of these competitions can be entered by students in younger Year groups. About 10% of the entry in Round 1 is from Year 12, for example.

    A welcome letter for teachers to introduce the BPhO 2020-21
    BPhO yearly info letter 2020-21.pdf

    A sheet summarising the competitions and dates is here:
    Dates and Summary of Competitions 2020-21.pdf

    A timeline for the competition papers is here:
    BPhO Papers Flow Chart 2020-21.pdf

    We would encourage you to get your student taking part in the Physics Challenge and Astro Challenge Papers. These can be used as a resource of interesting questions or as a school competition. They introduce problems in physics. The Astro Challenge has a few astronomy multiple choice questions to encourage observation and learning about the night sky, but the majority of the questions are accessible to students studying physics and show interesting applications in a specialised area. Details are given in the front page and the constants page below.
    Title page.pdf
    Constants page.pdf

    Competition Dates 2020-21

    BPhO Competitions through the Academic Year (in date order)

    CompetitionYear groupdeliveryLength of “Paper”Competition Date
    Physics Challenge Year 13 or below paper emailed 1 hour Sept - Dec 2020
    BAAO Astro Challenge Year 13 or belowpaper emailed 1 hour Sept - Dec 2020
    British Physics Olympiad (Round 1) Year 13 or below paper printed & posted2 h 40m + 5m reading time Fri 13th Nov 2020
    BAAO Junior Astro ChallengeYear 10 & Year 11 online competition2 x 25 min Fri 6th - Wed 25th Nov 2020
    BAAO Astrophysics Olympiad Year 13 or below paper printed & posted 3 hour + 15m reading time Mon 25th Jan 2021
    BPhO Round 2 Year 13 or below paper printed & posted 3 hours Mon 1st Feb 2021
    Senior Physics Challenge Year 12paper emailed 1 hour Friday 5th March 2021
    Intermediate Physics ChallengeYear 11 paper emailed 1 hour Friday 12th March 2021
    Junior Physics Challenge Year 10 online competition 2 x 25 min Fri 30th April - Wed 19th May 2021
    Experimental ProjectYear 12/13 & Year 10/11 paper emailed June - Dec 2021

    I learned a lot about the science and phenomena behind Astronomy which I found really eye-opening and fascinating

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