All our competitions are running this year.
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”.
We hold twelve competitions organised through two strands: see the dates in the table below
- Junior Physics Challenge Online (Year 10)
- Intermediate Physics Challenge (Year 11)
- Intermediate Physics Challenge Online (Year 11)
- Senior Physics Challenge (Year 12)
- Senior Physics Challenge Online (Year 12)
- Physics Challenge (Year 13)
- BPhO Round 1 (Year 13)
- BPhO Round 2 (Year 13)
- Experimental Project (Year 10/11 & Year 12/13)
- Computational Challenge (Year 11/12/13)
We have two new competition papers, which follow on from this past year’s encouraging participation in the Senior Physics Challenge online and the Intermediate Physics Challenge online. We are, however, returning the two traditional problem solving challenge papers, which had the two online substitutions in the past Covid year.
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 2021-22
BPhO Information letter Sept 2021-22.pdf
A sheet summarising the competitions and dates is here:
Dates and Summary of BPhO-BAAO Competitions 2021 - 22.pdf
A timeline for the competition papers is here:
BPhO Papers Flow Chart 2021-22.pdf
We would encourage you to get your student taking part in the Year 13 Physics Challenge and Astro Challenge Papers. These can be used as a resource for 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 if you go to
BPhO Competitions through the Academic Year (in date order)
Easter Training Camps for BPhO & BAAO at Oxford: Saturday 9th - Wednesday 13th April 2022
|Physics Challenge||Year 13 or below||paper emailed||1 hour||Sept - Dec 2022|
|BAAO Astro Challenge||Year 13 or below||paper emailed||1 hour||Sept - Dec 2022|
|BPhO Round 1||Year 13 or below||paper printed & posted||2 h 40m + 5m reading time||Fri 11th Nov 2022|
|BAAO Junior Astro Challenge||Year 10 & Year 11||online competition||2 x 25 min||Fri 4th - Wed 23rd Nov 2022|
|Senior Physics Challenge Online Competition||Year 12||online competition||2 x 30 min||Mon 23rd - Fri 27th Jan 2023|
|BAAO Astrophysics Olympiad||Year 13 or below||paper printed & posted||3 hour + 15m reading time||Mon 23rd Jan 2023|
|Intermediate Physics Challenge Online Competition||Year 11||online competition||2 x 30 min||Mon 30th Jan - Fri 3rd Feb 2023|
|BPhO Round 2||Year 13 or below||paper printed & posted||3 hours||Mon 30th Jan 2023|
|Intermediate Physics Challenge||Year 11||paper emailed||1 hour||Friday 3rd March 2023|
|Senior Physics Challenge||Year 12||paper emailed||1 hour||Friday 10th March 2023|
|Junior Physics Challenge||Year 10||online competition||2 x 25 min||Fri 28th April - Wed 17th May 2023|
|Experimental Project||Year 12/13 & Year 10/11||paper emailed||June - Dec 2023|
|Computational Challenge||Year 11/12/13||project||April - Sept 2022|
Why take part?
The British Physics Olympiad (BPhO) aims to encourage the study of Physics and recognise excellence in young physicists through ten annual Physics and Astronomy & Astrophysics competitions.
The competitions are designed to test understanding and problem solving skills and are open to able young physicists in school years 11-13 (GCSE to A2/IB/Highers or equivalent).
Participation in a British Physics Olympiad is a challenge for able students which allows them to:
- Have fun problem solving
- Experience the perseverance and determination required to solve harder problems
- Test their knowledge with stimulating questions
- See the real-world problem-solving potential of physics
- Practise open-ended and unstructured questions, as seen at higher levels of study
- Gain a prestigious award for CVs and UCAS forms
- Win Certificates and book prizes
- Develop the skills required for admission to top universities
- Compare their attainment with students from all over the United Kingdom
- Qualify for additional training with the best students, and the chance to represent Britain at the International Physics Olympiad.
Setting and marking papers
We recognise that teachers are busy and aim to make our competitions as easy as possible to run in your school. Most examination papers require just one hour, either in lessons, after school or at home.
The Physics Challenge, and details of how to enter our other competitions are sent to all schools in September.
The Physics Challenge, Senior Physics Challenge and Intermediate Physics Challenge are supplied with easy-to-follow mark schemes and are marked in school. Any queries are dealt with promptly by the Administration Office. Certificates are emailed out to schools. Almost all of the competition papers are FREE to enter for UK schools.
The BPhO Round 1 and later rounds are marked by a team of experienced markers at Oxford.
Schools in China must participate through ASDAN China. To register please visit www.seedasdan.org/bpho, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.