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. 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

BAAO Competitions

———- NEWS ———-

The deadline for registering Experimental project and submitting project is Friday 21st January 2022. Uploading link is on the experimental Project page Experimental Project

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.

Computational Physics Project & Competition

Click on the image to go to the Computational Physics page.

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

  • Astro Challenge introduction (Year 13)

  • Competition Dates 2021-22

    BPhO Competitions through the Academic Year (in date order)

    Easter Training Camps for BPhO & BAAO at Oxford: Saturday 9th - Wednesday 13th April 2022

    CompetitionYear groupdeliveryLength of “Paper”Competition Date
    Physics Challenge Year 13 or below paper emailed 1 hour Sept - Dec 2021
    BAAO Astro Challenge Year 13 or belowpaper emailed 1 hour Sept - Dec 2021
    BPhO Round 1 Year 13 or below paper printed & posted2 h 40m + 5m reading time Fri 12th Nov 2021
    BAAO Junior Astro ChallengeYear 10 & Year 11 online competition2 x 25 min Fri 5th - Wed 24th Nov 2021
    Senior Physics Challenge Online Competition Year 12 online competition2 x 30 min Mon 24th - Fri 28th Jan 2022
    BAAO Astrophysics Olympiad Year 13 or below paper printed & posted 3 hour + 15m reading time Mon 24th Jan 2022
    Intermediate Physics Challenge Online Competition Year 11 online competition2 x 30 min Mon 31st Jan - Fri 4th Feb 2022
    BPhO Round 2 Year 13 or below paper printed & posted 3 hours Mon 31st Jan 2022
    Senior Physics Challenge Year 12paper emailed 1 hour Friday 4th March 2022
    Intermediate Physics ChallengeYear 11 paper emailed 1 hour Friday 11th March 2022
    Junior Physics Challenge Year 10 online competition 2 x 25 min Fri 29th April - Wed 18th May 2022
    Experimental ProjectYear 12/13 & Year 10/11 paper emailed June - Dec 2022
    Computational ChallengeYear 11/12/13 project April - Sept 2022

    Why take part?

    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 science@seedasdan.org for more information.

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

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