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. 1600 entries from 272 schools.
There are another 2000 papers from overseas that are now being finalised.
The Round 2 Paper and the BAAO paper are postponed unitl after half term. Marking of Round 1 has taken longer and invites are only going out now.

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

Our Sponsors