BAAO Astro Round 2

We no longer accept requests to enter this competition through a paid route.


The Astro Round 2 is a mixture of astrophysics and physics questions that allows students to apply many of the mathematical techniques and physical concepts encountered in their studies to analyse and explain phenomena in astrophysical contexts, with extra detail / formulae being provided in the question if needed. It is set at a level that is not far off what would be expected at international level, just on a reduced syllabus compared to the IOAA, with an average mark of 25% being relatively common over the years.

Please keep this paper secure and do not show it to the Department before the paper has been sat by students.

The students are encouraged to take the Astro Challenge paper in the Autumn term but are required to take the BPhO Round 1 paper in November and / or the Astro Round 1 paper in January. The top 14 students are invited to the Oxford Training Camp at Easter. The final selection of the five students who will represent UK at the IOAA will take place at the Easter camp.

A video showing experiences at the 2023 Oxford camp is below:

You can read more about the experience of the Oxford Astro camp and attending the IOAA in Poland from one of the students on the 2023 team, Charlotte, in her blog post here.


Working through past papers is good preparation for these extended problems in Astronomy and Astrophysics, and they can be found under the Past Papers menu. There are extra topics which you will need to be acquainted with and to have worked through problems on. Details are given in the syllabus document, as well as in the self-study guides provided for the Astro Challenge and Astro Round 1.

At the next level, is a new, very reasonably priced book focused on the material for the IOAA. It approaches topics mathematically and is for students interested in going beyond the wonderful but frequently descriptive approach of many texts aimed at astronomy students. The mathematical level is such that an A level student will be able to step beyond their current knowledge with confidence.
SALVATI, Flavio, Fundamentals of Astronomy: A guide for Olympiads
Independently published (22. September 2020), ISBN 979-868-87-9143-3

Award allocation

Certificates are awarded to the students in approximately the following amounts:

A presentation ceremony at The Royal Society takes place in April for top students who are selected for the Oxford Training Camp.