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International Physics Olympics

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BPhO Round 1

Date: Fri 18 November 2016
: 2 hrs 30 min (can be sat as two half papers)
Sat: Within your school
Marked: Returned to the BPhO office for marking
Cost: £18 per student (all subsequent rounds are free)
Prizes: Certificates and books


This paper consists of a set of short answer and several long answer questions. They require the student to solve problems, hence the time allocation. Results determine if students will be invited to participate in the next round (in January), and ultimately on to the team for the IPhO. Students at this level typically achieve 70-80/80, but considerably lower scores indicate a level of achievement that should in itself be considered by pupil and school a profound depth of development, skill at the subject. And a determination to solve hard physics problems. This paper is a challenge and is not an A level replica. It is a very tall ladder of skill, ability and preparedness which students climb until they grind to a halt. Good students should be encouraged to prepare for it and have a go; participation itself reflects well on a student’s interest and determination. Papers are returned to Oxford for marking.

Award allocation

Certificates are awarded to the top students in approximately the following numbers:

Book prizes are also awarded for Top gold awards winners.

Students achieving a certificate of any colour in the BPhO are very able physicists. We would encourage schools to present these certificates in a manner that recognises the significant achievement of successful students at a national level.

Past papers

Past papers can be found on the here

Leads to qualification for Round 2 and selection for the Oxford Training Camp

The top 50 students will be invited to take part in Round 2.

Ordering papers

 To order visit the online store (from September. Papers are posted out from two weeks before the exam date.

"Well worthwhile for stronger students who rather enjoy the less obvious questions”

(Teacher, Physics Challenge)