REGISTRATION in now open to Y10-Y12 (Open until end of September)

The mission of COMPOS is to help enthusiastic high school students to systematically learn mathematics and physics at a deep level.

How COMPOS works

  • You will receive a homework assignment every 3-4 weeks. The assignment will consist of reading materials, links to online lectures and a problem set. 
  • We will help you learn through online teaching:
    • Regular webinars will be offered by the COMPOS Academic Coordinator or one of the Oxford academics to all COMPOS students
    • There will be an active online forum to discuss questions and difficulties.
    • You will be assigned a tutor – normally a senior undergraduate or graduate Oxford Physics student. The tutor will provide weekly online classes in groups of 8 students.
  • You will need to study the material in the assignment and solve the problem set before the deadline. You will then submit your solutions to your tutor.
  • The tutor will mark your work and return it back to you with comments and critique.

Teaching and learning at COMPOS:The bi-weekly cycle

COMPOS is led by Prof. Alex Lvovsky. Academic Coordinator: Vlad Chernov

Alex Lvovsky     Vlad Chernov


Webinars and home work: The assignments will be publicly available and the webinars can be attended by any A-level student (Years 12 and 13)

Tutorials: You may participate in COMPOS tutorials if you are currently an A-Level student at a UK state school. However, in order to be eligible to participate in tutorials, you will also need to regularly submit high-quality homework. The first problem set will therefore serve as an admission test. We will assign you a tutor if you do a reasonably good job (i.e. solve most of the problems) in that set. Priority may also be given to students who are from groups under-represented within STEM. We are aiming to recruit 30% of students who were Pupil Premium, had Free School Meals (state schools), received Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) and/or 16-19 bursary during secondary school, or care-experienced (ie have you been in care at some point, for more than three months in total).

COMPOS featured in Alex Bellos's Monday puzzle in the Guardian

Introductory video

Syllabus and assignments

Year 10


  • TBC


  • TBC


Year 12


  • Assignment 1: The quadratic function
  • Trigonometric transformations and equations
  • Derivatives 
  • Basic integration skills 
  • Coordinate geometry 
  • Exponential and logarithmic functions 
  • Solving equations 
  • Analysis and graphic representation of functions 
  • Inequalities 
  • Sequences, progressions and series 
  • Combinatorics and probabilities 


  • Assignment 1: Vectors in physics
  • Equations of motion 
  • Newton's laws 
  • Centre of mass and statics
  • Conservation of momentum
  • Work, energy and power
  • DC circuits 
  • Reflection and refraction 
  • Spherical lenses and mirrors
  • Simple harmonic motion 
  • Electrostatics and capacitors


Year 13


  • Assignment 1: Complex numbers
  • Inverse and partial derivatives
  • Euclidian geometry 1
  • Euclidian geometry 2
  • Exam practice 1
  • Infinite sets
  • Matrices and Mappings
  • 3D geometry
  • Gaussian function, Dirac delta function, Fourier analysis


  • Assignment 1: Circular motion
  • Gravity and orbits
  • Differential equations in physics
  • Waves
  • Exam practice 1
  • Magnetic field
  • Electromagnetic induction
  • LC, LCR Circuits
  • Thermodynamics


The webinars take place every Tuesday 18:00-19:30 (Year 12) and Thursday 18:00-19:30 (Year 13). The Zoom links are sent to the COMPOS discussion group and in Google Classroom. The recordings are posted below.

Webinar videos 

Webinar Y12 whiteboard

Webinar Y13 whiteboard


How can I join?

Please complete the form above to receive the first assignment and an invite to the webinar. The registration will remain open till the first homework deadline (October).

How much does it cost?

COMPOS is free of charge to state school students. The costs are borne by a philanthropic donation from Mathematics Education for Social Mobility & Excellence (MESME), to whom we are supremely grateful. Private-school and non-UK students please see below.

Will you prepare me for Oxbridge admission tests, A-Level examinations, or Olympiads?

Our goal is not to prepare you for a pilot license test, but to teach you how to fly! We do not target any specific tests, but we certainly hope that that the knowledge and problem-solving skills you acquire at COMPOS will help you to pass such tests, and possibly do well in competitions.

Will you prepare me for higher education in maths and physics?

We do aim to provide you with base knowledge, upon which it will be easier for you to build your further education. We also hope that you will acquire a somewhat accurate idea of what everyday work in science is like and learn to be not afraid of it.

How many places do you have in the program?

We have ~384 places in the program next year, which we hope will enable us to accommodate every deserving candidate.

How much time do I have to commit to the program?

In addition to the weekly tutorials, you will need to plan to work on the assignments for at least 4-8 hours per week. This is a serious time commitment; you will have to sacrifice a lot of partying, sports, dating, and other fun activities! Please think carefully what you are signing up for.

I am a private school student and/or I am not in the UK. Can I join?

Our funder's wish is that the free COMPOS services be offered to UK state school students only. However, the COMPOS curriculum available to private school students and students outside the UK through a non-profit organization WeSolveProblems for a moderate fee. Further details can be found here. Please do sign up via the link above and we will contact you know soon.

Can I take only maths or only physics at COMPOS?

No: the two parts of the program are deeply interconnected, so we expect our students to study both subjects.

Do I need a tablet for the tutorials?

This is helpful: a stylus-enabled tablet allows us to create a virtual whiteboard, on which you, the tutor and other tutorial group members can write at the same time. However, there are inexpensive alternatives such as stylus pads. In the worst-case scenario, you can contribute to discussions using your phone camera.

I cannot attend on a specific day of the week.

There will be multiple groups with different tutors, so we can surely find you a group that meets your restrictions.

Will I get a certificate in the end?

The tutors will keep track of the problems from the assignments that each student has solved. We will be happy to provide a letter in the end of the course certifying the progress you have made. However, such a certificate is not of much use for college admission: at Oxford, we wouldn't usually ask for this sort of paperwork, but we do test their knowledge and problem-solving skills. These are your true certificates, and they will stay with you forever.

Contact us

If you have any questions, please get in touch with Dr Hawkins by email via compos[at]

For School teachers: Please fill in the form below to receive updates from COMPOS