The most competitive national physics competition in the UK

Top students from UK and China compete together for the top awards

Win advantages to apply for science majors in top universities

Date: Saturday 9th March, 2019 14:00-15:00 pm (60 min)

Introduction

The British Physics Olympiad is a charitable trust overseen by a committee of trustees. It was initiated in 1979,and hasbeen used as a qualifier for the selection of the UK Physics Team for the International Physics Olympiad since 1983.
The AS Challenge is an exciting opportunity for students to stretch their lateral thinking skills and apply fundamental physical principles to novel situations. The AS Challenge is a single, one-hour paper that provides an excellent tool to assess and challenge student's ability to work at Key Stage 5 and beyond. It consists of 10 minutes of thought provoking multiple choice questions followed by a short answers section that tests subject knowledge and application. 
The GCSE Physics Challenge is a single, one-hour paper that is suitable for Year 11 students (GCSE, Standard Grade or equivalent level). The paper includes multiple-choice and short answer sections that aim to test students knowledge and understanding of basic physical principles. The paper is suitable for students who have studied GCSE Science + Additional Science or GCSE Physics or equivalent.
The ratio for awarded Chinese students is a norably higher than UK students. (Awards for GCSE and AS challenge compares as follows: 7.69% and 9.52% for gold, 11.24% and 29.76% for silver, 23.67% and 36.91% for bronze)
Official website:www.physics.ox.ac.uk/olympiad/index.html

Supported Organizations

Administration

The University of Oxford

Institute of Physics (IOP)

Sponsorship

Rolls-Royce

Event and training

The University of Cambridge

The University of Oxford

National Physical Laboratory

Texas Instrument

Competition Rules

Language

English

Date

Saturday March 9th, 2019 14:00-15:00 pm (60 min)

Qualified Students
  • GCSE Physics Challenge: Grade 9 - 10 or other equivalent grades
  • AS Challenge: Grade 11, A-Level or other equivalent grades
Format

Individual written test (no experiments)

Type

Multiple-choice questions & Proof-based problems

Exam problems

GCSE Physics Challenge: Three sets of problems; Section 1, Section 2 and Section 3
• Section A: Ten multiple choice questions worth 1 mark each (worth 10 marks in total)
• Section B: Two short answer questions (worth 10 marks in total)
Questions require a clear explanation of the underlying physical principles
• Section C: Longer answer question(s) requiring calculations (worth 30 marks in total)
Questions may be set on unfamiliar topics. Additional information necessary to answer the question will be given in the question.
• Total 50 marks
(The exact problem number according to the paper received on exam date.)

AS Challenge: Two sets of problems; Section 1 and Section 2
• Section A: Ten multiple choice questions worth 1 mark each (worth 10 marks in total)
• Section B: Five proof-based problems (worth 40 marks in total)
Questions require a clear explanation
• Total 50 marks
(The exact problem number according to the paper received on exam date.)

Requirements

The British Physics Olympiad committee focuses on the logic of solving the problem, so for each problem competitors need to give detailed steps proving their answers

Exam locations

Exam Centers across China (check and choose exam center after registration)

Awards

Global awards:
• Gold
• Silver
• Bronze I / II

(For judging the global awards, British competitors will be ranked first by their overall scores in the top 5%, 15%, 30% and 45%, creating boundaries for the top gold, gold, silver and bronze awards. Competitors from other countries are not ranked together with their British competitors, but are compared by boundary. Chinese competitors with good results will therefore have an increased chance of receiving an award).

The latest grade boundaries is published annually by the British Physics Olympiad committee

Academic materials
  • Problems and solutions from the past 13 years for GCSE Physics Challenge
  • Problems and solutions from the past 8 years for AS Challenge

Registration

Registration Deadline

25th February, 2019

Registration Step

Click here to register.

Exam Centers

Sample Problems