International Physics Olympiad (IPhO)

IPhO is an annual event, which is held in the month of June - July every year. The country of the venue of IPhO varies from year to year. This activity has been conducted regularly for the past 37 years. However, India began to participate in the IPhO only in 1998.

The IPhO is a keenly contested examination in physics open to pre-university students of all countries in the world. It serves as a bench-mark for study of physics at pre-university level. It also fosters friendly relations amongst students of different countries.

It is believed that India's participation in the IPhO boosts the level of science education in the country.The physics olympiad programme in India aim to promote excellence in physics at the pre-university stage and to select and train participants for the IPhO.

The physics Olympiad program follows the following 5 stages:

  1. Stage I: National Standard Examination in Physics (NSEP)
  2. Stage II: Indian National Physics Olympiad (INPhO)
  3. Stage III: Orientation cum Selection Camp (OCSC) in physics
  4. Stage IV: Pre-departure Training Camp (PDT) for IPhO
  5. Stage V: Participation in International Physics Olympiad (IPhO)

Stage I: National Standard Examination in Physics (NSEP)

NSEP is the first stage of selection of students in the physics Olympiad Programme which is organised by the Indian Association of Physics Teachers (IAPT). Every student aspiring to go through successive stages of the programme must enroll for NSEP. NSEP is held at a large number of centres in the country.


Eligibility:

All Indian students who are born on or after July 1, 1996 and, in addition, are in Class XII or lower as of November 30, 2015, are eligible to appear for NSEP 2015 - 2016. A student may appear for more than one subject provided the examination schedule allows it. See information about the examination schedule under various subjects. Students who have passed Class XII are not eligible to enroll for NSEP. It is the student's responsibility to ensure that the eligibility criteria are satisfied. In case at any stage of the programme it is found that the student does not satisfy the eligibility criteria, he/she may be disqualified from the programme.

Question Paper :

Part A (180 marks): 50 multiple choice questions consisting of:
(A1) 40 questions, each with only one of the four options correct
(A2) 10 questions, each with one or more than one options correct. To get credit, all correct option(s) and no incorrect option(s) should be marked.
Part B (60 marks):
5 (or 6) questions which are problems or short-answer type. All questions carry equal marks.

Language :

English. (However, NSEP question papers may be available in Hindi, and some other regional languages provided there are more than 300 students for that language. Please check with IAPT.)

Syllabus :

The syllabus for NSEP is broadly equivalent to the senior secondary level (Class XI and Class XII) of CBSE Physics. This is only a rough guideline, and there is no detailed syllabus given for NSEP.

Qualifying for Second Stage

The aim of the first stage examination is to have a wide reach, to progressively increase this reach and to attain nationwide representation for Stage II without overly compromising on merit. Hence the selection for the Stage II examinations, i.e., Indian National Olympiad Examinations (INOs) is based on the following scheme.

  1. Eligibility Clause : To be eligible for the Stage II INO exam leading to the International Olympiad, a candidate must secure a score equal to or greater than a Minimum Admissible Score (MAS). The MAS for a given subject will be 50% of the average of the top ten scores in that subject rounded off to the nearest lower integer.
  2. Proportional Representation Clause : Students from all States and UTs need to be encouraged to appear for the first stage examination and a nationwide representation for INO Stage II is desirable. The quota for each State/UT used in National Talent Search Examination (NTSE) 2013-14, a nationwide competitive examination will be used as the baseline for calculating the number of students qualifying for Stage II INO in every subject from centres in that State or UT. Suppose the NTSE quota is S for a State, and the total for all States and UTs is T, then the total number of students to be selected to INO Stage II from that State would be S/T times 300, rounded off to the nearest higher integer. This number will include those selected on the basis of the Merit Index. In the event of tie at the last position in the list, all students with same marks at this position will qualify to appear for the INO Stage II examination. The selected students must nevertheless satisfy the eligibility clause. The number to be selected from all the centres in each State or UT will be displayed on the IAPT and HBCSE websites. (www.iapt.org.in; http://olympiads.hbcse.tifr.res.in)
  3. Minimum Representation Clause : Orientation cum Selection Camp (OCSC) in physics
  4. Merit Index Clause : Notwithstanding the proportional representation clause the number of students selected for INO from each State and UT must be at least one, provided that the eligibility clause is satisfied.
    The above criteria are illustrated with the following examples:
    (i). Let the quota on the basis of the Proportional Representation Clause (c) for a State S1 be 20. Suppose the number of students satisfying the Merit Index Clause (b) in a subject is 10. These 10 students will qualify for the second stage INO exam in the given subject and an additional 10 students from the State S1 in the given subject will be selected merit-wise, provided they satisfy the Eligibility Clause (a).
    (ii). Let the quota on the basis of the Proportional Representation Clause (c) for a State S1 be 20. Suppose the number of students 7satisfying the Merit Index Clause (b) in a subject is 30. In this case, all 30 students will qualify for the second stage INO exam in the given subject, and there will be no further selection from the State S1.
  5. Previous International Representation Clause: Candidates who have represented India in the International Olympiad on a previous occasion (IOAA, IBO, IChO, IJSO and IPhO) need not appear for the first stage NSE examination in the respective subject. Candidates who have represented India in the Asian Physics Olympiad (APhO) and the International Astronomy Olympiad Junior (IAO-Jr) need not appear for the 1st stage NSEP and NSEA Examinations respectively. Those candidates who thus qualify to skip the first stage NSEs may be allowed, on written request, to the respective National Coordinator, to directly appear for the second stage Indian National Olympiad (INO) examination, provided they satisfy other eligibility criteria such as age, pre-college status, etc.
  6. Minimum Total Number Clause: In each subject, after all the above criteria have been applied, it is possible that the target number of 300 students to be selected for INO is not reached (due to non-availability of enough number of students in some states who satisfy Eligibility Clause (a)). In such an event, additional students will be selected purely merit-wise, provided Eligibility Clause (a) is satisfied, till the target number of 300 is reached. Other clauses will not apply for these students. In case of a tie at the last position, all students with the same marks at this position will qualify to appear for the INO Stage II examination.
    There will be no other criterion or provision for selection to the Indian National Olympiad Examinations (INOs).

All students who qualify to appear for the INPhO get a certificate of merit from IAPT.

Stage II: Indian National Physics Olympiad (INPhO)

Eligibility :Students selected from Stage I examination (NSEP) are eligible to appear for INPhO. In addition, those students, who have been exempted from NSEP as described in the Enrollment page, are also eligible to appear for INPhO. Besides these two, there is no other way by which a student becomes eligible to appear for INPhO.

Syllabus : The syllabus for INPhO is broadly similar to NSEP

On the basis of performance in INPhO, the top 35 students in the merit list will be selected for Stage III: Orientation Cum Selection Camp (OCSC) in physics. In the event, there is a tie at the last position, all students with the same marks at this last position will qualify for OCSC.There will be no other criterion or provision for selection to OCSC.

Stage III: Orientation Cum Selection Camp (OCSC) in Physics

Only the students selected from the merit list of Stage II (INPhO) are eligible. There will be no other criterion or provision.

Eligibility for OCSC :

Only the students selected from the merit list of Stage II (INPhO) are eligible. There will be no other criterion or provision.The camps include several theoretical and experimental tests. Orientation is provided to students especially in experiments. The camps conclude with a valedictory function where distinguished scientists are invited to speak to the students.

The merit list of OCSC is prepared on the basis of the combined theoretical and experimental score aggregated over all the tests in the camp, with 60% weightage for theory and 40% weightage for experiment. Performance in previous stages (NSEP and INPhO) will not be a consideration for the merit list and awards of the OCSC.

The top 5 students in the OCSC physics merit list are declared to be special merit awardees. These special merit awardees are given Rs. 5,000/- each in the form of books and cash. In addition there are special prizes to recognize meritorious performance in theory and experiments.

The 5 special merit awardees in physics selected at the end of the OCSC constitute the 5 member student team for the International Physics Olympiad (IPhO), provided they satisfy required criteria such as age limit, holding valid Indian passport, medical fitness, parental consent, etc.

Stage IV: Pre-departure Training (PDT) Camp for IPhO

The selected 5 member Indian team undergoes a rigorous training programme at HBCSE in theory and experiments. Special laboratories have been developed at HBCSE for the purpose of experimental training. Resource persons from HBCSE and different institutions across the country train the students.

Stage V: Participation in International Physics Olympiad (IPhO)

The 5 member student team, 2 teacher leaders and 1 scientific observer constitute the delegation to represent India at the International Physics Olympiad (IPhO).

Contact

For First Stage of Olympiad Selection Procedure (National Standard Examinations) in physics:

Prof. M. L. Oglapurkar
Co-ordinator(NSEP)
IAPT Office, I.I.E. Campus,
128/2, J. P. Naik Marg, Kothrud,
Pune - 411 038.
Email: iapt@vsnl.net

For Second and Higher Stages of Olympiad Programmes in Physics :

Prof. Jayashree Ramadas
Chair National Steering Committee
Science and Astronomy Olympiads,
Centre Director
Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education
V. N. Purav Marg, Mankhurd. Mumbai - 400 088.
Tel: 022 - 2555 5242, 2507 2205
Fax: 022 - 2558 5660, 2556 6803
Email: director [at] hbcse.tifr.res.in
Prof. Vijay Singh
National Co-ordinator
Science Olympiads
Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (TIFR)
V.N. Purav Marg, Mankhurd
Mumbai - 400 088.
Tel : 022-2548 2104; 2507 2322
Fax : 022-2556 6635 or 2556 6803
Email: nc_olympiad [at] hbcse.tifr.res.in