2012 U.S. Physics Team Registration

Team Facts & News

The Olympiad is a nine-day international competition among pre-university students from more than 60 nations. — AAPT.ORG

2012 Physics Olympics Team Banner

Team Facts & News

The Olympiad is a nine-day international competition among pre-university students from more than 60 nations. — AAPT.ORG

2012 Physics Olympics Team Banner

Simply complete the short registration form on-line or, if utilizing a purchase order, you can download a PDF form, complete and send to the AAPT National Office. We encourage on-line registration. You do not need to supply the names of students who will participate at this time; only the number of students.

(PLEASE NOTE: Students cannot register for the exam. A faculty member from the host site must register for students to take the exam).


2007 U.S. Physics Team working together

Fee Structure

The fee to participate is $35 ($25 for AAPT members) per school plus:

  • $4 per student - WebAssign
  • $8 per student - Downloadable PDF

(Schools will need to return Scantron sheets)

Registration & Exams

  • Registration Deadline: January 3, 2012
  • Preliminary Exam Dates: January 23 through February 3, 2012

Ordering Exam

Faculty Members have two options for how students may take the preliminary exam:

  1. Faculty can request a secured PDF version of the exam. A password code will be sent to your institution e-mail address along with the web address where you can download the exam. These will be sent on or about January 10, 2012. You will also receive a single hard copy of the exam and sufficient Scantron sheets for the number of registered students. These will be mailed from the AAPT Office on or about January 9, 2012, after the registration deadline.
  2. Faculty can register students to the take the exam via WebAssign. Students will need access to the Internet, but no additional software will be needed. Students can register with WebAssign prior to the exam period and take several practice exams (see below). You will be sent a password to your institution e-mail address for your students to access the exam on WebAssign during the actual exam period.

Students taking the exam by either the paper plus Scantron or WebAssign options must be monitored and all normal exam protocols must be followed. Detailed procedures that should be followed will be provided for these who register their students to take the exam.

WebAssign Practice Exams

WebAssign practice exams are open to everyone without a fee. In order to take the practice exam, see the following instructions:

  • Go to www.webassign.net
  • Click the Log In button
  • Click "I have a Class Key"
  • Enter webassign 8394 2000 as your class key. Anyone can use this key to access the class (see below for an example)

  • Click Yes, this is my class (Instructor will be John Risley)

  • Follow the instructions.

Students will need the following information to register for the Preliminary Exam:

Faculty Member's AAPT ID Number

  • Members - Find your 5 digit ID number on Journal Label.
  • Non-members - Go to www.aapt.org to set up a record or join.

Pre-College Host Sites

Home School

If you are home schooled a list of CEEB codes for your region is available on The College Board's PSAT/NMSQT Codes for Home-School Students page.

Two-Year College, Four Year College and University Host Sites:

Practicing & Administering the Exam

Students will be able to take three different sample tests to practice how to answer questions in WebAssign. When the exam dates are open, none of the practice exams will be available.

The student's instructor or person proctoring the exam will have the password for the "F= ma" exam and should administer the test verifying that the student took the exam. Students will get just one attempt to answer all 25 questions.

Practice Exams: Download previous years' exams

Exam Procedure for Selection of the U.S. Physics Team

There are two exams: the preliminary "F= ma" exam consisting of multiple-choice questions, and a semi-final for the top 300 to 400 students from the "F= ma" exam.

Preliminary Exam: The F=ma contest.

Multiple-choice only, focusing on mechanics; problems can be solved without the use of calculus. Exam time: 75 minutes (allow 90 minutes total to administer the exam). Administer the exam between January 23 and February 3. Post mark deadline for Scantrons to be sent to AAPT Grader is February 4. Again, we strongly encourage you to have your physics students participate in this part of the contest and are certain that they will benefit from participating in an international educational forum.

Semifinal Exam

The top 300 to 400 students based on the combined score on the preliminary exam will be invited to take this exam. This is a free response exam and may require the use of derivatives or simple integration. The exam covers all topics in introductory physics: Mechanics, E&M, Thermodynamics and Fluids, Relativity, Nuclear and Atomic Physics, and Waves and Optics. Part A: 4 problems, 90 minutes. Part B: 2 problems, 90 minutes. Allow 3.5 hours to administer the exam. Exam will be administered between March 5 and 23, 2012. Exam papers must be received back at AAPT by March 26, 2012.

PLEASE NOTE: Students taking the Semifinal Exam may be invited to be a part of the US Physics Team. Students accepting invitations to be a part of the US Team must be willing and able to attend the entire training camp - June 4th thru June 15th. They must be able to compete internationally as representatives of the US Team. This requires that they are US citizens or hold a green card and have attended school in the US for at least three years.