Indian National Physics Olympiad (INPhO)


Quick Fact: 

  • Scoring top ranks in the INPhO can lead you to the IPhO (International Physics Olympiad). 
  • India started participating in the International Physics Olympiad in 1998. 


To all the students who enjoy studying Physics, here is an olympiad for you. The Indian National Physics Olympiad or INPhO is an annual competition held among high school students. It is a unique opportunity for every student to gain more knowledge and experience in Physics. You will be able to connect with students from all over India and even from around the world (if you qualify for IPhO). The Indian National Physics Olympiad (INPhO) is conducted by HBCSE (Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education). 


Road to IPhO (Until 2020)

To help you understand further how the Indian National Physics Olympiad (INPhO) plays an important role for you, here are the different exams that a student needs to clear/qualify for International Physics Olympiad (IPhO). 


Stage 1: National Standard Examination in Physics (NSEP)

Students of Class 11 and Class 12 participate in this examination in the month of November every year. 


Stage 2: Indian National Physics Olympiad (INPhO)

Students who clear the NSEP (generally top 300 students) appear for the INPhO. This exam is organised by HBCSE in 15 centres all across India. Those who clear this examination get a certificate from IAPT (Indian Association of Physics Teachers) which is a prestigious achievement in itself. 


Stage 3: Orientation cum Selection Camp (OCSC) in Physics 

The top 35 students are chosen from the examination results of INPhO and they are invited to attend an orientation camp at the HBCSE centre. They have to pass several tests here in the camp. 


Stage 4: Pre-Departure Training (PDT) Camp for IPhO

5-6 students are selected and given special training for the international olympiad. 


Stage 5: International Physics Olympiad (IPhO)

The 5 students along with 2 teachers and 1 scientific observer represent India at the IPhO. 


Road to IPhO: Introduction of Indian Olympiad Qualifier for Physics (IOQP) (for 2021-2022 session)

The above-stated stages were a part of the usual procedure followed until 2020. For the 2021-2022 session, only one qualifier examination was conducted known as the Indian Olympiad Qualifier for Physics (IOQP). The IOQP examination was conducted in two parts. 


  • Indian Olympiad Qualifier in Physics (IOQP) was held on 13 March 2022 (Sunday), 9:00 – 12:30 hrs. 
  • Further selection stages beyond IOQ, namely the Orientation-cum-Selection Camps (OCSCs), were cancelled (the international Olympiad for Physics was scheduled for July-August). Selection for the Indian team in Physics was based on the performance in IOQ Part II. 
  • 5 students at the top of the merit list of IOQP Part II were to be selected for the Indian team to the International Physics Olympiad (IPhO) 2022.


Indian Olympiad Qualifier in Physics (IOQP) 2021-2022

The Indian Olympiad Qualifier in Physics (IOQP) constitutes two examinations - National Standard Examination (NSEP) and Indian National Olympiad (INPhO). In other words:


  • IOQP Part I is also known as NSEP 
  • IOQP Part II is also known as INPhO 


National Standard Examination (NSEP)

Duration: 75 Minutes 

Objective-type questions 

This is a screening examination for selective evaluation of the second part, that is, INPhO/ IOQP Part II. 

Indian National Olympiad (INPhO)

Duration 120 minutes

Detailed questions 


The IOQP is jointly organised by the Indian Association of Physics Teachers (IAPT) and Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (Tata Institute of Fundamental Research) – HBCSE (TIFR). The academic responsibility of Part I: NSEP will be borne by IAPT while that of Part II: INO will be borne by HBCSE. The remaining stages of the Olympiad programme will be carried out by HBCSE.


Syllabus for IOQP Part I and Part II 2021-2022

The students who participate in IOQP are expected to have prior knowledge of the given 19 units along with the Science syllabus up to Class 10 and the Mathematics syllabus up to Class 12. Take note of the topics given below. 


  1. Units and Measurements 
  • Units of measurement; systems of units; SI units, fundamental and derived units. 
  • Length, mass and time measurements; accuracy and precision of measuring instruments; errors in measurement; significant figures. 
  • Dimensions of physical quantities, dimensional analysis and its applications.


  1. Motion in a Straight Line 
  • A frame of reference, Motion in a straight line: Position-time graph, speed and velocity. 
  • Elementary concepts of differentiation and integration for describing motion, uniform and non-uniform motion, average speed and instantaneous velocity, uniformly accelerated motion, velocity-time and position-time graphs. 
  • Relations for uniformly accelerated motion (graphical treatment).


  1. Motion in a Plane 
  • Scalar and vector quantities; position and displacement vectors, general vectors and their notations; equality of vectors, multiplication of vectors by a real number; addition and subtraction of vectors, relative velocity, Unit vector; resolution of a vector in a plane, rectangular components, Scalar and Vector product of vectors. 
  • Motion in a plane, cases of uniform velocity and uniform acceleration, projectile motion, uniform circular motion.


  1. Laws of Motion 
  • Intuitive concept of force, Inertia, Newton's first law of motion; momentum and Newton's second law of motion; impulse; Newton's third law of motion. 
  • Law of conservation of linear momentum and its applications. 
  • Equilibrium of concurrent forces, Static and kinetic friction, laws of friction, lubrication. 
  • Dynamics of uniform circular motion: Centripetal force, examples of circular motion (vehicle on a level circular road, vehicle on a banked road).


  1. Work, Energy and Power 
  • Work done by a constant force and a variable force; kinetic energy, work-energy theorem, power. 
  • The notion of potential energy, the potential energy of a spring, conservative forces: conservation of mechanical energy (kinetic and potential energies); non-conservative forces: motion in a vertical circle; elastic and inelastic collisions in one and two dimensions.


  1. System of Particles and Rotational Motion
  • Centre of mass of a two-particle system, momentum conservation and centre of mass motion. 
  • Centre of mass of a rigid body; centre of mass of a uniform rod. 
  • Moment of a force, torque, angular momentum, law of conservation of angular momentum and its applications. 
  • Equilibrium of rigid bodies, rigid body rotation and equations of rotational motion, comparison of linear and rotational motions. 
  • Moment of inertia, the radius of gyration, and values of moments of inertia for simple geometrical objects (no derivation). Statement of parallel and perpendicular axes theorems and their applications.


  1. Gravitation 
  • Kepler's laws of planetary motion, and the universal law of gravitation. 
  • Acceleration due to gravity and its variation with altitude and depth. 
  • Gravitational potential energy and gravitational potential, escape velocity, orbital velocity of a satellite, Geo-stationary satellites.


  1. Mechanical Properties of Solids 
  • Elastic behaviour, Stress-strain relationship, Hooke's law, Young's modulus, bulk modulus, shear modulus of rigidity, Poisson's ratio; elastic energy.


  1. Mechanical Properties of Fluids 
  • Pressure due to a fluid column; Pascal's law and its applications (hydraulic lift and hydraulic brakes), the effect of gravity on fluid pressure. 
  • Viscosity, Stokes' law, terminal velocity, streamline and turbulent flow, critical velocity, Bernoulli's theorem and its applications. 
  • Surface energy and surface tension, angle of contact, excess of pressure across a curved surface, application of surface tension ideas to drops, bubbles and capillary rise.


  1. Thermal Properties of Matter 
  • Heat, temperature, thermal expansion; thermal expansion of solids, liquids and gases, anomalous expansion of water; specific heat capacity; Cp, Cv - calorimetry; change of state latent heat capacity. 
  • Heat transfer-conduction, convection and radiation, thermal conductivity, qualitative ideas of Blackbody radiation, Wien's displacement Law, Stefan's law, and the Greenhouse effect.


  1. Thermodynamics 
  • Thermal equilibrium and definition of temperature (zero law of thermodynamics), heat, work and internal energy. 
  • Thermodynamic state variables and equation of state, First law of thermodynamics, isothermal and adiabatic processes. 
  • The second law of thermodynamics: reversible and irreversible processes, Heat engine and refrigerator.


  1. Behaviour of Perfect Gases and Kinetic Theory of Gases 
  • Equation of state of a perfect gas, work done in compressing a gas. 
  • Kinetic theory of gases - assumptions, the concept of pressure. 
  • Kinetic interpretation of temperature; RMS speed of gas molecules; degrees of freedom, the law of equipartition of energy (statement only) and application to specific heat capacities of gases; the concept of the mean free path, Avogadro's number.


  1. Oscillations and Waves 
  • Oscillations 
    • Periodic motion - time period, frequency, displacement as a function of time, periodic functions. 
    • Simple harmonic motion (S.H.M) and its equation; phase; oscillations of a loaded spring restoring force and force constant; energy in S.H.M. 
    • Kinetic and potential energies; simple pendulum derivation of expression for its time period. 
    • Free, forced and damped oscillations (qualitative ideas only), Resonance. 
  • Wave motion 
    • Transverse and longitudinal waves, speed of the travelling wave, displacement relation for a progressive wave, principle of superposition of waves, reflection of waves, standing waves in strings and organ pipes, fundamental mode and harmonics, Beats, Doppler effect.


  1. Electrostatics 
  • Electric Charges and Fields Electric 
    • Charges; Conservation of charge, Coulomb's law-force between two point charges, forces between multiple charges; superposition principle and continuous charge distribution. 
    • Electric field, electric field due to a point charge, electric field lines, electric dipole, electric field due to a dipole, torque on a dipole in a uniform electric field. 
    • Electric flux, the statement of Gauss's theorem and its applications to find fields due to infinitely long straight wire, uniformly charged infinite plane sheet and uniformly charged thin spherical shell (field inside and outside). 
  • Electrostatic Potential and Capacitance 
    • Electric potential, potential difference, electric potential due to a point charge, a dipole and system of charges; equipotential surfaces, electrical potential energy of a system of two point charges and of electric dipole in an electrostatic field. 
    • Conductors and insulators, free charges and bound charges inside a conductor. Dielectrics and electric polarisation, capacitors and capacitance, the combination of capacitors in series and in parallel, the capacitance of a parallel plate capacitor with and without dielectric medium between the plates, and energy stored in a capacitor. 
  • Current Electricity 
    • Electric current, the flow of electric charges in a metallic conductor, drift velocity, mobility and their relation with electric current; Ohm's law, electrical resistance, V-I characteristics (linear and nonlinear), electrical energy and power, electrical resistivity and conductivity, Carbon resistors, colour code for carbon resistors; series and parallel combinations of resistors; temperature dependence of resistance. 
    • The internal resistance of a cell, potential difference and emf of a cell, a combination of cells in series and in parallel, Kirchhoff's laws and simple applications, Wheatstone bridge, metre bridge. Potentiometer - principle and its applications to measure potential difference and for comparing EMF of two cells; measurement of internal resistance of a cell.


  1. Magnetic Effects of Current and Magnetism 
  • Moving Charges and Magnetism 
    • Concept of the magnetic field, Oersted's experiment. 
    • Biot - Savart law and its application to the current carrying circular loop.
    • Ampere's law and its applications to an infinitely long straight wire. 
    • Straight and toroidal solenoids (only qualitative treatment), force on a moving charge in uniform magnetic and electric fields, Cyclotron. 
    • Force on a current-carrying conductor in a uniform magnetic field, the force between two parallel current-carrying conductors-definition of an ampere, torque experienced by a current loop in a uniform magnetic field; moving coil galvanometer-its current sensitivity and conversion to ammeter and voltmeter. 
  • Magnetism and Matter 
    • Current loop as a magnetic dipole and its magnetic dipole moment, magnetic dipole moment of a revolving electron, magnetic field intensity due to a magnetic dipole (bar magnet) along its axis and perpendicular to its axis, torque on a magnetic dipole (bar magnet) in a uniform magnetic field; bar magnet as an equivalent solenoid, magnetic field lines; earth's magnetic field and magnetic elements. 
    • Para-, dia- and ferromagnetic substances, with examples. Electromagnets and factors affecting their strengths, permanent magnets. 
  • Electromagnetic Induction 
    • Electromagnetic induction; Faraday's laws, induced EMF and current; Lenz's Law, Eddy currents. Self and mutual induction. Alternating Current 
    • Alternating currents, peak and RMS value of alternating current/voltage; reactance and impedance; LC oscillations (qualitative treatment only), LCR series circuit, resonance; power in AC circuits, power factor, wattless current. AC generator and transformer. 
  • Electromagnetic Waves 
    • The basic idea of displacement current, Electromagnetic waves, their characteristics, and their Transverse nature (qualitative ideas only). Electromagnetic spectrum (radio waves, microwaves, infrared, visible, ultraviolet, X-rays, gamma rays) includes elementary facts about their uses.


  1. Optics 
  • Ray Optics and Optical Instruments 
    • Reflection of light, spherical mirrors, mirror formula, refraction of light, total internal reflection and its applications, optical fibres, refraction at spherical surfaces, lenses, thin lens formula, lensmaker's formula, magnification, power of a lens, the combination of thin lenses in contact, refraction of light through a prism. 
    • Scattering of the light-blue colour of the sky and reddish appearance of the sun at sunrise and sunset. 
    • Optical instruments: Microscopes and astronomical telescopes (reflecting and refracting) and their magnifying powers. 
  • Wave optics 
    • Wavefront and Huygens’ principle, reflection and refraction of plane waves at a plane surface using wave fronts. 
    • Proof of laws of reflection and refraction using Huygens’ principle. 
    • Interference, Young's double slit experiment and expression for fringe width, coherent sources and sustained interference of light, diffraction due to a single slit, width of central maximum, resolving power of microscope and astronomical telescope, Polarisation, plane polarised light, Brewster's law, uses of plane polarised light and Polaroids.


  1. Dual Nature of Radiation and Matter 
  • Dual nature of radiation, Photoelectric effect, Hertz and Lenard's observations; Einstein's photoelectric equation-particle nature of light. Experimental study of the photoelectric effect.
  • Matter waves- wave nature of particles, de-Broglie relation, Davisson-Germer experiment (experimental details should be omitted; only conclusion should be explained). 


  1. Atoms and Nuclei 
  • Atoms 
    • Alpha-particle scattering experiment; Rutherford's model of the atom; Bohr model, energy levels, hydrogen spectrum. 
  • Nuclei
    • Composition and size of nucleus, Radioactivity, alpha, beta and gamma particles/rays and their properties; radioactive decay law, half life and mean life. 
    • Mass-energy relation, mass defect; binding energy per nucleon and its variation with mass number; nuclear fission, nuclear fusion. 


  1. Electronic Devices 
  • Semiconductor Electronics: Materials, Devices and Simple Circuits 
  • Energy bands in conductors, semiconductors and insulators (qualitative ideas only) 
  • Semiconductor diode - I-V characteristics in forward and reverse bias, diode as a rectifier; 
  • Special purpose p-n junction diodes: LED, photodiode, solar cell and Zener diode and their characteristics, Zener diode as a voltage regulator.


*Note: The above syllabus has been taken from


Eligibility for IOQP 2021-2022

The eligibility criteria for Indian Olympiad Qualifier in Physics (IOQP) 2021-2022 include the following: 


  • The students must be eligible to hold an Indian passport. 
  • The date of birth of the student should be between 1 July 2002 and 30 June 2007, both days inclusive. 
  • The student must be residing and studying in India since 30 November 2019 or earlier or must be studying in an Indian school system since 30 November 2019 or earlier. 
  • The student must be studying in classes 8, 9, 10, 11, or 12, and not have completed (or scheduled to complete) class 12 board examinations earlier than 30 November 2021. Must not have commenced (or planning to commence) studies in a university or equivalent institution by 1 June 2022. 
  • The student must not be appearing in IOQJS 2021-2022.


Books for INPhO

Books for Preparation for the Physics Olympiad (INPhO and IPhO). Many titles are in international languages for which English translations are available: 


  • Nicolaus Vermes- International Physics Competitions 1967-1977
  • Marius Gall- Anatolie Hristev - Probleme date la Olimpiadele Internationale de Fizica
  • Kahmeg K. Kudawa- International Physics Olympiads
  • Proceedings of the 15th International Physics Olympiad
  • Rudolf Kunfalvi- Collection of Competition Tasks from the I through XV International Physics Olympiads 1967-1984
  • Oleg F. Kabardin- Vladimir A. Orlov - International Physics Olympiads for Pupils
  • Ana Smontara- Ivo Batistic- Katica Biljakovic- Erna Sustar- Fizikalne olimpijade - znacajni medunarodni susreti mladih
  • 16th International Physics Olympiad- ed. by Anton Moljk- Bojan Golli
  • Gunter Lind- Physikalische Olympiade-Aufgaben
  • 17th International Physics Olympiad
  • Procedures for Selecting Teams to the International Physics Olympiads- Waldemar Gorzkowski- Andrzej Kotlicki - Lars Silverberg
  • 18th International Physics Olympiad Report
  • Collection of Competition Tasks from the I through XVII International Physics Olympiads 
  • Recueil des Sujets de Concours des Olympiades Internationales de Physique 1967-1984
  • Olimpiadas Internacionales de Fisica 1967–1986
  • 19th International Physics Olympiad Report
  • Olimpiadas Internacionales de FisicaI a XV 1967-1984 translated by Teresa Martin Sanchez - Manuela Martin Sanchez
  • XX International Physics Olympiad - Waldemar Gorzkowski
  • International Physics Olympiads, vol. I - Waldemar Gorzkowski
  • A Report on International Science and Mathematical Olympiads - Peter O’Halloran
  • Olimpiadas Internacionales de Fisica 1967-1990 - Fernando Vega Salamanca
  • Hans Jordens - XXI International Physics Olympiad
  • XXII International Physics Olympiad- compiled by Carlos Sifredo Barrios - Rafael Llames Izquierdo
  • XXIII International Physics Olympiad- Heimo Saarikko
  • XXIV International Physics Olympiad- Arthur Eisenkraft
  • Daniel Kluvanec- Ivo Volf- Mezinarodni Fysikalni Olympiady -metodycky material
  • Don-Hyung Choi- Sang-Wuk Lee - History and Collection of the Competition Tasks from the I through the XXII IPhO 1967-1992
  • Waldemar Gorzkowski- Zadania z fizyki z calego swiata, 20 lat Miedzynarodowych Olimpiad Fizycznych
  • XXV International Physics Olympiad- Shen Ke-qi - Cong Shu-tong,
  • Giuliana Cavaggioni- Dennis Luigi Censi- Francesco Minosso- Paolo Nesti- Umberto Penco
  • Olimpiade Internationale 1990-1994- Matematica Fizica- Chimie Informatica Constantin Harabor - Sofia Buse
  • Chaleo Manilerd- International Physics Olympiads: Problems and Solutions from 1967-1995
  • Duong Trong Bai- Cao Ngoc Vien- Bai Thi Vat li Quoc te
  • XXVII International Physics Olympiad- Arnt Inge Vistnes
  • XXVI International Physics Olympiad-Rodney L. Jory- Michael F. J. Peachey-John P. Rayner
  • XXVIII International Physics Olympiad
  • Pavlos Ioannou- International Physics Olympiads 196 –1997
  • Proceedings of the 29th International Physics Olympiad- Vidar Agustsson
  • International Physics Competitions- International Physics Olympiads and First Step to Nobel Prize in Physics- Waldemar Gorzkowski
  • Megjunadodni Olimpijadi po Fizika, Viktor Urumov
  • Medzunarodne Olimpijade iz Fizike, Boris Grbic- Marko Dzordzevic- Mirjana Popovic-BozicMarko Stoshic
  • Proceedings of the XXX International Physics Olympiad, Giuliana Cavaggioni
  • Kompetisi Fisika Internasional : Olimpiade Fisika Internasional dan Langkah Pertama Meraih Hadiah Nobel Fisika, W. Gorzkowski; translated by Zamroni-Herwindo Haribowo-Yohanes Surya- Saparudin
  • Duong Trong Bai- Dam Trung Don- Bai Thi Vat li Quoc te- Problems of the International Physics Olympiads, vol. 2
  • International Physics Olympiad XXXI 
  • S. M. Kozel- V. A. Korovin- V. A. Orlov- Sbornik zadach i zadanii s otvetami i resheniami- Mnemozina, Moskva 2001
  • 32nd International Physics Olympiad– Proceedings, Sinan Kaan Yerti and Ibrahim Gunal
  • O. Guttersrud- C. Angell- Olympiad finalists : where do they go?
  • Proceedings of the 33rd International Physics Olympiad
  • Supplement to the Proceedings- Problems and Solutions
  • Proceedings of the Thirty Fourth International Physics Olympiad, Ming-Juey Lin- Jessica Chang and Sophia Yang
  • 35th International Physics Olympiad : Proceedings
  • Proceedings of 36th International Physics Olympiad


INPhO Past Papers 

INPhO Past Year Paper


2009 2010 2011


2013 2014 2015
2016 2017 2018 2019
2020 2021    


How can askIITians help you prepare for INPhO 2022-2023?

The final dates for INPhO 2022-2023 are not yet revealed by HBCSE. But, the students must start preparing for it as the exam is going to be extremely competitive. The askIITians team can help you with the study material required for INPhO, previous year papers, sample papers, daily practice worksheets, revision notes and a lot more. Our Physics experts will guide you step by step and help you ace this olympiad. Contact us today for more information. 


Frequently Asked Questions 

  1. What is IOQP? 

For the 2021-2022 session of INPhO, only one qualifier examination was conducted known as the Indian Olympiad Qualifier for Physics (IOQP). This examination had two parts: Part 1: National Standard Examination for Physics (NSEP) and Part 2: Indian National Physics Olympiad (INPhO). 


  1. What is INPhO? 

INPhO or Indian National Physics Olympiad is a qualifying examination for International Physics Olympiad Training Camp. The selected students from the camp appear in the International Physics Olympiad. 


  1. Who can help me prepare for INPhO? 

askIITians team is here to guide students on how to study effectively for INPhO and achieve a higher rank (amongst the top 30). We provide complete study resources for INPhO. 


  1. When will INPhO 2022-2023 be held? 

The dates are not yet revealed by HBCSE. Stay tuned to the askIITians website to know more about INPhO 2022-2023. 


  1. What will be the process of INPhO in 2022-2023? 

There is no clear indication whether the 5-stage process will be followed in the 2022-2023 session or not. We must wait until the final notification arrives from HBCSE.


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