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Team Facts & News

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

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2017 U.S. Physics Team

Each year, AAPT and the American Institute of Physics (AIP) sponsor a competition for high school students to represent the United States at the International Physics Olympiad Competition. The mission of the U.S. Physics Team Program is to promote and demonstrate academic excellence through preparation for and participation in the International Physics Olympiad.  Photos of the 2016 Team and camp are available on Flickr.

Students outside of the United States wishing to take the F=ma exam PLEASE NOTE:

The F=ma test can be taken by people outside the United States, however there must be a way to verify that the testing center/proctor is legitimate.  In the event that the testing center cannot be verified to the satisfaction of the exam coordinator, the F=ma exam will not be sent and AAPT will be under no obligation to refund the test fee.

The USAPhO is an exam for U.S. residents by invitation.  A cut-off score will be established on the F=ma so that individuals who score at or above the cut-off will be sent an invitation to sit the USAPhO exam.  Additional individuals may be invited to sit the exam based on other criteria, even though they did not make the published cut-off score.  Approximately four hundred individuals will be invited to sit the USAPhO.  In exceptional cases, nonresident U.S. citizens might be invited to sit the USAPhO.

The U.S. Physics Team is a training program for U.S. citizens.  Selection for the U.S. Physics Team is by invitation, based primarily on the scores of the USAPhO and F=ma; participants must be eligible and capable of competing at the International Physics Olympiad that year.  Obtaining a gold on the USAPhO does not guarantee an invitation to the U.S. Physics Team; some individuals may be invited to the Team who do not obtain a gold.  It is expected that members of the U.S. Physics Team will have been attending high school in the U.S. in the academic year that they are selected for the Team.  Because of the nature of the training program, members of the U.S. Physics Team can participate in the program at most twice.

Important Dates

December 12, 2016 - F=ma Registration Deadline

January 17-23, 2017 - F=ma Testing Dates

April 6, 2017 - USAPhO Testing Date (PLEASE NOTE CHANGE IN DATE)

May/June 2017 - U.S. Physics Team Training Camp, University of Maryland

July 16-24, 2017 - International Physics Olympiad, Indonesia



Because of ongoing challenges in keeping the content of the USAPhO exam secure throughout an extended examination period, it is necessary to change the ten-day examination window to a single day. This is in line with other national olympiad exams.The date for the 2017 USAPhO exam will be Thursday, April 6.  This year the exam may be done at any time during the day, but must be completed by 5:00 PM. Immediately following the exam you must scan the answer sheets and email the results to AAPT.It is possible that some schools might be on spring break during this date. If this is the case, send a message to AAPT, and an alternate exam location could be suggested.


F=ma scores have been emailed to the teachers/proctors who administered the exam. The cut off score for students to qualify for the USAPhO exam is 16 and above. Student scores will not be given out over the phone at the AAPT office, students and parents will need to contact their teachers/proctors to find out their scores. A formal listing of students qualifying for the USAPhO exam, and the Medal Ranking for the USAPhO exam will not be posted online until after the USAPhO exam dates



F=ma results will be sent to the teachers/proctors on or about February 28th, USAPhO exam dates will be March 20-31, 2017.


Contact Information

For more details and information about the US Physics Team, please contact AAPT's Programs department at 301-209-3340 or programs@aapt.org