U. S. Physics Team

Promoting and demonstrating academic excellence through the International Physics Olympiad



  • Students taking the F=ma exam must be either U.S. Citizens, U.S. Permanent Residents (Green Card holders), or currently attending a U.S. school.
  • Students must be either U.S. Citizens, or U.S. Permanent Residents (Green Card holders) to take the USAPhO exam. IMPORTANT: Students must also be located in the U.S. to take the USAPhO exam.
  • Students must be eligible to compete at the International Physics Olympiad to be invited to U.S. Physics Team training camp. This requires that they are U.S. citizens, or hold a green card. Students also must not exceed age 20 by June 30 of the competition year.
  • Due to the nature of the training program, students must be able to attend the U.S. Physics Team training camp for its full 10 days.

Qualifying Exam Procedures

  • Both the F=ma and USAPhO exams must be proctored. Parents or relatives of students are not acceptable proctors. It is expected and preferred that competitors will take the exam at their local school, though they may take the exam elsewhere if needed.
  • Homeschooled students should contact community colleges, universities, or libraries to ask if they have proctoring services. PARENTS OR RELATIVES OF HOMESCHOOLED STUDENTS ARE NOT ACCEPTABLE PROCTORS. Parents of homeschooled students may register their children for the exam, but they must provide information for an alternative proctor.
  • Proctors cannot be relatives of the student(s) taking the exam. Proctors should have at least a 2-year degree, though this degree does not need to be related to physics. Libraries may proctor the test at a public library, provided they can observe the test to ensure the integrity of the process.
  • The F=ma exam and USAPhO exam will be sent to the teacher/proctor via email as a printable PDF. Teachers/proctors will also receive a printable answer sheet for the F=ma exam. Teachers/proctors will need to have the ability to print the exam and answer sheet, and then scan the completed answer sheets, and email them to AAPT.
  • For both the F=ma and USAPhO exams, a handheld calculator may be used if it is not a graphical calculator, its display has no more than three lines, and if its user memory is completely cleared immediately prior to each examination.
  • Only scratch paper provided by the proctors may be used in both the F=ma and USAPhO Exams. The proctors must collect it immediately after the exam, along with the exam pages. None of these materials may be returned to students until after public discussion is allowed.
  • To verify the identity of exam proctors, we ask that email addresses be official school email addresses, associated with a school district or accredited private school. If this is not possible, proctors must provide additional contact information for their organizations to verify their identity and the identity of the organization. In particular, testing centers must provide a web address to verify their status.
  • All students taking the F=ma or USAPhO exam at a given school must take the exam at the same time.

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