How to Prepare for Physics Olympiad

Some guidelines on how to prepare for Physics Olympiad competitions

  1. Be familiar with the syllabus of the IPhO. However, be aware of the statement that says Questions may contain concepts and phenomena not contained in the Syllabus but sufficient information must be given in the questions so that candidates without previous knowledge of these topics would not be at a disadvantage.
  2. If you are a beginner you can start with non-calculus physics textbooks:
    • "College Physics" by Alan Giambattista, Betty McCarthy Richardson, and Robert C. Richardson
    • "Physics" by John D. Cutnell, Kenneth W. Johnson
  3. Study first year level university physics.
    • "University Physics with Modern Physics with Mastering Physics™", by Hugh D. Young and 
Roger A. Freedman
    • "Physics", Volume 1 & 2 by David Halliday, Robert Resnick and Kenneth S. Krane
    • "Physics for Scientists and Engineers with Modern Physics" by Raymond A. Serway and John W. Jewett, Jr.
    • Upgrade Your Physics by The British Physics Olympiad

    • Interesting Readings on General Physics and Maths:

    • "Street-Fighting Mathematics" - The Art of Educated Guessing and Opportunistic Problem Solving
    • Project PHYSNET PDF Modules - Concise summaries of physics topics with exercises

    • Textbooks on specific topics:

    • "An Introduction to Mechanics" by Kleppner and Kolenkow
    • "Classical Mechanics" by John R. Taylor
    • "Introduction to Classical Mechanics with Problems and Solutions" by David Morin
    • "Classical Dynamics of Particles and Systems" by Jerry B. Marion and Stephen T. Thornton
    • "Special Relativity" by A.P. French
    • "Vibrations and Waves" by A.P. French
    • "Introduction to Electrodynamics, 4th ed." by David J. Griffiths
    • "Electricity and Magnetism" by Edward M. Purcell
    • "Electromagnetic Fields and Waves" by Paul Lorrain and Dale Corson
  4. Practice working out theoretical problems
  5. "Useful Hints for Solving Physics Olympiad Problems"
  6. Practice doing experiments


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