The International Physics Olympiad (IPhO) is an annual event, which is held in the month of June – July every year. The country of the venue of IPhO varies from year to year. This activity has been conducted regularly for the past 37 years. However, India began to participate in the IPhO only in 1998.

The IPhO is a keenly contested examination in physics open to pre-university students of all countries in the world. It serves as a bench-mark for study of physics at pre-university level. It also fosters friendly relations amongst students of different countries.

It is believed that India’s participation in the IPhO boosts the level of science education in the country.The physics olympiad programme in India aim to promote excellence in physics at the pre-university stage and to select and train participants for the IPhO.

  • Stage I: National Standard Examination in Physics (NSEP),
  • Stage II: Indian National Physics Olympiad (INPhO),
  • Stage III: Orientation cum Selection Camp (OCSC) in physics,
  • Stage IV: Pre-departure Training Camp (PDT) for IPhO,
  • Stage V: Participation in International Physics Olympiad (IPhO).

All Indian students who are born on or after July 1, 1993 and, in addition, are in Class XII or lower as of November 30, 2012, are eligible to appear for NSEP 2012 – 2013. A student may appear for more than one subject provided the examination schedule allows it. See information about the examination schedule under various subjects. Students who have passed Class XII are not eligible to enroll for NSEP.

Qualification and Eligibility Criteria for the Second Stage

The aim of the first stage examination is to have a wide reach, to progressively increase this reach and to attain nationwide representation for stage II without overly compromising on merit. Hence the selection to the stage II examinations i.e. Indian National Olympiad Examinations (INOs) is based on the following scheme.

  • Eligibility Clause: A candidate must secure a score equal to or greater than a Minimum Admissible Score (MAS) to be eligible for the Stage II INO exam leading to the International Olympiad . The MAS for a given subject will be 40% of the maximum score in that subject.
  • Proportional Representation Clause: The number of students selected for Stage II (INO) in each subject is around 300. The number of candidates who appeared for NSE in 2011-12 in a subject from centers in each State or Union Territory (UT) will be considered the baseline for calculating the number qualifying from centers in that State or UT for that subject. Suppose this number in 2011-12 for centers in a given State in a given subject is S, and the total number that appeared in 2011-12 in that subject for the country is T, then the number selected to Stage II in that subject from that State would be S/T times 300, rounded off to the nearest higher integer. In the event of a tie at the last position in the list all students with the same marks at this position will qualify to appear for the Stage II examination. The selected students must nevertheless satisfy the eligibility clause laid out above. The total number to be selected from centers in each State for each subject will be displayed on the IAPT and HBCSE websites.
  • Minimum Representation Clause: Notwithstanding the proportional representation clause the number of students selected for INO from each State and UT must be at least one, provided that the eligibility clause is satisfied.
  • Merit Clause: Given the eligibility clause, it is conceivable that 300 students may not qualify for Stage II in a subject. Should this occur, the shortfall (from 300) will be selected based purely on merit without further consideration to proportional representation and minimum representation clauses. In the event of a tie at the last position in the list all students with the same marks at this position will qualify to appear for the Stage II examination.

There will be no other criterion or provision for selection to the Indian National Olympiad Examinations (INOs).


The syllabus for NSEP is broadly equivalent to the senior secondary level (Class XI and Class XII) of CBSE Physics. This is only a rough guideline, and there is no detailed syllabus given for NSEP.

Awards and Recognition
  • In each subject, certificates are given to ‘top 10%’ students of every centre.
  • Merit Certificates are awarded to”top 1%” students in each state, in each subject.
  • Special Merit Certificates and a prize (book) will be awarded to National top 1% students in each subject.
  • Gold Medals are awarded to the Top 35 students from INPhO, INChO and INBO examinations.

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