TJ Physics Olympiad

The Largest International High School Run Physics Competition

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TJ Physics Olympiad

What is TJPhO?

Welcome to the TJ Physics Olympiad! The Thomas Jefferson Physics Olympiad (TJPhO) is a free annual international high school competition that delves deep into a different, prominent applied physics problem every year. Our goal is to reach aspiring physicists from all over the world and introduce them to a variety of topics that will give them the tools to tackle real-world, cutting-edge problems. In doing so, we also hope that by working through the exam in teams, students will gain valuable experience in collaboration and communication with others. The deadline to register is May 6th, and this year's contest will be held on May 13-15th, 2022.


The theme of this year's exam is the JWST! There are 12 free response questions, each which multiple subsections. Each free response question focuses on a particular topic in physics and can be approached using AP Physics C knowledge. The problem-solving process must be adequately explained, with calculations, to receive full credit. Problems are weighted by difficulty: the test generally gets harder as it goes. We give partial credit on every question, so feel free to put down any progress or thoughts you have so far and points will be awarded accordingly.


Students will be given 3 days to complete the TJ Physics Olympiad exam, which will be located under the “Exam” tab on test day. It is recommended that participants compete in teams of three, one of whom will register their team via the “Register” button. If you wish to be part of a 2 or 3 person team, please indicate as such in the google form. While the exam is at the high school physics level, middle school students may also participate.

If your team has been registered, we,, will send you a password on the testing date in order to view the exam. The test contains background information as well as introductory, intermediate, and advanced problems - this test is designed to be as much of a learning experience as it is a competition.

Students participating in the competition may only correspond with other members of their team. No other correspondence is allowed, including: mentors, teachers, professors, and other students. Teams are not allowed to use online resources or post content on online forums asking questions related to the exam. Teams are welcome to email us if there are any questions or concerns.

For each question, you must explain how you got a particular answer even if you are not specifically asked to do so. Partial credit will be given, so even if you are not able to solve a problem fully, show us your thought process and what you've gotten so far. Upon the conclusion of the exam, please email a pdf of your team's solutions to our email. The top five teams will receive awards, as indicated below. We will post final results on the main page of our website.


First Place

3 one-year subscriptions to WolframAlpha Notebook Edition

Second Place

3 one-year subscriptions to WolframAlpha Notebook Edition

Third Place

3 one-year subscriptions to WolframAlpha Notebook Edition

Fourth Place

3 one-year subscriptions to WolframAlpha Notebook Edition

Fifth Place

3 one-year subscriptions to WolframAlpha Notebook Edition


Frequently Asked Questions

What are some ways I can prepare for competitions such as F=ma or USAPhO?

Check out the “Resources” tab! We've listed many study guides, textbooks, and websites that are helpful for doing well in high school physics competitions. Let us know if you know of others that you want to share.

I filled in the Google Form on the website. What next?

We will send a confirmation email to the team email address listed in the form. If you think you filled out the form but did not get anything from us within two days, feel free to contact us at our email.

What if I don't have a full team?

If you want to compete without a full team, please indicate this in the google form when you register. If you want to, let us know via the form, and we will group you with other students.

When will results be released?

Results will be released 2-3 weeks following the conclusion of the exam. They will be posted on the front page of this website.

How much does it cost to participate?

Thanks to our sponsors, TJPhO is free! Make sure you put an address to receive prizes if you win.

Where can I find previous exams?

We currently don't plan to release previous exams and solutions, since certain topics may intersect.