InPhO Exam - Indian National Physics Olympiad (InPhO)

InPhO Exam - Registration, Exam Date, Syllabus, Exam Pattern, Result and Other Details

What is INPhO?

The full form of INPhO is Indian National Physics Olympiad is the second stage of the five-stage Olympiad program for Physics in India. It ultimately leads to the selection of the International Physics Olympiad. INPhO Exam is conducted on the last Sunday of January (or on the first Sunday of February), every year, by the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education. Students in school(usually the students of standards 11 and 12l) first need to qualify the National Standard Examination in Physics (NSEP) held on the last (or second last) Sunday of November of the preceding year. Among over 40,000 students that appear for the INPhO examination at almost 1400 centers all across India, around 300 to 400 students are selected for INPhO based on their scores and also based on regional quotas for the states from which the students appear. Different state-wise cut-offs exist for selection to INPhO. INPhO Exam serves as a means to select the students for OCSC (Orientation Cum Selection Camp) in the subject Physics, as well as to represent India in the Asian Physics Olympiad (APhO).

InPhO Exam 2020

Most of the students qualifying the INPhO are those that are completing their twelfth standard. However, there have been some instances of students who have qualified INPhO at the end of the eleventh and very rarely, in the tenth standard itself.

Conducted by: Indian Association of Physics Teachers

First Conducted: 1987

Stages in the Exam 

NSEP: The examination is intended for students in 9th,10th, and primarily, the 11th and 12th standards. Students who have passed 12 Standard are not eligible to enroll for NSEP. Besides, the students must satisfy the age criteria for IPhO (Less than 20 years of age on June 30th of the year of the respective IPhO). If the student is found to be not eligible for the exam at any stage, then he/she may be disqualified from the program. During registration, a one time fee of ₹150, or $15 for overseas candidates, must be paid. Also, the students who have represented India in the International Physics Olympiad (that is IPhO) or the Asian Physics Olympiad (APhO) on a previous occasion need not appear for the NSEP. Such candidates, however, need to seek permission from the national coordinator to write the INPhO directly.

OCSC Physics

The top 35 students selected based solely on their INPhO scores, are selected to attend the Orientation cum Selection Camp (OCSC).


Typically, the marks of several students are calculated by adding 40% of the marks scored in the NSEP Exam, as a percentage of the maximal marks attainable in the examination (generally 240) to 60% of the score in the INPhO Exam, as a percentage of the maximal marks attainable (varies from year to year). A list of the top 50 students is prepared, and the top 8, who are willing to appear for APhO, are selected.

PDC (Pre-Departure Training Camp)

The student needs to clear OCSC Physics, i.e., be amongst the 5 who have scored the highest total marks in OCSC.

Enrollment Fee

Those candidates who will apply for the exam must need to pay the fees for the amount of Rs. 150/-. The fee is charged per student with the per subject. The fee will be paid at the NSE registration center.

Admit Card

The admission card of the physics exam of INPhO will be available and checked through the online mode. All the eligible candidates are able to download the admit card of INPhO from the official site before a few dates of the exam.

How to Enroll in INPhO?

  • Visit the official site i.e.

  • Click on the Olympiad option. Majorly it is available at the top.

  • Then click on upcoming events.

  • Enter the details such as NSE center code, roll number, DOB to enroll in INO.

  • At the time of registration, the students need to choose their examination center.

Exam Pattern and Structure

Syllabus: As like NSEP, the syllabus for INPhO Exam is also based roughly on the school syllabus of class 9th and 10th (CBSE board).

NSEP exam does not emphasize rote memory, but the comprehension of the structure.

The format is as follows:

Exam Pattern and Structure

Part A (180 marks)

50 Multiple Questions consisting of :


40 Questions

Each question consists of only four options where only one is correct. 


10 Questions

Each question with one or more than one option can be right. To get credit, no incorrect option or options should be marked and all correct options or options must be marked.

Part B (60 Marks)

There are 5 or 6 questions are problems or short-answer type questions. All the questions carry equal marks.

Language :

English Universal.

However, the NSEP Exam question papers may be available in Hindi, and other regional languages provided more than 300 students for that language. However, this has to be checked with IAPT.

Eligibility Criteria 

Here are some of the eligibility criteria for applying for the INPhO exam. Candidates make sure that they full-fill the eligibility criteria before applying for the exam. The eligibility criteria for INPhO are as follows.

  • Not commenced studies in university or institution before 1st June candidates must be capable to hold the Indian passport.

  • Candidate must not appear in NSEJS 2020.

  • It is necessary for the candidate that it must be the resident of India and also he/ she studies in India since Nov 30, 2017, and not completed the 12th board examination earlier than the same date.

  • The date of birth of the candidate should be between 1 July 2000 and 30 June 2005 (both days are included).

Reference Books

  • International Physics Competitions 1967-1977 - Nicolaus Vermes

  • International Physics Olympiads - Kahmeg K. Kudawa

  • Proceedings of the 15th International Physics Olympiad

  • Collection of Competition Tasks from the I through XV International Physics Olympiads 1967-1984 - Rudolf Kunfalvi

  • International Physics Olympiads for Pupils - Oleg F. Kabardin, Vladimir A. Orlov

  • 16th International Physics Olympiad- ed - Anton Moljk, Bojan Golli

  • 17th International Physics Olympiad

  • Problems in General Physics - IE Irodov

  • Arihant INPhO, Old edition

  • Arihant INPhO, New edition

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. How Do You Qualify for INPhO?

Students must satisfy appropriate eligibility criteria in NSEP. The student must score more than 50% of the average of the top ten scores. This is the Minimum Admissible Score (MAS). If the candidate scores more than 80% of the average mentioned above, they're selected for INPhO.

2. How to Prepare for INPhO?

Here are a few books you can refer to:

  1. For classical mechanics, refer David Morin. Its a really tough book, but I recommend you do this book after you are done with Irodov and Krotov.

  2. For Electrodynamics and Quantum Physics you can read D.J Griffiths.

  3. Relativity by AP French and Modern Physics by Tripler

  4.  Waves and oscillations by Waves and Oscillations by H.J Pain

3. How to Check the Result for INPhO?

INPhO 2020 Result

The result of the INPhO Exam will be available online on the official website of HBCSE. All the candidates are able to download their results by filling the details like NSE Roll Number, DOB, and the verification code.