InPhO 2021 Exam Pattern

InPho Exam Pattern

Due to Covid 19 - The usual three-stage procedure for the selection of the teams to represent India at the International Olympiad that has been followed in prior years is now being shortened to a two-stage procedure as a one-time exception only for the academic year 2020 - 21. Read more about IOQ 2020-21.

INpho stands for the Indian National Physics Olympiad (INPhO) that is conducted annually by the Indian Association Of Physics Teachers (IAPT) usually in June and July every year. It is conducted especially for the students of secondary school to enhance their knowledge in the field of Physics internationally. 

The success and the positive experience of the International Mathematics Olympiads in 1959 gave way to the introduction of physics by Prof. Czeslaw Scilowski in Warsaw (Poland) in 1967. The IPhO is a contest examination that serves as a benchmark for the study of physics for the pre-university students fostering friendly relations among them from around the countries in the world. The main motive behind the examination of INpho is to boosts the level of physics education among the students of the country and train them for IPho. 

INpho Exam Pattern

The syllabus for INPhO is set roughly according to the school syllabus of classes 9 and 10 CBSE board. However, the syllabus for the National Physics Olympiad is much difficult and non-conventional as compared to the questions that come for the higher secondary school students which are just a broad guideline. Considering this situation, the syllabus of IPhO should be considered the same for INPhO. 

Part 1 (180 marks)

Part 2 (60)

50 multiple-choice questions

5 or 6 short-answer type questions where all the questions carry equal marks.

40 questions.

Four options will be provided out of which only one will be correct.

10 questions.

Each question with one or more than one option will be accepted. 

How to Enroll for the INPho Exam

Students who want to enroll for the INPho exam can follow the steps that are mentioned below. 

  1. Students can visit the official site of HBCSE. 

  2. An option called the olympiad will be given. 

  3. Next, the student will have to click on upcoming events.

  4. There the students can enter the necessary details such as NSE center code, their roll number, and Date Of Birth to enroll in INO.

  5. Students will be given to make a choice of the examination center at the time of registration. 

Syllabus for INPho






1) Foundation of the kinematics of a point mass

2) Newton's laws and inertial systems

3) Closed and open systems; momentum and energy, power work,

4) Conservation of energy, impulse, conservation of linear momentum

5) Elastic forces, the law of gravitation, frictional forces, potential energy, work in a gravitational field

Centripetal acceleration, Kepler's laws


Mechanics of rigid bodies

1) Statics, torque, center of mass

2) The motion of rigid bodies, translation, angular velocity, rotation, angular acceleration, and conservation of angular momentum

3) External and internal forces, equation of motion of a rigid body around the fixed axis, the kinetic energy of a rotating body, the moment of inertia

4) Accelerated reference systems and inertial forces



1) No specific questions will be set on this but students would be expected to know the elementary concepts of pressure, the continuity law, and buoyancy


Thermodynamics and molecular physics

1) Internal energy, first and second laws of thermodynamics, work and heat

2) Model of a perfect gas, pressure and molecular kinetic energy, equation of state of a perfect gas, Avogadro's number, absolute temperature

3) Work done by an expanding gas limited to isothermal and adiabatic processes

4) The Carnot cycle, reversible and irreversible processes, thermodynamic efficiency, entropy (statistical approach)and Boltzmann factor


Oscillations and waves

1) Harmonic oscillations and equation of harmonic oscillation

2) Harmonic waves, transverse and longitudinal waves, propagation of waves, linear polarization, sound waves, the classical Doppler effect

3) Superposition of harmonic waves, interference, coherent waves, standing waves, beats


Electric charge and electric field

1) Conservation of charge, Coulomb's law

2) Electric field, Gauss' law, potential

3) Capacitors and capacitance, dielectric constant and energy density of electric field


Current and Magnetic field

1) Current, resistance, Ohm's law, the internal resistance of source, Kirchhoff's laws, Joule's law, work and power of direct and alternating currents

2) The magnetic field of a current, Lorentz force, current in a magnetic field

Ampere's law

3) Law of electromagnetic induction, Lenz's law, magnetic flux, self-induction, the energy density of magnetic field, inductance, permeability

4) Alternating current, voltage, and current (series and parallel) resonances, resistors, inductors and capacitors in AC-circuits


Electromagnetic waves

1) Oscillatory circuit, generation by feedback and resonance, frequency of oscillations

2) Wave optics, diffraction grating, diffraction from one and two slits, Bragg reflection, resolving power of a grating

3) Dispersion and diffraction spectra and line spectra of gases

4) Electromagnetic waves as transverse waves, polarizers, polarization by reflection

5) Resolving power of imaging systems

6) Black body and Stefan-Boltzmann’s law


Quantum Physics

1) Photoelectric effect and energy and impulse of the photon

2) De Broglie wavelength and Heisenberg's uncertainty principle



1) Principle of relativity, relativistic Doppler effect, the addition of velocities

2. Relativistic equation of motion, energy, momentum, the relation between energy and mass and conservation of energy and momentum

3. Simple applications of the Bragg equation

4. Energy levels of atoms and molecules (qualitatively), absorption, the spectrum of hydrogen-like atom emission

5.Energy levels of nuclei (qualitatively) alpha- beta-gamma-decays, half-life, and exponential decay, absorption of radiation, components of nuclei, nuclear reactions, mass defect

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is the Procedure of Selection in INPho?

The procedure for the selection of students in Physics Stage II i.e., INPhO 2021 are: 

  1. The students are divided into two groups i.e. Group- A and Group- B. the students in Group A must be in class XII while the students in Group B must be in class XI or lower.

  2. A separate Merit Index (MI) and Minimum Admissible Score (MAS) will be calculated for the two groups.

  3. The question paper of NSEP 2019 and INPhO 2021 will remain the same for two groups.

  4. A total number of 250 students from each group will be shortlisted for stage II of INPhO and therefore a total of 500 students will be selected.

2. How Can the Students Check Their Results?

Students can check their results online through the official website of HBCSE by entering the necessary details like NSE Roll Number, Date Of Birth, and the verification code.

3. How to Get the INPhO Admit Card

Students can get their physics exam’s admit card of the INPhO through the online mode. All the eligible students can download the admit card of INPhO from the official site.

4. What is the Fee for Enrollment in INPho?

Students who are enrolling themselves for the examination of INPho must pay the enrollment fees of amount Rs. 150 at the NSE registration center. The enrollment fee is charged per subject for each student.