InPhO Syllabus

The Indian National Physics Olympiad (INPhO) is the second stage of India’s five-stage Olympiad programme for physics. It leads to selection for the International Physics Olympiad. It is necessary to participate in the exam for secondary school students who would like to broaden their knowledge of physics. The IPhO is a competitive test that serves as a benchmark for pre-university physics students and promotes interaction with other participants at the global level. The INPhO exam’s primary goal is to improve the performance of physics educational standards.

Highlights of the Exam

The INPhO exam, which is organised by the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, is usually held on the last Sunday of January or the first Sunday of February every year for students in the upper secondary level. To qualify for the INPhO exam, students in grades 11 and 12 must first take the National Standard Examination in Physics exam. This exam is used to screen applicants for the Orientation-Cum-Selection-Camp in Physics, as well as to represent India in the International Physics Olympiad exam. The InPhO syllabus is also similar to that of Classes 11 and 12 of the CBSE Board.

InPhO Syllabus

The syllabus for INPhO is very similar to that of NSEP. The syllabus, on the other hand, is only a broad framework. National Olympiad questions and problems are typically non-conventional and of a high difficulty level, similar to International Olympiads. The INPhO olympiad syllabus of each section is discussed below. Students can use the INPhO olympiad syllabus provided below to prepare for the INPhO exam. It is equivalent to senior secondary level (including Classes XI and Class XII).

A Few Vital Topics from Class XI Physics

Students can benefit from the Class 11 physics syllabus. Students must cover all important topics and subtopics of CBSE physics to pass the exam. The chapters in the syllabus are divided into ten units, as shown below.


Chapter Number

Name of the Chapter

Topics Covered

UNIT I: Physical World and Measurement

Physical World

  • Physics – scope and excitement
  • Nature of physical laws
  • Physics, technology and society


Units and Measurements

  • Need for measurement
  • Units of measurement; systems of units
  • SI units, fundamental and derived units
  • Length, mass and time measurements
  • Accuracy and precision of measuring instruments
  • Errors in measurement; significant figures
  • Dimensions of physical quantities, dimensional analysis and its applications

UNIT II: Kinematics


Motion in a Straight Line

  • Elementary concepts of differentiation and integration for describing motion, uniform and non-uniform motion, average speed and instantaneous velocity, uniformly accelerated motion, velocity-time and position-time graphs
  • Relations for uniformly accelerated motion (graphical treatment)


Motion in a Plane


  • Scalar and vector quantities
  • Position and displacement vectors, general vectors and their notations
  • Equality of vectors, multiplication of vectors by a real number
  • Addition and subtraction of vectors, relative velocity, unit vector
  • Resolution of a vector in a plane, rectangular components, scalar and vector product of vectors.
  • Motion in a plane, cases of uniform velocity and uniform acceleration-projectile motion, uniform circular motion

Unit III: Laws of Motion


Laws of Motion

  • Intuitive concept of force
  • Inertia
  • Newton’s first law of motion
  • Momentum
  • Newton’s second law of motion and impulse
  • Newton’s third law of motion
  • Law of conservation of linear momentum and its applications.
  • Equilibrium of concurrent forces, static and kinetic friction, laws of friction, rolling friction, lubrication
  • Dynamics of uniform circular motion: Centripetal force, examples of circular motion (vehicle on a level circular road, vehicle on a banked road)

Unit IV: Work, Energy and Power


.Work, Energy and Power

  • Work is done by a constant force and a variable force; kinetic energy, work-energy theorem, and power
  • The notion of potential energy, the potential energy of a spring
  • Conservative forces: Conservation of mechanical energy (kinetic and potential energies); non-conservative forces
  • Motion in a vertical circle; elastic and inelastic collisions in one and two dimensions

Unit V: Motion of System of Particles and Rigid Body


System of Particles and Rotational Motion

  • Centre of mass of a two-particle system, momentum conservation and centre of mass motion.
  • Centre of mass of a rigid body; centre of mass of a uniform rod
  • Moment of a force, torque, angular momentum, law of conservation of angular momentum and its applications
  • Equilibrium of rigid bodies, rigid body rotation and equations of rotational motion, comparison of linear and rotational motions
  • Moment of inertia, the radius of gyration, and values of moments of inertia for simple geometrical objects (no derivation)

Unit VI: Gravitation



  • Universal law of gravitation
  • Acceleration is due to gravity (recapitulation only) and its variation with altitude and depth
  • Gravitational potential energy and gravitational potential, escape velocity, orbital velocity of a satellite, Geo-stationary satellites

Unit VII: Properties of Bulk Matter


Mechanical Properties of Solids

  • Stress-strain relationship
  • Hooke’s law
  • Young’s modulus
  • Bulk modulus
  • Pressure due to a fluid column; Pascal’s law and its applications (hydraulic lift and hydraulic brakes), the effect of gravity on fluid pressure
  • Viscosity, Stokes’ law, terminal velocity, streamline and turbulent flow, critical velocity, Bernoulli’s theorem and its applications
  • Surface energy and surface tension, angle of contact, excess of pressure across a curved surface, application of surface tension ideas to drops, bubbles and capillary rise


Thermal Properties of Matter

  • Heat, temperature, ( recapitulation only) thermal expansion
  • Thermal expansion of solids, liquids and gases, anomalous expansion of water
  • Specific heat capacity; Cp, Cv – calorimetry; change of state – latent heat capacity
  • Heat transfer- conduction, convection and radiation (recapitulation only)
  • Thermal conductivity, qualitative ideas of blackbody radiation, Wein’s displacement Law, Stefan’s law, greenhouse effect

Unit VIII: Thermodynamics



  • Thermal equilibrium
  • Definition of temperature (zeroth law of thermodynamics)
  • Heat, work and internal energy
  • The first law of thermodynamics, isothermal and adiabatic processes
  • The second law of thermodynamics
  • Reversible and irreversible processes

Unit IX: Behaviour of Perfect Gases and Kinetic Theory


Kinetic Theory

  • Equation of state of a perfect gas, work done in compressing a gas
  • Kinetic theory of gases – assumptions, the concept of pressure
  • Kinetic interpretation of temperature; RMS speed of gas molecules
  • Degrees of freedom, the law of equipartition of energy (statement only)
  • Application to specific heat capacities of gases; the concept of mean free path, Avogadro’s number

Unit X: Oscillations and Waves



  • Periodic motion – time period, frequency, displacement as a function of time, periodic functions.
  • Simple harmonic motion (S.H.M) and its equation; phase; oscillations of a loaded spring restoring force and force constant; energy in S.H.M. Kinetic and potential energies; simple pendulum derivation of expression for its time period. Free, forced and damped oscillations (qualitative ideas only), resonance



  • Wave motion: Transverse and longitudinal waves
  • Speed of travelling wave
  • Displacement relation for a progressive wave
  • Principle of superposition of waves
  • Reflection of waves
  • Standing waves in strings and organ pipes, beats

A Few Vital Topics from Class XII Physics

The Class 12 physics syllabus can help students. According to the physics syllabus, students must wrap all of the essential concepts and sub-topics of CBSE physics to pass the exam. The syllabus’s various chapters are divided into nine units, as shown below.


Chapter Number

Name of the Chapter

Topics Covered

UNIT I: Electrostatics


Electric Charges and Fields

  • Introduction to Electric Charges and Fields
  • Electric Charge
  • Conductors and Insulators
  • Charging by Induction
  • Basic Properties of Electric Charge
  • Coulomb’s Law
  • Forces between Multiple Charges
  • Electric Field
  • Electric Field Lines
  • Electric Flux
  • Electric Dipole-Dipole in a Uniform External Field
  • Continuous Charge Distribution
  • Gauss’s Law And Its Applications


Electrostatic Potential and Capacitance

  • Introduction to Electrostatic Potential And Capacitance
  • Electrostatic Potential
  • Potential due to a Point Charge
  • Potential due to an Electric Dipole
  • Potential due to a System of Charges
  • Equipotential Surfaces
  • Potential Energy of a System of Charges
  • Potential Energy in an External Field
  • Electrostatics of Conductors
  • Dielectrics and Polarisation
  • Capacitors and Capacitance
  • The Parallel Plate Capacitor
  • Effect of Dielectric on Capacitance
  • Combination of Capacitors
  • Energy Stored in a Capacitor
  • Van de Graaff Generator

UNIT II: Current Electricity


Current Electricity

  • Introduction to Current Electricity
  • Electric Current
  • Electric Current in Conductors
  • Ohm’s Law and Limitations of Ohm’s Law
  • Drift of Electrons and the Origin of Resistivity
  • Resistivity of Various Materials
  • Temperature Dependence of Resistivity
  • Electrical Energy, Power
  • Combination of Resistors-Series and Parallel
  • Cells, emf, Internal Resistance
  • Cells in Series and Parallel
  • Kirchhoff’s Rules
  • Wheatstone Bridge
  • Meter Bridge
  • Potentiometer

Unit III: Magnetic Effects of Current and Magnetism


Moving Charges and Magnetism

  • Introduction
  • Magnetic Force
  • Motion in a Magnetic Field
  • Motion in Combined Electric and Magnetic Fields
  • Magnetic Field due to a Current Element, Biot-Savart Law
  • Magnetic Field on the Axis of a Circular Current Loop
  • Ampere’s Circuital Law
  • The Solenoid and the Toroid
  • Force between Two Parallel Currents, the Ampere
  • Torque on Current Loop, Magnetic Dipole
  • The Moving Coil Galvanometer


.Magnetism and Matter

  • Introduction
  • The Bar Magnet
  • Magnetism and Gauss’s Law
  • The Earth’s Magnetism
  • Magnetisation and Magnetic Intensity
  • Magnetic Properties of Materials
  • Permanent Magnets and Electromagnets

Unit IV Electromagnetic Induction and Alternating Currents



Electromagnetic Induction

  • Introduction
  • The Experiments of Faraday and Henry
  • Magnetic Flux
  • Faraday’s Law of Induction
  • Lenz’s Law and Conservation of Energy
  • Motional Electromotive Force
  • Energy Consideration: A Quantitative Study
  • Eddy Currents
  • Inductance
  • AC Generator


Alternating Current

  • Introduction
  • AC Voltage Applied to a Resistor
  • Representation of AC Current and Voltage by Rotating Vectors-Phasors
  • AC Voltage Applied to an Inductor
  • AC Voltage Applied to a Capacitor
  • AC Voltage Applied to a Series LCR Circuit
  • Power in AC Circuit: The Power Factor
  • LC Oscillations
  • Transformers

Unit V Electromagnetic Waves


Electromagnetic Waves

  • Introduction
  • Displacement Current
  • Electromagnetic Waves
  • Electromagnetic Spectrum

Unit VI: Optics


Ray Optics and Optical Instruments

  • Introduction
  • Reflection of Light by Spherical Mirrors
  • Refraction
  • Total Internal Reflection
  • Refraction at Spherical Surfaces and by Lenses
  • Refraction through a Prism
  • Dispersion by a Prism
  • Some Natural Phenomena due to Sunlight
  • Optical Instruments


Wave Optics

  • Introduction
  • Huygens Principle
  • Refraction and Reflection of Plane Waves Using Huygens Principle
  • Coherent and Incoherent Addition of Waves
  • Interference of Light Waves and Young’s Experiment
  • Diffraction
  • Polarisation

Unit VII Dual Nature of Radiation and Matter


Dual Nature of Radiation and Matter

  • Introduction
  • Electron Emission
  • Photoelectric Effect
  • Experimental Study of Photoelectric Effect
  • Photoelectric Effect and Wave Theory of Light
  • Einstein’s Photoelectric Equation: Energy Quantum of Radiation
  • Particle Nature of Light: The Photon
  • Wave Nature of Matter
  • Davisson and Germer Experiment

Unit VIII Atoms and Nuclei



  • Introduction
  • Alpha-particle Scattering and Rutherford’s Nuclear Model of Atom
  • Atomic Spectra
  • Bohr Model of the Hydrogen Atom
  • The Line Spectra of the Hydrogen Atom
  • DE Broglie’s Explanation of Bohr’s Second Postulate of Quantisation



  • Introduction to Nuclei
  • Atomic Masses and Composition of Nucleus
  • Size of the Nucleus
  • Mass-Energy and Nuclear Binding Energy
  • Nuclear Force
  • Radioactivity
  • Nuclear Energy

Unit IX Electronic Devices


Semiconductor Electronics: Materials, Devices and Simple Circuits

  • Introduction
  • Classification of Metals, Conductors, and Semiconductors
  • Intrinsic Semiconductor
  • Extrinsic Semiconductor
  • p-n Junction
  • Semiconductor Diode
  • Application of Junction Diode as a Rectifier
  • Special Purpose p-n Junction Diodes
  • Junction Transistor
  • Digital Electronics and Logic Gates
  • Integrated Circuits

Frequently Asked Questions on InPhO Syllabus

When is the InPhO exam conducted?

The INPhO exam, which is organised by the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, is usually held on the last Sunday of January or the first Sunday of February every year for students in the upper secondary level.

What are the stages of the Physics Olympiad?

Stage I: National Standard Examination in Physics (NSEP) –
Stage 2: INPhO (Indian National Physics Olympiad)
Stage 3: Orientation Cum Selection Camp (OCSC) –
Stage 4: PDT stands for Pre-departure Training Camp for IPhO.
Stage5: IPhO (International Physics Olympiad) – IPhO stands for Indian National Physics Olympiad

Mention a few tips to crack the INPhO examination.

The following are a few suggestions for an easy and smooth study process for the physics olympiad.
  • Learn everything about the syllabus and the topics covered in the rescored curriculum.
  • When taking a competitive exam, early preparation is always the best.
  • Updates on the examination can be found on the official websites.
  • Examine the InPhO previous year’s papers and solve practice papers.
  • Try to enrol in an online or offline course that focuses on these exams.
  • To gain a better understanding of the subject, read, learn, revise, and solve more problems.
  • Revision helps to deepen one’s understanding of a subject.

Where can the candidate find the sample papers for the INPhO examination?

The candidate can find the sample papers of INPhO examination on the official website for reference and good preparation.

Why is this exam necessary?

Students who want to choose a career in physics can write this exam for a bright future. The IAPT administers this exam to assess students’ knowledge of physics and to pick the best candidates to represent India at the global level.

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