USAPhO Advanced

USAPhO Advanced course reviews all necessary topics required for the USAPhO including mechanics, thermodynamics (heat capacity, laws of thermo, gaseous processes, heat transfer, entropy), electricity and magnetism (electric fields, potentials, circuitry, magnetic fields, Lorenz force law, Maxwell’s equations, nature of light, magnetic induction), waves (wave equation, intensity, sound, Doppler shift), optics (refraction, lenses, mirrors, diffraction), relativity (Einstein’s postulates, time dilation, length contraction, simultaneity, relativistic quantities). Focus will be on practice and drilling.

Target Competitions

Target Grades


Who should Take This Course

  • Students who can solve around 3/6 questions on the USAPhO Semi-final in the time given

Who should Skip This Course

  • Students who have qualified for USAPhO Team

A scientific calculator is required and preferred over a graphing calculator.

Exam Weeks

Practice Exams will be given/solved.


There are weekly homework sets.


Lecture/Homework problems and solutions will be available on the course management system.


Fall course is not required for the spring course, nor is the spring course required for the fall course.

1Wave MotionTemperature
2Superposition & Standing WavesHeat & The First Law of Thermodynamics
3Geometric OpticsKinetic Theory of Gases
4Diffraction & InterferenceHeat Engines & Entropy
5FluidsExam Week
6Exam WeekElectric Fields
7Relativity Part 1DC Circuit Elements
8Relativity Part 2Magnetic Fields
9Atomic & Nuclear Physics Part 1Inductance
10Atomic & Nuclear Physics Part 1Maxwell’s Equations
11F=ma ReviewExam Week
12Exam WeekExam Week

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