This is a new course for 2024. I have designed this course to meet the needs of the increasing number of high-achieving students who are completing the year 11 physics course in year 9 or 10, whose goal is to obtain a mark of 95+ in HSC physics.

The aim of the 95+Olympiad course is to offer an alternative option for high achieving students that is more enjoyable and challenging as well as more likely to result in a higher HSC mark than simply completing the same HSC course twice.

The thinking underlying the course is that there are three components to performing at the highest level in HSC physics (as discussed in on the HSC course page):

  • developing the strongest possible conceptual understanding of the physics in the course,
  • mastering “working scientifically” skills, and
  • perfecting students’ interpretation and written responses to HSC exam questions.

The 95+Olympiad course focuses on developing a deep conceptual understanding of physics that is relevant to high performance in the HSC as well as mastering working scientifically skills on a schedule that suits students who are in year 11 at school. 

As students have completed HSC content in year 11, the second “HSC” year of the course consists of weekly exams and consolidation, resulting in a lighter load during students’ HSC year.

Term 1:

  • Complete extension questions on year 11 content at a level that will prepare students to sit the Australian Physics Olympiad exam in August (as well as ensuring that they are extremely well-prepared for their year 11 physics exams at school) 
  • Cover extension topics (pressure and buoyancy, ideal gases, Bernoulli’s equation, Hooke’s law, simple harmonic motion and rotational motion and torque) that prepare students well for the Physics Olympiad exam in August. All topics relate to the mechanics section of the Ext 1 and Ext 2 Maths syllabus (apart from our topic on Bernoulli and fluids) 
  • Students become more fluent and confident in using tools such as Newton’s laws, conservation of momentum and conservation of energy in novel and challenging contexts.
  • Students can choose to compete in the US Physics Bowl competition, with exam supervision provided.

Terms 2-4:

  • Complete all content required to cover modules 7 and 8 of the HSC course (terms 2, 3 and 4) at a level appropriate for high band 6 students. The material covered in term 2 is chosen to be most relevant to the August Olympiad exam, with the remaining material covered in terms 3 and 4.
  • Conduct sophisticated experimental work, at a level that will thoroughly prepare students for “working scientifically” assessments at school, including depth students that require students to work beyond the level of the syllabus, in addition to preparing them well for the August Olympiad exam, and the Physics Olympiad Summer School.

Topics have been arranged so that it is possible for year 11 students to complete this more advanced course simultaneously with the year 11 physics course. It is recommended that students who are not yet in year 11 complete the year 11 course before this course.

Overview of the course

The overview below simply lists topics covered. Practical work is embedded throughout the course and most lessons will involve some hands-on, demonstration or practical component. Students in the course will be assisted to develop their working scientifically skills to a level commensurate with that required for the Physics Olympiad Summer School, ensuring that their skills exceed those required for HSC physics.

Term 1

Time: Wed 5-7pm

Cost: $80/2hr

Focus: Year 11 extension and Physics Olympiad (and the mechanics sections of the Ext 1 and Ext 2 mathematics courses)

Overview of topics covered (along with past Physics Olympiad questions):

  • Projectile motion (numerical modelling & harder analytical analysis)
  • Motion under gravity, thrust and drag (numerical modeling and analytical analysis)
  • Circular motion and orbital motion (numerical modelling)
  • Pressure, buoyancy and ideal gases
  • Equation of continuity and Bernoulli
  • Hooke’s law and elastic potential energy
  • Simple Harmonic motion (numerical modelling and analytical)
  • SHM applied to the speed of mechanical waves in solids

Term 2

Time: Wed 5-6:30pm (just HSC), 5-7pm (HSC+Olympiad)

Cost: $80/2hr

Focus: HSC mod 7 & 8, Physics Olympiad

Overview of topics covered (along with past Physics Olympiad questions):

  • Centre of mass and conservation of momentum in systems of particles (Mod 2 extension)
  • Wave model of light (Mod 7): Double slit interference, thin films and single slit diffraction
  • Quantum model of light (Mod 7): blackbody radiation and radiative heat transfer, photoelectric effect
  • Bohr’s model of the atom and spectra (Mod 8)
  • Wave-particle model of light (Mod 7): Polarisation
  • Ray model of light (Harder Mod 3): image formation due to refraction at plane and spherical surfaces, the thin lens equations
  • Experimental Uncertainty and Skills

Term 3

Time: Wed 5-6:30pm

Cost: $60/1.5hr

Focus: HSC Mod 7 & 8

Overview of topics covered:

  • Special relativity (HSC level + spacetime diagrams, relativistic velocity addition, extended discussion of relativistic energy)
  • Nuclear physics (HSC level + more sophisticated calculations)
  • Hubble and the Big Bang
  • Stellar evolution and the Hertsprung Russell diagram
  • Measuring the speed of light and stellar spectra

Term 4

Time: Wed 5-7pm (including practicals) OR Wed 5-6pm (1st hour only) (TBC)

Cost: $80/2hr (including practical work in second hour) OR $40 for 1st hour only

Focus: HSC Mod 7 & 8 and Prac (“working scientifically”) skill development

Note: Prac work relevant to the topic under study is still a feature of the first hour of the class. The second (optional) hour consists of a series of more substantial pracs suitable for students who wish to hone their practical skills to the level of the Physics Summer School. See the page on the Advanced Olympiad course for information on the pracs in the second hour.

Overview of topics covered:

  • Thomson’s discovery of the electron (HSC level + the Hall effect and other applications of crossed fields)
  • Millikan’s measurement of the charge of an electron (HSC level+Stokes law for drag)
  • Geiger and Marsden’s gold foil experiment + Rutherford’s model of the atom
  • DeBroglie and Matter waves
  • Schrodinger’s equation, Heisenburg uncertainty principle
  • Accelerators
  • The Standard Model of Matter


94B Baker St. Carlingford 2118






HSC physics and Physics Olympiad tutoring with Dr. Tammy Humphrey, a PhD qualified physics teacher with 15 years experience teaching gifted students. Classes include all practical work as well as all theoretical work required by the HSC physics syllabus.