Physics Olympiad Preparation

A prism spectrometer at Fathoming Physics

Please read the overview page for a description of the structure of Fathoming Physics classes.

Physics Olympiad 2023

Intermediate class 

This class will run on Wednesday afternoons 5pm-6:30pm for students who have already completed the year 11 course (or are completing the year 11 course concurrently) and would like to study additional topics and harder questions to prepare thoroughly for the Australian Physics Olympiad selection exam in August.

This class will run in dual attendance mode, both in-person and online via zoom (to allow for students across Australia to attend). I recommend attending in person if at all possible!

Semester 1 (Terms 1 & 2, 2023): mechanics (basic rotation and simple harmonic motion), fluids and thermodynamics (pressure, buoyancy and the ideal gas laws, intro to Bernoulli), physical optics (interference and diffraction), harder year 11 material (circuits, optics) & weekly practice questions from past Physics Olympiad exams.

Advanced class

An advanced Physics Olympiad class to prepare students for the January Olympiad selection camp will begin in Term 1 2023, running on Wednesday afternoons from 6:30pm-8pm.

This class is designed for students with a background in calculus who have completed the intermediate class and are already familiar with the physics required for the Australian Physics Olympiad exam. The class will cover the majority of 1st year University physics (at the level of Halliday and Resnick). Each semester will be stand alone, so students can progress to this course once they finish the intermediate course (after the August Olympiad exam), or they can wait until the following next year to begin with semester 1.

Semester 1 (Terms 1 & 2): Mechanics (rotation, including angular momentum), waves and physical optics (interference, diffraction, thin films, the wave equation), fluids and thermodynamics (Bernoulli, the Carnot cycle and entropy).

Semester 2 (Terms 3 & 4): Electromagnetism (Maxwell’s equations), Special Relativity and introductory Quantum Physics.

This class will run in dual attendance mode, both in-person and online via zoom (to allow for students across Australia to attend). I recommend attending in person if at all possible!


If you love physics (and maths!), then the Physics Olympiad competition is for you. There are a number of stages to the competition (see the official website for more details: An exam in August selects students from across Australia to participate in a training camp in the Christmas holidays. Exams at this camp then select a team to represent Australia in the Asian Physics Olympiad, at which further selection occurs for the International Physics Olympiad.

From past experience, year 10 (or occasionally year 9) students who have obtained high distinctions in science competitions such as ICAS and Big Science, have excellent algebra skills (and most importantly are keen to learn physics!) and have completed the equivalent of year 11 physics are at the right point to begin the intermediate course. These students can then continue with the advanced course when they are in year 11 (or year 10).

Daniel represented Australia at the Asian Physics Olympiad in 2016.

Measuring the speed of sound using Lissajous figures on an oscilloscope.

The advanced Physics Olympiad class covers the physics (both theory and practical) that is tested at the January selection camp, and which decides which students represent Australia. This class is designed to be fun and challenging in equal measure – there is lots of hands-on experimental work and it is also highly mathematical, making extensive use of calculus and differential equations as part of the course.

The emphasis on practical work at Fathoming Physics prepares students very well for the the January selection camp where there is equal weight given to theory and experimental work in selecting students to represent Australia.


May 2019 News: Congratulations to Alex – selected to represent Australia at the Asian Physics Olympiad:

Fathoming Physics

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

94B Baker St, Carlingford NSW 2118