US Physics Olympiad qualifying exam (Mechanics)?

  • #1
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So I read Irodov was the best prep for the Physics Olympiad, but what if I'm in Physics B and just completed a semester's worth of mechanics? I'm currently in Pre-Calculus if that matters.

Another thread I read says most problems can be solved using differential eqs. but neither my current Physics or Pre-Cal class have touched that yet. Will I have to learn Calculus all on my own in the span of 2 weeks if I have any hope of doing well on the Olympiad?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Competition Math/Science is wack.

Just work through the problems on your own for fun. I mean if you do well, you do, but if not, it means little more than that you can't figure out tricks quickly under time pressure.
 
  • #3
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It can be fun though!!

I qualified without studying and only in Physics B with no calculus, so don't worry about the "lack of preparation". In my opinion, it's just luck whether you qualify or not.

p.s. Quantumpencil I think I know you :-)
 
  • #4
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I have a blog that contains some physics problems. I think its good to prepare yourself for olympiad.
Here is the link:
http://collectionofphysicsproblems.blogspot.com/" [Broken]

Maybe this can help you.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #5
thrill3rnit3
Gold Member
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It can be fun though!!

I qualified without studying and only in Physics B with no calculus, so don't worry about the "lack of preparation". In my opinion, it's just luck whether you qualify or not.

p.s. Quantumpencil I think I know you :-)
I know this is kind of an old post but, how was the test?
 
  • #6
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Haha, yeah...

I didn't study at all, but that wasn't the problem 9/10 times.

I must just suck too much at physics, not to mention my teacher...

A few problems I thought were quite easy, but the others were mind boggling. I'm sure the calculus part wasn't even one of the main difficulties in the test for me. Guess I need more practice for next year...
 
  • #7
thrill3rnit3
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how exactly was the test? hard? super hard?

what kind of math was involved? is it harder than an AP Physics C test?
 
  • #8
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It was pretty damn hard as only one person outta all the Physcs B and C classes qualified... My school isn't the best at Physics, but they don't all failt Physics C AP either. It's considerably harder than Physics C AP, that's for sure.

Impossible? Not at all. I think some intensive studying would help quite a lot. Find hard problems and do them.
 
  • #9
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If I remember right, I took this test my junior year in high school 3 years ago.

If it was the same test you are talking about (it was ~3-5 hours)...it was HARD. no one from my school qualified my year. One person made it past qualifying round the year before me, and she was a complete genius.

It was much harder than the AP C test. Not impossible though, none of us who took it put any effort into studying for it; I think it is possible looking back on it now.
 
  • #10
thrill3rnit3
Gold Member
713
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How was it hard? Was is the math involved?

Hey, since the test name is "F=ma (Mechanics)", does the test include only mechanics?
 
  • #11
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Yes, it was only mechanics. It had problems involving moment of inertia problems, center of mass, angular momentum, prety much the areas that usually give students the most trouble. I remember there was a question on load transfer of a bicycle, which at the time I was clueless as to how to solve.

Nothing was straight forward, everything combined different concepts and they were all word problems, everything required "interpretation" in the free response section.
 
  • #12
thrill3rnit3
Gold Member
713
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How about the math involved? Only calculus? Or does it go further to differential equations?
 
  • #13
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I am not sure if it covered differential equations, at the time I didnt know what they were :p

Calculus was a definate yes though.
 
  • #14
thrill3rnit3
Gold Member
713
1
I am not sure if it covered differential equations, at the time I didnt know what they were :p

Calculus was a definate yes though.

well the guy below me said he qualified WITHOUT Calculus


It can be fun though!!

I qualified without studying and only in Physics B with no calculus, so don't worry about the "lack of preparation". In my opinion, it's just luck whether you qualify or not.

p.s. Quantumpencil I think I know you :-)
 
  • #15
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i guess i stand corrected then
 
  • #16
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So I read Irodov was the best prep for the Physics Olympiad, but what if I'm in Physics B and just completed a semester's worth of mechanics? I'm currently in Pre-Calculus if that matters.

Another thread I read says most problems can be solved using differential eqs. but neither my current Physics or Pre-Cal class have touched that yet. Will I have to learn Calculus all on my own in the span of 2 weeks if I have any hope of doing well on the Olympiad?
i want problems in physics. can you help me.
 
  • #17
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Wow, a thread I started from nearly 2 years ago is still alive (err, rather, has been revived).

The qualifying exam isn't impossibly hard, but since I didn't know any calculus I was at a huge disadvantage. A small portion of it was pure trigonometric and algebraic physics. Best advice? Practice the toughest problems in your textbook until you do them correctly in a reasonable amount of time.

I'm sure the actual competition is much more difficult.
 

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