Gumley House School FCJ

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Intermediate Physics Challenge

Senior Physics Challenge

On Thursday 11th March twelve  of our y11 students  took part in the Intermediate Physics Challenge competing with 4710 participating students from 204 school across the country.

Six girls of them achieved Silver Award and six achieved Bronze Award .
One of these students was only 2 marks away from Gold Award.

This is the first time we have run this online competition for the Lower Sixth year group. The previous paper exam has the advantage of developing students’ problem solving skills. This multiple choice competition looks for quick thinking and fluency in a range of small topic areas questioned. There are a number of puzzle like questions which require the students to do small manipulations and at speed. There were 40 question in an hour, and this would have been a challenge. This is in part to counter the temptation to look things up online, as that would detract from the time available. A public exam, which would have many similar questions to this, would certainly not expect such a pace from students.

Candidates were at school or at home for this event. It appeared to be well managed and it is important that students treat it with integrity in order to see how there physics skills compare with others across the country. It has the great advantage that the results do not have the impact of a public exam.

The average score was 20.0 / 40 and the standard deviation 6.0.

About 5270 students participated from 380 schools, which was most encouraging. The competition could certainly have been made easier with fewer and simpler questions, but the BPhO is here to push students and encourage them to aim high in their physics, allowing them to participate in a national competition taken by the most able physicists of their own age in the country. They are participating in an open competition without the concern about a bad result following them around.

It is not evident for the questions that Paper 2 was much harder, although one can always read this into it with hindsight. But experience shows that it is very difficult to predict which students will find harder. But as they had the same time for each, it may reflect a falling off of their thinking as they flag towards the end.

Congratulations to all students who took part in this exemplary challenge and award.

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