CAP High School/Cegep Prize Exam

The CAP administers High School/Cegep Prize Examinations in the provinces across Canada.


The 2024 CAP HS Prize Exam will be held on April 10th. 

It will be administered in person by high school
teachers in local schools.  To register your school as a participant,
please contact your provincial coordinator


Results from the 2022 Prize Exam are now available! Click here to view


The CAP High School Exam is based upon an internationally recognized syllabus, the I.B. Physics Higher Core Curriculum. Mainly sections of the syllabus covering mechanics, Optics and Electricity and Magnetism are examined by the CAP Exam; should other topics be included to cover items that are present in the International Physics Olympiad (e.g. modern physics, thermodynamics, etc.), the needed formulas are provided. Since all provinces in Canada have different curricula and the level of physics taught varies widely, the exam uses a broad based core curriculum which is widely recognized and used throughout the world.  More information on the International Physics Olympiad is available at the bottom of this page.

The level of the CAP exam is intentionally high. Only the top students from each school are expected to take part in the exam and only a handful of students in Canada are expected to completely finish the CAP Exam in the time allotted. Past statistics indicate that of the approximately 2,000 students writing the exam each year, the top mark is usually above 80% and 50-100 students nationally score above 50%. The CAP High School Prize Exam is a contest, not a judgement of a student’s classroom performance. We are looking for the most skilled, best educated physics students in Canada. Programmable calculators are not allowed for the High School exam. There will be variations among schools both within a province and nationally. A number of Universities in Canada award entrance scholarships to top CAP Exam students.

Structure and Scope

There will be a single National Exam written on a common day by all schools in all provinces. The exam will be available in English and French. There will be a multiple-choice section (25 questions) and three long-answer problems. The first section will be used as a filter to choose the papers which will have their long answers marked for the national competition but, where possible, it is better for coordinators to have a look at all parts of the papers before selecting those for national judging.

The exam will be set, printed and marked by a National Exam Committee. The Secretary of this committee will also be responsible for announcing the national results and distributing the national prizes.

The exam will be distributed to the schools in each province by provincial coordinators. These will be responsible for collecting the papers, marking the multiple-choice section and forwarding the eligible papers on to the national markers. They will also be responsible for distributing their provincial prizes and notifying the National CAP office about this.

A well-recognized International Syllabus is used for setting the exam: the International Baccalaureate Higher “Core” Curriculum (plus a little geometric optics). The emphasis will be on mechanics, optics, electricity and magnetism.

Please remember and remind teachers that the CAP High School Prize Exam is a competition, not a judgment of a student’s classroom performance. We are looking for the most skilled, best-educated physics students in Canada. Variations are expected from one school to another, both within a province and nationally.

The multiple-choice section will be scored out of 25. Each long-answer question will be scored out of 20. A total mark out of 100 will be calculated by weighting the multiple-choice and long-answer section in the ratio of 40/60. As in the past, the French language marker is responsible for ensuring that his marking scheme and practices are equivalent to those used by the English markers.

Extra Benefits and Prizes

The provincial coordinators will act upon the announced results of the exam and distribute prizes provincially in accordance with the CAP budget for this. A student’s result on this National Exam may be made available to all universities in Canada, making a student eligible for scholarship. As well, there will be national prizes*, sponsored by the CAP and awarded on the order of $500 for first place, $300 for second and $200 for third. The exam, solutions and results will be posted in due course on the CAP Exam web site.

*Prizes must be claimed within two (2) years of their issuance.


2024 International Physics Olympiad (IPhO) Competition


What are Physics Olympiads?

The International Physics Olympiad (IPhO) and other international Olympiads are, essentially, Physics Olympics for high school students. Olympiads are run annually with other International Science Olympiads. Countries enter national teams in the competition to compete for medals and honours.

Canada’s National Team – selection process

For 2024, the Canadian Physics Olympiad organization, funded through UBC donors, will be sending students to compete in the European Olympiad, scheduled to run in Kutaisi, Georgia. The competition to be selected for Canada’s team for this Olympiad is open to all Canadian high school students.

The team will be selected from among the fifteen students with the highest scores on the CAP exam. Please note: this exam is challenging.

How does it work?
The top fifteen students are then invited to the week-long Canadian Physics Olympiad Training Camp (May 26 – June 1st, 2024) for intensive physics training and team try-outs.
This camp takes place at UBC’s Vancouver campus. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, student expenses (flights and accommodation) are covered.

At the end of the Training Camp, five students are chosen to form the national team, based on their performance during the week’s training. This is the group that will travel to Georgia in July to represent Canada at the European Olympiad!

After the Training Camp, students return to their homes and complete the school year.
In July, students will travel to Kutaisi, Georgia to compete in the European Olympiad. Flights, meals and accommodation will be covered for students during the week of the European Olympiad.


  • April 10, 2024: Physics students all across Canada take the CAP High School Physics Exam. Save this date!  Visit the CAP website and contact your provincial coordinator to register.
  • Two weeks later: The CAP exam marking is completed and the top fifteen students are sent invites to the Training Camp to try out for the Canadian team!
  • May 26 – June 1: UBC Canadian Physics Olympiad Training Camp at UBC in Vancouver – training, mentoring, and team selection
  • June 1: Canada’s National Team (of 5 students) is announced!
  • July 15 – 19: European Olympiad in Kutaisi, Georgia. Canada’s National Team represents our country in this international competition.

This is an extraordinary experience for young physicists. Don’t miss the opportunity to participate.


How do Students Register to Write the CAP Exam?

On April 10, 2024, the Canadian Association of Physicists will offer this exam in high schools across Canada.

For more information and the latest updates about registration, teachers can visit the CAP website, and contact their provincial coordinator.


Why Should Your Strong Physics Students Participate in the IPhO?

The benefits of this competition are enormous:

  • The IPhO pulls the top young Canadian physics talent across the country to compete with other international teams
  • Team participants have the opportunity to network and build long-lasting friendships and connections with the brightest physics talents around the world
  • This competition is a sound foundation for future top university recruitment, jobs/careers/higher education programs/head hunters in science, industry, business and academia


I Want to Get Started! What Next?

  1. Students! Find out if the CAP Exam is scheduled at your high school (if not, speak to the Provincial Coordinator about where you can write the exam)
  2. Prepare for the exam! (see the CAP website for what to study, including to view past CAP exam questions and solutions)
  3. Speak to your teacher for extra practice exercises and guidance
  4. Write the Exam!
  5. Results: The CAP website will post the results of the CAP High School Physics Exam by the end of April 2024, and students with top placements will be contacted directly with their scores and an invitation to the national camp. Team selection will be announced at the end of the camp and the team will then go on to compete at the European Olympiad in Kutaisi, Georgia in July, 2024.

Still have questions? Feel free to contact the Canadian Physics Olympiad organizers at