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A Girl Looking at a Physics Model

F=ma competition

F=ma is an annual physics competition organized by the American Association of Physics Teachers, the organization responsible for recruiting, selecting, and training teams each year to compete in the International Physics Olympiad (IPhO). F=ma serves as the entrance exam each year with approximately 6000 participants. About top 400 highest-scoring students (i.e., roughly 6-7%) will advance to the US National Physics Olympiad (USAPhO) exam, which is then used as the basis for selecting 20 members for the US Physics Team for IPhO. Since there is no physics competition at the AMC level, F=ma corresponds to AIME. In other words, it is highly competitive.

What does F=ma cover?

F=ma consists of 25 multiple choice questions to be solved in 75 minutes, focusing on classical algebra-based mechanics. The questions deal with the following: kinematics, statics, Newton’s laws, momentum and energy, oscillations, orbital mechanics, fluids, and elementary data analysis. All questions can be solved without the use of calculus, though some may have shorter calculus-based solutions. 

Who should participate, and why?

From students interested in STEM to physics enthusiasts, F=ma competition is a must try to enhance and test your physics knowledge and problem-solving skills. For middle school and early high school students interested in physics should start your F=ma training as early as possible. Many of the past winners shared that they had their first F=ma experience in middle school, continued practicing and participating after entering high school, and finally advanced to the renowned USAPhO competition.

For high schoolers, preparing for this competition will help you score high on your AP physics exams this May. If you are interested in pursuing a STEM major in college, physics will be a core subject that you have to master. Further, any recognition in this competition, whether it is advancing to the USAPhO exam or getting honorary mentions, will help you stand out in your future college application which has become fiercely competitive. 

How Peninsula Academy will help you?

We are offering two levels of Saturday training camps from Jan 9 to Feb 13, with six two-hour sessions on each level. Level 1 is designed for middle school and early high school students who are interested in physics but have no prior exposure to physics problem solving. Level 2 is designed for students who have completed a pre-AP high school physics class and have some exposure to physics problem solving. Depending on interests, we may also offer Level 3 for students who have completed an AP physics class. The training will follow F=ma official guidelines and focus on practicing solving real questions from the F=ma 2007 to 2019. 


Your coaches will be Roy and Joseph. Roy earned his undergraduate degree in physics and philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania, and went on to gain his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Roy has taught at different independent schools in South Bay, including Rolling Hills Country Day School and is currently teaching at a top independent school in South Bay. Roy has been a tutor with Peninsula Academy over 10 years, and is one of our most respected and trusted tutors. Students love Roy for being knowledgeable, caring, and patient.  


Joseph earned his bachelor's degree in astrophysics from UC Berkeley, and was selected to participate in a prestigious internship program at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Joseph has been tutoring and teaching for Peninsula Academy since 2018. He is beloved by his students for being incredibly articulate, with the patience and ability to explain difficult physics concepts clearly and coherently.

How and when to register?

Registration is open now till Jan 18. Students must ask their teacher or parent/guardian to register on their behalf. We are happy to walk you through the registration process if needed.

When is the exam?

This year's exam will be online at one time only, offered on February 18, 2021 at 4 pm EST, administered by the Art of Problem Solving. 

Who is eligible to participate?

Any middle and high school student who is a US citizen or permanent resident. 

Questions?! We're happy to help:  
For English, Doreen 310-408-4188 
For English and Korean, Kay 310-989-7557
For Chinese, Annie 424-394-6362 
WeChat ID: PA-550, peninsula10000

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