F=ma 2023




Take it for fame or take it for fun!

If you are interested in being on the US Physics Team, you must take the F=ma exam. This year at South, the F=ma contest will be held at only one specified time - Thursday, February 9, 2023 during 2nd and 3rd hours 8:55-10:50am (periods 3 and 4), and the exam will take place in person in room 118 (new science wing, AT Physics room). To register, you must fill out the registration form on this page and give $13 to Mrs. Fortunato by Wednesday, January 4, 2023. Continue reading for more details if you are still interested.

What is the F=ma contest?

Each year, the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) and the American Institute of Physics (AIP) sponsor a competition for high school students to represent the United States at the International Physics Olympiad Competition. The mission of the U.S. Physics Team Program is to promote and demonstrate academic excellence through preparation for and participation in the International Physics Olympiad.

F=ma is the first qualifying exam for the US Physics Team. The F=ma exam focuses on mechanics, including kinematics, statics, Newton’s laws, momentum and energy, oscillations, orbital mechanics, fluids, and elementary data analysis. All problems can be solved without the use of calculus. You will qualify for the USAPhO semifinal exam if your F=ma exceeds the cutoff score.

Students must be either U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents of the United States (green card holders) to participate in the F=ma or USAPhO exam.

Exam Administration Info

This year, the F=ma exam will be held at South on Thursday, February 9, 2023 during 2nd and 3rd hours 8:55-10:50am (periods 3 and 4), and the exam will take place in person in Room 118 (new science wing, AT Physics Room).

Registration Details

In order to participate in this year's contest, you must fill out the registration form below and send a check to the school.

2023 F=ma Contest Registration Form

The fee for this year's exam is $13. This will cover the $10 student registration as well as the $50 school registration fee. If we have more than 25 students register for this contest from South, you will get money back on the day of the test. I know this is quite a big jump in price since last year, but we had leftover money in our account last year that subsidized some of the registration cost and well, inflation.

You may pay your registration fee to me (Mrs. Fortunato) in two different ways:

  • You may give me $13 in cash EXACT CHANGE ONLY, or

  • You may give me a check for $13 made out to WWPHSS and with the student's name and "F=ma" in the memo.

  • I'm sorry, there is no way to pay electronically (Venmo, PayPal, etc).

Payment must be made to to Mrs. Fortunato by Wednesday, January 4, 2023. I am usually in my classrooms 118 a.m. (before school and during periods 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 8) and 117 p.m. (periods 5 and 7 only), but usually not during lunch, and I do not usually stay after school. Please make sure to hand the money to me in person; do not give it to another teacher to give to me because there is no guarantee that I will get it. Please also do not put anything in my mailbox - I do not check it, so you will not be registered. If I do not have your money by Wednesday, January 4, 2023, you will not be registered, even if you have filled out the form. I hope to send a confirmation email to all of the people who have registered by Sunday, January 8th, so if you thought you registered and you don't get a confirmation email by then, make sure to send me an email to check on the status of your registration.

Exam Practice

Past exams can be found HERE.


If you still have questions, please email me at barbara.fortunato@wwprsd.org.