The Onsite Exam

The onsite portion of PUPC is an individual exam which contains several advanced mechanics problems. The exam challenges students to think out of the box and apply their knowledge at a deeper level than in conventional high school physics problems.

The 2018 PUPC Onsite Test will be held on Sunday, November 18, 2018.

In addition to the exam held on the campus of Princeton University, we have three international chapters which will host concurrent exams.

Logistics Announcement

We are very excited to host the competition this Sunday. Here is some logistical information:

Event Schedule -
7:00-9:00, Registration, Jadwin Hall Brush Gallery
9:30-11:00, Examination, Jadwin A02 and A10
11:00- 12:00, Q&A with Princeton students, Jadwin A07
12:30-1:45, Lunch, Brush Gallery
2:00- 3:00, Lecture from Physics department, Jadwin A02
3:00-3:30, Awards ceremony, Jadwin A02
If you are arriving to campus by car, you are instructed to park at one of the following lots: Lot 4, Lot 5, Lot 21, Lot 25. Here is a map of campus.

To register, simply show up with some sort of basic ID so that we can verify who you are. We will give you a number that we will use to track contestant exams and post scores anonymously.

After the examination, we will be holding a panel for students to ask questions of current Princeton students about studying at Princeton, life at Princeton, and so on. We are trying to organize a campus tour as well, but we can't confirm this at this time. We anticipate having lunch for approximately 175-200 students out of the 250 or so that are registered. In the event that we run out, or that you simply do not care for a hoagie sandwich, we have allocated a large amount of time for lunch to allow you to take the short walk up Washington Road towards Nassau Street, where there are a plethora of options available. After lunch, there will be a lecture by Professor Peter Meyers of the Physics department. At the conclusion of the lecture, we will recognize the top 3 scorers in the competition and the top 25% of all contestants.
You are welcome to message us here with any questions.


Only individual contestants will be allowed to participate in the PUPC onsite session.

Individuals must not be enrolled full-time in a post-secondary institution prior to the start of the competition (i.e., you are currently a high school student or have not yet begun undergraduate studies).

All individuals must be registered to compete.

Individuals may also choose to register for the online portion, if desired. The two parts are entirely separate and have no bearing on each other whatsoever.

Depending on the number of registrations it may be necessary to cap the number of participants or to hold simple preliminary rounds to assure the highest-quality competitors. It is to your advantage to register as soon as possible. Please note that if you register, you are expected to arrive on site on the day of PUPC; if your availability changes later, please notify us as soon as possible by e-mailing In case of a no-show without advance notice, there is a high chance you will not be permitted to participate again.

Coordination with PUMaC

PUPC and the Princeton University Mathematics Competition (PUMaC) are usually held on separate days of the same weekend. This will allow competitors to comfortably compete in both PUPC and PUMaC with no time conflicts. For those who intend to compete in both the PUPC Onsite Test and PUMaC, rest assured that you will have plenty of time to relax, cool down, and be prepared for a whole day of physics!


The examination itself will last for 1.5 hours and will consist of 4 problems of unequal weight. Students will only need a writing utensil. They may use a basic calculator, but more advanced calculators with keyboard functions are not allowed. No collaboration is allowed during the exam. Anyone suspected to have cheated will be disqualified.

Note: If you are unsure of what calculator is permitted, please e-mail us at


The onsite exam will be graded on the day of the onsite competition. Partial credit will be given and, in the case of a tie, preference will be given to the student with the more elegant solution.