Sir Isaac Newton Exam home

The Sir Isaac Newton (SIN) Exam is a test of high school physics and is offered by the Department of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Waterloo to encourage the teaching of physics. The test, although challenging, is meant to be refreshing and fun. Political and other topical humour have marked SIN exams for years. Students participate from across Canada, the USA and abroad.

Students should approach their physics teacher or guidance counsellor who will have access to all the details (or they can get the details by visiting this web site).

  • Registration must be completed by a teacher, on behalf of their students
  • The test is written online.
  • The contest is meant to be fun and will not affect your entrance admissibility. In fact, you are not required to write formal solutions unless you want to be eligible for a scholarship.
  • The cost of the SIN Exam is FREE
  • Login information will be sent to registered teachers on the Monday of the week the exam is scheduled.
    ** Old user ids and passwords will be obsolete. **
  • Your school will have a two hour time frame in which to write the exam. Pick whatever two hour time frame works best for your school.
  • Students can write on a school computer or bring in their own laptop.
  • Teachers will be able to view the raw scores and statistics a few days after the test. 
  • Scanned copies of a student's solutions will be requested for hand marking via email to their teachers.
  • Teachers will be able to download certificates of participation and rankings through their registered account.

The contest is held in early May, written under local school supervision during a two-hour period. As in the past, material will cover basic physics, mainly from the suggested Ontario Secondary School Physics Curriculum which is now aligned more with the rest of Canada. Some schools feel at a disadvantage because of semesterization but remember that the SIN Contest has always stressed basic classical mechanics and common sense. Note that this test is available to students in any grade. Results will be computer-processed, with the top 100 or so papers hand-graded to select SIN scholarship winners and a host of book awards.

It should be stressed that the SIN Exam is meant to challenge the best students to apply basic physics in problem situations. Few perfect papers are written and the "raw average score" now ranges from 20-40%. We hope students enjoy the test! The results are never seen by any admissions staff and cannot count against a student in any way.