Preselection - rules and submission guidance


If more teams register than the number of seats available, the IPT execom is responsible for running a preselection round for the registered teams. The IPT community is informed on whether the preselection is taking place or not shortly after the registration closes. Although one is expected to take place, all in-person IPTs in the last many years had a preselection.

The host university and the countries of the top 7 teams of the previous edition of the IPT are automatically qualified for the next edition.

Please remember that this pre-selection process is free. The registration fees will have to be paid only by the teams qualified for the international competition and will be due to the LOC.

Important updates for IPT 2024

For IPT 2024, the automatically qualified teams are: ETH Zürich, Poland, France, Ukraine, Germany, and Italy. There will be a total of 21 seats, therefore 15 teams will be chosen from the preselection.

Given the increased number of participants in the preselection process, we care to ensure that the preselection process is fair for all parties. Which is why this year we are making a two-round selection process where the participants have to reply to referees’ reports. As this is much closer to the usual peer-review process to publish in scientific journals, we think this at the same time a good opportunity for the students to be exposed to this process and good training for what to expect at the tournament.

  • Deadline for reports submission - 1st round: January 7, 2024
  • Teams receive the first-round grades and feedback: January 14, 2024
  • Deadline for reports submission - 2nd round: January 21, 2024
  • Preselection results announcement: January 28, 2024

The teams are ranked based on a double-blind two-round review process. Each team must submit a scientific paper on one of the following preselection problems:

1.Galton Board, 2. Jumpy hoop, 6. Salty shapes

In addition, countries with a national selection may choose from additional two problems:

4.Alcohol soundcheck and 10. Bubbles under a wet glass

As a reminder, the description of the problems is available on the website.

Manuscript guidelines

The manuscript must have a .pdf format and cannot exceed 5 pages of main text (i.e. not counting the appendix or cover page). You are free to enclose your own experimental material (videos, photos, computer programs – smaller than 10 MB in total) and to cite it properly in the manuscript.

Make sure that your manuscript is anonymous, i.e. it does not contain any reference to the team. It must be sent only to (for anonymity reasons) by 23:59 PT (UTC-7) on January 7, 2024.

Review guidelines

The IPT President and Secretary take the role of editors for the review process. For the first round of review, they will distribute the anonymized manuscripts to 3 referees who will be evaluating them. Your manuscript will be judged on whether it gives a plausible solution to the chosen problem, how well-supported the solution is (experiment and/or theory), how innovative the solution is, and how well all the possible solutions have been considered. A model manuscript from a previous edition is available below.

After collecting the referees’ reports and grades (from 0 to 10, with 0.25 precision), the teams are ranked based on the average grade. The president then sends the referees’ reports and average grades to the teams, which will have 7 days to compile a response to the reports and make modifications to the manuscript. All modifications made to the manuscript must be highlighted in the new version.

We expect the response letter and the modified and highlighted manuscript, both anonymized, to be returned to by 23:59 PT (UTC-7) on January 21, 2024.

For the second round of review, the response and the new version of the manuscript are sent to the same referees the team had in the first round. The referees can amend (in either direction) their grade of the first round by at most 1 point (by at most 0.25 based on the response to their report and by at most 0.75 based on the new manuscript).

After this, the teams are selected based on the ranking given by the amended grades, which will be communicated to the teams. This year the teams selected are those that rank from 1st to 15th at the end of the second round of the preselection.

Since the grades can change by at most 1 point if, after the first round, a team is guaranteed to be selected (or is guaranteed the opposite), then they will not participate in the second round of review and their ranking is locked.

Model reports

Chalk Trick problem from IPT 2023. Got 9 out of 10 and passed the preselection

Magnetic Cannon problem from IPT 2016. Got 8 out of 10 and passed the preselection