Judging Pet Peeves

Posted: 11 June 2010

Filed Under: hints and tips

Every year after preliminary and finalist judging we solicit feedback from the judges. The great news is that year after, new and seasoned judges are impressed by the continued quantity and quality of the projects and students they see.

Before you puff yourself up too much, there are some constructive criticisms as well. We strongly suggest you pay attention to what they have to say. These are things that affect your score.

Bigger is Not Always Better

  • There has been an increasing trend in bigger is better project display boards. Don’t have backboards that are “too tall”. Just because you can have a board that’s 78″ tall from the table top doesn’t mean you should. And if you do, use a font large enough to comfortably read from a distance. Judges need to be able to comfortably read all of the text on your project board.
  • We no longer allow “flipbooks” on the display boards. The display must be a single layer.
  • Get to the point! Your project board is the technical brochure of your science project. Similar to a brochure it needs to feature and summarize the most important points. The judges must be able to quickly understand your work and findings. Save the details for your report.

Before adding more text to your display, ask yourself if a good picture or diagram could be used instead


We’re running out of ways to emphasize the importance of abstracts.

  • Abstracts are required in advance of the fair and reviewed by the judges before you arrive at the fair.
  • The abstract of your project is an important essential element of your display.
  • Your abstract should be clear, concise and no more than 250 words. It must be grammatically correct and free from spelling errors (not that this is unimportant elsewhere for your project). Ask for help from your English teacher.
  • Take the extra time to write several drafts of your abstract before deciding on a final version.
  • Bring extra copies of your abstract for the preliminary and finalist judges. Don’t worry about resume quality paper etc., simple xerox copies are sufficient.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.