Winning science fair projects - What are judges looking for?
To produce an award-winning science fair project, you need to understand how the judges select a science fair winner.
The point scoring system for your science fair may differ from others -- there is no standardized point system -- but in general, most science fair judges use similar method. Usually, they start with a neutral score, not good or bad, and then add or subtract points, depending on the performance of the presenter, to reach a final score. The following list of tips should help you improve your score.
Is your project full of original and well-thought-out ideas? Were you clear in describing the problem you were researching?
Be sure you know your material, especially the content of your final report. Was your science fair project too easy? A difficult or advanced project can make a difference in how the judges evaluate it, and whether or not it becomes a winning science fair project.
Are you knowledgeable about the experiment itself--did you design it and perform the experiments? Having a good command of the technical aspects of your project reflects very well on you.
Know what you're talking about, and know your experimental data, but also know the ins and outs of the experimental apparatus.
Was your data collection scientific and professional? Be sure to use a journal to record data from the experiment. This demonstrates organization.
Did you repeat the experiment? Repetition lends much more reliability to your data. Repeat it if you have time.
Is your use of tables and graphs helpful to the judges in understanding your data? Did you use the tables and graphs correctly and collect enough data to reach a reliable conclusion?
Make sure that you are confident in your final numbers. Science is all about proof.
Are you able to answer the judges' questions knowledgeably and confidently? Be sure to use your display while the judges talk to you. It isn't just a backdrop, it's a visual aid to the information that you've worked so hard to obtain.
Make sure that you explain every element of the board and make sure that the board looks as professional as possible.
ONE LAST TIP
The final judging is mostly subjective. While the judges are looking for a few specific things, the way that you represent yourself and your project, and the way that your display board looks can make the difference between leaving a poor impression, and impressing the judges with your award winning science fair project.