What to Expect During the Judging

What Should You Do?

  1. You should prepare an oral summary of the important points in the project which you can present in no more than 60 seconds. Your judges will have already read your Project Presentation, so your summary may remind them of questions that occurred to them earlier.

  2. Following your summary, you may find it useful to prepare several short capsule descriptions of important aspects of your project. You know your project better than anyone, so you should have the best ideas of what is important, but you could prepare answers for such questions as "Where did you get the idea for this project?" "What is special or distinctive about your project?" "What is the next thing you would do with your results?" "What questions has your project now generated?" You might also explicitly prepare for the question you hope the judges will ask.

  3. If yours is a team project, one person should act as the team spokesman at the beginning and present the oral summary. This summary should include the rationale for the project being a group, rather than an individual, enterprise, and how each member contributed. Each member of the group should be fully knowledgeable about the project and be prepared to then discuss his/her part.

What Should You Expect The Judges To Do?

Every interview will be scheduled. This includes interviews by both Category Award judges and Sponsored Award judges. You will receive your personal interview schedule the weekend before the fair. Category Award judges will always speak with you individually. Sponsored Award judges, however, may come individually or in a group.

Many judges prefer to learn about your project by asking questions. Be prepared for them to interrupt your presentation.

What Other Things May Happen During The Judging?

During any of your interviews you may find one or more other people entering and leaving the interview room. These people may include the Category Chair, one of the Directors of Judging, or other fair staff charged with overseeing the smooth operation of the interviews during the day. Since their task is to observe, normally none of them will speak, though the Category Chair may want to ask a question or two about your project, since Category Chairs will not be scheduled to interview any project owing to their other duties.

California Science & Engineering Fair / What to Expect / CSEF@usc.edu