- How will the judging work?
- Judging at the California State Science Fair means personal
interviews with the judges. Every participant at the
Fair will be interviewed by several Fair judges, and may during
the same judging time see various Special and/or Recognition
Awards judges. Since the arrangement at the State Science Fair
may be different from your county or regional fair, let me
break this into several areas.
Schedule: All judging will take place on
Tuesday morning as follows:
All interviews between judges and participants will take place
only during the two judging sessions. Students must be present
for the entire time interval. Your judging panel will be
meeting in the judges' room during the break and after the end
of the judging period, so no other interviews will be required
of participants (with the single exception of candidates for
the CSSF Student of the Year Award, whose interviews are
scheduled elsewhere during the afternoon).
08:30 am First Judging Session
10:30 am Break
11:00 am Final Judging Session
12:30 pm Judging Ends
- Who are the judges?
- On Tuesday morning you will receive at your project display
a list of the Category Award judges for your panel and their
qualifications. These judges are recruited by the Fair for
these Fair awards. At the beginning of the first judging
session the chair of your judging panel should inform you as to
how many judges there are and how many interviews you may
expect, since the number will depend upon both the number of
projects and of judges.
In addition, you will see many judges who represent independent
corporations and scientific and engineering societies and who
are interviewing for Special and Recognition Awards. These
judges will not interview every student because they
are deciding awards with selection criteria set by each
independent awarding organization. The nametags of judges for
Fair and Special and Recognition awards will
distinguish between the two.
- What will they ask me?
- The judges are interested in what you have personally
accomplished in doing your project. They may begin by asking
general questions about your goal in the project, but will be
most interested in your answers to specific questions about
details of your work which they will only discover when
speaking with you. Your original laboratory notebook
should be present during the interview period, though it does
not need to be left with your display either before or after
The best science projects lead not only to new understanding,
but also to new questions about possible relationships or
connections that may not have been suspected before. In light
of this, many judges will conclude their interview with you
with questions about where the project may lead next. It is
not necessary that you would take this step, but you
should at least think through what the next step could be.
- Why do the judges keep interrupting? Don't they like my
- The judges understand that many students have prepared
speeches describing their work, but will nevertheless interrupt
these speeches when it is important for their understanding.
You should expect these interruptions as normal, and not as
some sign that the judges didn't like your project.