How to Impress BASEF Judges Part 2 blog post image
14 Feb 2020

How to Impress BASEF Judges (Part 2)

Preparing for Judging

No two judges will approach your project from the same perspective. They come from different personal and professional backgrounds. They might not have judged at this type of competition before, or they might not be informed about your topic. That being said, all judges try to determine your ability to conduct and communicate original, meaningful research.

You have less than 15 minutes to convey your information during an interview, and you want to leave judges with the impression that you are confident, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic.

Some questions judges may ask during an interview:

  • Why did you choose this topic and how did you settle on your approach to the problem?
  • How and why did you decide on this experimental/engineering design?
  • What was the most surprising challenge you faced during this science project? How did you overcome it?
  • What were your goals with this project and did you meet your goals?
  • If your tests had shown different results than expected, what would you have done? Why?
  • For pair projects – The great thing about working together is the collaboration between people. What would you say was the most important skill or idea each of you had while working on the project?

What are judges looking for?

  • Creativity/originality: is the work novel?
  • Scientific thought: did you demonstrate the scientific method and use it appropriately?
  • Background information: do you have knowledge of previous work in the field?
  • Skill: did you designed and carry out the experiment/work yourself?
  • Thoroughness: is the work complete?
  • Clarity: can you discuss all aspects of your project logically and knowledgeably?
  • Teamwork: was each member of the team fully involved? Does each person understand all aspects of the project?

You may find it helpful to review the Judge’s rubric at

Interview tips:

Get started immediately

Introduce yourself then provide a good overview of your project, but be prepared to stop and answer questions at any time.

Don’t ignore a question

If you’re in the middle of a speech and a judge asks you a question, immediately begin to answer it. Interviews are time-limited

Practice what you have to say about your science project

It is very important to relay information confidently and succinctly. But remember, a judge wants more than just a prepared speech. If a judge asks you a question, they want you to think about points to discuss, not specific sentences. Drop your prepared speech and have an intelligent (but concise!) discussion.

Don’t let silence last

If a judge appears to be out of questions, then you should keep the conversation going. Create opportunities to convey how much you know about your science project. Mention challenges, details, applications.

Talk about the process and not just the product. To evaluate your thought process and logic, a judge must understand not only your results but also how you got there.

Be Professional

Have a neat, professional-looking poster and dress nicely for the fair. While you should do your project yourself, it’s fine to enlist help from a parent or teacher in putting together a poster and an outfit. You are not being graded on your appearance, but taking pride in your appearance will help you radiate confidence. Neatness counts for marks since good organization facilitates the judge’s understanding.

Answer Questions

You can impress the judges by answering their questions politely and completely. Be confident. Nobody knows your project better than you. If you don’t know the answer to a question, admit it and try to offer a way you could come up with the answer.

Did you check out Part 1?

Part 1 covered the high-level concepts; be original, understand your project, think about potential applications, etc. Together, these posts guide you through the basic skills for judging day. Now it’s time to get out there and strut your stuff!

See you at the fair!