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Here is a list of the top 10 questions mostly likely asked by a science fair judge during the interview process. Thinking about clear and concise answers beforehand will score you points with any judge. I also included hints on what type of information the judge is really looking for:
1. Where did you get this idea?
Highlight all the creative aspects of the project’s development focusing on how your project is unique.
2. What would you do differently next time?
Recognize that all projects have limitations and you could always have done better if you had more time, more resources, better equipment, etc.
3. What would you do next?
Realize all science is built on existing science and propose an example of the next logical experiment
4. What was the hardest part?
If science were easy, it wouldn’t require a college degree. Acknowledge which parts you thought were hard and how you solved the problems that arose.
5. What research did you do?
Describe any reading (or searching) that you did before you wrote your hypothesis. A variation of this question is: Why did you think that would happen? (Referring to the prediction)
6. What was your control?
Demonstrate that you recognize the control, the need for a control, and what the control controlled for (i.e. the independent variable)
7. Why did you do the experiment more than once?
Demonstrate that you understand the concept of variability and that the more an experiment is repeated, the more confidence we have in the accuracy of the results
8. Why are your findings important?
Link your results to the “bigger picture” including who might be interested in your findings.
9. Are your findings significant?
This is a slightly different question. Remember that “significant” has a specific meaning to a scientist (see my “How to talk like a scientist post”)
10. Who helped you?
This sounds like a trick question because you were supposed to do your own project – right? But no scientist works in isolation (and if they did we wouldn’t know about them because they wouldn’t have communicated their results!). Acknowledge your teachers, parents, friends, and anyone else that gave you advice, equipment, or assistance.