1. Proofread Your Text
This tip might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s amazing how often students submit their work without proofreading the project first. Judges may deduct points for typos, so don’t let poor spelling cost you the prize!
2. Correctly Use “Effect” Versus “Affect”
Learn the difference between the two words. Remember that “effect” is a noun and “affect” is a verb. (“This is the effect that earthworms had on the growing conditions in Pot #1…” versus “The growing conditions in Pot #1 were affected by the presence of earthworms.”)
3. Forgo Fancy Fonts
Go easy on the judges’ eyes by using crisp, clean fonts that are simple to read.
4. Center the Title
Keep the title in the center panel of your science fair board; a title that wraps around to the left or right sides can distract readers.
5. Get Out the Glue
Using glue on your board helps create a clean and professional appearance. If you need to use tape for models you are designing, use it sparingly.
6. Think Before You Glue
Before gluing down the various text boxes and graphics for your board, try out different configurations to see which looks best. Put the most eye-catching, important material in the center panel.
7. Create a Picture-Perfect Project
A picture’s worth a thousand words—and may help the judges look favorably upon your project. Add photos to your board to tell a visual story about your experiment.
8. Select a Simple Background
Make sure that the judges’ eyes are drawn to the pictures and info on your board rather than on distracting decorations.
9. Balance Your Board
Distribute pieces evenly throughout your project board. You may need to enlarge pictures or add pieces to avoid giant areas of white space. (Too much white space might make your presentation seem incomplete.)
10. Create Tasteful Borders
Highlight the pieces in your project by placing colored construction paper behind the cut outs. Keep borders thin.
11. Choose Complementing Colors
Create a sense of unity by selecting just one or two colors to use throughout your board.
12. Type Out Your Text
Give your project the professional edge it needs to win. Type out every part of your project, from the title to the descriptions. It’s okay to include hand-drawn sketches, but make sure to use a computer program to create graphs and charts.
13. Get It Straight!
Use a ruler to make sure that your pieces are glued on straight. If you plan to glue the pieces at different angles, make sure the design looks intentional and consistent.
14. Create Catchy Titles
Keep titles short, sweet and clever! For example, “A Phosphate Worse Than Death” borrows from the expression, “A fate worse than death.” Sometimes statements and questions are the best science fair project titles.
15. Think Outside the Box
A winning science project doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel. You can choose a new topic or put a new spin to an existing topic.
16. Keep the Science in the Project
Your ability to reason scientifically, use the scientific method and integrate scientific concepts all count towards creating a successful science project. Whether you build a model or perform an experiment, your project must show results. Plan ahead and design an experiment that you’ll have time to complete.
Good luck and have fun!