As an absolute beginner, how do I become really good at VEX?

I want to start doing VEX. However, I have never done anything related to robotics before. How do I become good enough to join my school robotics team at the start of the next school year? What steps do I need to take and what do I need to learn?

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Couple questions, is this really for VIQC, or is it for VRC? (what grade level are you referring to)

A lot of organizations are open to all students, does your school require you to apply? I thought schools had to allow all students for the most part.

If you are having to qualify into a team, the school is the one setting such criteria not RECF or VEX. You will have to see what they are looking for.

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I’ve said this before, but watch tons of videos. See how the top designs were made in each game to accomplish the challenge. If you want to do coding, watch tutorials. Most of them will be in the programming language RobotC, but the change from RobotC to VCS (please don’t do VCS) or VexCode is pretty subtle. Learn all that you can from your own personal research. The Forums is a great place to start as well.


Youtube is your friend, there is much knowledge to gain by absorbing videos.


As everyone has said, you should watch videos of the top tier designs of several of the past games. Also spend some time learning C. That is a really nice language and having a strong foundation on that language will help you pick up almost any other language you might end up needing.

Along with that, look at the VEX competition structure. When I started VEX, I had no idea how anything worked. I didn’t know what Skills was, I didn’t even know that teams had multiple matches. So take a look at those. Finally, if you have any parts or have friends that have parts, it is definitely worth it to try and build some basic things like a drive-base (simple U-chassis with 4 wheels). There is no better teacher than trial and error. Good luck with getting on that team :smile:


I’ve never heard of selective VEX teams, but from what I know, a lot of FRC teams are very selective. A lot of them have interview processes and select only the top few contenders each year.

Their are organizations in certain areas that do have a selection process for students. IMHO these should not exist.

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don’t be afraid to mess up


We have a selection process but really the teachers pick students that want to put In the time and the effort and don’t pay much attention to prior experience.


Then what do you do with the rest of the students? Just not let them get involved because of the teachers opinion on them?

I believe what he was trying to say is that the teachers weed out the kids who aren’t actually going to do anything. We had a big problem with this at my old school where we had 10 teams. Lots of the kids didn’t even want to be there, and their parents just made them come. This resulted in a terrible experience because many teams, including mine, had just 1-2 people actually working.


Your teacher should just put the hard working teams together. The other kids would then weed themselves out.


They started weeding out kids the year after I left, and it’s supposedly way better now.

The first year I did VEX IQ I spread out the hard working kids to all the teams. It was awful. None of the teams were very good, and the kids that were trying hard sometimes couldn’t even go to competition because no one else on their team wanted to go. Now I make sure that the effort of the kids is homogeneous on each team.

What is interesting is that if you put 4 slackers together usually one or two of them will start to try more to avoid being embarrassed. So, the only way to get anything out of a slacker is to put them with other slackers! That’s my $1/50.


THIS. It is extremely frustrating to have a couple kids pulling the rest of the team down. Put the slackers together, and let them work it out.


Sort of, but the application process is of moderate length such that most if not all of the lazy students give up. Only a few are actually turned away and there is at least 3 or 4 other stem related clubs at our school that aren’t selective.
Edit: I will clarify this is VRC not VIQC

If I where you I would start by getting your build quality up, this can be done by building a ton of different things, and then taking them apart and rebuilding them. The most important thing to get round in vex is that you will have to deconstruct your robot and build a different one many times, this can be minimized if you up build quality

The best aspects that a teacher can look for is a student that is willing to learn. Some tips I give to my students are:

  1. Don’t be afraid to try ideas. What you see as a mistake is you discovering a way that didn’t work for you.
  2. Don’t give up on yourself and try different ideas before you settle on what your final design should be.
  3. Be focused and be willing to learn from others. There is no reason you need to reinvent the wheel. If someone has tried an idea, learn from them and make it yours.
  4. Watch videos on previous games to see how teams tackled different challenges. There are many different ways to play the game. Bank shot finals had 2 very different robots in the finals that won the world championships.
  5. It isn’t about how good you are at building or programming. That is what your teacher/coach is there to teach you. Learn the basics and be willing to listen. The best students are those that go that extra mile to learn more. It shows initiative which you seem to already possess.

Wishing you the best of luck and a great 2019-2020 season.


@vexvoltage @sankeydd

This is a thread to help newcomers to VEX how to join their team. Let’s keep it to that. A new thread can be made to discuss opinions on team selection as I know there are a lot of different views on how teams are run.

Best wishes to all of you on the 2019-2020 season.

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And despite how much a student wants to learn, team selection can make or break a season and being on a bad team can make them never want to be a part of the program again. It isn’t just about their individual abilities, or what they can figure out on their own. This is a social thing.

I would even suggest that they reach out to the teacher / coach at this point and let them know how excited they are for the program so they can end up on a team of highly motivated students. It is very difficult to place students that you don’t know on the correct teams at the beginning of the year, and any extra interest that a student shows can result in a better year for that student.

You could even offer to come in and help clean out the lab. The coach would immediately think you’re awesome. I know I would.