How to be really good at judges interviews?

With SC states coming up soon, I am wondering how some of the top teams get good at judges interviews?

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The same way they get good at anything else… they come up with a plan, they practice, they get feedback, they improve, they practice and they practice some more :wink:

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Any suggestions for practicing interviews? Any methods that have better results or is it just repition

The rubric the judges use is public information. Find those and craft a notebook and spiel based on that. Make sure everyone on the team says something. Make sure the judges can find you (i.e., don’t have the entire team spend 100% of the time at the practice fields). Those are the big points.


our notebook is not a problem right now, we have won three consecutive design awards. Its mostly our interview that we feel is lacking

First get a copy iof the Interview Rubric… its Page 27

Make an outline that addresses all the things the judges are looking for. Divide up the parts among the team. Have everyone get super familiar with their part. Have everyone get familiar with everyone else’s part. Get a volunteer to conduct an interview and score you and then go over it.


If you are winning Design but never Excellence, it could just be that your team’s match and skills performance is lacking.

If you are winning Design your interview must be good too. Both EN and Interview are aspects of the Design Award.

If you know someone who judges, practice in front of them. If not, have an experienced team member or mentor give a mock interview instead. Interviews should sound like a natural conversation with the judges. It is a very good idea to have all your team members speak and contribute to the conversation.

If your team has newer members who might not know everything, make sure they are well versed on the components of the robot and can explain it to the judges.


How has your robot performance been? In the Judge Guide, the key criteria necessary for Excellence Award judging are:

• be at or near the top of the Design Award rankings;
• be ranked in the top 10 or top 30% of teams (whichever is larger) in qualifying rounds
during the last round of qualification matches played;
• be ranked in the top 5 or top 20% of teams (whichever is larger) in Robot Skills;
• rank among the top teams in other judged awards;
• exhibit a high-quality team interview with the Judges;
• exhibit a high-quality robotics program;
• be student-centered, show positive team conduct and dynamics, sportsmanship, and

As @John_TYler and @ChrisR246 mentioned, robot performance is very important to Excellence Award.


If you REALLY want to get excellence, you can set up poster boards and presentation documents for the judges to look at while you interview. but most of the time looking at the judging rubric, practicing interview, but the most importantly is a good notebook helps the most. if your notebook doesn’t have good handwriting your sorta just done.

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Excellence is also heavily based on match play, your tournament record and your auto points. A lot of the time if your auto doesn’t hit consistently or doesn’t best other teams, you may get a lower score than what other teams get. For judging, I’d suggest focusing more time on your strong suits. Refer back to specific pages in the notebook in your interviews, if your better at programming than building, then focus the interview towards your program, or vice versa. Your goal is to wow the judges with whatever your doing, and the best way to do that is show them what you’re best at.

Edit: I’ve noticed your team hasn’t gone flawless this season and the auto points aren’t super high. If you focus autos you’ll have a better chance at winning excellence

This really depends on the judges. Judges are not supposed to take posters and other flashy decorations into account, but poorly informed judges may do so regardless.


Before the season started, we analyzed the design award and excellent award rubrics. Our goal for the season was to win the excellence award at state, so we (a two person team) came up with our order for what we were going to talk about and our transitions. We just used the same interview throughout the course of the season and it gradually got better and better.