Courtesy - I had one of my teams tell judges to “Go away!” well they did… this was at Worlds and impacted our other team. You represent your organization…

See Everything - yes we do - so we an issue is reported by referees/organizers on the field about conduct - pretty sure judges here about it too.

In the Pits - yes, your team captain should get off their laptop and join the team members in the discuss and not just dismiss that the judges are unimportant.

Stay in your pit - this past weekend it was hard to find teams, some thought they were too good to be in their pit - well judges were never able to find the team … they never went back to their pits - too important to get skills run of +1.

Some events will meat with ALL teams and do second interview with second set of judges… Really important to be found.

That said, I am always impressed by the teams I meet who put their best foot forward and articulate how the event is going and how it will change future design.

You are proud of your creation - judges are there to share that joy!


A… team… told the JUDGES… to go away… AT WORLDS…

Why, why, why? I will never understand that. Even if you aren’t doing that well at a competition and think you won’t get an interview, why would you think that a judge is unimportant or to tell them to go away? That goes for anyone, actually. That’s like saying, “Hey coach, we regard your opinion as trash and think that we’ll do better without your help and input.”


What are some sample questions that the judge might ask?

Please scroll up to the 6th post in this thread. There is a link to the judges guide, along with my comments which answer your question…

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Oh ok. Didn’t see that. Thanks!

A little thing I want to add: unless you’re stating your name and team position as an individual, don’t use “I” or “my” or “me” as if you were referring to you doing the work alone.

Even if you aren’t intentionally saying that you were building the robot alone, the judges will immediately catch those three pronouns and that will go against your teamwork.

Try using more “we” and “us” instead, since it shows that the team as a whole contributed.

Bad example: “I decided to add this steel plate to support it,”

That shows that you not only built the steel plate by yourself, but it also shows that you did not consult your teammates about it or have their input.

Good example: “We decided that it would be best to attach the steel plate for support,”

That shows that the team was involved in the attachment of the plate and you discussed this.

Another thing to watch for: don’t try to make your team look bad or say that your team is the best team

Examples: “We fought a lot over decisions,” “I think that our robot is the best in the competition,”

Don’t make your team look bad, even if it’s a joke. You want to show the judges that you are capable and able to work well together as a team, not a dysfunctional team. Besides, why would you want to talk bad about your own team in front of someone who can give you an award for teamwork?

No one robot is more superior than the next, because there are certain flaws in one that could be a virtue in another (ie. Team A has a stacking robot while Team B has a tower robot). It also shows arrogance, which is not a good trait to have.


well there are these things known as claw-bots…


I have to agree. This only applies to TT and Skyrise because robots would have different purposes. However, if u take tp for example, some robots were definitely better than others because it was possible to do everything with one robot.

yeah but not everything better than everyone

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What I said was a comment on the piece of text that was quoted. As an example, if there were two teams with practically identical shooters but one had a cap scorer, then the cap scorer robot would be factually better

Isn’t that literally what judging and competition is for, to rank and determine the best?

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Thank you all so much for the helpful advice.

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Sorry, I should have specified, I meant that certain robots have certain traits and quality that another robot may lack in, that sorta thing.

My team does pretty well in interviews, so I think that I have some good advice for you. I’ll start with the more apparent tips first (please keep in mind that I’m not a judge, I just have more experience with interviews):

Answer the judges questions as truthfully as you can

Don’t make up that you never had to reiterate a design, don’t lie about team roles, just try and be honest. It’s not really a moral thing as much as it is a “you-won’t-have-to-get-the-whole-team-to-make-stuff-up-on-the-spot” thing. For example, if a judge were to ask you how many times you reiterated your design, and you say that you haven’t, or it was only small changes, when you built a WHOLE NEW ROBOT, your team is going to be really confused unless you planned it first. Another reason not to do this is that the judges want to know how you overcome obstacles, make things better, and solve the challenge. Nobody can build a robot first try with zero reiterations whatsoever. The judges will catch onto that, especially if your whole team gives you “the look” after you say something untrue that they weren’t prepared for.

Presentation and Appearance

Obviously, if you’re at a VEX comp and you look a little bit worse than usual, maybe you’re stressed out, whatever, you can’t really do much about that. But judges pay more attention to what you’re doing and saying than what you look like. Keep your hands behind your back while you’re waiting your turn to speak, make gestures when you’re speaking, keep them out of your pockets, don’t fidget or rock back and forth on your feet, act like you’re talking to someone really important, because you are. Judges are pretty much the people that decide whether you qualify or not and that is all of our ultimate goals. Smile and be genuine, look them in the eye, shake hands, introduce yourself and role, be very polite and respond positively to any feedback that they give you.


When you’re speaking, you want to look judges in the eye and smile. But apart from that, you want to make sure that everyone on your team speaks EVENLY and BY THEMSELVES. Don’t cut a teammate off if they say something wrong, wait until they’re done and make up for it. Although, if they’ve already got something major wrong like, “We have an H-drive and built it 2 days ago” instead of “We have an X-drive that we built in the first 2 weeks of practice” that’s probably not going to look good to the judges anyways since your teammates don’t know what’s up.

That’s about all that I can think of off of the top of my head, but I hope that your interviews go well from here on out. Good luck, looking forward to competing with you!


Fantastic advice.

I’ll nitpick one bit though, sorry. :wink: As a Toastmaster for many years, I’d advise learning to get comfortable with your arms hanging comfortably down in their natural position, not behind your back.

Also, I’ll add, feel free to take a breath and gather your thoughts before you answer. If you need to, thank the judges for the question as you formulate your answer in your mind.

If there is a question that someone on the team is really the expert on, feel free to say something like “Thank you for that question about our drive train. RedneckEngineer, would you like to tell them about it?” This will work too if someone on your team hasn’t had a chance to answer yet to get them involved.

A twist on that would be, if you aren’t sure you got it all right, as you finish speaking add “Redneck Engineer, is there anything you want to add to that?”


I actually love this because sometimes my teammate who is kind of quiet sounds like they’re not speaking as much. We all talk equally, but they are quiet and smaller so it feels like they’re not. I love this idea, thank you so much.


Hello again! I have another important question about interviews and it is related to this thread so I am continuing it.

My team has been fortunate en ought to qualify for the State Championships. However we are in a program with 3 other teams, and our mentor suggested that we don’t turn in our Engineering Notebook so we could give the other teams a possibility to qualify for States.

My question is if the judges happen to ask us why we don’t have an Engineering Notebook, should we say that we don’t have one or should we explain that we are giving opportunities for our fellow teams in our organization to qualify.

Thank you.

Simply put, don’t lie. There are a host of complex ethical issues nested in your question, but there is no ethical support for lies. My 2 cents.


@DougMoyers Thank you so much


IMO you should always turn in your notebook
It contains record of all your effort and if the other teams want a chance they should go get it themselves.
I quote halo here “You want breakfast? You gotta catch it!”