VEX Starstruck will be my third season in VRC however I have never been on a team that has won the excellence award at any competition. I know in the past seasons our teams have not had the best engineering notebooks but also not done the best at our interview’s. From your personal experience do judges prefer a scripted presentation or a general overview followed by answering their questions.
Judges will always hate scripted presentations, however if you can work with you team to put certain people on certain topics and let them learn about that one specific part, then the judges will learn more, and have a much better time with your team.
Gonna have to agree with that. Also make sure that everyone is talking at some point. If one or more of your teammates stays silent it won’t bode well with the judges. And remember, stick to what make your robot unique, everything counts even the smallest pieces.
I am pretty sure we won judges award and not design award at states because my group was horrible at presenting.
Hey! We won the High School Excellence Award at the 2016 Worlds so I’d be glad to help you out!
We prepared ourselves for a Q+A format interview, however when our interview began, the Judges asked for a presentation. Although we didn’t expect it, due to the amount of preparation we did, we were able to speak confidently and produce a good presentation for the judges. Based on our interview, here’s some tips:
Preparation is key. Your entire team should go to the Excellence Interview and everyone should be able to speak confidently. We put together some documents with information about our season and what we did for the community. We got each member to read through them several times, and got each member to learn a different part so that when it came to the interview, instead of having just one person speak, everyone could have something to say and it would all come together cohesively.
Try to make it interactive and visual. The Judges asked us about what we did for the community and also what we did during the season. We were able to answer both of these questions together by showing them our website. We told them that we came 2nd place in the Website Challenge and then we showed them our Outreach stuff and our Gallery containing images of us throughout the season, including our Outreach efforts with things like mentoring Juniors and going to Elementary schools. When talking about your robot, point to the different things and show them. If they see it, they’ll understand it better and know that you too understand it well.
Talk about your Outreach and Season. The Excellence Award takes into account how you’ve done this season and what you do to give back to the community. This year we were focused on our Outreach program so we were able to talk to the Judges about how we mentor a group of Junior students in our school, how we go to Elementary and Middle schools around area and bring them some basic Lego Mindstorm kits to introduce them to robotics, how we help other teams in NZ with robotics and how we go out to local businesses to increase the presence of robotics.
Make sure everyone has a good understanding of your robot. During our Interview, the Judges asked us several questions about our robot and code. Because everyone in our team was familiarised with our robot, each one of us could answer the questions well. Some questions asked were: “What is your favourite part on your robot”, “What is one feature of your robot that makes it unique” and “If you could change something on your robot, what would it be”. We talked about our different design choices and related them back to how it affected gameplay and strategies. Get someone who’s confident with your code to talk about it. The Judges at our interview were interested in our Velocity Control code and our Programmer was able to confidently reply.
4.Have fun. Seriously, no one likes a dull interview/presentation. Luckily for us, we all had great chemistry together and we saw that the Judges were really engaged and hooked into everything that we said. At the end of the presentation, the Judges asked us for the name of our robot. Instantly, we all began to laugh because our robot’s name was ‘Bangsta Wap’. When we explained how we got that name, we could see that the Judges too had tears in their eyes!
^ This is gold right here
Get a good engineering notebook and reference to it in the interview. The past few years we have taken my iPad into the interview and showed Autodesk on it, this is very impressive to judges. Tell them about your design process and use words like “design process” “Engineering process”. Look through the judges rubric and see what you think you need to improve on. Actually move the different parts of the robot as you talk about them. Have a different person talk about each part of the robot, the judges are always looking for a team knowledge not just haw much the geek knows. ALWAYS act professionally, never talk over anyone or whisper in the background, and use professional speech. Tell what is unique about your robot, why you chose you design. NEVER read or memorize what you are going to say, it is good to have a general idea but do not memorize.