Notebook setup/layout

I have a few good robot ideas that need to be put in “notebook form.” This is my first time creating a notebook, and I would like to know what judges look for in a competition notebook? More writing, more diagrams? Are there any well-known notebook layout designs that I should use?


Please look at similar threads already in the forums, like maybe this one: What is the best piece of advice you could give for an engineering notebook to be successful?

Most important, read the judge’s guide, especially the EN rubric:


There are also some great videos to refer to as well as old threads.

[details="Some Videos, the same ones may be in the resources tab down below too "]


There really isn’t an exact ‘right’ way to do a notebook, just make sure you explain what you did, why you did it, what you will do, and don’t go back and change any information. Your really just trying to express your thought process/design process on paper as a recorded document.

Also, it is good to have both words and pictures, words to explain pictures and pictures to help visually add and support what you are writing and to show designs.

Like @kmmohn said, refer to the judges rubrics, those will help you and you could also refer to (unit one) which just List and explains in depth steps of your process to include and why.

One thing I have learned from my last notebook is take your time to avoid simple mistakes, but it’s okay if there are little mistakes such as spelling or grammar or in that diagram the line is a little crooked. But always use a ruler and i would do all hand done drawings in pencil first to avoid mistakes then go over in pen.

Also, it is good to as the judges rubric for design award says to put stuff about the game itself at the front of the notebook and you may also want a sample notebook page to people know how to read your notebook.

Here are some resources I have collected over the past few months to look at for my own notebook, some don’t work btw or aren’t the best

7842F Engineering Notebooks and Programs

Format of an Engineering Notebook



2915A Engineering Notebook 2016

Layout similar to mine
  • sample page
  • stuff about the game
  • game brief
  • brainstorming

Then for the rest of the notebook, I put date, Attendance, time, what was done, why, how, what steps will be taken in the future, and programs from that day, diagrams/pics of builds that day, explainations of the Build, labels parts, etc.

Then for competitions, I put stuff about each of our matches such as who, what teams, strategy’s my team had, why it worked or didn’t work, awards, then reflection of the entire thing and what needs to change or improve.

  • for programming like autonomous, I do draw pictures to visually represent what the robot is doing and explain what we chose this exact path such as it gets the most points in our capabilities or even if one part messes up, the entire thing won’t be ruined, or something

Most important tip: keep up with the notebook but don’t stress about it too much and have fun


And all of you reading this, don’t forget: this includes your analysis of the game and why you think the way you chose to play the game will be successful


Exactly @John_TYler, why you did everything you did, and why what you did is good. The best tip I have ever gotten was; if you handed your notebook to a 7 year old with no vex knowledge what’s so ever, they should be able to replicate your robot exactly and know why it is how it is and why having like that is good. (Assume the 7 year old can read pretty well). I could not count how many simple questions I have asked my teams builder and programmer that are along the lines of “why is having a direct drive better than a drive train” or “why exactly do the motors need to be 200 rpm” or even “why does a dr4b have a faster expansion than a 4bar” because even though simple things like this look non important to explain, someone with no vex knowledge looking through your book might not understand why you did something but the notebook is there so someone else can see why you did exactly what you did