Common Facts and Questions

Q: What forms are required for regional competition?
A: This is a two part answer - please read both parts.

Part 1: Grades 6-12
All participants must complete prior to experimentation

  1. a student registration form,
  2. an abstract form,
  3. Form 1,
  4. Form 1A,
  5. a research plan, and
  6. Form 1B and submit these forms to the regional fair by the deadline.

Please be sure that Box 2a on Form 1B is signed by the SRC/IRB Chair for your school. Additionally, if the project involves the use of humans, vertebrate animals, microorganisms, biohazards, dangerous chemicals or activities, additional paperwork may be required. See the ISEF rules and regulations for exact paperwork needed or visit the FORMS wizard (

Part 2: Grades K-5
All participants must submit

  1. a student registration form and
  2. an abstract (combined into one form).

This can be done online. It is at the discretion of the teacher to determine if a research plan is needed. Additionally, if the project involves the use of humans, vertebrate animals, microorganisms, biohazards, dangerous chemicals or activities, Forms 1, 1A, a research plan and 1B as well as other additional paperwork may be required. See the ISEF rules and regulations for exact paperwork needed or visit the FORMS wizard (

Q: If the project has photos, is there anything we need to do as far as identifying them?
A: This is a two-part answer – please read both parts.

Part 1: The student researcher can be identifiable in the photos. However, no straight on face shots are allowed. If others are in the photos, he/she must have a photo release from the others in the photo. In addition, their faces and such must be blurred in order to make them unidentifiable – especially if they are minors.

Part 2: As with all Graphs, Tables and pictures and trademark logos on a display, you must acknowledge who made them. For instance: Emily Thompson has graphs that her dad made for her, she simply has a small strip of paper next to it saying "Graph created by John Thompson using Microsoft Word". If the student did all the photography, table creation and graphing displays, a simple table tent or small note at the bottom of the board can state "All graphics, tables and photos by the researcher using Microsoft Excel and iPhone'. Without these statements, students will be disqualified by display and safety and not be allowed to compete. (Please refer to ISEF rules)

Q: Do we bring our own tables or will they be provided? What about chairs?
A: Tables are provided for all presenters. You will be provided a space that is a little bigger than 3 ft x 3 ft.  A limited number of chairs will be available.

Q: Can I have live flowers or plants as part of my display since that is what I studied?
A: No. Please refer to the display rules in the ISEF rules book (available on the resources page of this website). Items prohibited include but are not limited to: glass ware, plant materials (live or dead), soil samples, animals, animal products, taxidermied animals or furs, food products (including fruit or vegetables used to power clocks) nor chemicals of any kind including water.

Q: Can I bring my PSP or Gameboy to play with? What about my iPod? iPad? iPhone? Cell Phone?
A: No. No. and No. We have prohibited the use of any electronic devices including cell phone
during judging times. We have too many problems with them. A book is an excellent substitute – or try a Sudoku or crossword puzzle. If you are found to be using an electronic device during judging times, you may be disqualified. There is an exception to this rule. If your project required the use of an electronic device, you may pick up an electronic permission slip at the registration desk. If you do not have an electronic permission slip, you will be disqualified. However, the electronic device is only to be used during judging. It is recommended that you do not leave the electronic device unattended. Please Note: Region V MSEF staff, judges, volunteers, Bagley College of Engineering associates, and/or Mississippi State University are not responsible if the item is damaged or stolen. It is the student's responsibility.

Q: What does each student need to bring?
A: Each student will need to bring their display board, log book, and other items that qualify for display. Students should also bring a book to read or other activity. We do not allow electronic games or other expensive items as we cannot guarantee their safety. Students are welcome to bring a water bottle but they need to be stored under the table, out of sight from their display.

Q: What will parents be doing?
A: Absolutely NO PARENTS allowed on or near the judging floor. 
During judging, parents and teachers will be required to stay in the designated area in the coliseum away from the judging areas. Please plan on sitting for quite a while. Common activities for parents include: listening to music, reading, texting and sleeping. Students will be required to leave the judging areas during lunch time.

Q: What about lunch?
A: The coliseum concessions will be open for a limited time, usually 10:00 AM-1:00 PM. Some schools select to bring lunches or purchase lunch from a local restaurant as a group. Please speak with your student’s teacher regarding this topic. However, no outside food is allowed in the Coliseum (University Policy).

Q: What should parents do to support their child in this event?
A: The most important thing a parent can do is support their student. Give honest feedback and praise for work well done. Not everyone will win, but your student should be congratulated for being selected to attend the Regional Fair. Additionally, be assured that the judges and fair personnel do their utmost to be objective and fair in all cases. Feeding a child’s disappointment with unjustified complaints can lead to discouragement and unfounded frustration with the learning process. If you feel there is a real issue that needs to be addressed, the key teacher from your school has a procedure for concerns. Review the rules with your student. We often find that students and parents who do not, often have issues with their projects including violations for having plants, animal products and soil samples at their display which can lead to disqualifications.

For complete rules visit:

Q: What are the judging criteria?
A: It is very important to keep in mind the criteria you will be judged on when creating you project, display and presentation. Be sure that you have answers to all of the criteria on your board on in your presentation. Judges focus on creativity and presentation. For a complete list of judging criteria, visit the volunteers and judges tab on the Home Page or the link above.

Q: Who will compete at state competition and is there anything additional required for state competition?
A: Only students in Grades 7-12 who placed 1st, 2nd, or 3rd at the regional competition qualify to compete at the state competition. No additional fees or paperwork are needed for state competition. Please Note: Schools or participants are responsible for travel costs associated with transportation, lodging, meals, etc. for students competing at the state competition.

Q: What if my school does not have a science fair? Can I still participate in science fair? 
A: Yes. You will have to register as an individual. You will have to fill out all proper paper work prior to experimentation. Submit the paperwork to the Regional Director, Shana Lee. The paperwork will be submitted to the University SRC/IRB board for review. REMEMBER, this must be done prior to experimentation. It would be best to contact the Director as soon as possible to prevent disqualification.