NCB Student Oral Competition Guidelines


Evaluation and Judging

Student who present oral ten-minute papers (TMPs) in the NCB Student Competition will be evaluated in two areas:

  1. Scientific Context (60%)
    • Abstract (maximum of 250 words) from the paper presentation request form (10 points)
    • Presentation content (50 points)
  2. Presentation (40%)
    • Organization (10 points)
    • Slides (10 points)
    • Delivery (20 points)

The letter scale used is similar to those of classroom instructors or granting agencies: E = Excellent or "A", VG = Very Good or "B", G = Good or "C", F = Fair or "D", and NI = Needs Improvement or "F". Numerical scores are proportioned accordingly. Each paper is judged independently by three judges selected by the Student Awards Committee. In the event of a tie, the judges will be with the Co-Chairs of the Student Awards Committee to resolve the issue(s). First, second, and third place will be identified during the awards ceremony. 

A Sample TMP Evaluation Form is available for reference.



Students compete only against the students in their session and not against other students in the same section/subsection but assisgned to a different session. Students have been grouped into judging sessions (held in different rooms) that typically include no fewer than 5 and no more than 15 students. The size of each session is dependent upon the initial number of TMPs submitted to a specific section or subsection. If is student cancels a presentation after the program is printed, the moderators announce the cancellation and must wait the full 12 minutes before resuming the competition. We strongly encourage students to avoid cancellation to prevent disruption of the program. 

Each presentation is allotted a total of 12 minutes - 10 minutes for the presentation and 2 minutes to address questions from the audience. Moderators are instructed to enforce the time limit, and the moderator will stop a presenter who exceeds the time limit of 12 total minutes. Please time your presentation accordingly to avoid this embarrassing situation. Also, speak clearly and loudly so both the audience and the judges can hear what you have to say.


Suggestions for Presenters

Visual aids can significantly enhance or severely diminish the effectiveness of your presentation. The following guidelines are general considerations:

  • Avoid red-green combinations. Approximately 10% of men and 0.4% of women have some form of red-green color-blindness. If in doubt, print the figure or slide on a black and white printer. This visual is what a severe red-green deficient viewer will see. (Remember, this person may be a judge.)
  • Enhance contract between background, text, and figures, but do not use excessive contrasts. Avoid dark-colored text and figures on dark-colored backgrounds and light-colored text and figures on light-colored backgrounds. Avoid bright contrasts that are figuratively or literally painful to view. 
  • Use large and legible text fonts. Text should be read easily from at least 10 meters away (minimum 18 point font, Arial). Use easy to read, san serif fonts like Arial. Do not crowd slides with text. 
  • Simplify graphs anda tables or consider alternative visuals. Complex graphs and tables filled with an excess of numbers are difficult to read and will detract from an explanation of results. 
  • Project your draft visuals in a large room to check legibility and color conrasts.