NCB Student Poster Competition


Evaluation and Judging

Students who present posters in the Student Competition will be evaluated in two areas:

  1. Scientific Content (60%)
    • Abstract (maximum of 250 words) from the poster presentation form—Informative, correlation with poster, and grammar (10 points)
    • Scientific Content—Introduction and background with literature cited, objectives, materials and methods (study design), results and discussion, and significance to field.  Quality of research will be judged on its scientific rigor and significance as conveyed by the poster.  Be certain to address why the research was done and why the results are important.  Poster displays must be self-explanatory.  Although judges may discuss poster displays with students, such interaction is not included in the evaluation of the display. (50 points)
  2. Poster Display (40%)
    • Organization—Logical order, minimum redundancy, effective use of space (10 points). Poster dimensions should not exceed 46x46 inches (117x117cm). 
    • Text, Figures, and Tables—Legibility, grammar and spelling, and effective use of graphics (30 points)

Each poster display is judged independently by three judges who were selected by the NCB Student Awards Committee. Judges are encouraged to provide constructive comments for each presentation; however, comments may be very brief or absent because of the limited time available to comment. A sample of the poster display evaluation form is included in this section.

In the event of a tie or a major discrepancy in scores, the judges will meet with the Co-Chairs for the Student Awards Committee to resolve the issue(s). Students who finish in second place will be identified for honorable mention.



Students compete only against the students in their poster display session. The size of each poster session depends on the initial number of posters submitted to a specific Section. Some Sections are subdivided to accommodate the large number of submissions. Others are combined because of the low number of submissions or to maintain the minimum number within a competition group. Note: Posters with be hung using blue masking tape (provided during set-up) for easy removal to avoid damage to the wall’s painted surface.


The Poster

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

  • Focus of attention: The focus of attention must be on the subject content. If the design overshadows the subject matter, the message is likely to be lost. 
  • Size and selection of visuals: Larger visuals attract more attention. Visuals not relevant to the content will distract the viewer. 
  • Density of visuals and text: Too many visuals (pictures) and text (labels) in a small space decreases readers' attention, because each object is in competition with the others. Minimize these to prevent stimulus overload! Generally, a maximum length of 50-75 words per label results in a higher probability of people reading it. 
  • Ability to read text: Letters should be large so that they can easily be read from 2-3 feet away. Letters should be easily read (avoid Old English and other "fancy" fonts.
  • Poster layout:
    • Use a consistent layout with heading and subheading font and size standardized;
    • Use bulleted lists to facilitate reading;
    • Relate the content of the text to the picture it describes;
    • Reduce competing stimuli - Avoid place a large number of labels and visuals next to one another; and
    • Provide good contrast between the text and background (avoid white on white, blue on navy, etc).