How do you bounce back after defeat?

Questions related to preparing to attend an advanced competition. Experts will answer your questions and provide advice based on their first hand experience competing at advanced competitions. Talk to other students who will be attending and prepare together.

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How do you bounce back after defeat?

Postby dancingpenguin99 » Mon Oct 25, 2010 1:36 pm

After slaving over my research project and paper for about 2 years, I was relieved to send it off to Siemens earlier this month. On the 22nd, I looked and saw that I did not reach the semifinalist stage. My question is, with so many competitions that I'm planning to enter, how do I improve my paper so that I have a better chance at being selected? What are the judges looking for?
dancingpenguin99
 
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Joined: Mon Oct 25, 2010 1:32 pm
Occupation: Student: 12th grade
Project Question: Does the schizophrenia susceptible KCNH2 isoform, KCNH2-3.1, regulate synaptogenesis because of it's abnormal cortical physiology?
Project Due Date: Neuroscience Researh - Nov. 1, 2010; JSHS- Nov. 5th, 2010; Intel STS- Nov. 17th, 2010; Science Montgomery- Feb. 2011
Project Status: I am finished with my experiment and analyzing the data

Re: How do you bounce back after defeat?

Postby agm » Mon Oct 25, 2010 3:39 pm

Hi dancingpenguin99,

Welcome to the forum. Congrats on finishing such a big project -- that takes a lot of dedication and it sounds like you have a great attitude!

We have an Advanced Project Guide here that should have some useful recommendations for you: http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-f ... ndex.shtml

Whenever I've participated in a science fair as a competitor or judge, the judges have had the opportunity to write out comments to individual students. These can be a good source of constructive criticism -- do you expect to receive any feedback like that from Siemens?

Sometimes judges are constrained to give numerical ratings in very specific categories, so if you can get your hands on the scoring rubric for each competition you're entering you might be able to tailor your presentation accordingly.

Amanda
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Re: How do you bounce back after defeat?

Postby dancingpenguin99 » Tue Oct 26, 2010 6:55 am

Thanks for your reply Amanda,

I did not recieve anything back from Siemens except a letter of recognition from collegeboard.

I have seen the advanced project portion of the website but I haven't been able to find anything that would pertain to me, as I am done with my project. I'm thinking that maybe style was the issue? Or maybe it was too lengthy and not organized enough? Some other sites I've looked at also told me that always write in the active voice though it is not conventional for traditional science papers. What do you think?
dancingpenguin99
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Oct 25, 2010 1:32 pm
Occupation: Student: 12th grade
Project Question: Does the schizophrenia susceptible KCNH2 isoform, KCNH2-3.1, regulate synaptogenesis because of it's abnormal cortical physiology?
Project Due Date: Neuroscience Researh - Nov. 1, 2010; JSHS- Nov. 5th, 2010; Intel STS- Nov. 17th, 2010; Science Montgomery- Feb. 2011
Project Status: I am finished with my experiment and analyzing the data

Re: How do you bounce back after defeat?

Postby agm » Tue Oct 26, 2010 8:15 am

Hmm, well since it sounds like you received the news relatively recently, it could be the case that they haven't sent out any feedback yet. You could try contacting Siemens to ask if you'll receive judges' comments.

I have seen the advanced project portion of the website but I haven't been able to find anything that would pertain to me, as I am done with my project. I'm thinking that maybe style was the issue? Or maybe it was too lengthy and not organized enough?


Since you seem concerned about your paper, it could be helpful to look over the tips on writing, and it's not too late to tweak your data analysis and conclusions.

http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-f ... port.shtml
http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-f ... ysis.shtml
http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-f ... tips.shtml
http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-f ... tips.shtml (for competitions where you make a presentation in person)
http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-f ... cess.shtml

It's hard to say what problems there might have been with your style, length or organization without seeing your report. Occasionally students post reports here requesting feedback and usually some expert will find time to take a look. Based on the project question in your profile, you'd probably have the best visibility by posting in 9-12 Life Sciences -- but definitely specify that you're entering advanced competitions.

Some other sites I've looked at also told me that always write in the active voice though it is not conventional for traditional science papers. What do you think?


It's becoming more common to see the active voice in peer-reviewed publications in some circumstances. "We present new data regarding..." sounds normal to me, but "I prepared samples according to the following procedure..." does not; I'd expect to read "Sample were prepared...". Generally, writing mostly in the passive voice is a safe option; the active voice might sometimes simplify sentence structure and make things sound more natural, but you risk sounding amateur-ish. Having lots of people, esp some who regularly read peer-reviewed papers, read over your paper is a good way to check for this.

Looking at judging rubrics and examples of successful papers for each competition you're entering would also help with this issue.

Amanda
agm
Former Expert
 
Posts: 289
Joined: Mon May 05, 2008 10:34 am
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