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Preparing the Presentation

Students submitting research papers will be selected for one of two types of presentations: Oral Presentation or Poster Presentation.

Oral Presentation

If your research paper is one of the top selected, you will be invited to give an oral presentation at the TJSHS in front of an audience of your peers and UT faculty scientists who are serving as judges. Only those giving oral presentations will be eligible to receive scholarships.

The research presentation must not exceed twelve minutes and will be followed by a maximum six-minute question-and-answer period conducted by the moderators. A session moderator will aid the student speaker in maintaining this schedule and in fielding questions from the audience and judges. The procedure for maintaining the time includes a ten-minute signal for the student, and finally a twelve-minute signal. At the twelve-minute point, the student speaker must stop the presentation even if he or she has not finished.

After the judges have had an opportunity to ask questions, the moderator may open the floor to questions from the audience if time permits. During the six minutes of questioning, the speaker should repeat a question before answering so the audience can understand the entire dialogue. At their discretion, the judges may conduct an interview in private with each presenter for an additional 10 minutes after all presentations have been given before determining the final evaluation scores.

Use of Audio Visuals

RULE 1: Students must prepare their presentation in the PowerPoint format and bring the file on a USB drive or other readable device. The TJSHS will provide the audio-visual projection equipment. Special requests for other media must be made ahead of time to the TJSHS administrative assistant.

RULE 2: The presenter must operate all audio-visual equipment during the presentation. Teachers will not be allowed to assist the students. Student speakers may have assistance in setting up the audio-visual equipment, but may not have any assistance once the presentation starts. Students should practice their presentations without the assistance of an audio-visual operator in case there are technical difficulties.

RULE 3: Students may not have any written handouts on stage during their presentation. Research apparatus may be used if it is integral to the presentation and only if the apparatus is handheld.

Hints for the Oral Presentation

  • You are the expert. No one in the audience knows as much about your research investigation as you. Therefore, remember to explain your research in enough detail so the audience will understand what you did, how you did it, and what you learned.
  • Clearly state your hypotheses and the rationale for your experimental approach. At the conclusion of your talk, summarize the outcomes and conclusions of your work.
  • Whenever possible, avoid jargon or unnecessary terminology. If it is essential to use specialized terms, remember to explain the specialized term briefly. Give your audience enough time to understand what you are trying to convey.
  • Use graphs, tables and other visual representation to help explain your results. Keep them simple and uncluttered. Focus on important information; for example, remember to name the variables on both axes of a graph, and state the significance of the position and shape of the graph line.
  • Deliver your presentation at a comfortable pace. It helps to practice your presentation before a non-specialized audience in order to perfect the presentation and timing. Do listen to the advice of your nonspecialized audience but also get help from a teacher or other advisors as well.

Poster Presentation

Because space will be limited, usually only four to eight students are chosen for oral presentations. Other students will be selected to present their work in a poster presentation format. Posters should be prepared in a manner that summarizes the findings presented in the written paper, including:

  1. Abstract
  2. Introduction and statement of the problem
  3. Methods
  4. Results and figures
  5. Discussion and conclusions
  6. Literature references

The heading of the poster should include the student’s name and high school, the title of the project, and the name of the teacher and/or mentor. The poster size should not exceed 3 by 4 feet.  We are trying to follow as closely to the National Symposium as possible.  Their guidelines can be found at

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