Frequently Asked Questions

1.What should I include on my project board?

Each of the following areas should be identified and explained on your exhibit:

  • purpose of study
  • hypothesis
  • procedure
  • results (data)
  • conclusions
2. What required forms does a student need to enter the science fair?
  • An explanation of the forms required can be found here.
3. Where do I find the required entry forms and rules for the science fair?
  • The first step of registration is the online form at www.rbsef.org
  • Complete, submit and print out for required signatures.
  • Other required forms can be found at the ISEF Document Library
  • Forms can filled out online and then printed out or printed blank to fill in by hand.
 4. How do I know if a student needs more than the required forms?
  • Completing the required Form 1: Checklist For Adult Sponsor/Safety Assessment will alert the sponsoring adult (parent/teacher/advisor) to the possible need to complete additional forms.
  • Most experiments involving NON-HUMAN VERTEBRATE LIFE, ANY BACTERIA, FUNGI, RECOMBINANT DNA, DANGEROUS CHEMICALS will require additional forms.
  • Use the ISEF Rules Wizard for additional help. Other than the online registration, RBSEF uses the same forms as ISEF.
5. What does SRC mean?
  • SRC means Scientific Review Committee
 6.What projects may need PRIOR APPROVAL by the SRC committee before a student can start experimentation?
  • Some projects involving HUMAN SUBJECTS may need prior approval. Search “Human Subjects Risk Assessment Guide” for a Risk Assessment by a school’s IRB committee. This risk assessment will indicate if there is a need for SRC approval by the fair.
7. What is an IRB?
  • IRB stands for INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARD.
  • It is composed of 3 members of the school building or a district group that must include a science teacher, an administrator, and one of the following (medical doctor, psychologist, psychiatrist, registered nurse, or doctor asst.).
  • The IRB can determine if any questionable projects may need prior approval by the science fair’s SRC (Scientific Review Committee). To avoid problems it is best to have ALL projects involving humans, animals, bacteria, fungi and dangerous substance reviewed by the IRB before allowing students to start or enter that project in the fair.
  • Most projects can be cleared by the local IRB.
8. I have a student that needs prior approval by the SRC. Now what!
  • After all required forms are completed and signed, the student or adult sponsor must contact the fair director who will convene the SRC if necessary before the experiment is started.
  • Note: not getting prior approval may result in not being allowed in the fair.
9. Does every student entering a science project need prior approval by the SRC committee?
  • NO, only some projects may need prior approval.
  • A local school’s IRB can determine if there is a need for prior SRC approval. Most projects can be approved by the school’s IRB.
10. What are the science fair divisions in the fair?
  • Junior Division (gr. 6-8), Natural Science or Physical Science
  • Senior Division (gr. 9-12), Botany, Chemistry, Earth and Space, Engineering, Math and Computer, Medicine and Health, Physics, Zoology
  • Descriptions of each category can be found here.
11. What is the entry fee for the fair? 
  • $10 per student, Payable to “RBSEF Inc”.
  • A late registration fee of $10 per student (total $20 registration) will be assessed on students applying to RBSEF after the deadline.
12.  Are group or team projects allowed to enter the science fair?
  • No, no team projects are permitted in the fair.
13.  Where do I send the required signed entry forms and entrance fees?
  • Signed forms can be uploaded at rbsef.org. and entry fees can be paid online.
  • If you prefer to mail forms and fees, you can mail everything to:
    RBSEF                  P.O. Box 13314  Reading, PA 19612
14. What is the deadline due date to send entry forms and fees to the science fair?
  • All forms and fees are due in to RBSEF by the first Friday in March.
15. What items are not allowed to be displayed at the science fair?
  • Check the Prohibited Items list at Display and Safety for the list of items not allowed in the display.
16. How much space do students have to display projects at the RBSEF?
  • Maximum of 36 inches wide 72 inches high by 15 inches deep.
  • Senior Division students my request a space 48 inches wide 72 inches high by 15 inches deep if necessary.
  • Check Display and Safety for a complete explanation of display rules.
17. May I enter my Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science (PJAS) project in RBSEF?
  • Yes, PJAS science competitions are not affiliated with ISEF, so your project is eligible to compete at RBSEF the same year you present it at PJAS.
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