Brain Bee Judging Guidelines

(Revised November 3, 2011)

All Brain Bees

Responsibilities of Judges: All judges must follow the Judging Guidelines. A copy of the Guidelines should be made available to the judges before the competition. Individual guidelines using the word “must” are required. Individual guidelines using the word “should” are preferred. If situations arise that are not covered by the Guidelines, judges must make decisions that are fair and equitable for all competitors. All decisions of the judges are final. There is no appeal process. It is the responsibility of the Coordinator to make sure the Guidelines are followed.

Qualifications of Judges: All Brain Bee competitions must have one or more judges.  Multiple judges with different areas of neuroscience expertise are preferred. Judges must have proven knowledge of the human brain. Preferably it should be someone with an advanced degree in neuroscience, psychology, neurology, psychiatry or a similar profession. Judges should not be chosen who have real or apparent conflicts of interest.

Duties of the Judges: Judges should not be given any other concurrent duties. Their attention should be totally focused on judging. Separate volunteers should be used as timers, scorekeepers, and readers of the questions. Scores should be kept, and calculations made, in duplicate, by at least two individuals.

Access to Questions: Judges should have access to the questions and answers before the competition, in order to familiarize themselves with them. Before the competition, judges have the freedom to change questions, remove questions, or alter answers if they find them inaccurate or awkward or beyond their expertise. However, they should not remove them, or skip questions, during the competition. All questions must be related to the science of the brain. Questions regarding other fields, such as politics, music, mathematics, and others, are not allowed unless they are directly related to brain science.

Competition Questions: Questions can be given orally, or visually on a screen seen by everybody, or both. Answers to questions can be oral, written, or both. Different questions can be given to each competitor, or the same questions can be given to all. If different questions are given, reasonable efforts should be made by the coordinator to supply questions of comparable difficulty for each round.

Qualifications of Competitors: Individuals are allowed to compete in only one local Brain Bee competition per year. Coordinators of the next level determine if it is a calendar year or other designation. Usually, a “Brain Bee Year” is based on when the next level of competition occurs. It usually starts after the competition at the next level starts. By its nature, Brain Bees involve individuals competing against each other, not groups. However, group competitions are allowed as an additional activity, but they must not determine who is invited to the next level of competition (local to national, or national to international).

Format: Most Brain Bee competitions are simple question and answer. However, coordinators have the freedom to create competitions that are more complex. For example, they may involve neurohistology with microscopes, neuroanatomy with real brains or brain models, patient diagnosis with actors as patients, simple paper and pencil written tests, brain imaging identification, etc. In all cases, judges must be available to certify that the answers are correct.

Time Allotment: The amount of time given to competitors to complete their answers should be predetermined before any individual question is given. A timing device should be used that has an audible or visual signal indicating that the time is up. If the answers are written, all writing must stop when time is up. If the answers are oral, a competitor should be allowed to complete their answer if they start their answer when time is up.

Ties: Ties for first place should not be allowed. A competition should continue until one individual wins. If after the competition the winner is not able to compete in the next level of competition, then the coordinator must determine a fair method of determining who will advance to the next level. Usually it is the second place winner.

Fairness: Judges should not show bias to any competitor by giving them more time, giving them hints, or specifically choosing questions for certain individuals. Reasonable attempts should be made to eliminate the possibility of cheating. Keep all questions confidential before the competition. Auditory and visual recording devices must not be allowed during the competition. All questions should be kept confidential or destroyed after the competition. When answers are written, barriers should be provided, or seats separated, so as to prevent visual copying of the answers. The appearances of fairness should be maintained at all times.

Specific Local Chapter Brain Bees

Local competitors must be 14, 15, 16, 17 or 18 years of age.

English is the language of the Brain Bee. However, local Brain Bees can be in the local language.

Specific Regional Brain Bees

Regional competitors must be 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 or 19 years of age.

At least two judges are required, preferably in different areas of expertise in the neurological and psychological sciences.

Individuals are allowed to compete in national competitions only once.

English is the language of the Brain Bee. However, regional Brain Bees can be in the respective national language.

Specific International Brain Bees

International competitors must be 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 or 19 years of age.

At least three judges are required, preferably with a diverse range of expertise in the neurological and psychological sciences.

Individuals are allowed to compete in the international competition only once.

English is the language of the Brain Bee. However, if a competitor does not speak English, a translator should be provided by the respective national coordinator or by the competitor. Translators should sign an agreement indicating that they will not give unfair advantage when translating.