Online Registration

This book covers everything you need to know about registering for the Mercer Science and Engineering Fair. You can access the main science fair page (presented when you log in) using Home / Registration from the main menu on each page.

The book is divided into a number of sections. You do not need to read all the sections since many are designed for forms that are only used for some projects. If you start at the beginning then you can check out the basics and move onto other details as necessary. Check out the Overview and Getting Started sections first.

First some key points:

The details associated with these points and other registration details are covered in the rest of this book. There are also links from the online registration forms into this book so you do not check out these pages if you are not using those forms

Overview

The fair registration process includes using our blank fair forms and completing the online registration process. A website account is required and can be created at any time.

The general process goes like this:

  1. Decide to do a science fair project
  2. Choose a topic
  3. Research the topic
  4. Decide on a project
  5. Make sure that the project is allowed (this differs depending upon the division/grade)
  6. Create a hypothesis for the project
  7. Create a detailed research plan
  8. Junior and Senior divisions only: Optional precertification is normally done for animal, human or biological projects. Read the precertification section for details.
  9. Junior and Senior divisions only: Download blank fair forms. Student fills out most forms before starting the project. If Form 1C is required then it is completed after the project is finished. Get forms signed.
  10. Start experiment and record your data
  11. Finish project
  12. Write abstract
  13. Create online application. This can actually be done any time prior to this point. 
  14. Complete online by the posted due date (see Fair Dates).
    Elementary division: Print MSEF Elementary application and sign it. It is easiest to print this form from the online application. Alternatively, the blank MSEF Elementary application form can be printed and filled in manually.
    Junior and Senior divisions only: Upload your PDF files or scanned copy of the printed forms for all ISEF forms needed for your project.
  15. Print out the MSEF forms including the check-in letter, check-out letter, MSEF Research Plan and MSEF Abstract.
  16. Project setup for the fair.
    Everyone should bring their MSEF forms to the fair.
    Elementary division: Should also bring the signed copy of the MSEF Elementary application. 
  17. Note: Elementary division students can fill in their printed forms after they complete their project. Junior and Senior division students must have their forms filled in and signed BEFORE experimentation begins.

You can create one or more online applications using the online registration system so parents, mentors or teachers can create multiple online applications with a single account. You can get an account at any time. You may use the same account from a previous year. Request your password using your email address if you do not remember an old password.

There is no cost to use the website or to compete in the fair.

Getting Started

The process for registerinig for the fair depends upon what grade you are in. The Elementary division students (grades 4-5) use one method while Junior (grades 6-8) and Senior (grades 9-12) division use another. These are enumerated in the next section.

Elementary Division

There are two ways to get started with the Elementary division registration. These are:

  1. Fill out application online, print the form, sign it and bring it to the fair (recommended)
  2. Print out the blank  form, fill it in manually, sign it, transcribe the contents to an online application, bring the printed application to the fair

We recommend the first approach since it minimizes the amount of work. You will need to get an account on this website at which point an online application can be created.
The alternative is to start with a blank form. This is often the case if the form is provided by the school.
In either case, please check out the restrictions on Elementary division projects.

Junior and Senior Division

Junior and Senior division students use the same registration procedures and forms. Check out the Junior division overview and Senior division overview for specifics on projects.
Sorry but we essentially need two copies of the information on the ISEF forms required to enter the fair. One copy is the onilne registration application. The other copy is the data on the forms themselves. This must be uploaded as part of the online application. The main difference is the latter has written or digital signatures for the student and adults they worked with.
There are three ways to register:

  1. Start online: Enter the data in the online registration application first then download the information to the ISEF PDF file
  2. Start with MSEF file: Fill in the Mercer Science and Engineering Fair ISEF form PDF file
  3. Start with ISEF forms: Fill in the ISEF forms and transcribe the information to an online registration form

The first two methods will require the student to enter the data once. The last requires the information to be entered twice. In all cases, the forms and most of the signatures should be completed before experimentation starts.
All projects must include a research plan, Form 1, 1a and 1b. An abstract must be completed AFTER the project is completed. Everyone should run through the ISEF Rules Wizard to determine if additional forms are required.

Start Online

Starting with an online application is probably the easiest way to handle the registration process. The process steps include:

  1. Download the blank ISEF forms PDF file
  2. Fill in the forms (digitally or printed)
  3. Get an account on this website
  4. Create an application
  5. Transcribe the filled in forms to the online application
  6. Upload the forms
    • The PDF file can either be signed digitally or printed and then signed. Digitally signed forms can simply be uploaded to the online application.
    • For a printed version, scan or photograph the signed forms. These can be PDF, JPG, GIF or BMP files. Upload the digitized version of the forms.

Start with MSEF File

The Blank Forms section contains ISEF forms created for the Mercer Science and Engineering Fair. They are PDF files that are designed to be filled in using Adobe Acrobat. They also include a feature to upload the contents of the file(s) to our website. You will have to create an online account before the information can be uploaded. In general, the upload process should be done once.
The PDF file can then be digitally signed and uploaded or printed, scanned and uploaded.

Start With ISEF Forms

Many students will have already printed and filled in the ISEF forms and then want to register for our fair. In this case the process is:

  1. Create an online application and transcribe the contents of the ISEF forms to the online application
  2. Scan or photograph the ISEF forms and upload them as part of the online application

Blank Forms

Students should get started with the following forms based on their grade (see below).

Online registration is also required for all divsions using the information entered on the following forms.

After completing the online registration process you will be able to print a check-in, check-out, research plan and abstract forms that are brought to the fair when you set up your project. Elementary division students will also print out their fair application that must be signed and brought to the fair. Junior and Senior division students must upload their signed forms as part of the online application process.

Your application is not complete until you can print these out.

Division Grade Blank Forms Deliver Forms
Elementary 4-5 Elementary sample form** bring to fair
Junior 6-8 Junior and Senior forms online
Senior 9-12 Junior and Senior forms online

** This is only a sample form for Elementary division students. Elementary division students should register online. The last step will be to print the filled in version of this form that is then signed and brought to the fair. It does not need to be uploaded as required for the other divisions

Junior and Senior division students start with the Junior and Senior forms that include ISEF Forms 1, 1a, and 1b plus a detailed research plan. All forms are now uploaded to your online account. We no longer require forms to be mailed to us. You only need to bring the check-in, research plan and abstract form when you set up your project.

Note: our Junior and Senior forms allow you to save your information and to upload this information to our website to create your online application. If you use the ISEF forms from the ISEF website you will need to manually transcribe their contents to an online application on our website.

Junior and Senior division students should also use the ISEF Rules Wizard (see Fair Info in the right column) before they start their projects to determine whether they need to provide more than the basic set of ISEF forms. Most projects only require the basic set of forms. Others may require one or two additional forms. Rarely do projects require more. Additional ISEF forms can be found at the Intel ISEF Document library. We recommend that you use the MSEF ISEF forms because these allow the contents to be posted into your online application.

Form 7 is required for any project that is a continuation. A continuation is usually any project where the student participated in the fair the year before in the same category.

Students, teachers and mentors should read the ISEF rules to make sure their project will qualify for the fair. Our fair follows the ISEF rules.

Check out our calendar for the dates for registration and the fair.

Contact us if there are any questions.

Additional ISEF Forms

The following are MSEF versions of the additional ISEF forms that allow uploading of the contents of the forms from these PDF files in the same fashion as the basic files listed above. These forms are only needed for some Junior and Senior division projects and are not used for any Elementary division applications. Use the ISEF Rules Wizard to determine which, if any, of these forms are needed for your project.

AttachmentSize
ISEF_2017_Basic_Forms.pdf187.12 KB
ISEF_2017_Form_1c.pdf96.4 KB
ISEF_2017_Form_2.pdf97.51 KB
ISEF_2017_Form_3.pdf76.27 KB
ISEF_2017_Form_4.pdf169.62 KB
ISEF_2017_Form_5a.pdf90.7 KB
ISEF_2017_Form_5b.pdf92.37 KB
ISEF_2017_Form_6a.pdf97.17 KB
ISEF_2017_Form_6b.pdf88.99 KB
ISEF_2017_Form_7.pdf94.62 KB

Filling in Forms

The Elementary MSEF application and ISEF forms for the Junior and Senior divisions are Adobe PDF that works with the latest version of the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.Filling in the forms is just the first step to entering the fair. An online application must also be created and all the information on these forms must be entered online as well.

The Elementary division students should use the Acrobat Reader to print out the forms, fill them in including signatures and bring them to the fair.

Junior and Senior division students should do the following.

There are three ways to work with the ISEF forms:

  1. Fill in the forms using Adobe Acrobat and use it to digitally sign the forms. The online help for the Adobe Acrobat program provides information on how to digitally sign a form. Upload these file.
  2. Fill in the forms using Adobe Acrobat, print the forms and sign the printed forms. Upload the scanned or photographed forms.
  3. Print out the blank forms, fill them in and sign the printed forms. Upload the scanned or photographed forms.

The files are uploaded one at a time using the Upload tab of the online application. If you used digitally signed forms then you upload the PDF files.

If you printed the forms and signed them then you need to scan or photograph the forms into one or more files. These files should be PDF or an image file such as GIF, PNG or JPG (JPEG/JPG). Most scanning applications or digital cameras generate these types of files.

Note, you do not have to scan and upload the research plan or abstract. This information is part of the online application but do not require any signatures.

 

Digital Signatures

We allow the Junior and Senior division students to use of digitial signatures with the ISEF forms. It uses the free Adobe Acrobat Reader. The advantage of this approach is that the forms can be completely filled out electronically. This allows them to be uploaded easily versus printing an application, signing it, scanning it in and then uploading it.

Digital signatures use an encrypted digital certificate that contains your information such as your name and email address. The certificates are unique and can be used with any number of documents. For example, a student may use their digital certificate to digitally sign their application while a teacher can use their certificate to sign the applications for all their students.

The ISEF forms require more than one signature. For example, at least the student, parent and supervisor need to provide signatures on the forms. These can all be digital signatures.

To get multiple signatures from different people on the forms means opening the file using Adobe Acrobat, digitally signing the file and saving it. The saved file is then passed onto the next person. It is not possible to send the same file to multiple people and then mix the resultant files into a single file. The process must be performed sequentially.

Signing up for an account

The first thing you will need to do is create an account on this website if you have not already done so. You will be able to create an online application using this account.

Click on Create New Account in the login section in the right column. Fill in the fields presented in the form. You will need a valid email address. Click the Create New Account button at the bottom of the form.

Check your email for a confirmation message from the website. This should arrive almost immediately although some email systems can take up to an hour. It should not take any longer than that.

Click the link in the email to confirm your email address. At this point you can log into the website. You will be presented with a list of options or applications you may have submitted each time you log in. The list of options will allow you to create a new application.

A single website account can be used to submit more than one application. For example, if a family has more than one student participating in the fair then the same account can be used to create one application per student. Alternatively, each student can create then own account and create their application using that account.

All applications must be created online to participate in the fair. Printed forms must be signed and brought to the fair. Senior division students (grades 9-12) must MAIL their applications in prior to the deadline posted on this web site's calendar.

Teachers will need an account if they want to manage their student applications or create the applications for the students. In the former case, students will have to create an account and then create an application that the teacher will then be able to view and edit. In the latter case, the teacher will have to provide access to the student or enter all the necessary information. This is often the approach used by teachers with students entering the Elementary division. It is possible for each student to enter their own information but the teacher must provide their account information. Alternatively, this could be done at school under the teacher's supervision in which case the teacher could sign in and select the student's application and then allow the student to make the appropriate changes.

I can't log in

You tried to sign up for an account but you can't log in. First, don't panic. If all else fails please contact us and we will make sure you can get access to your account.

The following information assumes that you have tried to sign up for a new account. You should have received an acknowledgement email.

Try logging in using the username or email address that you signed up with along with the password entered at the same time. If the displayed page indicates an incorrect username or password then the account may not have been setup properly and you should contact us directly. Double check the username and password though because they are case sensitive.

If the login succeeds then there should be a Logout option on the menu and the online registration page should be displayed. You should see a link to manage and create science fair applicactions. If not then it is likely that your web browser is not accepting the cookie from this site to track your login session.

This website uses cookies to track user logins. Cookies are the typical approach used by websites but antivirus/firewall and web browser settings can limit the use of cookies. This is often the case if the security options on the web browser are set high. If this is the case with your system then our website (mercersec.org) needs to be added to the exception list.

Unfortunately, how to add an exception depends upon the web browser and possibly the antivirus software you have installed on your system. We cannot provide support for all configurations but we outline the process for the two most popular browsers in use on Windows PCs: Internet Explorer and Firefox. There are actually different interfaces with these depending upon the version in use so look for similar menu items if yours does not match what is presented here. First check the online help for your web browser if you have problems.

Try logging in again after adding the exception. If adding the website as an exception does not fix the problem then you may need to check other aspects of your Internet connection including your antivirus software.

If you are accessing the site from a school or work you may need to check with your IT department to see if they are blocking cookies as well.

Internet Explorer

  • Select the Tools menu
  • Select the Internet options submenu
  • Select the Privacy tab on the dialog box
  • Click the Sites button
  • Add mercersec.org and click the Allow button (you may have to add www.mercersec.org as well)
  • Close the dialog boxes by clicking on the OK button

 

Firefox

  • Select the Tools menu item
  • Select the Options submenu
  • Select the Privacy tab on the dialog box
  • Click the Exceptions button
  • Add mercersec.org and click the Allow button (you may have to add www.mercersec.org as well)
  • Close the dialog boxes by clicking on the OK button

I didn't get an email after I signed up

Ok. You tried signing up for an account but you did not receive the acknowledgement. Please email webmaster@mercersec.org immediately. It may take up to a day to get a response but we will get you set up.

There are a couple of reasons why you may not have received the initial response email with a password including:

  • It has not arrived because it is delayed in the email processing by your ISP. You might want to wait fifteen minutes especially if email sometimes takes awhile to get to your account. This is not usually the case but it can happen. In general the message should arrive within an hour. It is always sent immediately.
  • You may have entered the wrong email address. If you try to sign up again using the same email address and it indicates that the email address is in use then the email should have been sent. Try logging in using your selected username (or email address) and password. Contact us if this does not work.
  • The email may have been blocked. The email is send from our domain: mercersec.org. Our ISP is voicenet.com. If either of these are blocked then you will not receive our email message. Unfortunately you need to unblock our site BEFORE you sign up for an account. Contact us if this is the case and you cannot log in using the username and password you selected.
  • The email may have been marked as junk. In this case the message will likely be found in your junk mail folder. Contact us if this is the case and you cannot log in using the username and password you selected.
  • If none of these work then please contact us and we will get you set up with an account. Please don't wait till the last minute though because it does take a little time to fill in an application.

 

Profile Info

Each user account has profile information associated with it. Some of this information is required when you sign up for an account. This information is private and is used for a variety of purposes including creation of online applications. For example, the address information is used on the application if you are not a Teacher since normally an account is used to create a single application for a student. The Grade and School fields are used whenever an application is created.

Some profile information is required for specific roles such as Teachers and Judges. You will not see these if you have not been assigned one of these roles.

Profile information, including your account password and email address, are accessible via the User menu. This will present the login form if you have not logged in first.

Divisions

Students participate in a particular division based on their grade. These include:

The application process and forms are different for each division. The Elementary division application is the shortest and can be filled out after a project has been completed. It does not include any Intel ISEF (International Science and Engineering Fair) forms.

The Junior and Senior division applications are essentially the same. These include ISEF forms. The only difference is the category that a project falls under. The Junior division has only Biological and Physical while the Senior division has all the ISEF categories available for selection. Also, there are restrictions on allowable projects in each division.

The next sections describe each division in more detail including any project restrictions. Please read the appropriate section.

Elementary

The Elementary division has the least amount of paperwork and the most restrictions on the kinds of projects a student can do. All projects fall into one category.

  • General Science

Projects in this division can be registered after they are completed. In fact, some elementary schools hold their own science fair and send the winners to the Mercers Science and Engineering Fair (MSEF). Check with your school for details. If your school does not have a science fair then you may participate in MSEF without entering any prior science fair competition. Teachers may register their students online and provide the students with the printed applications that they will bring to the fair. Students or parents that register online will print out their own applications and bring them to the fair.

Project restrictions

Elementary division projects may not include any of the following:

  • No team projects
  • Any projects that are not allowed by ISEF including acid rain studies
  • Non-observational animal studies
  • Non-observational human studies
  • Projects dealing with culture growth, tissues, DNA

Elementary division projects may include any of the following:

  • Observational animal studies
  • Observational human studies

Please contact us if you have any questions.

Junior

The Junior division is the same as the Senior division so please check out the next section that covers the Senior division. The main differences are project restrictions and a project must fall into one of the following categories selected by the student as part of the registration process.

  • Biological
  • Physical

Projects in this division can be registered after they are completed. Precertification is recommended for any project that may be restricted or that meet the precertification requirement. This includes projects that address humans, animals, deal with hazardous materials or biological materials or cultures.

Junior division projects must have all required ISEF forms completed and signed. Digital signatures are preferrable. All ISEF forms needed for a project need to be uploaded in addition to completing the online registration.

We recommend that a student start the application process before they start their project but this is not a requirement. Online applications must be completed by the posted deadline. This includes a detailed research plan and an abstract. The research plan should be completed before the project starts and the abstract should be completed after the project is finished.

Project restrictions

Junior division projects may not include any of the following:

  • No team projects
  • Any projects that are not allowed by ISEF including acid rain studies
  • Projects dealing with culture growth, tissues, DNA

Elementary division projects may include any of the following:

  • Observational animal studies
  • Observational human studies

Please contact us if you have any questions.

Senior

The Senior division applicants must complete the online registration process and upload a copy of all ISEF forms needed for a project by the posted deadline. You no longer need to mail in a copy of the forms.

We recommend that a student start the application process before they start their project but this is not a requirement. On the other hand, some projects may require precertification. Projects that have not been precertified may be disqualified if they fail to meet the ISEF requirements and restrictions. For example, if a project deals with animals it may require approvals and signatures from a veterinarian. If these are required and not obtained the project will be disqualified. The precertification process helps avoid these problems.

Precertification

Precertification is optional.

The online application for projects requiring precertification must be filled in with sufficient detail prior to the precertification deadline to obtain speedy approval. Applications that are rejected can be resubmitted at any time after suitable changes are made. Experimentation should not start until approval has been given.

Projects that have the proper ISEF paperwork that have not gone through the precertification process can be submitted to the fair. Keep in mind that it is possible that the project will be disqualified if the paperwork is not in order or the project deals with restricted topics. Projects that are done in this fashion should be registered as soon as possible so we can evaluate and approve the project for the fair.

Online applications must be completed by the posted deadline. This includes a detailed research plan and an abstract. The research plan should be completed before the project starts and the abstract should be completed after the project is finished.

Project restrictions

Senior division projects may not include any of the following:

  • No team projects
  • Any projects that are not allowed by ISEF including acid rain studies

Please contact us if you have any questions.

Precertification

Precertification is optional. It is the process of approving a project prior to the start of experimentation. It is not required and is only available for Junior and Senior division projects.

 

Precertification is recommended if any forms other than the basic set (Form 1, 1A, 1B and the Research Plan) are needed. You can use the ISEF Rules Wizard to determine what forms are required.

Elementary division students that use the wizard and need to use ISEF forms other than 1, 1A and 1B should contact us before starting their project. It may not be allowed at the fair. Note, elementary division students do not have to use ISEF forms 1, 1A, and 1B. Only use the MSEF Elementary application form.

Why Precertification?

Precertification is designed to prevent the disqualification of projects due to improper experiments, paperwork or other related procedures. Precertification does not guarantee that a project will be accepted for the fair especially if the project deviates from its state goals and procedures. Still, disqualification of precertified projects is rare.

Precertification essentially requires the student to post all relavent information online for approval by the MSEF Safety Review Committee (SRC). This information and associated signed forms must be obtained before experimentation occurs regardless of whether precertication is attained. Projects without the proper ISEF paperwork will be disqualified under any circumstance.

The MSEF SRC will provide approval or rejection of a project presented for precertification within one week of posting although normally approval or rejection will be given as quickly as possible. This will usually be within a day or two assuming precertification is requested prior to the precertification due date.

Projects that are rejected can be resubmitted at any time for subsequent approval. Projects that are rejected and are not altered as requested will be disqualified.

Projects that may have been completed that should have been precertified should submit their application as soon as possible. Improper paperwork or restricted projects may be disqualified forcing the student to redo the project after sufficient changes have been made if they wish to participate in the fair.

The bottom line is: register online as soon as possible and get precertification approval if necessary.

How To Get A Project Precertified
If you want to get your project precertified you should create an online application and fill in as much information as possible. This includes a DETAILED research plan. Then send an email note with your contact information to src@mercersec.org.

We will try to get a response back to you as soon as possible. This will usually be within two days but may take as long as a week. We will indicate whether the project is approved or why it cannot be approved. Recommendations will be provided when possible.

Precertification requests should be received no later than February 15th.

Online Application

You can create one or more online applications after you have logged in using your website account. Your list of applications and the link to create a new one is on the online registration page.

One online application is required for every student. It essentially contains all the information entered on the printed application. The printed version is required because of the signatures. The online version helps us manage the fair and allows judges to begin evaluating projects before we receive the printed applications. Elementary and Junior division students bring their printed and signed applications to the fair. Senior divison students need to mail them in.

The online application consists of multiple pages denoted by the tabs on the left. Each tab has a title. Most have a checkbox to the left. The current page is denoted by a tab that has a different color. Each page has one or more fields that can be filled in and a Save button at the bottom. There are two ways to save any changes you make:

The checkboxes are set based on the contents of each page. The letter in the checkbox indicates a form's current status:

An application is complete when all boxes contain an X.

A colored asterisk is shown after the title of each field that is required.

Changes to the online application can be made at any time up to the close of registration. Students are encouraged to start their application early and add or change information as a project progresses.

Status

All applications have a Status page. The Status page provides an overview of your online application. If your project requires precertification then it will be noted here. Likewise, the state of the application is presented so you know whether an application is incomplete or not.

The page also allows an application to be withdrawn. By default, a new application will be set so the Applicant field is set to Will participate in the fair.

The page has a Save button on it. It should be used if the Applicant status is change. This same button appears on all page forms for the online application. After clicking on the button the next page in the sequence will be displayed. The Status page will be displayed after the last page is saved.

The Status page is one of the few pages in the online application that do not have a corresponding printed form associated with it.

Uploading Application

The Junior and Senior division students need to upload their ISEF forms after they have completed their online application. The forms need to be placed into a ZIP file. If you need software to create a ZIP file you can download a free program called 7z (http://www.7z-zip.org).

If you used digital signatures then you will put your PDF files into the ZIP file. If you printed your forms and signed them then you need to scan or photograph those forms and place the files into the ZIP file. These files can be PDF files or image files. Formats that are accepted include JPG, GIF, BMP and PNG. 

You can upload only one file. If you need to update the files then delete the old one online, create a new file will all the forms and upload the new file. 

Printing Forms To Bring To The Fair

The Status page has the four (or five) forms you need to print and bring to the fair when you set up your project. Links in this section will display the forms that you can then print. The four forms are:

  • Check-in form
  • Check-out form
  • Research Plan
  • Abstract

The Research Plan and Abstract are optional but recommended for the Elementary division. They are required for the Junior and Senior division. The will be left with the project and should be included even if this information is on the display board. These forms should not be mounted on the board. We do not use the ISEF abstract form. 

The Elementary division students need to bring a fifth form: MSEF Elementary Application. This is the fifth link and only appears on online Elementary division applications. This must be signed and brought to the fair as well.  

Forms

 Details about ISEF forms can be found here

Notes

There is a Notes tab in the online application. This has text fields for saving information about the application but these are not required for an application. They can be used by teachers to provide students with comments about their project or by the fair's SRC committee to those students that need project precertification. You can ignore this section if none of these apply. 

Uploading Forms

Junior and Senior division students need to upload the ISEF forms as PDF or image files (JPEG, GIF, PNG) in addition to postiing the contents in the online application. This is necessary because those files will contain the signatures that cannot be posted in the online application.

These files can uploaded from the online application's Upload tab. You can upload one or more files until all the forms needed for the project have been uploaded. Image files normally contain one form per file. Image files can be created using a scanner or a digital camera. Multiple forms can be scanned into a PDF file.

ZIP files can also be used to collect files together. This is not required but is available as an optin. Zip files can be created by the latest versions of Windows or you  can download a free ZIP manager program like 7Z. The ZIP file can contain any number of files. 

Forms that are scanned or photographed should have a resolution of 300 dpi (for scanned) or 5 Mpixel (for photographs) or better. File size should be under 4 megabytes. You can use reduced image quality to get a smaller file size. Black and white or greyscale images also tend to be smaller. Color images are not required.

Only include forms that are needed and that have been filled in. They should match the forms posted in the online application. 

Do not include the Abstract or Research Plan. That information is already in the online application. Human subject projects need to upload only the templates used for the participant form. 

Students need to keep the original copies of all forms.

Contact us if you have any problems uploading files.

Forms

The following sections cover details for the respective forms. In general, all students will fill in a Mercer Science and Engineering Fair (MSEF) form. All Junior and Senior Division students will need to fill in a number of ISEF forms including and abstract. Elementary division students are encouraged to include an abstract and the ISEF abstract form is recommended.

General Info

All students will fill out the information pages in the online registration form. This includes information about the student and their project. Junior and Senior division students will also fill out the ISEF forms.

Student Info

The Student Info page provides the general information about a student including their grade. This information can easily be supplied before a project is started and even before a topic is chosen.

The student's name will be repeated on all subsequent pages. Any changes will be reflected on all pages. This allows the online pages to more closely match the ISEF forms. The name should be capitalized as desired, i.e. John Middle Doe, as this will be used on the acceptance certificate and any awards. Do not capialize then entire name or make it all lower case.

The grade determines what division the project will compete in. The contact information is required in case we need to contact you about the application. It is also required for some awards.

The tabs and associated pages may change when you change the grade field. Only necessary application pages will be presented. For Junior and Senior division applications, additional form pages will be displayed when selections are made from Form 1. Elementary division applications will not show these options.

The U.S. Citizen check box is also required since some awards are available only to U.S. Citizens.

Project Info

The Project Info page includes the project title, category and the hypothesis. These can be changed at any time until registration closes. This means you can provide a working title and select a working category but change them once you have completed the project.

The hypothesis is optional but it can help in precertification approval for Junior and Senior division projects since it provides additional insight into the desired area of research.

MSEF Forms

The MSEF (Mercer Science and Engineering Fair) Elementary Application Form is only used by Elementary division students. It can be found on our Blank Forms page. However, we recommend that you create an online application and provide the information as part of this process. When that is completed you will be able to print a filled in MSEF Elementary Application Form that only needs the student and parent signatures. Bring this form to the fair when you set up the project.

Junior and Senior division students use ISEF forms that are also found on our Blank Forms page. These need to be uploaded to this website as part of the online registration process.

These additional MSEF forms are also used by ALL students and should be brought to the fair when they check in.

  • MSEF Check in letter
  • MSEF Check out letter - bring when you pick up your project at the end of the fair
  • MSEF Research Plan
  • MSEF Abstract

The check in letter is used to record final approval of your project. It will be signed by a safety review member at the fair and should be left with your project. The check out letter should be brought by the person picking up your project. Photo ID is also acceptable at that time.

The MSEF Research Plan and MSEF Abstract forms contain your detailed research plan and abstract that you entered in your online application. The forms are available on the status page of your online application after the information has been entered. These forms should also be left in front of your project when you check in.

We are no longer using the ISEF Abstract form.

MSEF Research Plan

The MSEF Research Plan form provides judges with a standard view of a project's research plan. It should be printed and left in front of a project along with the MSEF Abstract when the project is set up.

The MSEF Research Plan is optional for Elementary and Junior division projects although it is highly recommended.

The research plan should be as detailed as possible. It should include a description of the set up, experimental procedures and clean up procedures to be used by the student. The research plan should be written before the project is started and is required for precertification.

MSEF Abstract

We no longer using the ISEF Abstract form. All projects should use the MSEF Abstract form that is available in the online application once the abstract has been entered. It is simply a matter of clicking the MSEF Abstract link and printing the displayed form.

The abstract should be written AFTER the project is completed and the data is analyzed. It should summarize the hypothesis, procedure, data and results. It should be short and concise.

It is used by judges to get a feel for a project so it is important to write a good abstract.

ISEF Forms

Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) forms are required for all Junior and Senior division projects. You may use the blank ISEF forms can be found at the www.societyforscience.org/isef/document/ but we recommend using the ones on our Blank Forms page. Our version allows you complete the forms using a computer and then automatically upload their contents to create an online application thereby saving time.

Digital copies of all ISEF forms required for a project need to be uploaded to the website to complete the online registration process. You no longer need to mail in printed copies of these forms.

The basic set of ISEF forms required for all Junior and Senior division projects can be found on our Blank Forms page. These include Form 1, 1A and 1B that must be completed for all projects.

Some projects require additional forms. For example, Form 4 is required if human subjects are involved in an experiment. Use the ISEF Rules Wizard to determine what forms are required for your project. You should do this before your start your experiments and all forms, with one exception, need to be filled and signed BEFORE your experiment starts.

The ISEF forms are Adobe PDF that works with the latest version of the free Adobe Acrobat Reader. See the Filling In Forms section for details on using the ISEF forms.

The online registration process will be complete once the project has been finished, the ISEF forms have been completely filled in, the online application has been completed so the data reflects the contents of the actual forms and a copy of the forms have been uploaded to the website.

The following sections detail the contents of the forms and their online application fields. In general, these map one-to-one although the terminology may be slightly different.

Only submit the forms that are required for your project. Do not submit blank forms. For example, a project that does not involve human subjects will not require the human subjects form.

Research Plan

The Research Plan outlines what will be done in a project including why the project is being done, how experiments will be done, what safety precautions will be taken, etc. The form allows you to paste in your research plan but it can accept only text, no images.

If you need to provide this level of detail you will need to email us a PDF file. You can obtain a free printer driver for Windows to create a PDF file at PDF Creator.

Junior and Senior division students may submit a more detailed version of their research plan with their printed paperwork. Projects that require precertification must supply a research plan that has sufficient detail for approval. This is typically where projects are rejected and require resubmission so include as much relevant information as possible.

Notes:

  • A research plan is not a research paper and it does not need to include references unless these are related to the research plan.
  • A research plan MUST include any safety related information as well as any disposal procedures when necessary. This is usually the case for biological projects that detail with microorganisms, tissues, etc.
  • A research plan does not replace the need for proper completion of related ISEF forms

Consent Form

The Informed Consent Form may be required based upon the approval noted on Form 4. If the form is required then a COPY will be presented to all parties involved in an experiment for their signatures.

Not all projects that deal with human subjects will require this form. Additional information may be supplied as required by an IRB but this form must be the basis of any consent.

See the ISEF Rules on Human Subjects and the ISEF Risk Assessment Guide for more details.

Form 1

Form 1: Adult And Student Checklist is required for all Junior and Senior division projects.

This form specifies any additional ISEF forms that may be required for project approval. Some ISEF forms, such as Form 1, 1A and 1B, are required with all projects. These cannot be unchecked. Likewise, if a project is requires additional forms then these must be explicitly checked. This will cause the related tabs to be added to the left making those forms available.

Use the Intel ISEF Rules Wizard (see Fair Info on the right column) to determine which forms are required. Other than Form 7 (Continuation), selection of any but the default forms will cause the application to require precertification.

The form includes checkboxes to indicate whether particular types of items will be involved in the project. These normally require additional approvals and forms.

All information on this form and all other ISEF forms will be saved even if they related checkbox is unchecked and the form is hidden. You should be submitting any forms that are selected in the online registration process.

As on the other ISEF forms, names, dates and signatures are required. The online registration only requires that you enter the names and dates. The signatures will be checked when the printed applications are received. For Junior division applications, this will be at the fair. For Senior division applications, these will be mailed in by the posted due date.

Form 1A

Form 1A: Student Checklist contains the following information:

  • Estimated Project Dates (1)
  • Actual Project Dates (2)
  • Experimentation site information (1)

(1) done before the project starts
(2) done after the project ends

 

Form 1B

Form 1B: Project Approval is filled in before a project starts and indicates the approvals required for the project. This includes SRC or IRB approval information if these are required. In general, projects that require precertification will need these fields filled in before precertification approval is given.

Form 1C

Form 1C: Regulated Research is filled in AFTER the project is completed. The information supplied by the supervising adult should be copied to this form.

This form is required if you perform any of your experiments at a regulated research institution.

Form 2

Form 2: Qualified Scientist is required for a number of different kinds of projects. The information must be supplied before experimentation begins.

A qualified scientist is an experienced adult whole will oversee your project.

Form 3

Form 3: Risk Assessment is required for projects using hazardous chemicals, activities or devices. It must be completed before experimentation.

The risk assessment outlines the risks and precautions to be taken during experimentation so the project can be completed safetly.

See the ISEF Rules for hazardous materials and the ISEF Risk Assessment Guide for more details.

Form 4

Form 4: Human Subjects is required if a project involves humans. This will indicate whether additional oversight is required and whether the Consent Form is required.

See the ISEF Rules on Human Subjects and the ISEF Risk Assessment Guide for more details.

Form 5A

Form 5A: Vertebrate Animal Form is required for all research involving vertebrate animals that is conducted in a Non-Regulated Research Site. SRC approval is required before experimentation.

See the ISEF Rules for Vertabrate Animals for more details.

Form 5B

Form 5B: Vertebrate Animal Form is required for all research involving vertebrate animals that is conducted in a Regulated Research Site. IACUC approval is required before experimentation.

See the ISEF Rules for Vertabrate Animals for more details.

Form 6A

Form 6A: Potentially Hazardous Biological Agents Risk Assessment Form is required for research involving microorganisms, rDNA, fresh/frozen tissue, blood and body fluids. SRC/IACUC/IBC approval is required before experimentation.

See ISEF Rules about Potentially Hazardous Biological Agents for more details.

Form 6B

Form 6b: Human and Vertebrate Animal Tissue Form is required for projects using fresh/frozen tissue, primary cell cultures, blood, blood products and body fluids. If the research involves living organisms, please ensure that the proper human or animal forms are completed.

All projects using any tissue listed above, must also complete Form 6A.

See ISEF Rules about Potentially Hazardous Biological Agents for more details.

Form 7

Form 7: Continuation Projects Form is used for projects that are a continuation in the same field of study as a previous project. This form must be accompanied by the previous year’s abstract and Research Plan when the application is submitted. Only the summary information is posted in the online application.

Continuations allow students to refer to prior year's work. It does not affect how the current project is judged and it does not add or detract from the project.

Teachers

Teachers can create applications using the process outlined in this book. Teachers should check out the scenarios in the Teacher Online Registration book for alternatives to how science fair applications should be created. Students do not have to be concerned about the teacher scenarios.