Helpful Hints

There are many things to do to ready your project for National History DayA�. Here are some helpful hints to assist you with creating and finalizing your project and preparing for the day of the competition.


Your Project
  • Read the RULE BOOK!!!!
  • Remember that your entry (paper, exhibit, performance, website, or documentary) must be able to stand alone. Although judges interview students, only on occasion does this affect the final score. Keep in mind that the interview is not intended to be supplemental to your project. Historical points you wish to make must be a part of your presentation.
  • When judges do talk to you about your project they will ask questions such as: Why is this topic important to you? How did your topic affect history? What did you learn as your researched your topic?
  • Make sure your presentation is well-designed and thoughtfully arranged. Go over all the details and make sure everything is neat and complete. If you have moving parts or equipment, make sure everything is working. Bibliographies and written materials should be spell checked and edited by someone other then yourself.
  • Keep it simple! You only have a small amount of time or space. Even if you know the complete history of World War II, you can’t cover it all in ten minutes.
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  • Have fun! Many winners are those who successfully communicate their enjoyment to the judges. Everyone can’t win, so if you had a good experience working on your presentation, you haven’t lost anything!

Exhibits – Be mindful of the size requirements, use of media, word limits

Performances – Remember time requirements, performance introductions, media devices, script, props, costumes

Documentaries – Remember time requirements, presentation introductions, credits, extra copies of your documentary on flash-drive or DVD-R

Websites – Be mindful of size requirements, word limits, citations, links, navigation, multimedia, file safety, stable content, using NHD Weebly (

History PapersA�- Consider word limit, structure, citations, preparation requirements, submitting four copies

Below is a list of rubrics for each type of project. A�You may want to use these rubrics to assist you in your project’s development,A�however these rubrics are not officially used nor sanctioned by NHD for competition use or use by the judges. A�Judging criteria can be found here, on the right sidebar.

Website rubric

Performance rubric

Paper rubric

Exhibit rubric

Documentary rubric

Competition Day
  • If participating in a group project, the “lead” student is the person who should check in for their group at registration. The lead student is the first name listed on the registration forms. Make sure all group members are aware which student is designated as the lead student.
  • Students need to protect their projects in the event of inclement weather. Wrap exhibits and any props for performances in plastic or any type of waterproof material. There is a walk from the parking lot and bus drop-off to get to registration and presentation rooms.
  • Students in the exhibit category must remain with their exhibit even after the judges move on to the next project. As the judging process progresses, judges may need to return to your exhibit to ask a question. Restroom breaks are fine, just return to the exhibit area.
  • Bring extra copies of your documentaries! In case something goes wrong, you have other options to show your presentation.
  • If you burn your documentary to a DVD-R, please test it on an actual DVD player, not just on your computer. Many times students find that their documentary does not play on a regular DVD player.
  • Remember to bring four copies of your process paper and of your annotated bibliographies.
  • Students will need to fill out a History Day Project Change form if they have changed the title of their project. These forms are available at the registration desks.