Judging Ins and Outs


Stuff to Take with you

Here are some items that you can take with you to the tournament, things to keep in mind from round to round. 

Judging Checklist and Guidelines

Time Signals Are Cool

Events Summary - If we're missing an event your tournament or area does, please let us know! 

Judging FAQs


Good Ballots tell students what they are doing that could be more effective. Things like 

"I had trouble hearing you at times" or "I got a little fuzzy on your message." 

Bad ballots only tell the students positive thing. we don't want to be mean on ballots, but not telling a student why they are getting a '5' is the best way to upset them. 


Day of Judging

Knowing what to bring/wear/say the first time you're judging is the best way to feel prepared. 

  • What to Bring:
    • A Pen (or three)
    • A way to keep time (or make sure your phone is totally charged)
    • You'll probably get fed and given coffee by the Judge's lounge, but bringing a water bottle is never a bad idea. 
    • You might want to bring paper to take notes - a must if you're judging debate.
    • I like to bring tootsie rolls, to reward myself between speeches for being attentive and writing good notes. 
  • What to Wear
    • The Students will  be in formal wear. Most judges don't dress formally, but being respectful is usually a good rule of thumb. I'd stay away from politically leaning t-shirts (many speech and debaters are very civicly engaged and you could cause a stir.)
    • Wearing comfortable shoes will make you happy. You'd be surprised how much walking you do while judging. 
  • Do's and Don'ts Day of 
    • Do be on time. On time means getting to the ballot table approximately 15 minutes before the round your scheduled to judge begins. 
    • Don't be distracting OR distracted in round. Be present for the speaker. 
    • Do give good notes. tell the speaker how to improve, and things they did particularly well. 
    • Do make sure you're aware of How to Judge and any particulars of this tournament.