Contest FAQ

Contest FAQ

How many words can I use in my project? (and other rule related questions)

Please read the rulebook. The NHD rulebook contains general rules for everyone and then specific rules for each category.

Papers must be 1500-2500 words.

Exhibits can have up to 500 student composed words.

Websites can be up to 1200 student composed words.

For exhibit and websites, the word limits are for anything you write yourself: titles, headings, thesis statements, paraphrases, etc. Direct quotes and primary sources do not count. Please read the rulebook carefully regarding word count for more information.

Can I pick any topic in History?

Topics can come from any time period and any place in History. Projects can be about wars, music, art, sports, etc. Topics must fit within the theme for the year. Learn more here. The connection to the theme should be evident in the project and the connection should not be forced.

When is my registration due?
Check the District contest page to find the date of your contest and when registration materials are due.
Why are websites locked down before judging?
The websites are locked down before the contest so that the judges can take their time to evaluate the project before the contest. The judges will then interview you about your project on the day of the contest.
How will my project be judged?

When your project is judged the judges are evaluating your project using three different levels of criteria.


Historical Quality

The Historical Quality of your project is worth 60% when it comes to the judges final decision. Historical quality focuses on accuracy of facts, analysis and interpretation of the material, an understanding of historical context, a wide array research represented in the annotated bibliography, a balanced presentation of your materials (un biased) and the use of available primary sources.

Relation to the Theme

How your project relates to the annual theme is worth 20%. An entry should clearly relate to the annual theme.

Clarity of your Presentation

This criteria is also worth 20% in your final evaluation. Clarity of presentation focus on whether the entry is presented in an effective, original and creative manner.The judges will also consider an entry in compliance to the rules in the final consideration. Failure to follow the rules will count against an entry in the final decisions by the judges.

At every level of competition ALL JUDGES DECISIONS ARE FINAL!


You can view the evaluation sheets used by the judges.
Should I prepare a formal presentation for the judges?
No, you do not need to prepare an official presentation for the judges. They will read your paperwork, view your project, and then interview you about your project.
What types of questions will I be asked in the interview?

Interview questions can vary depending on the judges. Most likely you will be asked content questions about your topic and then questions about your research and how you put together your projects. Here are some sample questions you might be asked:


  • Why did you choose this topic?
  • What was your most valuable source and why?
  • How do you think your topic impacted history?
  • What was the most interesting thing you learned?
  • How did you divide up the work? (for groups)
  • What was the most challenging thing about your project?
  • Why did you choose to create a (paper, documentary, exhibit, website, performance)?
How many projects move on to the state contest?
The advancement number is based on the number of projects in each category at the district contest. The general rule is that three from each category move on but sometimes if there are a lot of projects, the districts can send more. The number is a maximum for judges and they do not have to send on the maximum number.
When is the state contest?

Ohio History Day will be held on Saturday, April 26. Visit the State page to learn more.

How many projects move on to the national contest?
The top two projects in each category advance to the national contest.