Return to Judges

Judges FAQ

It is a creative problem solving competition for students in Elementary through College-age.  There are five age group divisions:

  • Primary Division – for Kindergarten through 2nd grade
  • Division I – for Kindergarten through 5th grade (i.e. Kindergarten to 2nd grade can be Primary or Division I)
  • Division II – for grades 6 - 8
  • Division III – for grades 9 - 12.
  • Division IV – for college students, but they don't compete in regional tournaments.

Actually, the division cut-off points roughly follow the grade of the children.  The students form teams of up to 7 and have been working for several months to solve the long-term problem they have chosen (you will receive a copy of the problem you are to judge).

They have been practicing their spontaneous problem solving skills, and will have a chance show off those skills in the spontaneous portion of the competition.  The emphasis of Odyssey is on teaching and encouraging creativity.  Odyssey of the Mind strives to provide a fun and enjoyable opportunity for kids to develop, express, and be rewarded for their creative sides.  The farther out of the box they can get the better!

More information on can be found at the International Odyssey Of The Mind web site.

Judging for Odyssey of the Mind is FUN!  You will see some AMAZING performances by teams who have worked for weeks or months on solving there 8-minute skit.   The only things you need to be judge are:

  • An open mind
  • A friendly smile
  • Two free Saturdays

One day is for Judges' Training and the other is Regional Tournament. We'll announce the dates later in the year.

Contact our Judge Coordinator and the coach of team you are representing immediately!

Every competing team must supply at least one judge for the tournament.  If they don't, that team is not officially scored and is therefore ineligible to advance to state competition.  So, as soon as you find out you can't make either training or the tournament, let us know.  The coach of the team you are representing needs to find a replacement for you.  You cannot function as a judge without having gone through training.

To represent a team you will need to know the school and coach name. You should be able to get this information from the person asking you to judge for them.

Yes!! We always need more judges than we get by asking for just one judge per competing team, so we rely on people like you to fill in the ranks.

Our Judge Coordinator will assign you to your judging team a couple weeks before tournament.

If you are representing a team, we need to know that when you register.  We will assign you to a different problem or division to avoid as much conflict of interest as we can.  We try to not assign somebody to judge the same problem as the team that their children are competing.

Probably not.  As a judge, you will be busy the entire day judging the problem you've been assigned to.  You need to be there for the entire competition.  Much of the judging you will do is subjective and therefore consistency in the judging team is essential to provide a fair competition.  If a judge leaves in the middle of the tournament (due to illness for instance) we must remove all of that judge's scores from all of the teams that had competed so far that day.

It depends on what problem and division you are assigned to. Typically you will give feedback to between 10 and 20 teams.

At judges' training.  You and the rest of your judging team will have an opportunity to discuss the various positions, and then you will decide who will fill which positions.

Yes, we'll write you a letter recommending that you receive 15 hours of credit for this.  The final determination, however, is with your principal.  You will have the opportunity to sign up for credit when you register to be a judge, and the letters will be available from your Problem Captain at the tournament.

All of them!  (Did you really expect any other answer??)  Each division has it's own charms.  The younger children tend to be less inhibited, to think farther out of the box, and to be more creative.  The older children tend to have more complex and polished solutions.  This doesn't mean that a Div III team can't be outstandingly creative or that a Div I team can't come up with an amazingly complex solution; in Odyssey you learn to expect the unexpected.  No matter what division you are judging, you will be amazed at the wide variety of solutions you see.  If you come into it with an open mind, you will have a great deal of fun.

You can contact the Judges' Coordinator at: