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

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.