Creating an Account

Why am I not receiving an email to activate my account after signing up?

The email should arrive immediately. But sometimes emails from new senders can be caught in secondary folders in your inbox or even those labelled spam or junk. Please check all these folders.

Is there a deadline to create an account?

You may sign up at any point up until the Application deadline on October 10. However, the sooner you sign up the sooner we can send you direct updates on the Challenge and any helpful information. We recommend you sign up as soon as possible and complete as much of the Application as you can in the beginning of the competition, while you are working on your video. We encourage you also to submit your complete Application if it is ready before the deadline.

What do I have to do after creating an account?

For guidance on how to complete your Profile, upload your video and submit your Application, see our tutorial.

Age Requirement

What if I’m 12 now, but will turn 13 during the Challenge? Am I allowed to participate?

As long as you are 13 by October 10 at 11:59 PM Pacific Daylight Time (West Coast USA), you may participate in the Challenge.

What if I’m 18 now, but will turn 19 during the Challenge? Am I allowed to participate?

You must still be 18 on October 10 at 11:59 PM Pacific Daylight Time (West Coast USA) to participate.

Application Deadline

What is the exact time deadline for submitting my Application on October 10? What time zone?

October 10 at 11:59 PM Pacific Daylight Time (West Coast USA).

Do I receive extra credit if I submit my Application before the deadline date?

While we encourage you to submit your Application as soon as it is ready, there is no extra credit given for early submission.

Am I finished once I submit my Application?

No. Your Application is not complete until you participate in the Peer-to-Peer Review, judging at least 5 submissions by your peers. See here for more details.

Profile and Application Content

What if I am home schooled? Can I still participate?

Yes. In the sections of the Profile and the Application that ask for information about your school or your teacher, you can enter your home address and contact information for a parent or guardian.

What type of document is necessary for the age verification portion of the Application?

An official government-issued document such as a birth certificate, state ID, country ID, or passport document verifying your age. If your submission makes it into the top 75, we will verify your age as well during the Verification process.

Video Content

How long should my video be?

Your video must be 5 minutes in length or shorter to qualify for the Breakthrough Junior Challenge.

If I entered the Challenge last year, can I resubmit my video this year?

Last year’s Challenge video maximum length was 10 minutes. This year’s video maximum length is 5 minutes. As long as your video is 5 minutes or shorter and you are still under 18, you may submit a revised 5 minute (max) version of your video.

Can I chose whatever science topic I want to explore in my video?

The three categories are Physics, Life Sciences and Mathematics. Please select one of these as your main category. We realize some topics may cross over one or more categories, so please select the one that best represents your submission.

Does chemistry count as one of the available categories for my video?

The three fields that the Challenge encompasses are Physics, Life Sciences and Mathematics. Some areas of these fields may overlap with chemistry – for example, the biochemistry of cells is part of Life Sciences. However, a lot of chemistry does not qualify. If in doubt, consult your teacher.

What are the “Life Sciences?”

The Life Sciences are the study of living systems. This encompasses everything from the structure of DNA to the biochemistry of cells, the functioning of organs, the workings of the brain and theories such as evolution that govern entire ecosystems.

Do I need to write and produce all of the content myself?

Yes – the video content must be original and you must be the sole author of the content.

Can I have help filming it? With the camera work, lighting, sound recording, editing?

Yes, you could get technical assistance for filming, however it should be directed and scripted by you and the content must be original.

What happens if someone else chooses the same topic as me?

That’s no problem. As long as your idea came independently of theirs, both will be viewed and judged on their own merits.

What is meant by “difficulty?”

The subject of your video should be complex enough to really challenge your explanatory powers. It should not be something that a general audience would already know, or a simple fact that could be looked up and understood in a few seconds.

Can two people from the same class both enter the Challenge?

Absolutely. As long as the submissions are independent and original, we encourage everyone in your class to take the Challenge.

Can I use music in my submission?

As long as the music doesn’t violate any copyright issues (see Copyright Definitions and Issues), you may use music in your submission. However, if you are unsure we suggest not using it in your video as submissions with copyright violations will be disqualified.

Does the science in my video need to be an original contribution to science?

No. The Challenge is about communicating an existing theory, concept or principle in an original (as well as engaging and illuminating) way. You are not expected to have discovered anything in science yet – only to have discovered a fascination for science!

Can I use existing footage of scientists talking?

As long as the footage doesn’t violate any copyrights, yes. But bear in mind that the explanation of the scientific idea must be your own.

Is it okay to work in a group?

The Breakthrough Junior Challenge is a competition for individuals only. You can brainstorm ideas in a group and have others review your Application. However, you must be the sole creator of your submission.

Can I enter more than one video?

No. The Rules allow only one entry per participant per year.

What if I need help?

Your submission must be your own work. Advice from friends, teachers, and family members may be helpful but the submission must be entirely your own independent work product.

Copyright Definitions and Issues

What is copyright?

When you write an essay or take a photograph, you own the copyright to it. Copyright law protects original works that are fixed in a tangible form. That means that the works can’t be ideas; they are things like literary works you can read, musical works you can listen to, movies that you can watch or art that you can look at and touch.

Only the copyright owner has the right to reproduce, modify, distribute copies of and display the work unless the copyright owner has given other people permission to do the same.

It is illegal to use copyrighted work without permission from the copyright owner, and it may be considered copyright infringement. In addition, any submissions with copyright violations will be disqualified.

I think someone is using my copyrighted work without my permission. How do I report this person?

Under our Terms and Conditions, users of our Website cannot upload anything unless they own it or are permitted to upload it. If someone has posted your original work without your permission, you may want to seek legal guidance to find out if your rights have been infringed.

If you think that your work has been copied without your permission, you should notify us using the procedures set out in our Terms and Conditions, under section 13.

Am I infringing someone else’s copyright?

We cannot provide you with any legal advice. If you are not sure whether something you use or post to our website infringes someone’s copyright, then you should not use or post it. If you have already posted it, then you should remove it from our website. Any submissions with copyright violations will be disqualified.


What are the different stages of the judging process?

Please refer to the Judging section of the website. It outlines the different phases of the judging process and includes bios of the Evaluation Panel and Selection Committee judges.

Who are the judges?

All of the judges are educators, academics and leaders in either mathematics or science. Please find more information about the Judging page.

Who’s on the Selection Committee?

The selection committee includes leaders and academics from science and mathematics, including Breakthrough Prize winners. All of their bios are here.

What’s the difference between the Evaluation Panel and the Selection Committee? Are they the same people?

The judging criteria for both is the same.

The Evaluation Panel is comprised of Khan Academy educators and representatives from the fields of Mathematics, Physics and Life Sciences. This Evaluation Panel will review and score the top 75 videos. Each of the top 75 will receive reviews from 5 members of the Evaluation Panel.

The Selection Committee is made up of leaders in the fields of Mathematics, Physics and Life Sciences, and includes Breakthrough Prize laureates in each of these categories. They will review and score the top group of Semi-Finalists as determined by the Evaluation Panel. The Selection Committee decides who will be a Finalist. The winner of the Popular Vote Challenge will be added to this Finalist group for the final review and selection of the Breakthrough Junior Challenge prize winner.

What is the difference between the Administrative Review and the Verification process?

The Administrative Review process verifies that the submission meets the criteria, rules and guidelines of the Challenge. The Verification process verifies the information on your Application and registration and video submission.

Peer-to-Peer Review

To find out about the Peer-to-Peer Review process, see here.

What is the Peer-to-Peer Review?

As part of your Application to the Breakthrough Junior Challenge, you will be required to take part in the Peer-to-Peer Review. The Peer-to-Peer Review is the first phase of judging the Applications to the Breakthrough Junior Challenge, in which the participants review and judge each other’s Applications, using specialized judging criteria described below. The same criteria will be used for all judging phases of the Challenge.

Applications will be scored using the Trait Scoring Rubric, which outlines the four criteria you should consider as you review: illumination, engagement, difficulty and creativity. Each of the four criteria will be graded on a 5-point scale. All scores will then be calculated using a special mathematical formula that ensures a fair and level playing field for all entrants.

During the Peer-to-Peer Review, each Application will be reviewed by 5 other participants. Participants will review and score the video based on the four criteria. It’s important that each participant reviews the Applications carefully and fairly.

To complete your Application and qualify for the prize, you will need to review and score at least five other Applications by October 16th, 2016 at 11:59 pm PDT (West Coast USA). You may be asked to review and score additional Applications as well.

Will I be notified when I have to start the Peer-to Peer Review?

Yes. An email from us will alert you to begin your peer evaluations, and provide more instructions.

What’s the relative weight of the Peer-to-Peer review?

For the first round of judging it is 100 percent.

What is the relative weight of each score?

It will depend on the total number of registered users participating in the review and the total number of Applications they will review.

Is there a system in place to protect against contestants who “game the system?”

Yes. Breakthrough Junior Challenge uses a password-protected secure website. The Peer-to-Peer Review is available only for registered users who have completed the entire Application process successfully. Peer-to-Peer Reviews are distributed randomly and all the results go through a mathematical normalization process to make sure that it is not possible to “game the system.”

Popular Vote Challenge

What is the Popular Vote Challenge?

The Popular Vote Challenge is a contest that will result in one of the Semi-Finalists being automatically placed in the Finalist round of judging. The contest will happen at our Facebook page, with the Semi-Finalist with the highest combined total of likes, shares and posititive reaction will go directly to the final round of judging.

Can I “like” my favorite videos more than once?

All Facebook users can only like (or make a positive reaction) each video once. You may also add to the score by sharing the video for a total of 2 votes on a video. You may also like more than one video. But you can’t like the same video more than once.

Is the top scorer of the Popular Vote Challenge determined by Facebook “likes” and YouTube views?

Only Facebook the likes, positive reactions or shares count toward the Popular Vote Challenge so be sure to share your favorite video with your friends, classmates, teachers, community, family – anyone you think will want to participate in the Popular Vote Challenge.

What is the prize for the Popular Vote Challenge?

The creator of the video that has the highest combined total of likes, positive reactions and shares during the Popular Vote Challenge will be automatically named a Finalist, and their video will appear on the Breakthrough Junior Challenge website. They will also automatically be placed in the final round of 5 videos that will be reviewed for the selection of the Breakthrough Junior Challenge winner.


Will I be notified about how my video did in the judging process?

While we greatly appreciate all of the Applications we receive, we will only be able to individually notify the Semi-Finalists and Finalists.


Will the winner attend the awards ceremony?

Yes! The winner of the Breakthrough Junior Challenge will attend the Breakthrough Prize Ceremony. Their name will be announced during the live televised broadcast and they will be presented with their award on stage during this special ceremony. Click here to watch last year’s winner receive the inaugural Breakthrough Junior Challenge prize. For more information about the Breakthrough Prize see breakthroughprize.org.


Is the $250,000 prize a cash award?

The $250,000 is for a post-secondary scholarship and can be used for tuition and fees at colleges and universities worldwide. For more details about the scholarship please visit the Terms and Conditions page.

Can I use the prize money for any purpose?

No – it is only used for a post-secondary educational scholarship and direct costs associated with it. For more details about the scholarship, please visit the Terms and Conditions page.

Is the $50,000 prize for my teacher a cash reward?

Yes – the Teacher Inspiration Prize is a cash gift to the teacher that inspired you in the field of physics, mathematics and life sciences. They may used the funds as they wish.


I am having trouble at the website or with completing the Application, and uploading my link to YouTube.

Please view this tutorial which will walk you through the Application process.

I wasn’t able to upload my video.

All you need to do is send us the YouTube link for your video in your Application, and we will upload it on our end.

I wasn’t able to upload my video. Can I get an extension for my submission?

The deadline for the Challenge is October 10 at 11:59 PM PDT (West Coast USA). We recommend uploading your video as soon as it’s complete so you don’t risk missing this deadline.

If I suspect suspicious activity or a dishonest submission, can I report it and to whom?

Please report any suspicious activity to challenge@breakthroughjuniorchallenge.org.

I created an account but will not be submitting a video. Do I need to cancel?


Whom do I contact for other questions I have?