The raw scores are out! We got 11th
failed the test
Yeah, the test killed us too (I wouldn't say we failed
it – we got 23/30 – but we definitely should have done better). I think the PCR question was probably where we lost the most points; if I recall our answer correctly, we only got one point out of the four. I could imagine that we got one point off on each of the four other questions (or full points on some and more than one point off on others); I'm pretty sure we got all the multiple choice right, though.
As far as the prebuild (38/40), in theory, I shouldn't be losing any points on secondary/tertiary structure; I always check that roughly a million times and wire everything in place so it's near-immobilized. However, the protein traveled to Nationals in a suitcase. I did spend about two hours the day before competition fixing anything that got squished, checking and re-checking (and repainting where paint had flaked off my Toober xP), but I can't guarantee that I didn't miss something. On the other hand, several of my creative additions are listed and, by the rubric, I should have gotten at least fourteen points out of the listed ones (and I can't imagine that I didn't get at least two points out of the remaining ones that weren't listed explicitly on the rubric), so... perhaps some of my helices got squished or unwound in a way that made them shorter than necessary or something? I don't know. Even looking at this rubric, there's literally only one thing I would add to my model if I had another competition. I don't really know what I could have done to make it better besides not flying to Nationals... Honestly, 38/40 wouldn't bother me too much were it not for the fact that all the teams that medaled got at least 39/40, and had I managed that one extra point, I would've gotten 5th.
I have absolutely no concern about the onsite; we got 29.75/30, and honestly, to get only a quarter-point off is quite good and well within the range of how well I'd expect to do (which would be anywhere from perfect to about two points off, having gotten 28.5/30 last year). I don't think it's possible to consistently get the thing exact – even with a really good spatial sense, understanding of the software and knowledge of protein structure, and a ton of practice, I think there's enough detail in one of these proteins that no matter how many times you check the structure or from how many different angles, you still can't guarantee you won't have missed any one little thing that shows up on the rubric (my point being not that it's impossible to get 30/30, since that's obviously untrue, but that being capable
of getting 30/30 doesn't actually guarantee you'll do any better than, say, 29/30).
5.5 points between first and seventh. It's a reasonable spread up there, but it's not huge (for comparison, the gap between 7th and 8th alone was almost half that). Last year was 8 points between first and seventh, but more tellingly, my 7th-place score this year would've been third last year (interestingly, this year's third place score would still have been third place last year: the entire 3-7 range this year fell into the fairly large space – 4.25 points – between last year's second and third).
Basically, the moral of the story is that we should've done better on the test :-/ One additional point would've gotten me 5th; five and a half would've tied for first (and yes, of the 5.5 points the first place team had over me, five of them came from the test. They did one point better than I did on the prebuild, but got half a point less on the onsite).
On some level, this event came down to the test: the first place team had the highest score on the test by a solid two points over second and third, but was in the same range as everyone else in the top ten or so as far as the prebuild/onsite (combined) went. Sorting by test score leaves the top eight unchanged (just slightly shuffled). Sorting by prebuild score is much less conclusive: the 13th place team did better than the 1st place team, and the 35th place team did better than 7th and 8th; and sorting by onsite score is similarly inconclusive. So I will conclude my overly long analysis of these scores by saying that when this event comes around again in the 2014-2015 season, you guys should make sure not to neglect studying for the test as part of your preparation for this event (given that I much prefer the other two parts, I guess it's not that surprising that we only got 7th xD).
Anyone here from West Windsor-Plainsboro South? Dang, you guys must be good at folding. 70/70 combined for the prebuild and onsite; wow.