There are Long-term and Spontaneous problems. While teams may prepare for the presentation of their solution to one of the Long-term problems over months until the competition, they encounter the Spontaneous problems only on-site and have to solve it within a few minutes. However, they may practice to solve Spontaneous in general, which often involves a ton of fun already. The third scoring category: Style, is presented together with the solution of the Long-term problem.
For the Long-term problem solution, a team may receive up to 200 points, for Spontaneous up to 100 points and for the Style presentation up to 50 points. Altogether, 350 points are possible.
Teams must build one large (which a team member may sit on) or several small vehicles and drive through a course. The presentation has to fit a certain theme, which the team may elaborate upon.
Teams must build technical devices that fulfill certain tasks. This is incorporated into a play that fits a certain theme. Often, the presentations are supposed to include be humorous.
In the Classics Problem, teams deal with a history, literary or art history theme. For example: history must be re-written or art works must be reproduced. Every year is is a new surprise.
In this problem, teams must build a structure using balsa wood sticks and glue, which later will be tested on how much weight it can hold. The requirements are different every year. The record is more than 1000 kg on a 15 gram structure.
In this problem, teams often must prove their performance skills. There are fewer limitations and more possibilities. Teams may give their creativity free rein.
Style is the elaboration of the Long-term problem solution. This category provides teams with the opportunity to showcase their skills and to incorporate their interests into their solutions.
Style can be art, music, dance, humor, engineering, costuming, creative writing, creative use of materials, and on and on.
Verbal spontaneous problems require verbal responses. They may incorporate improvisation or dramatization. Teams are scored for common and creative responses.
Hands-on spontaneous problems require teams to physically create a tangible solution. Each hands-on problem has its own specific scoring categories.
Verbal/hands-on spontaneous problems require teams to create a tangible solution and include some type of verbal component, for example, creating a story about the solution.