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What is Academic Decathlon?

Overview: (For more information, go to the United States Academic Decathlon (USAD) site.)
Academic Decathlon is a competitive team "sport" for your brain. A "decathlon" is a 10-event competition in which all the contestants participate in ALL 10 events. Academic Decathlon's events involve taking multiple choice tests in seven subject areas: Language and Literature, Music, Art, Social Science, Science, Math, and Economics; giving a 4-minute prepared speech and performing a 2-minute impromptu speech, writing an essay in 30 minutes, and giving an interview. These 10 events connect to each other each year through a central theme. The theme for 2004-2005 is "Understanding the Ancient World."
To compete in an Academic Decathlon competition, a school must form a team of 9 competitors. That team of 9 students breaks down into 3 smaller teams: honors, varsity, and scholastic. Students who compete are grouped into one of these three smaller teams according to grade point average.
As stated above, all 9 members of the Decathlon team compete in all 10 events. Team members compete for individual achievement (individual high scores earn you medals) and for team achievement. The team's overall score determines whether your team moves onto the next competition.
Academic Decathlon @ Curie:
  • Students who are interested in joining Decathlon should see Ms. Spachman in the English Office or in room 262.
  • At the end of each week, Decathlon students take a test (or give a speech or interview, or complete an essay). The "test" day is usually Friday after school, but students can make arrangements to take tests earlier. Test scores determine whether you will compete for the team at competitions.
  • Preparation begins in May, includes reading over the summer, and continues at an even more rigorous pace in the fall and winter of each year. Especially once September comes, Decathlon is a HUGE time commitment. Team members will be expected to study on their own time, on weekends, and even over holidays and breaks in order to prepare for competitons. (e.g., There will be a mandatory week of studying over winter break at the Archer Heights Library.)
  • Official competitions begin at the end of January. Competitions are on Saturdays and are full-day time commitments (typically from 6:45 am to 10 pm). Scrimmage competitions occur on Saturdays throughout the fall. These practice competitions usually last from 7 am to 1-2 pm.