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Academic Decathlon is a competition of intellectual strength. It involves students from different high school grade levels preparing for a whole year for 7 academic subjects and 3 non-academics.

The 7 academic subjects include the following topics:
  • language and literature
  • math
  • economics
  • science
  • super quiz
  • art
  • music
The 3 non-academic subjects are as follows:
  • speech
  • interview
  • an essay
Students are encouraged to begin studying as soon as possible; at the same time they are undergoing independent research on different topics. To test the level of performance of a team, before the actual competition, an official USAD (United States Academic Decathlon) scrimmage test is given by the LAUSD on the second week of November. These scrimmage tests are only on the 7 academic subjects.

Note that the LAUSD is the most competitive district in California and in the United States as students on average score higher on the tests compared to students from other districts.

The first part of the official competition takes place on the last Saturday of January when all competing school teams meet to do their best on the 3 non-academic subjects. After this, students have one last week to prepare for the other tests along with the televised super quiz, which consists of 10 questions that are given in quiz fashion in front of an audience of team supporters.

The other tests are given at the Grand Ball Room in Ackerman Union in UCLA. A week and a half later, the Awards' Banquet takes place, in which the official scores are given. Those schools that score in the top 7 go to the state competition and the school that wins there goes to the national competition.

The academic decathlon adequately prepares students for college. Decathlon strengthens a student's understanding in math and can improve reading comprehension because students in the Decathlon team read college level material. Moreover, speaking skills, crucial for any type of position, are improved through speech and interview, making people more articulate.

Overall, the academic decathlon is a wonderful extra-curricular program for those that are intellectually curious.