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UIL Academic Events


The University Interscholastic League offers a wide variety of academic contests for high school students, encompassing many elements of required high school coursework.  These contests build upon the academic skills developed in the classroom and offer students an opportunity to stretch their talents above and beyond those requirements.  The complete rules for each contest are contained in the UIL Constitution and Contest Rules, which is updated every year and posted on the UIL web site at:




Maybe you're on your way to becoming a CPA or you just really know how to take care of money.  Make a stop at this contest and pick up a few skills in bookkeeping, balancing and banking before you take one of the Big Five accounting firms by storm.

The contest focuses on the elementary principles and practices of accounting for sole proprietorship, partnerships and corporations, and includes bookkeeping terminology, the work sheet with adjustments, income statement, balance sheet, trial balance, account classification, journalizing, posting, bank reconciliation, payroll and other items related to the basic accounting cycle.   


 Calculator Applications

Calculate this: Add your math skills to a college application, standardized test or resume, and success might just be the result.  Math is power in today's job market, so multiply your potential by trying out this problem-solving contest.

The 30-minute contest includes calculations involving addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, roots, powers, exponentiation, logarithms, trigonometric functions, inverse trigonometric functions, iterative solutions for transcendental equations, differential and integral calculus, elementary statistics and matrix algebra. In addition to straightforward calculation problems, the contest includes geometric and stated problems similar to those found in recently adopted high school algebra, geometry, trigonometry, pre-calculus and calculus textbooks, previous contests, and UIL materials related to the contest. 


  Computer Applications  

For the tech generation: Become technologically savvy while testing your word processing, database and spreadsheet skills. You'll become familiar with the finer points of computer skills such as formatting copying, editing, creating charts and integrating applications.

Computer Applications focuses on word processing speed and accuracy, computer skills in database and spreadsheet, and integration of applications. Skills tested include formatting copy, mail merge, headers/footers, editing, proofreading, spreadsheet, graphs/charts, pivot tables and integration of all applications. The test is application based and each contestant must create a spreadsheet and/or database and word document with an embedded chart or graph within 30 minutes. Only three contestants can compete at each level.  A "sweep" means that the three contestants placed 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. The C-TEAM has completed 8 district sweeps and 1 Regional sweep were all three contestants advanced to State. There have been six students to advance to state competition in computer applications, Arena Welch (2003), Aaron Sloan (2004), Kimberly McLeroy (2004), Brittany Durham (2004 & 2005), Alex Faile (2006 & 2007), and Nena Millsap (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008). State meet results are as follows; In 2005, Nena Millsap was the State Champion and Brittany Durham placed 4th. In 2006, Alex Faile placed 5th, Nena Millsap placed 6th.  At the 2006 State contest, Alex and Nena tests were 96.3% and 94.3% correct respectively. At the 2007 State Meet, Alex Faile placed 2nd, while Nena Millsap placed 6th. In 2008, Nena Millsap placed 4th. Nena Millsap claimed 4 Straight State Appearances (2005-2008), placing every single year (1st, 6th, 6th, 4th) making her the mostly highly decorated Computer Applications contestant in the History of Texas State UIL. In 2010, C-TEAM had a Regional Sweep, meaning that all three contestants advanced to State. Jesica Soto, JuliAnn Dowdy, and Rachel Baker advanced. In 2011, Emilie Fennimore placed 4th in State in Computer Applications. In 2012, both Rachel Baker and Emilie Fennimore advanced to State. The second time for each. Rachel Baker was the State Champion, while Emilie Fennimore placed 2nd. Rachel and Emilie had the highest two scores out of all 60 competitors in class A through 5A.


 Computer Science  

Bill Gates used to program computer in his spare time, and apparently he did something right.  Get your start in computer science by learning the details of Java programming, and try your hand at writing some programs of your own.

The Computer Science contest challenges high school students to gain an understanding of the significance of computation as well as the details of Java programming, to be alert to new technology and information, to gain an understanding of the basic principles of computer science, and to give students a start in one of the most important fields of the Information Age.  There is a 45-minute multiple choice test for practice meets and District competition.  Only the first place team advances to Regionals, and then State. At Regional and State level competition, contestants must complete a 45-minute written test and programming set.  The programming set is composed of three of the team members and last for 2 hours.  Each must complete as many programs as possible in the time span and deductions are placed on incorrect submissions.  The Computer Science Team has won 11 District Championships ('98,'99,'01,'02,'03,'04,'05,'06,'07,'08,'09), 4 Regional Championships ('01,'03,'04,'05), and a State Championship in 2005. Results at the state meet are as follows, in 2001, Computer Science team placed fourth (Blake Foster, Stuart Chapman, Brian Treat), in 2003, placed second (Andy Welch, Brett Thomas, Aaron Sloan, Kimberly McLeroy), in 2004 placed second (Andy Welch, Brett Thomas, Aaron Sloan, Jerod Day), in 2005 placed first (Andy Welch, Chase Matkin, Jacob McLeroy, Justin Dennis). In 2006, Chase Matkin advanced to the State Meet and placed 6th as an individual.  In 2007, Chance Banks and Justin Miles advanced to the State Meet as an individual. In 2008, Terry Wu advanced to the State Meet as an individual and he advanced again 2010. In 2012, Rachel Baker advanced to State and placed 2nd.


 Current Issues & Events  

You'll go around the world in 40 multiple-choice questions as your test your knowledge on current state, national and global events.  Watching news shows will pay off when you answer the essay question at the end and take a closer look at one current event.

The contest focuses on a basic knowledge of current state, national and world events and issues. The content consists of 40 multiple-choice questions and an essay question that challenges all participants to understand not just what is happening in the world today, but why and how it’s happening and what it means to us as citizens of the US.  


  Literary Criticism

You'll need a critical eye as you scan through literary history.  You'll analyze literary from a provided reading list as well as literary passages not on the list.  A short essay serves as the tie breaker that could put you over the top.

The contest requires knowledge of literary history and of critical terms, and ability in literary criticism. Students are tested over material on the reading list, required to select the best answers involving judgment in literary criticism, and to analyze literary passages not on the reading list. A tie-breaker is required in which the student must write a short essay dealing with a specified topic about a short literary passage. In 2007, Zachary Richardson advanced to the State Meet.



Algebra, geometry, pre-calculus, oh my!  Come armed for this test with your knowledge and understanding of a variety of mathematical subjects such as geometry and trigonometry as you compete against your peers.

The 40-minute test consists of 60 objective-type questions designed to test knowledge and understanding in the areas of algebra I and II, geometry, trigonometry, math analysis, analytic geometry, pre-calculus and elementary calculus. Questions will be multiple choice.


 Number Sense  

Ten minutes is all it takes to find out if you have good number sense.  You'll work with your coach and team to develop and practice shortcuts to solve the mental math test and still beat the clock.  Make sense?

This 80 question mental math test covers all high school mathematics curricula. All answers must be derived without using scratch paper or a calculator.

 Ready Writing

Ready, set, write! If you like to make your own path, this contest is for you. A short prompt will provide the inspiration for your creative ideas as you explore a topic or prove a point.

In this contest, students write expository compositions. They are given a choice between two prompts, each an excerpt from literature, publications (past and present) or speeches. Expository writing explains, proves, or explores a topic in a balanced way, allowing the argument and the evidence given to be the deciding factor in the paper. The composition is judged on interest, organization and correctness of style.



Forget just memorizing facts, because the science contest is all about the importance of experiments and scientific discoveries.  Your knowledge of biology, chemistry and physics will help you select the correct answers on this 60-question multiple-choice test.  Individual awards are given in each subject area, so even students who have not yet taken all the science courses can excel!

The Science Contest challenges students to read widely in biology, chemistry and physics, to gain an understanding of the significance of experiments rather than to recall obscure details, to be alert to new discoveries and information in the areas of science, to gain an understanding of the basic principles as well as knowledge of the history and philosophy of science, and to foster a sense of enthusiasm about science and how it affects our daily lives.


 Social Studies

If your interest lies in movements, wars, history and politics, this contest will give your more than enough material to explore.  The contest requires you to apply your understanding of history and culture through multiple-choice questions and an essay.

The Social Studies contest consists of 45 objective questions and an essay. Students are expected to master a primary reading selection as well as specific documents. Students will also need to be familiar with general knowledge social studies concepts and terms. Each year the contest focuses on a selected topic area, and a reading list is provided online. In 2006, the social studies team consisting of Zachary Richardson, Blake Brosnan, James Reichert, and Cole Beckett advanced to STATE Academic Meet and placed 5th. 


 Spelling & Vocabulary

Whether you have aced the SAT verbal section or you could use some extra practice, this contest keeps you focused on the details.  By the end, you may be correcting your teachers' spelling and using words your coach has never heard.

Spelling and Vocabulary promotes precise and effective use of words. The three-part contest consists of multiple choice questions of proofreading and vocabulary and words that are written from dictation. Eighty percent of the words on the test are listed in the UIL publication WordPower, which is based on the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, third edition. The vocabulary building and spelling components of the contest are important complements of the high school academic curriculum and are indicative of vocabulary words contained on standardized tests such as SAT, PSAT and ACT.


 News Writing

In this contest, you decide what's fit to print as you make your way through a set of facts and quotes, and pick out what's important. You'll work on a deadline for the newspaper as you create a cohesive story that inquiring minds have a right to know.

The News Writing Contest teaches students to read critically, to digest and prioritize information quickly and to write clearly, accurately and succinctly. Emphasis is placed on mechanical and stylistic precision, lead writing, use of direct and indirect quotes and news judgment.


 Feature Writing

If you've got a knack for developing a story, this contest is for you. You'll be provided with the facts and quotes you need, and then it's up to you to piece together a journalistic feature story your readers will remember.

The feature writing contest teaches students to read critically, to digest and prioritize information quickly, and to write clearly, accurately and succinctly. Emphasis is placed on the same writing skills as other UIL journalism contests, as well as the ability to write descriptively.


 Editorial Writing  

Have you ever won a medal for simply writing down your opinion in an organized way? In editorial writing, you'll take a stand on a controversial school issue and back up your stance with facts and examples.

The editorial writing contest teaches students to read critically, to digest and prioritize information quickly, and to write clearly, accurately and succinctly. Emphasis is placed on mechanical and stylistic precision, news judgment, and the ability to think deeply, to compare and contrast and to argue or defend a point of view persuasively.


  Headline Writing

Put the finishing touches on the news as you decide what's most important about six news stories and top them off with headlines. The challenge is to be creative in your word choice and adhere to the word and line counts as you write tomorrow's headlines.

The headline writing contest teaches students to read critically, to digest and prioritize information quickly, and to write clearly, accurately and succinctly. Emphasis is placed on the ability to discern key facts and to write with flair and style in order to tell and sell a story.


  One-Act Play - Marilyn Joyce

Before you pack up your bags and shuffle off to Broadway, try out the League's One-Act-Play contest. You'll have the chance to work with other actors and people interested in technical theatre at your school to produce a theatrical production. You'll get a chance to take your show on the road, and compete against other schools, and you might just make it to the state competition. Many of Texas' best theatre and film professionals participated in this contest while in high school.

The aims of the One-Act Play Contest are to satisfy the competitive, artistic spirit with friendly rivalry among schools, emphasizing high quality performance in this creative art; to foster appreciation of good acting, good directing and good drama; to promote interest in that art form most readily usable in leisure time during adult life; to learn to lose or win graciously, accepting in good sportsmanship the judge’s decision and criticism to improving future productions to increase the number of schools which have adopted theatre arts as an academic subject in school curricula. At the 2007 State Meet, One Act Play won State with the performance, Flowers of Algernon. Zane Grimes was the Samuel French Award Winner, which goes to the best actor at the state contest.  Kari Cigainero was selected as All-Star cast and Briana Stevens was selected as honorable mention at the State Meet. In 2009, OAP advanced to the State for the 2nd time in three years. Honorable Mention All-Star Cast went to Kelsey Reichman, while the State Best Crew award went to Kara Hendricks. In 2009 and 2010, One Act Play advanced to state making it 4 times in the last 5 years. In 2010, OAP brought home 2nd Runner-up.


C-X Debate

If you've never shied away from an argument and you have a zest for winning, give Cross-Examination Debate a try. As part of a two-person team, you will prepare your stance on a particular policy in advance and then face an opposing team in competition. You'll have to think on your feet to defend your ideas.

Cross-Examination Debate trains students to analyze a problem, conduct thorough and relevant research, and utilize principles of argumentation and advocacy in orally presenting the most effective case for or against a given proposition. Debate provides invaluable training in critical thinking, quick responses, defending worthy ideas and attacking invalid ideas. It teaches students to tolerate other points of view. Debate exists only in democratic societies, and no democratic society can exist without debate. C-X resolution is posted online. In 2009 the team of Taylor Levesque and Mark Sorrells advanced to the State Quarterfinalist round.


Lincoln-Douglas Debate  

In this one-on-one values debate, you'll prepare to argue for and against a given resolution. After researching the topic in advance, it will be up to you to make arguments that defend your point of view and debunk invalid claims from your opponent.

Lincoln-Douglas debate provides excellent training for development of skills in argumentation, persuasion, research and audience analysis. Through this contest, students are encouraged to develop a direct and communicative style of oral delivery. Lincoln- Douglas debate is a one on-one argumentation in which debaters attempt to convince the judge of the acceptability of their side of a value proposition. One debater shall argue the affirmative side of the resolution, and one debater shall argue the negative side of the resolution in a given round. Fall and spring resolutions are posted online. In 2009, Bethny Barrett, advanced to state and placed 3rd. In 2010 and 2011, Kara Hendricks advanced to state in LD. In 2010, she placed 3rd. In 2011, she brought home the State Championship. In 2012, Jacob Morris advanced to state and earned 3rd Place.


 Informative Speaking  

This contest is all about watching the clock and knowing your material. You'll draw a current event and have 30 minutes to comb through files you've collected throughout the year. Then you'll present a speech that informs your audience on all aspects of the current event you've researched.

The purpose of this contest is to stimulate an active interest in current affairs at the state, national and international levels, and to teach the student to present extemporaneously in a clear and impartial manner the facts about a subject as they appear in the best available sources of information. This speaking contest is an exercise in clear thinking and informing the public on the issues and concerns of the American people. The objective is to present information in an interesting way, and an attempt should not be made to change the listener’s mind beyond presenting the information.


Persuasive Speaking

Similar to informative speaking, in this contest you have 30 minutes to review your research files on a particular current event and come to a conclusion to argue about that topic. The goal of your speech is not just to present relevant information, but to convince your audience that your position is solid.

This contest trains students to analyze a current issue, determine a point of view, and organize and deliver extemporaneously a speech that seeks to persuade listeners. The objective is to reinforce the views of listeners who already believe as the speaker does, but even more so, to bring those of neutral or opposing views around to the speaker’s beliefs or proposed course of action. This contest should especially appeal to those who have a strong argumentative urge and who wish to advocate reforms or outline solutions for current problems.


Poetry Interpretation

In poetry interpretation, you'll choose a selection that fits in the given category to present to an audience. This contest emphasizes literary analysis through expressive oral reading.

The purpose of this contest is to encourage the student to understand, experience and share poetry through the art of oral interpretation. The goals of this contest are to encourage the contestant’s exploration of a variety of literary selections, and to enhance the performer’s and audience’s appreciation of literature through the performer’s oral interpretation of the work. In 2008, Kelsey Reichman, placed 4th and then returned again in 2009 with back-to-back state appearances.


Prose Interpretation

In poetry interpretation, you'll choose a selection that fits in the given category to present to an audience.  this contest emphasizes literary analysis through expressive oral reading.

This contest encourages the student to understand, experience and share prose works through the art of oral interpretation. It encourages the contestant’s exploration of a variety of literary selections and to enhance the performer’s and audience’s appreciation of literature through the performer’s oral interpretation of the work. In 2009, Briana placed 4th at State competition.


 UIL Congress

Congress is an individual contest in a large group setting. It models the legislative process of democracy, specifically, the United States Congress. Within this mock legislative assembly competition, contestants draft legislation (proposed laws and position statements) submitted to the tournament, and they research the docket of bills and resolutions dealing with real-world  social and political policies prior to the contest to prepare their speeches. At the tournament, students caucus in committees, deliver formal discourse on the merits and disadvantages of each piece of legislation, and vote to pass or defeat the measures they have examined. Parliamentary procedure forms structure for the discourse, and students extemporaneously respond to others’ arguments over the course of a session.