UIL academics participants prepare for their upcoming district meet


Jessica Stamp

Students participate in UIL journalism at the Round Rock Invitational.

Gabriella Sevieri, Staff Reporter

The UIL academics team took the competition by storm last weekend. The competition took place at Westwood High School, and the week before they competed at the Round Rock Invitational as well. Many students were lucky enough to take first place in some of the main categories. 

It was overwhelming when we got there because there were a bunch of people doing all different academic activities, but it was pretty slow once we got into the testing room,”  senior Brooke Moore who competed for accounting said. “Once the time starts though, you only have an hour to do 80 questions and your brain starts working at max speed.” 

The participants each have a good amount of time to prepare and study before the competitions begin. Most take practice tests and look over any information needed about the realm they are competing in. 

“For the Round Rock Invitational, I actually didn’t prepare that much. I relied on my previous knowledge from winning the National Spelling Bee in 5th grade and getting Gold at UIL State last year,” junior Nihar Janga who competed for spelling said. “However, I am planning to study a little bit before events like UIL Districts to refresh my memory.” 

The feelings were overwhelming for the students when they found out what place they got. Many students took a high placing spot on the list. 

“I felt good when I placed 1st in spelling at Round Rock because it showed me that not everything is just about memorizing things, as we are often forced to do in school,” Janga said. “I was happy that I could do really well by just understanding the stories behind words rather than taking them at surface value.”

 Months of preparation are put into planning and studying for these types of competitions, the students competing put lots of time, thought and effort into their event. 

“This year, I practiced during the official practices for each event, and those are about 1.5 hours each,” senior Andrew McAlinden who competed for math and computer science. “ I practiced by doing practice tests, talking about questions I didn’t understand with the team, and researching the correct answers.”

The atmosphere of competitions ranges for everyone, which is something that can affect the competitors in a good way or bad way. The environment can be fast paced or slow paced, and competitors say there is a big difference between the two. 

I would say the competition is medium paced,” Janga said. “The UIL Spelling competition is much different compared to your standard Spelling Bee. In the first part, you have 15 minutes to answer 30 questions, half of which are identifying 15 incorrect spellings and half of which are answering questions about the vocabulary/etymology of words.” 

The competitors are excited for the upcoming district competition and have been hard at work and putting their time into preparation.

“Some of the main highs are competing and getting high placements,” McAlind said. “When I placed first my main emotions were excitement and joy.”