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Academic Pentathlon

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what is academic pentathlon?

Academic Pentathlon is an exciting five-event competition for students in grades 6, 7 and 8. The program engages students of all achievement levels in a variety of challenging academic events, while also preparing them to participate in Academic Decathlon.

Under the guidance of an adult coach, teams of students prepare for competition in subject areas of fine arts (art and music), literature (including essay analysis), math, science, and social science.

Next year’s topic was just announced as Water: A Most Essential Resource. Signing up early allows schools to plan ahead their budgeting for instructional materials and staffing, recruit students and coaches, as well as determine meeting times.

Middle schools who are interested qualify for free curriculum, resources, competition registration, and Beyond the Bell support. If interested, please fill out the Intent to Participate form.

For Students and Parents who would like to sign up for the Academic Pentathlon team at your school, please fill out our Student Sign-up Form.

2021 Water theme

Competition format


An essay will be completed approximately three weeks before the competition and it will count for 40% of the student's Literature grade. The essay is a chance for the student to demonstrate not just what they have learned, but how powerfully they can present an idea.


   Students will take an exam in each of the following topics:

  • Fine Arts (Music and Art)
  • Literature
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Social Science

2021-22 KEY DATES





Wednesday, November 10, 2021

DUE: Intent to Participate (Final Deadline)


Saturday, February 26, 2022
9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.



Friday, March 4, 2022

DUE: Team Registration Documents


Friday, March 18, 2022
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

LAUSD Online Essay - Proctored at School Sites.

Prompts: Based on designated novel


Saturday, April 2, 2022
7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

LAUSD Competition – Online Objective Tests & Super Quiz


Saturday, April 9, 2022
1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

LAUSD Awards Ceremony


May 19–21, 2022

USAD National Competition



Academic Pentathlon is designed for students to become more knowledgeable and stronger all-around students as well as experience the challenges of rigorous team and individual academic competition.  


Students will also be able to: 

• Strengthen self-esteem. 

• Build character, grit, and perseverance.  

• Improve academic achievement and skills. 

• Develop team spirit and school pride.

• Foster communication and collaboration.


Luis Mora | Enrichment Programs Administrator | Beyond the Bell | LAUSD | 213-241-7900