The Experience > What You'll Learn

What You'll Learn

You’ll always learn something different. Each year, the Academic Decathlon® selects a new theme for teams all over the country to explore. The theme shapes an entire course of studies—and brings it all together. The more years you participate in Academic Decathlon®, the more themes you’ll master. And, since our curriculum team develops these themes with special attention to national content standards, you’ll find you’re becoming not just a more knowledgeable Academic Decathlete, but a stronger all-around student.

The theme for the 2017-2018 Academic Decathlon® is Africa.

The overall curricular theme for 2017–2018 will be Africa. Following is some general information on the topics in each of the subject areas.

  • SCIENCE: The science topic will be an introduction to the biology of infectious diseases, with an emphasis on diseases that have had a significant impact on Africa.
  • LITERATURE: The literature curriculum will include critical reading, one long work of literature, and selected shorter works. The long work of literature will be the novel Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.
  • ART: The art curriculum will include a section on art fundamentals and will largely focus on African art.
  • MUSIC: The music curriculum will provide an introduction to the music of Africa.
  • SOCIAL SCIENCE: The social science curriculum will provide an introduction to the history of Africa, with an emphasis on West Africa.
  • ECONOMICS: The economics curriculum will cover fundamental economic concepts, microeconomics, and macroeconomics and will also include a thematic section on African economic history and development.
  • MATHEMATICS: The mathematics curriculum will cover general mathematics, geometry, and an introduction to differential calculus.


Please see the full subject area outlines for more details. You can also order study materials through our program brochure. Our team prepares approachable resource guides and helpful practice tests and other tools that you can use with your team to do your best on competition day.