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California counties hold local Academic Decathlon competitions for the high schools in their own county/district. The winning team from each county/district is then eligible to participate in the State Finals. Approximately sixty-five (65) teams compete in the State Finals each year.

A team consists of nine full-time students from the ninth through twelfth grades of the same high school; or, if there is no ninth grade, a team consists of nine full-time students from the tenth through twelfth grades of the same high school. A full-time student is defined as a student who is enrolled in four or more class periods per day. Each team is made up of three Honor students, three Scholastic students, and three Varsity students in accordance with the following grade point average definitions:

Category GPA
Honor 3.75-4.00
Scholastic 3.00-3.74
Varsity 2.99 or below

Contestants may compete in a higher division than their own GPA but not in a lower division (i.e., a Scholastic student may compete as an Honor student but not as a Varsity student).

The final team score is made up of only six scores: the highest two Honor, two Scholastic and two Varsity totals. Because of this fact, no team carries more than nine members, and, if fewer than nine students choose to participate, the team is still fully eligible for overall awards.

Schools interested in starting a team should contact their local coordinator or the state office:

California Academic Decathlon
2460 Clay Bank Road, Bldg. 7C
Fairfield, CA 94533
(707) 646-7601 Main