USAD & USAP – A novel experience for Wellington pupils

Last year saw our debut in the United States Academic Pentathlon (USAP) and the United States Academic Decathlon (USAD) competitions, and we can still recall the jubilation that followed our successes in both. This year’s events have unsurprisingly, been online, but with the number of entrants from across China increasing by 1/3rd from 2019, the level of competition was significantly higher.

The USAP and USAD competitions have been another great experience for all our participants this year. From learning the history of diseases and their cures methods in Social Science to acknowledging the causes of cancer in Science and the impact of the pandemic in Philadelphia in English Literature, the historical events from the USAP and USAD have ironically interwoven into the current COVID-19 pandemic. One of our USAP participants said he could not believe how sometimes the historical events of the past would easily be replayed in modern society even with the advanced development of medical technology.

Ms. Luyi

Team Advisor

the College University Counselor

With the prevalence of the pandemic, all the participants had to finish their learning and group discussions online, including setting up new technical devices to prepare for the Super quiz. The team leaders would always encourage their teammates when an online lesson was about to finish. The swift adaptation, positivity, maturity and resilience shown during the competition are certainly characteristics of true Wellingtonians.

Particular congratulations go to the winners, Sam (Year 8); James, Frank and Coco (all A-Level Induction); and Catherine (Year 11), but at the same time, their achievement would not have been possible without the support of other student leaders such as Ted, August, Hongyu, and Kaiser. Well done to all our determined competitors and congratulations to the 2019-2020 USAP and USAD participants!




A-Level Induction Year

Speech – Gold Medal

This was my first chance to participate in the USAD competition. The topic of USAD 2020 was “in sickness and in health: an exploration of illness and wellness”, which was such an ironic topic given the current serious situation today. While this novel coronavirus is spreading around the world, millions of students are suffering too. The competition was originally scheduled to be held in Chengdu in early February. We tried our best to go through the resource guide to fully prepare for the competition and to aim to win some medals, but we were informed that the competition was postponed and changed to online format. After the announcement, preparations for the competition stalled for about half a month. I even thought of giving up because of the high pressure from the school curriculum and the standardized tests. But I was encouraged by my teammates and continued preparing. Thanks to the persistence at that time and the guidance from Miss. Luyi, Ted, August, and Hongyu, I consequently gained a gold medal in the speech section.

In the subsequent preparation process, there was no room for learning after school four days a week during which we acquired much knowledge and experience from student leaders and Miss. Luyi. We converted the normal USAD After School Activity (ASA) time, which was used to be held on Tuesday after school, to online teaching. During that time, we had completed some recap of the content from the 7 subjects especially, Social Science. For the interview and speech sections, Miss. Luyi corrected my scripts and even staged simulations which we went over many times. This online study group continued until the night before the competition.

In conclusion, this was an extraordinary and valuable experience for me, and I have learned the importance of teamwork. At the beginning was a pile of resource guides, from not knowing where to start, to the final success, an inseparable journey, from the help of student leaders, peers, to Miss. Luyi. I am proud of being a teammate in such an excellent team, and I am looking forward to taking part in more of these types of competitions!




A-Level Induction Year

Science – Bronze Medal

This year is the first year that I attended an international competition with a team. I first heard about the USAD competition from our team leader Catherine, and initially, I thought it might be too hard for me, so I did not sign up for it at first. I then heard about this year’s topic and it piqued my interest, and that there was only one place left. Because of my curiosity, I, at last, took the entry test and signed up.

The learning process was both interesting and tiring. At first, I was only thinking of gaining experiences for my College application, but when I received the resource guide, the ideas were quite interesting to me. Science and social science are the subjects that I’m best at, however social science is much harder considering the dates and timing.

I did not think this year’s topic of Sickness and Heath could be so poignant at first, however it was a fact. I am not sure if I would win more medals if we are having the competition offline, but I’m sure it would be much more interesting. Nevertheless, it was still a fun experience. I did get a medal, although not as I expected (I would attribute that to the statistics’ part in science). And I did improve my relationship with a very important friend of mine, our team leader. I believe all those involved can allow me to evaluate this USAD competition as “successful”.




A-Level Induction Year

Interview – Gold Medal

Speech – Bronze Medal





Year 11

Interview – Bronze Medal




Year 12, USAD Student Leader

Economics – Gold Medal, 2019

Essay – Bronze Medal, 2019

Being a USAD subject leader this year was a great experience for me. It was a good opportunity for me to deepen my understanding of subject knowledge. To be able to present relatively complex economic concepts in front of a mostly non-specialist audience, I had to get a decent grasp of the knowledge first and then be prepared to speak about that material in an engaging and accessible way. I spent a lot of time reading the subject material and writing notes. Limited by its length, the material booklet only provided a narrative of the concepts, and it did not give the ‘big picture’ of economics. Therefore, during the process of preparation, I also had to consider adding related concepts to supplement the learning but not go so far as to confuse them, which was a great challenge for me. Plus, this experience taught me to manage time and make plans reasonably. In the first class, I was too ambitious and talked about a lot of basic concepts in detail, but when the class ended, I only managed to teach them a few pages of content on the resource guide. That was an important lesson for me and something I could improve on if I were to do it again. Overall, being a subject leader was a precious experience, allowing me to practise English and public speaking while helping me to get a good understanding of the knowledge needed through teaching. Most importantly, it was a lot of fun to work with all the participants and a great way to meet nice and interesting people.