The Computer Applications Contest focuses on speed, skill, and accuracy using three computer applications, Word processing, database, and spreadsheet, and the integration of these applications. Every second counts in this 30-minute contest. Below is some helpful information as you prepare for your region and/or state competition.
Starter files are required for Region and State. Make sure you have downloaded this year's starter files which can be found on the contest page on the UIL website. Coaches are encouraged to save the starter files each year so that you can continue to use old Region and State Tests for practice.
Ensure that you have correctly-formatted templates for any Word documents that you might encounter during competition. You can create your own file of templates modeling those found in the UIL Computer Applications Handbook, or you might also consider purchasing a Hexco Computer Apps Templates CD as it has all the work done for you. You might also think about creating a collection of format switches. Anything you have on your computer is acceptable at a contest, including templates for documents, help files, and personal files with information.
One of the determining factors that distinguishes first place from third place is the use of the keyboard. Shortcut keys are vital in this contest. Master shortcuts for Open, Print, Save, Start the Report Wizard, Create a Query in Design View, Center, Left Justify, Right Justify, Format as Currency, and Format as Percent, just to name a few.
Be familiar with grading in order to see where point values are placed. The Word document on most tests is worth 50-60 points by itself. Consider doing the document first regardless of where it is in the sequence of the test. You should print it without whatever chart, formula, or merge data to get credit in the event you don't complete the entire test.
Resources and Study Material
Several resources are obtainable from the Computer Applications page on the UIL website. You can download the handbook, starter files, and several lesson plans. New to the page are two instructional videos, including a walkthrough of the grading process. Coaches should watch this video as a refresher before the big competition to help speed-up the grading process.
UIL offers the Computer Applications Study Packet that contains a copy of the prior year's UIL tests for District, Region, and State Meets. If you're looking for more study material, Hexco offers Region and State Practice Packets and instructional videos. Designed for advanced-level students, these tests match the level of difficulty that you will encounter at your upcoming contest. Spring Practice Packets are also some of Hexco's more challenging test material, specifically tests E and F in each packet. These challenging tests require the use of starter files.
Hopefully, you have found some of this information useful. The more you prepare yourself for competition, the better your score will be. Best of luck, and we hope to see you at State!