Oregon DECA Shares Competitive Excellence Preparation

 Sara Christenson │Oregon DECA │VP of Competitive Excellence


How I Prepare For DECA Competition



Last year was my first year as a DECA member, and therefore, my first year competing.  After attending my chapter’s study sessions, I became acquainted with what DECA is as well as what competition is. With the help of our advisor and officer team, I chose to compete in Principles of Business Management and Administration. They taught me various ways to prepare for competition, and I quickly found what worked best for me. I was fortunate enough to place 1st at Districts and State, allowing me to qualify for ICDC, where I placed 3rd. My success led me to run for my chapter’s VP of Competitive Excellence position, in hopes to be able to share my strategies and experiences with others. So with that being said, I wanted to share how I prepare for competition with the rest of Wisconsin DECA!


At each of my chapter’s study sessions, I heard my advisor say over and over again how the test is the most overlooked part of DECA competition, and the best way to gain an edge on your competition is to study for the test. I prepared for the test in three main ways:

  • Practice Tests
  • Quizlets
  • DECA Flashcards
Practice Tests

The largest portion of my studying came from taking practice tests. I found the majority of my practice tests by searching for them online and printing them off. Then, rather than just blindly go through the entire test I followed a 3 step process for each one:

  1. Complete 10 questions.
    1. Mark the questions that you guessed on with a question mark.
    2. Highlight any vocab you are unfamiliar with (including all answer options).
  2. Check the 10 questions.
    1. Circle any questions you got wrong & circle the correct answer.
    2. Read the explanation for any questions you got wrong.  
  3. Repeat.

This technique allowed me to learn any unfamiliar vocabulary and concepts that are present in the DECA tests.


I also used Quizlet (online flashcards) as a tool to study for the DECA tests. After I finished taking a practice test, I would go back to any words I had highlighted, and add them and their definitions to my Quizlet. This was then a tool that I could use to study wherever I was.  

DECA Flashcards

The final way that I prepared for the DECA test was by using the flashcards that my advisor purchased from DECA Images. These flashcards were created by DECA, containing vocabulary specific to each event. This offered another way to learn material that might be present on the test at Districts, State, or ICDC.  


The most important aspects of DECA competition are the role plays, since they account for the majority of your score. Because of this, it is important that you are prepared for them! I prepared for my role plays in two ways:

  • Study Performance Indicators
  • Practice Role Plays


Studying Performance Indicators

Studying performance indicators is crucial before Districts, since they are already given to you! Take advantage of this (because many will not…) and put yourself ahead of the competition. All it takes is a little research on what each one means, and then a little practice on how you might go about explaining it or talking about it. After the district competitions, studying your PIs can be more challenging, since now they are not given to you, but it can give you a major advantage. Even if you just look through your event’s PIs and look up and vocab or concepts you don’t know, you will already be more prepared for competition!


Practice Role Plays

This preparation method is probably pretty self-explanatory. All you need to do is go online, find some practice role plays for your event, and then find someone to be your judge. Get out a pen and papers, set a timer, and then use it to prep for your role play.  Then when you are done, make sure your “judge” has read through the scenario and questions, and begin! Practice just like you would do in a real role play!


I hope that these preparation ideas and strategies were helpful, and I hope that everyone has a great, successful competition season!