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University of Texas at Austin
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University Interscholastic League Logo

Spelling and Vocabulary

Elements of the Contest

Each year, the UIL Spelling and Vocabulary Contest is based on a different vocabulary list provided by UIL and consists of a three-part test:

  • Part I:  A fifteen-minute section of 30 multiple-choice items focused on vocabulary and proofreading, and...
  • Part II & III:  The hand-written spelling of 70 words pronounced aloud to contestants, as well as a tiebreaker section of 20 additional pronounced words.

Additional Information

Eighty percent of the test will come from the UIL “Word Power” list that changes each year.  Twenty percent will come from outside sources, such as commonly used words, proper names/words in the news, and words that are representative of important elements of the English language.

The “Word Power” list is a free digital download found on the right-hand column of this page.

The final authority for all words is The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition: Fiftieth Anniversary Printing (2018) published by Houghton Mifflin Company. No online version, compact paperback, or any other edition will be accepted. A word’s definition and not its etymology will be the sole determining factor for correct spelling. 

State contest Director

Linda Berrey

Contest handbook

Sample Test & Key

(Not based on current year's spelling list).


Updated version has #104 Baha'i

2023-2024 Word Power Posted 6/22/23

Integrating Spelling and Vocabulary into Classroom Instruction