Hi there! I’m Nick Synodis, founder of Xathlon (pronounced “Zath-lon,” but I won’t be upset if you say “Ecks-ath-lon”). A little about me: I’m obsessed with learning, quality, and optimal experiences. I earned a B.S. in Mathematics and Statistics and was exposed to the “science” of learning through research in machine learning and its applications to educational psychology. While I was doing that, I co-founded and ran a company called Decademy for almost five years which made an entire suite of learning materials for Academic Decathlon and promoted the mantra “Don’t just memorize. Learn.”
I then decided to trek into the industrial world, applying my love of business and statistics to manufacturing, working as an industrial engineer and project manager at a materials company. My business partner at Decademy and I decided to close shop and venture off on our own for a bit, even though we were making a product that everyone loved. During this “time off” from Decathlon, I became a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, honing in on my desire to optimize the quality of systems and products using statistical methods.
I didn’t stop thinking about Decathlon, though. In fact, I came back to the idea of participating in building “the future of learning” over and over again. So, after much deliberation, I decided to create Xathlon.
Xathlon creates educational experiences. We specialize in creating simulated competitions for Academic Decathlon (so in this case, you could say the “X” in Xathlon” equals 10). We believe there is no better way to prepare for a competition than competition itself. So, we provide a simulated competition (for the 7 objective tests) one weekend a month (giving you a Thursday through a Monday to complete it), starting in October and ending in March, in order to create a competitive environment where students from across the globe can interact.
At these simulated competitions, students from all around the world take the same tests (all seven objective subjects) on the same weekend. When they’re done and the tests are scored, coaches and students have the option of submitting their scores and seeing how they rank globally. It doesn’t stop there, though. After each competition, we’ll share a link to a private Facebook group for anyone who signed up for the competition where you can talk with other students, coaches, and even our test writers about the contents of the exam. Beyond that, we also have a Facebook group for general discussion of the curriculum and Decathlon.
Our top priority for these simulated competitions is quality. That means we are heavily focused on creating a system for test writing which focuses on making sure that all our questions have one correct answer, that they are grammatically correct, and that they follow a similar format, style, content, language, and nuance of the tests students will see in official competitions. Because of our unique approach to releasing the tests as competition sets, we are also able continuously improve our tests throughout the year based on customer feedback.
We thrive on your continual feedback, and of course, your participation. Please contact us if you have any questions about Xathlon, if you are interested in subscribing for the year, if you’d like to host an in-person or digital scrimmage using our tests, or if you think there is any way we can provide you value.