Before the 1978 National Tournament, Academic Games competition consisted of only three divisions.
- Elementary Division was the same as now: Grades 6 and below.
- Junior Division covered grades 7-9.
- Senior Division comprised grades 10-12.
This system posed giant challenges for 7th and 10th graders, who competed against players two grades ahead of them. It was rare for a 7th-grader to win a cube game, but an occasional 10th-grader did so.
During the 1977-78 school year, Middle Division competition was added to the games.