Pete Davison: How to Play Pocket Academy

Posted on July 22, 2011 by


After posting a lengthy comment on yesterday’s post, I figured that I’d share what I’ve discovered about playing Kairosoft’s Pocket Academy with a view to potentially making the start of the game a little easier for those of you who haven’t tried it yet. So here we go.

The First Few Months

You’ll start your new school with a few basic facilities, one teacher and a couple of students, one of whom you design and name yourself. Don’t be tempted to build facilities or level up your teacher to begin with, even if they come to you and very politely inform you that their friends get more training than they do. The reason for this is that facilities cost money each month for upkeep, and each level up for a teacher raises their salary by 20%.

Instead, your initial activities should focus around getting your students’ abilities up to snuff through special classes, and performing Challenges to raise tuition.

Special classes cost one of the three types of Research Points to perform, and each will raise students’ grades in one or two subjects. As you progress through the game, more classes (and more effective classes) will become available. To acquire Research Points, it’s just a case of waiting — they come either from teachers using facilities (tap on a facility to see which type of points it provides), from students talking to each other (randomly determined) or special events such as those which occur in the summer and the fall (each event is tied to a particular type of Research Points).

Challenges cost money to take on, but succeeding in them increases your tuition by $20-30 per student. You can perform up to two successful Challenges per month. Failing one doesn’t count as one of these two — and in fact, failing a challenge provides you with Research Points, so if you have an excess of cash, this can be a good way of quickly bumping up your stocks. Passing a Challenge is determined partly by random chance, partly by the participating student’s Intelligence and Attitude stats, and partly by their grades. Raise grades with special classes and keep an eye on their Int/Att scores as they use the facilities.

At the end of each semester, there’s a test. Student grades will be tallied and the school will be given a rating and a ranking. The higher the rating/ranking, the more money you get, so it’s in your interests to ensure each class’ grade average is as high as possible — tap on a classroom to see the whole class’ average as well as students’ individual grades.

Building Up

As you pass Challenges and pass other milestones, reports in the school newspaper will be published, increasing your potential catchment area. As this happens, a flow of Transfer Students will join your school. Each will bring an entrance fee with them, and some will also offer a monetary gift from their parents. The more students you have, the more tuition you get per month.

Once your classrooms are full or the flow of Transfer Students stops, that’s a signal that it’s time to hire a new teacher. Pick one with a reasonable salary but a good range of stats, particularly those which aren’t covered by your existing staff member. Teachers’ “grades” determine how much benefit students get from the classes they hold at the start of each semester as well as the special classes — each time you hold a special class, one of your teachers is picked randomly to hold it.

Levelling up a teacher requires Research Points — the exact type and amount depends on the individual teacher. Gaining a level gives the teacher a 20% pay rise and 30-90 Education Points to spend on their “grades”. Try and specialise each teacher one at a time — all grades carry equal weight, so there’s no need to get Eng/Ma/Sci up first, whatever the National Curriculum might tell you. Pick one and try and get it up to 100, then move on to another.

Budget carefully — at the end of each month, you’ll see a brief rundown of how much you spent on facility upkeep, how much you spent on teacher salaries and how much income you got from students. Ideally the latter figure should be higher than the former two combined. If you want to check your budget in detail, go into the menu, tap School > School Info then tap on the info window that pops up.

Creating Spots

Once you’re making a healthy profit each month, you can look at expanding your school. When building new facilities, the most efficient thing to do is combine groups of three facilities together into Popular Spots. These then get a bonus which they also provide to surrounding facilities, making them more effective. The more a facility is used, the better it gets, too — tap on a facility to see how many more times it has to be used before it will level up.

Known Spot combinations are listed under Lists > Spot Guide. Over time, you’ll unlock more “recipes” but not all are listed. Here’s a partial list:

  • Relaxing Spot: Azalea, Grass, Bench
  • Waiting Spot: Bulletin Board, Big Rock, Rest Room
  • Power Spot: Well, Woods, Grass
  • Garden Spot: Grass, Field, Water Fountain
  • Art Spot: Art Room, Music Room, Misc Room
  • Study Spot: Principal Room, Library, AV Room
  • Spooky Spot: Music Room, Lab, Incinerator
  • Friend Spot: Water Fountain, Nurse’s Room, Lounge
  • Date Spot: Tennis Court, Woods, Library
  • Exercise Spot: Running track, B-Ball Court, Vending Room
  • Jealousy Spot: Incinerator, Cafeteria, Home Ec Room
  • Election Spot: Principal’s Office, Teacher Room, Lounge
  • Homey Spot: Nurse’s Room, Home Ec Room, Rest Room
  • Shopping Spot: Snack Store, Tiny Mart, Cafeteria
  • Meat Spot: Pig Room, Cow Room, Cafeteria
  • Water Spot: Water tile, Rest Room, Well
  • Cooking Spot: Incinerator, Home Ec Room, Water Fountain

In order to create some of these Spots, you’ll need to research the relevant facilities. To do this, pop up the menu, go into Admin > Research. Each facility costs a certain amount of money and Research Points to unlock, then each will take a period of time to create. You can’t research everything initially — more facilities will unlock as time passes. You’ll know when you can research something new by a pop-up saying you’ve got a “new request”. When looking at the Spot Guide, “Can Build” means that you have the capability to research all the necessary facilities, whereas “Cannot Build” means that you won’t be able to research or build at least some of the facilities for a while yet.

Career Guidance and Graduation

When your students reach their third year, you need to start paying attention to their career paths, as this will determine how much money you get when they graduate in month 3 of their last year. Use Lists > Student List to view their grades, stats and success rate in their career. Anyone with a yellow success rate (80%+) is likely to succeed, so you can leave them be in most cases. For anyone else, you may want to consider giving them some career guidance.

Students with no career planned will become part-timers upon graduation. This has a 100% success rate but returns a poor amount of money, so if you have the time and resources, advise them on an appropriate career.

To give career guidance, you need to use Research Points to create a Career Change item from the Admin > Items menu. Then tap on a student either on the screen or in the Student List and choose Use Item to apply it to them. You’ll see a range of careers, success rates and salaries — pick one with a good chance of success and decent salary. You’ll get an award of 5% of the total salaries of all your graduating students when they leave, so it’s in your interests to get them into as highly-paid jobs as possible.

Other Ways of Making Money

Certain facilities, such as the Vending Room and Snack Store, gain you money whenever students or teachers use them. This will provide a small income.

Fields will provide a slow but steady income, too. Build fields where students and teachers can reach them, next to paths. They’ll plant and harvest crops automatically at regular intervals, providing money on harvest.

Animal rooms provide income in a similar manner to fields, but you can build fewer of them.

All facilities are made more effective and provide more money depending on the amount of Spirit they have — Spirit is raised by planting trees, flowers and other nice things around them.

Where Now?

It’s up to you after that. From hereon you’ll have a steady string of things vying for your attention — do you prioritise your third years’ grades? Research? Build? Up to you — but remember you’ve only got until your tenth year to record a high score.

If you find your supply of transfer students drying up and your income dwindling, hire more teachers. Four teachers can handle six full classes — you’ll need to build another Teachers’ Room if you want to hire more.

Hope that’s helped. I haven’t covered everything by any means, but that sums up everything I’ve figured out about the game so far.

Posted in: Pete Davison