Rishik Sood is studying in Class 12, Amity International School, Mayur Vihar, New Delhi. When asked, he readily shared his preparation experience for INOI and highlighted some vital tips for those who are starting to prepare for the same.
I started CP very late, around 6 months before INOI. The initial months were of course very scary. I struggled really hard (around a month) to get past the easiest questions . But then I met Udit, and he introduced me to an extremely talented group of programmers and mathematicians.
After joining this group, my journey initially became even hard because these guys were just too good. But soon there came Aulene senpai with his amazing guide to INOI preparation. This small guide introduced me to really good questions and that’s where I started to pick up CP concepts. Initially, to do CP, I would really recommend joining a close group of people who do CP. I was helped a lot by guys like Istasis Mishra, Aulene De, Udit Sanghi, Vatsal Sharma, Rajarshi Basu and others in the “Coders’ Den”.
Anyway, some 1-2 months later came ZCO judgement day. ZCO wasn’t really hard. I’m pretty pretty sure I messed up but getting 100+ was not at all a tough job. Cleared ZCO and nearly ZIO. After this, I realised how the level rises from ZCO to INOI. I had to work harder than before if I had to make it to IOITC. So slowly but surely I started preparing for INOI. My key resources were Codeforces, CodeChef and USACO along with some others like SPOJ. I did these pretty well, and became much better than before in a short span of time. For people reading this, keep doing USACO religiously. I cannot stress enough that they have problems that are gold for learning interesting concepts. I did USACO till the day before INOI.
Soon came INOI judgement day. I was not the most confident person but I was pretty sure I’d make it. So I sat to give INOI. I did the graph question pretty quickly without any issue and then faced a somehow intermediate level DP question. Well, I panicked and wasn’t able to do it even though I pretty much knew the solution 10 minute into the question.
I’d like to finish by giving some final pointers specific to ICO as far as I’ve learnt about it:
Learn Python + CPP/Java. People can argue that CPP is a much more used language but in my opinion when it comes to ZCO, no language is better than Python. Easiest codes can be written quite quickly.
Know your language well and be completely comfortable in it before ZCO.
If you’re learning CPP have the STL at your tips.
If there is any onsite workshop or competition like Procon Jr. do attend it. That greatly reduces the onsite stress.
Don’t panic when giving on-site contests. I suffered quite a lot during INOI.
Read the questions well and solve them on paper first. You needn’t be the first person to do these questions so just take your time and ensure you know what you’re going to code. Include all edge cases on the paper.
Implementing questions in practice is a debatable topic, but I’d say if you are solving 10 questions, you should implement at least 4-5.
Rishik Sood 🙂