A Complete Guide To Prepare For ICPC | CodeChef

6 min read

If you have been a part of the coding community long enough, you must have heard about ICPC. The International Collegiate Programming Contest or ICPC is the oldest and the most prestigious programming contest in the world. As CodeChef likes to call it, ICPC is the “Olympics of Programming Competitions.”

For those who have little to no idea about ICPC, don’t worry! Here we will talk all about it and provide you with insights into how you can prepare for the contest.

ICPC – What is it?

ICPC is an algorithmic programming contest for college students. College students participate in the contest in teams with each team consisting of 3 participants from the same college. The ICPC governing body has its headquarters at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. On average, over 50000 students take part in the contest annually from over 3000 universities around the globe. 

The winners of the contest receive prize money of $15,000 and an ICPC gold medal. Three other teams get the gold medal and receive $7,500. The silver and bronze medal teams get $6,000 and $3,000, respectively.

The contest takes place in two rounds – 

  • ICPC Regionals – The regionals are the first hurdle that every team needs to clear if they want to represent their college in the finals. Local universities conduct them in different regions across the globe. The winners of each regional contest get to represent their college in the ICPC World Finals. The 2020 regionals in India were held at the following sites – Amritapuri, Kanpur, Kharagpur, and Gwalior-Pune. 
  • There are also multiple rounds in the Regionals. There is usually an online round, and then an onsite round is contested between the selected teams. These contests happen from October to December.
  • World Finals – The best teams from every regional site across the globe lock horns at the ICPC World Finals. Many CodeChef users have been a part of the World Finals and made a significant name for themselves.

For more information on eligibility and other rules, visit Rules.

How to prepare for the contest?

Preparing for a contest like ICPC requires you to sharpen your skills and make the best use of them. If you are preparing from scratch, this is how you can start – 

  1. Selecting the ideal programming language

The first and possibly the most obvious step while preparing for any coding competition is choosing a programming language. While many people tend not to take it seriously, a programming language can be the differentiating factor in ICPC. If you select a language that you are well versed in, then automatically, you’ll have the speed and accuracy while solving a problem. 

If you are proficient in a particular language, it would be best to stick to that only. But if you have little to no knowledge about programming, then you should start with a language that’s easy to learn. You can start with C/C++, JAVA, or Python, depending upon your choice. If you want to have a programming language that’s quick and most widely used, then you should go with C++. For a language with easy syntaxes and a wide variety of library functions, go with Python.

  1. Every concept is essential.

If you want to prepare for a contest like ICPC seriously, you need to understand that every concept is essential. When you study the algorithmic concepts, you’ll realize that every topic is related to the other. Therefore, to have a strong preparation, you need to study exhaustively. 

A great way to go forward with the preparation is to participate in CodeChef’s Long Challenge. The contest comprises 9-10 problems of varying complexity and is held over 10 days. Coders from all over the world participate in it. Long Challenge is an excellent way of preparing for ICPC as you get to have tricky questions. You also compete with your peers from around the world which can be a great way to analyse your progress. For people new to competitive programming, the Long Challenge is the best contest for preparation because you have ample amount of time to solve the problems.  

The best way to understand which topics are essential is to go through past years’ problems. This will help you understand the weightage of each topic, and you’ll be able to prepare in a better way. CodeChef provides you with a list of problems for ICPC onsite rounds that you can get here – 

You can find the past problems here – ICPC Archive.

  1. Practicing is the key to everything! 

For any competitive programming contest in the world, one preparation tip that you’ll find everywhere is to practice! The more time you invest in practicing the questions and understanding your approach, the better results you get. Practicing regularly will make you aware of the types of questions you might get in the contest. A great way of practicing for a contest like ICPC is to take part in online competitive programming.

Competitive programming will make you understand the concepts well, as you will get to find optimum solutions for the problem. CodeChef has a dedicated monthly contest called Cook-Off, especially for ICPC participants. The rank list is generated in the same way as you would find in World Finals. Thereby, it’s a great way to compete with your peers and know where you stand. Keep on practicing till you know that you are ready for the contest.

  1. Finding your teammates

ICPC is a team contest whereby you need to build up a team. The vital point is that all team members from the same college. Besides this, these are the specific points that you can consider while searching for the ideal teammates – 

  • Try to find someone as enthusiastic to succeed in the contest as you are. This will keep your motivation to its peak, and you will keep on striving for success at the contest. Finding someone with the same determination will help you during the preparation phase.
  • You need to have a great deal of flexibility in your team so that you can tackle any problem that may arise during the contest. Teammates should complement each other so that one fills the gaps for the other. This will allow you to perform better at the contest.
  • You should make sure that your teammates are willing to put in the effort for the contest. There can be rounds that last up to 4-5 hours and occur 2-3 times a week. Therefore, the entire team should be prepared to work hard during this phase. ICPC demands a lot of effort from the team; therefore having the determination for it is very important.
  1. Participating in contests as a team

Practicing and competing individually is one thing. Competing as a team is a whole different paradigm. When you work as a team, you need to know the strengths and weaknesses of each teammate. This can only be possible when you practice with your mates regularly. You should take part in a virtual contest and work on your skills as a whole.

This point is critical because this is how you will tune in with your teammates. When you start practicing together, you will understand how to coordinate during stressful situations. This is a key factor for winning at ICPC because you will have to figure out the solution within a stipulated time. You can take part in hackathons or compete in programming competitions hosted by other colleges or institutions.

Your team can participate in contests and hackathons hosted by CodeChef. Teams from around the world compete in such contests, and thus it’s a great way to analyse your progress among your peers. This will help you to prepare for the Regionals as well as the World Finals. 

Golden Opportunity provided by CodeChef

You all must be well aware of the initiative “Go for Gold” started by CodeChef in 2010. The goal for the initiative is to have an Indian team win the ICPC. Till now, India has been able to enter the Top 20 in the World Finals, and currently, their best performance sits at 18. Whichever team beats this record in the coming years at ICPC will receive the Go for Gold Cup and a cash prize from CodeChef. For more details, visit Go for Gold.

How to be a part of the ICPC Regionals in India?

An Asian student can take part in any regional round across the continent. For India, you have the four sites that you can register at. Most students take part in their sub-region so you can choose your site accordingly.

  • For each regional site, there will be a preliminary online round. 
  • There will be a registration fee that you need to pay. This is different from site to site.
  • Depending upon the performance in the online round, a specific number of teams will be selected for the onsite round.
  • Teams that secure the top spot in the onsite round become eligible to represent their country in the ICPC World Finals.
  • Any team can participate at a maximum of two regional sites.

ICPC is all about having clear concepts and coming up with solutions that make you think out of the box. Being individually proficient is as important as forming a team that can perform together. It’s all about preparing smartly and going through everything such that no stone is left unturned. You shouldn’t panic during the contest because of the pressure and keep your head clear. Participate in virtual contests and practice regularly without fail. You can go through this blog and get even more insights about the contest – ICPC Stories. All of this will allow you and your team to go against anyone, be it in the regionals or the World Finals. Getting out of your comfort zone is the kickstart that you need!

If you haven’t started yet, then it’s never late. Join CodeChef and compete with others preparing for ICPC. Let us know your comments about this blog in the section below. This is Ashutosh wrapping things up and hoping that you’ll start preparing as soon as you finish reading this. Till then, keep coding!

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One Reply to “A Complete Guide To Prepare For ICPC | CodeChef”

  1. The Ultimate Guide to Advertising Small Scale Business on Facebook

    Social media channels are the best way to promote your incredible products and services. The rise of social media platforms has changed the lives of thousands of businesses. Promoting your product and services online is cheap, effective, and helps in maintaining ever-lasting brand loyalty. If you have a small business and you’re looking to push ahead of the crowd without spending too much money, then this article is perfect for you. After hundreds of hours worth of research, we found the best Facebook advertising tips for small businesses. Read till the end and start your journey towards growth.

    Challenges Faced By Small Businesses

    Advertising on Facebook can be tricky as there‘s a lot of competition in the market. Even if you manage to leave a small chunk of the competition behind, you still have a huge market to capture. Unfortunately, small businesses have a limited budget for Facebook advertisements. At the same time, giant corporations can spend as much as they prefer to get a better audience.

    Another challenge faced by small scale businesses is the limited reach. According to marketing research institutions, only 1 in 50 people actually get to see something that you post on your business page. Huge brands have millions of followers, so they have a guarantee of a massive reach with every post. The tip mentioned below will help you tackle these challenges with ease.

    Best Facebook Advertising Tips

    1. Be Out of The Box

    Being a small business, you have access to a limited audience, that is, until you grow into a huge brand. Find the vibe of your brand and stick to it. Try new ways to deliver your message, be funny, be informational. Do whatever that works for you.

    It is common knowledge that Facebook doesn’t like posts that are overly advertising their products. Be subtle and make people curious about your brand. Think out of the box and the reach you’ve been waiting for will come crawling to you.

    2. Follow A Content Schedule

    Most social media managers leave this important aspect out of their strategy. To implement your plan correctly, take the help of a content calendar. A content calendar is the easiest and the most effective way to put your strategy in action. It also reduces the time you spend on Facebook marketing.

    All you need to do is to make a plan and a date to post your content. If you can’t follow up on the calendar, then you can use the top content scheduling tools available in the market. When you post according to a time table, both Facebook and your Customers appreciate that.

    3. Revamp Your Profile Page

    A profile page that is full of mess and confuses everyone who tries to visit will never perform well. Your business profile is the first impression people will get of your business. Take a little time and make sure all the tabs are organized exactly the way you want them.

    It is essential to optimize tabs, restructuring the hierarchy, and including or removing tabs. A cleaner profile page provides the user with a smoother experience. If you are a service-based business, then keep the “Review” tab open at all times. Positive reviews give a better brand image for new visitors.

    4. Stories Play An Important Role

    According to top social media marketers across the globe, Facebook stories make the experience better for users. As a business, you need to be active and posting; often, stories make that process easier. You don’t have to post anything on your profile; you can add stories.

    Keep in mind that stories don’t need to be just about your product or service. Repetition makes the customers feel bored, run a quiz, let your customers ask you questions, or just post news or share links you find interesting. The idea is to interact with your customer in a new way.

    5. Consider Boosted Posts

    Top marketing executives at Facebook suggest small businesses or businesses with a small budget need to consider boosted posts. Facebook boosted posts or sponsored posts allows firms to expand their audience reach. Using boosted posts, you can target specific locations, customers, and users that like the same product/service like yours.

    With boosted posts, you can regain the organic reach you are losing gradually because of policy/algorithm changes. Sponsored posts can help you showcase your content to a broader range of audiences. Chances are you’d get more business through one sponsored post than ten ordinary posts.

    Strategically it is a better idea to use a huge campaign amount, but if you play your cards smartly, you can get incredible results via small campaigns. Don’t be afraid to experiment a little, who knows how you can find your target audience.

    Conclusion: Best Method of Facebook Advertising

    Regardless of everything, the point still remains. To get better reach and engagement, you need a huge advertising budget. If you really need to pull ahead of your competition, then you can also buy real Facebook page likes. The service is multiple times cheaper than conventional Facebook advertising but more effective. All you have to do is find an ideal social media marketing service provider like Socio Guides. The process is simple, plus you can grow your small scale business by spending less.
    The Ultimate Guide to Advertising Small Scale Business on Facebook

    Social media channels are the best way to promote your incredible products and services. The rise of social media platforms has changed the lives of thousands of businesses. Promoting your product and services online is cheap, effective, and helps in maintaining ever-lasting brand loyalty. If you have a small business and you’re looking to push ahead of the crowd without spending too much money, then this article is perfect for you. After hundreds of hours worth of research, we found the best Facebook advertising tips for small businesses. Read till the end and start your journey towards growth.

    Challenges Faced By Small Businesses

    Advertising on Facebook can be tricky as there‘s a lot of competition in the market. Even if you manage to leave a small chunk of the competition behind, you still have a huge market to capture. Unfortunately, small businesses have a limited budget for Facebook advertisements. At the same time, giant corporations can spend as much as they prefer to get a better audience.

    Another challenge faced by small scale businesses is the limited reach. According to marketing research institutions, only 1 in 50 people actually get to see something that you post on your business page. Huge brands have millions of followers, so they have a guarantee of a massive reach with every post. The tip mentioned below will help you tackle these challenges with ease.

    Best Facebook Advertising Tips

    1. Be Out of The Box

    Being a small business, you have access to a limited audience, that is, until you grow into a huge brand. Find the vibe of your brand and stick to it. Try new ways to deliver your message, be funny, be informational. Do whatever that works for you.

    It is common knowledge that Facebook doesn’t like posts that are overly advertising their products. Be subtle and make people curious about your brand. Think out of the box and the reach you’ve been waiting for will come crawling to you.

    2. Follow A Content Schedule

    Most social media managers leave this important aspect out of their strategy. To implement your plan correctly, take the help of a content calendar. A content calendar is the easiest and the most effective way to put your strategy in action. It also reduces the time you spend on Facebook marketing.

    All you need to do is to make a plan and a date to post your content. If you can’t follow up on the calendar, then you can use the top content scheduling tools available in the market. When you post according to a time table, both Facebook and your Customers appreciate that.

    3. Revamp Your Profile Page

    A profile page that is full of mess and confuses everyone who tries to visit will never perform well. Your business profile is the first impression people will get of your business. Take a little time and make sure all the tabs are organized exactly the way you want them.

    It is essential to optimize tabs, restructuring the hierarchy, and including or removing tabs. A cleaner profile page provides the user with a smoother experience. If you are a service-based business, then keep the “Review” tab open at all times. Positive reviews give a better brand image for new visitors.

    4. Stories Play An Important Role

    According to top social media marketers across the globe, Facebook stories make the experience better for users. As a business, you need to be active and posting; often, stories make that process easier. You don’t have to post anything on your profile; you can add stories.

    Keep in mind that stories don’t need to be just about your product or service. Repetition makes the customers feel bored, run a quiz, let your customers ask you questions, or just post news or share links you find interesting. The idea is to interact with your customer in a new way.

    5. Consider Boosted Posts

    Top marketing executives at Facebook suggest small businesses or businesses with a small budget need to consider boosted posts. Facebook boosted posts or sponsored posts allows firms to expand their audience reach. Using boosted posts, you can target specific locations, customers, and users that like the same product/service like yours.

    With boosted posts, you can regain the organic reach you are losing gradually because of policy/algorithm changes. Sponsored posts can help you showcase your content to a broader range of audiences. Chances are you’d get more business through one sponsored post than ten ordinary posts.

    Strategically it is a better idea to use a huge campaign amount, but if you play your cards smartly, you can get incredible results via small campaigns. Don’t be afraid to experiment a little, who knows how you can find your target audience.

    Conclusion: Best Method of Facebook Advertising

    Regardless of everything, the point still remains. To get better reach and engagement, you need a huge advertising budget. If you really need to pull ahead of your competition, then you can also buy real Facebook page likes. The service is multiple times cheaper than conventional Facebook advertising but more effective. All you have to do is find an ideal social media marketing service provider like Socio Guides. The process is simple, plus you can grow your small scale business by spending less.

    https://socioguides.com

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