robot-dreams's blog

By robot-dreams, history, 7 months ago, In English,

There's a huge (might not fit in int32) difference between my performance on a good day and a bad day, and I bet I'm not alone on this. I think there are many factors beyond pure problem solving skill / algorithms knowledge that determine how well you do on contests.

Of course there's the basic things: for example, if someone is hungry or sleepy, they probably won't do as well.

But beyond the basics, I bet there are lots of interesting ideas to explore. Does anyone here have thoughts on this? For example,

  • What are some non-technical factors that affect contest performance?
  • How can we improve in those areas (besides just participating in more contests)?
 
 
 
 
  • Vote: I like it
  • +71
  • Vote: I do not like it

»
7 months ago, # |
  Vote: I like it +12 Vote: I do not like it

1 — How loud my property owner TV is.

2 — I have a poor health. Most of the time I am suffering from some kind of illness.

3 — I don't have Wi-Fi. I have to connect my laptop to my mobile hotspot and sometimes mobile internet is very very slow here.

»
7 months ago, # |
  Vote: I like it +55 Vote: I do not like it

I think lack of skills and practice is the major reason for my bad performance in contests. The only outside factor which also affects contest performance, I think, is system issues, and there is no guaranteed way to avoid it.

Everything else is excuse.

»
7 months ago, # |
  Vote: I like it +37 Vote: I do not like it

I perform good when listening to TWICE.

»
7 months ago, # |
Rev. 2   Vote: I like it +51 Vote: I do not like it

Your mental state.

Exhibit A: AtCoder Grand Contest 021. I remember being in a heated argument an hour before. Result: place 280, performance 1961, my second worst on AtCoder.

Exhibit B: Codeforces #539. I went for great hike for couple hours, one of the first sunny days this year. Came back 10 minutes before contest, feeling pumped. Result: place 9, improving my rating record by almost 50 points.

»
7 months ago, # |
  Vote: I like it +131 Vote: I do not like it

I think your performance is inversely proportional to how much you give a fuck.

  • »
    »
    46 hours ago, # ^ |
      Vote: I like it +5 Vote: I do not like it

    This is true in most cases. But it's important to care about ratings in some unbalanced rounds. In yesterday's div2, I thought of giving up on C after 30 minutes. But then I tought, I don't care about rating, I must solve C. Result: I couldn't solve C, solved D much late.

»
7 months ago, # |
Rev. 2   Vote: I like it +18 Vote: I do not like it

Stress, perhaps! Regardless of the mental activity you're doing (playing games, competing in a contest, doing homework, working on a project, etc.), stress hinders productivity.

»
7 months ago, # |
  Vote: I like it 0 Vote: I do not like it

Somehow I never perform well in ICPC East Continent Finals

Last year: I had a stomach ache in the first two hours of the contest.

This year: I fell asleep mid contest for QUITE a while. (I fell asleep with my eyelids opened, so my teammates never noticed)

I'd say physical status matters a lot too.

  • »
    »
    7 months ago, # ^ |
      Vote: I like it 0 Vote: I do not like it

    Language is a huge factor too. We were invited to the Chinese Collegiate Programming Contest Finals for the first time, and we had to assemble a temporary team since some members wasn't available.

    Usually our best teamis formed by best coders from diverse backgrounds speaking different languages, but our temporary team with 3 local students all speaking Cantonese somehow achieved the best result of our uni in a few years. (Screw that 298m submission from FDU ;_;)

    I am starting to think about forming a local only team...

»
7 months ago, # |
Rev. 2   Vote: I like it 0 Vote: I do not like it

Enjoying the whole process, not expecting instant good results, and not stressing out on the simplest mistake can get you going, taking it all up on your nerves will not produce any good outcome.

This is coming from someone who was competing without any interest, I stressed out on the tiniest issues I faced, and wasn't solving problems just for the sake of solving problems. I forced myself to do it, and my rating clearly says it hasn't worked out very well.

»
7 months ago, # |
  Vote: I like it +119 Vote: I do not like it

Number of contests you're doing at the same time.

»
7 months ago, # |
  Vote: I like it +65 Vote: I do not like it

I think your overall mental health and wellbeing matter a lot.

Not trying to be cheeky or to brag or whatever, but I think that time when I got along with my girlfriend and time when we broke up are both visible on my rating graph and I really think that within that period it had positive effect on my performances (I am actually kinda afraid what kind of trying-to-be-funny-replies I will get here).

But there are many kinds of life situations which can affect your performances. It could be argument with someone close to you, you can be overwhelmed with some duties/university project deadlines etc. or you could have achieved something great for you.

Another thing which I would like to mention is that one should not "overtrain" himself too much. Once you are putting yourself under heavy load of contests, eg constantly doing 3 acm contests + cf round + tc round, per week, upsolving all problems etc. you actually start to slowly stop enjoying problem solving at all and enjoying problem solving is super important if you want to perform well. When you are before some important competition (eg ACM finals/IOI), give yourself some free time and don't solve any problems at all in period of two weeks before this competition because on that competition you will feel great that you can solve some problems after such a break.

»
7 months ago, # |
  Vote: I like it -12 Vote: I do not like it

Whether you're tourist or not.

»
2 days ago, # |
  Vote: I like it +22 Vote: I do not like it
  1. Me confident enough "I can and will do it."
    I got some very good results.

  2. Me not confident (/overconfident?) enough "I can do it."
    I have seen myself fucking up/ casual performance.

I don't know how to toggle between these confidence level. But depends a lot on my state of mind before starting a contest and most of the time I'm on second.

Many times no of submissions affect a lot on whether I think I can/can not do it.