ScotchOnTheRocks's blog

By ScotchOnTheRocks, history, 3 years ago, In English

I've been doing CP for more than a year regularly. I've usually had a decent judgment with respect to the rating a problem might be given, once I've solved it. But for a couple of months now, it feels like something has changed. I seem to be predicting the problems to be harder by more than 200-300 rating points. In virtual contests, I noticed how a lot more people are solving seemingly hard problems quickly. Is this just me or have others noticed this too? I've noticed a lot of blogs about plagiarism lately, has it been driving the rating of problems down? Have people been discussing solutions in live contests? Or am I just tripping?

For example, I was legitimately surprised to see more than 13k people solving questions on Diophantine equations — I Hate 1111

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By ScotchOnTheRocks, history, 4 years ago, In English

If you do not like these types of blogs, here's your warning to move on.


Firstly I'd like to address all the people who are going to say rating doesn't matter, what matters is just developing problem solving skills, because that's the only thing under your control. To that I say, perfectly agreed, because rating is only an approximation of one's skill, and a large number of variable factors control it. But you cannot deny that there is a postiive correlation between the two in the long run. The idea behind saying "just develop problem solving skills" is to essentially say that over the long run, rating will eventually pick up, don't worry about it.

I honestly feel like I'm a much better solver than two-three months ago. But as you would see on my profile page, I've been largely hovering around 1750, and now I've dropped multiple times continuously in rating, to add fuel to fire. And its not a one or two contest whine. It's been the story over 20+ contests and over 550+ problem solved. (You can have a look at my profile's analysis on cfviz). (I am by no means saying that its boast worthy, but its not negligible is my point)

The stagnantion and even negative correlation are starting to get to me now. Sometimes I feel like all the effort is going to naught.

What I've done so far:

I've been following Masataka Yoneda's tutorial since the beginning. [Essentially use the your rating as an approximation of where you are, and solve problems of rating slightly higher, to about 15-30 problems]

A blind training regimen is what I've been doing amongst problems of a given rating. Its given me the chance to learn new topics along the way, and eventually get decent at them. If I feel like I'm weak on a topic, I've gone and done some more problems on that topic, and got back to the blind regimen.

Additionally, each time I drop in rating I go back and try to solve more problems of the rating that I messed up during the contest. [That is, when I get hacked, sys test fail or solve a harder problem, but don't get an easy one in the same problem set]

I've also identified that when a problem has an underlying logic that uses a standard algo — dp, graph problems, binary search or math, I've more often than not, gotten the hang of it. I'm definitely more uncomfortable with adhoc/greedy problems — one's intuition has to necessarily get, not the usual one or two observations, but all the way to the core of the problem. One wrong direction and a quick solve is out of the window. Many times upon going to the Editorial I would find myself very close to the final answer, but missed an observation.

In the harder 1800-2000 greedy problems, I almost always fail due to this. There are so many observations one has to string together. In fact this problem of mine is quite evident in that lots of contests I've solved a higher problem without getting an easy one.

My question to the community:

Can anyone share their experience of having gone through such a stagnation [Especially in the lower half of Expert] and broken out? Anyone with some tips specific to my case in point? Recommendations so that I can tailor my regimen better using the analysis I have provided above?

I'm interested in pure advice comments, specific to my case. Otherwise please don't bother. And no offence to the others, but I'd like to hear from the guys "who've been there done that".

Thanks for taking the time to read.

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