Some information for contestants and teachers

Contest schedule

Each problemset series starts and finishes on Saturday at noon (CET/CEST).

Series Start End
I September 19 October 17
II October 31 November 28
III December 12 January 16
IV January 30 March 6 March 13
V March 20 April 17 April 24

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is this contest intended for?

The contest is intended for students of high schools (or schools educating at a similar or lower level). We assume that you have at least minimal idea of what programming is, or you have a strong will to learn some. If you have no problems in maths class at school, you should be OK.

I am a teacher, how to register my school?

  1. If you do not have a spoj account, please create one. If you already have an account, edit your registration preferences, setting the "Teacher (school coach)" option.
  2. Follow the instructions.
  3. Now, you can register your school.
  4. On receiving the registration form we will send you a confirmation message.
  5. The registration process is now complete.

What sort of problems should I expect?

We have carefully prepared a problem set to suit participants at all skill levels, including beginners. If you are familiar with online judge systems like SPOJ, you will have a general idea of the sort of problems to expect, but there will also be a few nice surprises. Each problem set is slightly different. In general:

  • problem sets consist of a total of 5 problems, of varying difficulty,
  • each problem set contains several simple problems, with hints and programming tips,
  • most problem sets include one or two challenges, in which users compete against each other to find the best possible solution to a problem,
  • for most problems, partial marks for partially correct solutions will be awarded,
  • for most problems, testing of solutions will be performed immediately after their submission, and results of testing will be publicly known (unless otherwise stated),
  • some problems will have Very Special - and hopefully entertaining - rules or restrictions,
  • you may expect many extra mini-contests, announced within individual problem set series.

Where I can find the contest previous edition problems?

Please look at High School Programming League Problems Archive. You can find all problems there.

Is it allowed for university students and professionals to participate?

You are of course allowed to solve the problems. However, you are not eligible to perform full registration, or to receive gifts and prizes. Moreover, results of non-registered contestants are not included in the official rankings. We cordially invite users with more expertise to join in forum discussions, especially to share their knowledge and skills with younger participants!

I'm a high school student. Should I register?

Yes, we strongly recommend registration. The registration should be performed by your teacher, which will serve us as a guarantee that you are a student. Registering a school means that it will:
  • become visible in official High School Programming League Standings
  • give its students the chance to win the contest prizes,
  • give its students the chance to take part in the High School Programming League World Finals in Gdynia,
  • take part in drawing lots of small gifts for students.

Do I profit in any other way by taking part in the competition?

By solving the contest problems you will learn a lot about programming and algorithms in a practical setting. You will have the chance to get in touch with people with similar interests and, last but not least, it will be fun! Look also at first edition feedback and Honorary Board members recommendation.

So, is it really a contest, or just a tutorial?

It certainly is a contest. And remember, challenges and competitions are the perfect motivation to master the art of programming.

Do you have any prizes?

Yes, the first edition of the contest had prizes worth over 15 000$ and we will do our best to make them even more attractive. You can win something on two conditions: you are a student of a high school (or a school educating at a similar or lower level) and your school registers for the contest. More information is available in the terms and conditions and the list of prizes.

Which programming language should I choose?

We recommend C++ or Java. There are also other available languages, such as PHP, Perl, Python, Ruby, Pascal, and others. The complete list of languages and compilers is available when submitting a solution. Also, do ask you teacher for some useful advice. But of course, the decision which language to use is entirely yours, and may be different for different problems.

A few words for newbies

If you have completely no idea about programming it might not be a piece of cake. First of all, buy a good book. You can also find some help in various forums, discusion groups and tutorials available on the Internet. No doubt you will find something which suits you.

If you have never used any online judge system similar to SPOJ please read this tutorial.

Solve the Test Problem. You can do some experiments and have a look around the system. You are not likely to damage anything accidentally.

Look for information on-line, investigate and experiment. If you are stuck, you can ask for help in the forum. But most importantly: carefully read all problem formulations, first think before you start writing code, and when you've finish, carefully test your solution. Do not lose faith, taking up any new challenge is always hard.

A few word for experts

Well, we hope that you will also find some interesting problems to solve here. We will try to put in each problemset series at least one task to be worth your while. But please remember, the main goal of this contest is to invite young students to learn by solving problems. We hope that you spare a moment to you share your knowledge and skills with other contestants. Maybe our main problem set available at will be more suitable for you.

A few words for teachers

Among your students there are certainly at least a few who take a special interest in computer science. Perhaps they create web pages, talk about new software or hardware, argue which browser is the best, and so on - this contest is for them. We want to show them some area of skills and knowledge, which they will find helpful on their way to becoming highly skilled engineers.

Whether you are conducting regular classes, or running a school interest group, this contest might serve as an interesting addition to the normal routine. Or maybe you were thinking of starting a school interest group? Discussing contest problems in class might be a good idea for a start.

By registering your school, you give the school and its students the chance to win prizes. Please carefully provide all school data - we will send everything to the provided address.

Maybe you were thinking of organizing similar contests yourself? If so, please spare a moment to have a look at the line of web-based products offered by Sphere Research Labs.

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