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Should we have proper ordering of questions in Short Contests

While trying problems in short contest, most of you must be puzzled - where to start. Which is the easiest problem? Since initially the questions are sorted randomly and sometimes the 4th and 5th questions in the list come out to be the easiest. So it becomes pure luck which causes wastage of 5-10 minutes. Shouldn't we have an ordering of questions?

asked 13 Jun '18, 12:19

abhineet14's gravatar image

accept rate: 16%

Don't know exactly but I think finding right questions is also a skill.. you can look at some toppers of ranklist.. they just go orderwise mostly... I have also experience that after having a glance the question I choose becomes 1 or 2nd at max after all submission.. u ll gain skills like top people with practice

(14 Jun '18, 14:07) l_returns5★

Its very evident in div2 rankings. Will see if something can be done. Cannot forward the suggestion right now (internet issues etc.) please remind me this evening again. Thank you :)

(15 Jun '18, 12:26) vijju123 ♦♦5★

@vijju123 this shouldn't be done. It's a skill and they should develop it. If things like this are done, then there will be a time when people will demand problem tags to be mentioned during the contest so that they can solve it without wasting their time using the wrong method. :|

(15 Jun '18, 14:16) swetankmodi ♦♦6★

I don't think no one will ever ask for problem tags in future. It is equivalent to asking for the solution. There is a big difference between order and question tag. Since we got a mixed response, let's wait for more response from the community and the opinion of admin.

(15 Jun '18, 23:23) abhineet145★


It's a skill and they should develop it.

Judging which question is easy from title is NOT skill. Even if you mean that "one should get which one is easy by brief/quick read" etc., even then it will delay him. There is luck involved. It does not feel like skill. It feels like luck. I believe your rating should be representation of your skills, not luck.

If things like this are done, then there will be a time when people will demand problem tags to be mentioned during the contest so that they can solve it without wasting their time using the wrong method. :|

This is extremely paranoid thinking which is far-fetched and exaggerating in my opinion. In div2, solving the easiest question first can very heavily determine your rank, especially for immediate beginners who are able to solve only 1-2 problems. This argument just seems too exaggerative. IDK I cant pin point, but theres something wrong here.

Also, in the end the questions do get sorted by difficulty. All this non-ordering does is, that, for first 3 minutes who is able to solve questions or who stumbles upon cakewalk question first. Since laddus are given to first solvers, I am not very keen of having luck as a factor here.

Again, my main concern is finding easiest question first can affect your rank by around 300 at least. Ok, if you say it is a skill, I can see what you are referring at, but I feel coding should have greater merit.


answered 15 Jun '18, 14:42

vijju123's gravatar image

5★vijju123 ♦♦
accept rate: 18%


not from the title, you have to pay attention to the constraints and quickly look at what is asked (don't read the entire story) , and then select the one which you should solve. I believe people should develop this skill, because if you consider icpc regionals, the problems are not sorted, and people with the practise of identifying the easier problems can get advantage.

(15 Jun '18, 15:36) swetankmodi ♦♦6★

But I dont feel it is very very important to enforce its development via contests. Proper practice allows you to identify easy questions and thats a good start.

I see your PoV and ok, I agree that its beneficial if one develops it. I think we both should actually look more at counter cases before arriving at any decision. I'd like to hear more from community. For me, both the contest formats are not very different, but if community is having problem in some format I feel we should at least have a relook or lend them an ear :)

Crux of all, I request the community for more views.

(15 Jun '18, 16:28) vijju123 ♦♦5★

I agree @vijju123 and i dont think people will ever ask for problem tags in the contests :| That's the skill we look for and not identifying which is easy or which is tough.

(15 Jun '18, 17:08) siddharthp5384★

Exactly!! We just sometimes wait to see which problem gets the first submission!! So proper ordering is necessary...


answered 13 Jun '18, 21:17

wounded_wolf's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

Yes every time i feel difficulti too for not having questions proper order i take a lot time to just see which we have to go first and after that when i am suppose to do the goes to much high because many of participants already do that question .......


answered 14 Jun '18, 00:50

code__champ's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

Many people are saying its difficult for beginners in the current format.

I would like to explain actually its the other way round. Suppose i am in div.2. Now the question which is available for practice in div.1 is the first one that i will attempt, next after doing the first, i will open the div.1 page and see the question with max submissions and continue in that fashion.

So it is not even a problem for div.2

Now being in div.1, i don't think ordering is required here as well. Even we know that the question available for practice in div.2 is the last(if ordered). So we are left only with 3-4 questions in short contests among which we have to decide which one to attempt. We can simply go through the questions and decide. It takes 2 mins max. If we leave the laddu distribution and assume someone has started wasting time on a difficult one during a contest, he should refresh the page again after 2 mins. Rank is mainly decided by the number of questions correctly answered in div1.

At last i agree with @swetankmodi , its a skill we should develop.


answered 15 Jun '18, 18:39

swapnil159's gravatar image

accept rate: 17%

Yeah I wrote this in comment but deleted it afterwards... About its not problem to div2 or beginners... I agree with u as well as with @vijju123... So let's see admin's review on it..

(15 Jun '18, 18:43) l_returns5★

Though I have a fear that I won't see last questions if they are already sorted... It's exciting to find easiest by ourselves for me.. But I think we should give a chance to people who need it to be sorted to put their point and have a relook... As @vijju123 mentioned...

(15 Jun '18, 18:49) l_returns5★

My stand on the issue is completely on the fence, i.e. perfectly neutral. I like the current system, and at the same time feel that change wont make much difference as its most impactful only in first $15$ min of contest xD

(17 Jun '18, 18:37) vijju123 ♦♦5★

I think ordering shouldn't be done. Selecting which problem to start with a skill which needs to be developed. Took me a year though, but now I can select problems quickly :D


answered 14 Jun '18, 21:23

swetankmodi's gravatar image

6★swetankmodi ♦♦
accept rate: 15%

Why can't we have questions labelled 'A','B'.... like the Codeforces contests? In my opinion it will be helpful for all - beginners and experienced. Beginners can give a good start to a contest by solving the easy question faster(and thus boosting their confidence). And the experienced ones can directly go to harder problems if they wish to do so.


answered 16 Jun '18, 10:15

amulyagaur111's gravatar image

accept rate: 7%

Simple, because ALL problems have same weightage. Total time breaks tie here, and total time= "Time when solved p1 + Time when solved p2...".

If you solve p1 and p2 in 5, 10 min respectively, your time taken is 5+(10+5)=20 min, and if you solve p2 first and then p1, in same time, you took (10+[10+5])=25min.

Doing harder first doesnt help at all, instead lowers your score.

You can actually use my have argument to say its even more important to have labellings xD

(17 Jun '18, 18:35) vijju123 ♦♦5★

I don't see the problem here. This last contest (June18) is the first one I have taken part in. By the time I joined, the contest had been running a few hours (I live in Australia). I could quickly see which were the easiest by the number of successful submissions. I started in with the second easiest, and worked my way through several of the problems during the next 9 days.


answered 16 Jun '18, 12:23

david_s's gravatar image

accept rate: 10%

That was a long contest. You had 9 days to solve. short contests are of 2.5-3 hrs and the person who solves first is ranked higher. So time does play a role.

(16 Jun '18, 13:01) swapnil1595★

in short contests, ties are broken by the time taken, and in case of long contest, equal scores means the same rank irrespective of the time.

(16 Jun '18, 13:21) swetankmodi ♦♦6★

hahahahaaaa,luck matters here!! :)


answered 14 Jun '18, 12:59

souradeep1999's gravatar image

accept rate: 3%

actually would be very helpful for lower ranked programmers


answered 14 Jun '18, 15:44

geek_anshu's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

I think it will help higher ranked programmers also. In challenges like cook-off if the solving easiest question takes 5 minutes and a relatively difficult question take 30 minutes. The person who solved the easiest question will be ranked higher (35 minutes penalty) than the other user (65 minutes penalty). After 10-15 minutes it is generally the higher ranked programmer who decides the order.

(14 Jun '18, 20:10) abhineet145★

@abhineet14 I disagree. Figuring out which problem is the easiest for experienced people shouldn't take more than 90seconds (provided there are atmost 5 problems in the contest)

(14 Jun '18, 21:24) swetankmodi ♦♦6★

I read about how important it can be to recognize the easy question first.......I am just a beginner.....n i think with time its more important to recognize which question will take less time to be solved......but in most of the cases luck plays more important factor because time given is only 2.5 or 3 hours.

(14 Jun '18, 22:36) geek_anshu1★

no, you should read questions quickly, trust me once you are experienced it won't take more than 40 seconds to make a correct guess ;)

(15 Jun '18, 00:33) swetankmodi ♦♦6★

I think there is both upside and downside to problem. First, I think it's a skill to read with speed and decide whether you can solve the problem within minutes or not. ( For first problem as it take less that 6-8 mins generally). So reading with speed and understanding it with speed and deciding is also a skill i guess with you need in short contests. That's why I think the current system is just fine.

Beside what's the upside to it. I think it will help the beginner coders to decide which question to do and which one to try first. And it will help them to boost them confidence and learn more.

So, it's both positive and negatives. I think we just have to decide which one weighs more.


answered 16 Jun '18, 00:18

ciphereck's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

yeah but what I think is beginners have 1st question (which is practice for div1) and after they complete first one the no. of submissions make the questions sorted.. so I don't think beginners do need help.. If we sort them then it is only for good programmers or for medium level programmers who can submit 1st one in 5-15 mins( and they are in div2) Or they are in div1...

(16 Jun '18, 00:26) l_returns5★

so the BENEFIT OR CHANGE is only to whole div1 and top or middle level programmers of div2... not beginners....

(16 Jun '18, 00:27) l_returns5★
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question asked: 13 Jun '18, 12:19

question was seen: 1,484 times

last updated: 17 Jun '18, 18:37