I Desperately Need Help

Hello, people of the forum. I have been practicing USACO Bronze for a month now, and it seems like my knowledge is getting nowhere. I have not solved a Bronze problem yet by myself, and I think I’m getting stupider. I have been coding for a year now (I think I can count myself as proficient), and want to step foot into the magical world of competitive programming. Am I doing something wrong with practicing? I have read all over the forum posts emphasizing that Bronze is SOOOO easy. I am getting overwhelmed. Did anyone else start USACO with no idea what they’re doing? And if so, how did you overcome that and start actually successfully solve problems? Sorry for sounding like a child, just want to hear other people’s experiences when they were a beginner.

When I started solving USACO problems, I was able to solve some bronze problems, so I wasn’t in the same exact situation as you. However, it’s all relative, as I was totally lost by silver problems. I think the best thing you can do is to start with the easiest problems of bronze. Spend some time on each problem, but if you can’t solve one, read the solution and learn the ideas you missed so that you’ll get better at solving problems. If you focus on learning new things every problem and remembering them, making progress will be much easier.

Sorry to hear that. Bronze problems are not necessarily the best place to start; did you see expected knowledge?

Thanks for the reply (and reassurance). I will try that.

I guess I’m working on the problems too hard for me… i’ll do the introductory problems and start to do problems that are in my solvable zone. Btw, I appreciate your team’s work for making usaco.guide. It helps a lot as a syllabus.

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Hello Anon, I was in the same situation as you. I used to be unable to solve a single bronze problem. Now, I can solve like 90% of them. Anyway, I’ll tell you what I did to get better at these. I essentially did CF problems to get my logic good, then I revisited some of the previous problems on the USACO Guide and I got more comfortable solving them. Since you said that you are decent at coding/implementation, I would say that your logic might need work. If you want specifics on how exactly I practiced, see this explanation below:

-First, I solved a bunch of problems with a rating of 800. These problems are typically trivial and made to boost your confidence.

-Second, after these became too easy for me, I started increasing my rating to 900s and 1000s.

  • This process continued until I got to the 1400s.

  • If you are interested in which type of problems to solve, I would recommend implementation, greedy, and brute force.

  • That’s basically it. Once you feel comfortable with CF, then start doing some USACO problems. Hopefully, that’ll make solving more easier.

Good Luck!

hey thanks jesse. I’ll try that too. But I’m afraid if CF curriculum is different to the USACO curriculum. But i’ll definetly do some problems! Have a great day and thanks for writing that detailed explaination, i appreciate it!

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