I first participated in OI in 2019. I found OI very fascinating because of its competitive nature and the beauty of the problems, and I started to know different algorithms and data structures.
While there are only 3 tasks to solve within 5 hours on each competition day, my major challenge was definitely time management. On Day 1, I was tempted to solve the problem “Keys” and wrote a messy solution. In the end, I completely ran out of time and was unable to debug at all.
My approach to tackling problems in Day 2 became more organized. I decided to understand all problems and find approaches before I even touched the computer. I was able to get 50 points in the last 30 minutes, which was the keystone for my silver medal.
I would say participating in more online contests is a good way to test your own ability, think and learn more. There is an old saying: ‘He that travels far knows much’. One can definitely get better in OI by exposing yourself to more different problems.
The whole IOI trip is absolutely wonderful. I spent a whole week with my IOI teammates, had lots of fun, and also learnt a lot. To me, the whole trip is a treasurable and fun experience.