Competition Documentation Extract

Students are allowed access of up to 20 sides of language notes/hints in the competition. We suggest this particular extract (with permission) from Coding Club Core-Cards* which we’ve combined with an overview for use of input(), some more helpful snippets and some blank pages at the back which should be completed before the competition if students wish to use these.

Further preparation

For some systematic preparation, students using Python may wish to look at:

* Chris Roffey’s excellent Coding Club Code-Cards can be printed for free. They can also be purchased in pocket book format:

For simpler hackerrank starter problems, this short competition that we wrote for a previous Science Week might be worthwhile:

If users have any similar suggestions for other languages, please let us know.

About us

Paul Baker (Head of Computing and Digital Strategy) and Dave Gwilt (Head of Computer Science) both teach at The Perse School, Cambridge. Paul Walter (Head of Computing) teaches at MCS Oxford. Thanks also goes to Perse colleagues Gyorgy Denes, Iain Attenborough and Stuart Gray who frequently assist with question suggestions and testing. For general enquiries, please contact Paul Baker on, @p_d_baker

Competition topic overview

Algorithmic thinking:
The main point of the problems are to develop algorithmic / computational thinking.

  • Logical and Algorithmic Thinking
  • Decomposition and Abstraction
  • Pattern Identification
  • Debugging and continual testing

Language constructs typically used include:

  • selection
  • iteration
  • input/output*
  • type conversion (including string, integer, float, Boolean)
  • basic string processing (inc. letter by letter iteration, find/replace, reversing…)
  • arrays / lists+
  • functions

Level 4 problems may have one or two test cases which test the efficiency of the solution within the timeout allowed. * Please note that input prompts / additional output must not be included in solutions because of the auto-marking. + Nested lists, dictionaries, 2D arrays or other structure might be useful on some higher level problems.

Competition Integration

We integrate with the UKCT Challenges competition progression pathway: please do find out more about the Bebras and Oxford Computing Challenges (which sit earlier in the pathway) and The British Informatics Olympiad which is the next step on for older students.