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Last Updated: May 20, 2023

Preparation Guide For ACM ICPC

Author Rhythm Jain


ACM ICPC stands for Association for Computing Machinery-International Collegiate Programming Contest, the world’s oldest programming contest. ACM Programming competition is also known as the Olympiad for programming. 

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In the ACM programming competition 2019, Moscow State University secured first place while the Massachusetts Institute of Technology came in second. The University of Tokyo and the University of Warsaw secured third and fourth positions, respectively.

ACM ICPC is an online contest that tests the coding skills of a student just like TCS CodeVita and Google Kickstart. Those who are experts in programming might have some knowledge about it, but if you are a beginner then, don’t worry. By the end of this article, you will have enough knowledge about this. The exam in India is monitored and conducted by Codechef.

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What is ICPC?

As stated earlier, the ICPC full form is the International Collegiate Programming Contest. It is a two-layered contest that is conducted in teams. In each team, there are 3 participants from the same college. 

The winners of this prestigious contest receive a cash reward of $15000 and a gold medal from the ICPC Committee. The students who come second and third are rewarded $6000 with a silver medal and $3000 with a bronze medal. 

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Different levels of the contest

The Regional Level 

The regional level takes place in local universities across the globe. Every team has to clear this level to represent their city, country, and college in the finals of ACM-ICPC.

For the year 2020, the regionals were held in Pune, Kanpur, Gwalior, Amritapuri, and Kharagpur for India. In the regionals, there are various other rounds conducted to select the best team from the lot. 

Due to the pandemic, most of the rounds have been shifted to online platforms, but the final rounds take place onsite. This level usually takes place between October to December.

ICPC Finals 

The final round of ACM ICPC takes place between the regional winners from across the world.

How to register for ICPC?

  1. Firstly there is a preliminary round that all the prospective participants have to give. There is no registration fee for this.
  2. The participants have to make a team of 3 members. Each team should have a mentor. It can be a faculty from the institution that the students represent.
  3. The mentor will get the team registered on the Baylor site.
  4. All the team members will have to complete their profile on the Baylor site before the last date to be eligible.
  5. Any team that solves even one question in the preliminary online round is eligible for the regional round.
  6. The regional round of ACM ICPC will be conducted on the CODEDRILLS platform.

Who all can participate?

The eligibility requirement of the ACM ICPC contest is:

  1. Any student, who is good in computer programming language and is willing to participate.
  2. The student should be enrolled with some specific institute for a degree programme.
  3. The student can only represent one institute in a specific calendar period.
  4. The student should not have been a part of the two contest finals.
  5. The student should not have been a part of 5 contest regionals.
  6. The participant cannot be a part of more than two teams in the same calendar year.
  7. The participant cannot take part in more than two regionals in the same calendar year.

How to prepare for ICPC?

Select a computer language that suits you the best

For acing the ACM-ICPC competition, a basic knowledge of any computer programming language will not work. You will have to have advanced knowledge of at least one computer language to solve the problems quickly. 

If you are already well versed in a specific computer language like C++, C, or Python, then practice it well. If you are a beginner, then pick one language and learn it thoroughly. It is needless to say that picking the correct language for you is quintessential in this case.

Learn concepts thoroughly 

When you start practising for ICPC, do not leave any concept. Every concept is essential as there is no prescribed question pattern. When you learn advanced algorithms, you will understand that skipping any topic is not an option since each topic is correlated.

One of the best ways to identify your progress and mistakes is to test yourself. Try to take some online coding tests to analyse your preparation. With the help of online coding tests, you can quickly identify your strengths and weaknesses and analyse your score with your fellow competitors. 

It would be best to go through questions that were a part of the previous years’ ICPC assessment to understand the complexity and level of problems. The programming aptitude questions are a little tough to understand but with great practice, they can be solved. This way, you will have a clear idea about your preparation. In addition, you can locate the past problems from ACM-ICPC archives.

Practice till you win it 

Practice is the key to winning. For every competitive exam, practice can only make you perfect. Solving more complicated problems, concentrating on areas that you find difficult, and understanding every concept are a must. 

Practice by taking various online tests and quizzes. Some online tests for programming languages declare results with your rank, which is a great way to analyse your performance with your peers. 

Building a great team

Since ACM-ICPC is a team-based contest, building a good team is also very important. Select teammates who are flexible and have the same level of enthusiasm and commitment as you do. This will help in keeping everyone motivated and focused on the goal. 

Select a diverse team so that the team can solve the different problems in the competition. The team members should be willing to make efforts to achieve the final goal. 

The most important thing is to practice with your team. Every member of the team should know each member’s strengths and weaknesses and complement each other.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a graduate apply for this contest?

Yes, a person who has gained a degree in computer programming or language can apply for this contest, but they should be enrolled under an institution.

Are ACM-ICPC conducted for individuals too?

ACM-ICPC contest is a team-based contest with three members in each team. So, the ACM-ICPC contest is not an individual contest.

When is the preliminary round of the online contest in 2021?

The preliminary round will be held on 10th July 2021.

What is the last date for registration in 2021?

The last day to enrol your team for the ACM-ICPC contest is 20th June 2021.

When will the regional round of the contest happen?

The regional round of the ACM-ICPC contest will likely take place in the second week of July.

Key Takeaways

The ACM-ICPC is one of the biggest and oldest international computer programming contests that is carried on a multi-layered level. It is a team contest, consisting of 3 members in each team. Students who have a keen interest in computer programming language and can work great in a team should participate. 

Students currently enrolled in a degree programme in a specific institute are eligible to participate in this contest. If the regional rounds are cleared, the winning team will represent its institute and country internationally. 

Being a part of this contest will surely open so many opportunities for you. To win such an elite competition, you will have to be well prepared. With practice, your skillset increases, and it will help you find good online and off-campus placements. 

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