1. I'm new to ACSL. How can I get started?

Great! Welcome to ACSL! Please review the Advisor Guide to get started.

2. I just completed the registration form. Why won't the Leaderboard let me login?

The Leaderboard is refreshed hourly with information from registration forms. If you've waited an hour (OK, give it 2 hours, just to be safe) and still cannot login, please send us an email. Your initial password is your email address.

3. How do I register my students?

Follow the steps in the Advisor Guide. Essentially, login to the leaderboard (STEP 1), which will take you to your home page (STEP 2). From your home page, you will register students on your teams (STEP 3).

4. Four dates are listed. Do my students take the test for just one date?

ACSL is a competition consisting of 4 contests. Students take all 4 tests. Prizes are awarded to top scoring teams and top scoring individual students based upon cumulative scores after the 4th contest.

The dates that we list for each contest is when we need to receive your score for the contest. You may administer the contest before the listed date. And of course, there will always be circumstances beyond your control that may make your results late. Please, if your results will be late, shoot us an email and give us a heads up. We will accept late results within reason.

5. How many students can be on a team?

For one registration fee ALL your students can take the tests. Your team score is the sum of the best 3 or 5 student scores that contest. Those best scores can come from different students each contest.

The choice of registering as a 3- or a 5-person team is the advisor's decision. That decision is based upon how many students the teacher realistically thinks will be taking the tests each month. If the team is a small club then a 3-person team is the correct choice. If the team is a large class or multiple classes then a 5-person team might be the best choice. The same prizes are awarded to both divisions.

6. Can I have two teams in the same division?

No, only one team per division is allowed. As an example if you have a Senior 5 team you can't have another Senior 5 team and you can't have a Senior 3 team.

7. If I run an afterschool or weekend school, can I register a team?

Yes, but if a student in your program attends a full-time school that has an ACSL team, then that student can only be on the team from the full-time school.

8. Can I administer the 2 parts of the test in any order?

Yes, the teacher at each school decides on the schedule with the provision that all tests are administered by the listed end date for that contest.

9. What computer language can my students use?

Students can code in Python 3, Java, or C++. In some divisions, the Short Answer questions use other languages: ACSL Programming Language, LISP, and Assembly Language. Students do not need to code in those languages; rather, they only need to follow a short algorithm. That specifics of these new languages can be taught in one class period using the resources on the ACSL wiki.

10. What are the time limits for the tests?

Except for the Classroom Division, the time limit for the short answer tests is 30 minutes. The time limit for Classroom Division is 50 minutes. The time limit for all programming problems is 72 hours. That is running time. Students may logout and login again multiple times, but the time keeps running.

11. Why is my student's score not showing up?

The ACSL Leaderboard refreshes students scores from the HackerRank online platform every 2 hours. See FAQ #15 below for more details.

12. My student forgot to "submit" his test. What happens now?

The simple answer is "everything is fine". HackerRank will automatically submit the test when time expires. For Short Problems tests, which are multiple choice, whatever choices the student has are the ones that are submitted for scoring. For Programming Problem tests, each time the student Runs the program, the program is uploaded to HackerRank for execution; the last version that is Run is that score that HackerRank will use.

13. Can students collaborate?

Absolutely not. The ACSL tests must be completed individually. After students have completed the test, it's a great idea to work together to go over the tests, to learn from each other's mistakes, compare programming solutions, and to collaborate on the "most perfect" programming solution.

HackerRank requires that students are required to sign the following statement of honesty before starting:

I will not consult/copy code from any source including a website, book, or friend/colleague to complete these tests, though I may reference language documentation or use an IDE that has code completion features.

HackerRank has developed sophisticated algorithms for detecting plagiarism in programming solutions. Students found to be collaborating will score 0 points for that test.

14. My student's score is a 0. Surely there's a mistake in the Leaderboard!

The simple answer is "probably not". To see a student's test results, see FAQs #13 and #15.

15. How did my students do on each part of the contest?

As the advisor, login to the Leaderboard and go to your HOME page. From there, navigate to your team's roster (click on the name of the division). On that page, you'll see the score that each student has on each test. Next to the score is a PDF link; that link will open a report generated by HackerRank with the complete details of the student's test results.

17. What materials can I use during the tests?

Paper and pencil/pen are the only materials allowed. No calculators are allowed. Connecting to the internet to view code or solutions is not allowed. Getting help from any human source is not allowed.

16. Why did my program run out of time?

If HackerRank returns "Your code did not execute within the time limits. Please optimize your code. For more information on execution time limits, refer to the environment page.", the issue is often caused by an infinite loop in the student's program or using a brute-force algorithm when more sophistication is needed.

17. Who is invited to the Finals?

The Finals competition is individual based. Top students from all schools will be invited. For 2021, students in the Classroom, Junior, Intermediate, and Senior Divisions must score 24 points or more. The cutoff for students in the Elementary Division is 12 or more.

18. What is the difference between the All-Star Contest and the Finals?

Pre-pandemic, ACSL organized an end-of-season competition for the top teams. Teams would meet at a common site for a day-long on-site competition. That event was call the All-Star Contest. Starting 2020, the end-of-season competition is for top students, regardless of how well their team did. The competition is online. To avoid confusion (or perhaps it has created confusion?), the online, student-based competition is called the Finals.