American Computer Science League - How ACSL Works



1. ACSL will post its Category Descriptions on its wiki pages at . The wiki pages contain the rules for each category and some sample problems and solutions. Team advisors will use the pages and other sample problems to prepare students for the short answer test.

2. Prior to each contest, ACSL will send the team advisor an e-mail file that contains the short answer questions, the programming problem and solutions for both.

3. The team advisor will make copies of the contest questions. Note that for one registration fee every student at a school may take the tests. However, if a school registers for more than one division, a student may only take one of the tests.

4. The team advisor will administer the short answer test and score the results. One point is awarded for each answer that matches the ACSL solution. The time limit is 30 minutes for the Senior, Intermediate Junior and Elementary tests. The time limit is 50 minutes for the Classroom division test. The only materials allowed for the short answer tests are plain paper and a writing implement. Calculators are not allowed.

5. The advisor will give each student a copy of the programming problem. Students have up to 72 hours to submit a programming solution to the advisor. Students must work alone with no help in solving the programming problem. The student is not allowed to access the internet to see our use code. The advisor will run the ACSL test data on each student's programming solution. The program must accept all data in one run of the program. If the program stops for any reason, the program may not be restarted to enter more data. The advisor will award one point for each program output that matches ACSL's test output.


1. A student's score is the sum of his/her scores on the short answer test and the programming problem. A maximum score for any one student is 10 points ( 5 + 5).

2. The team score is the sum of the best 3 or 5 student scores for that contest.

3. The advisor will complete the ACSL Score Form found at and submit by the listed contest end date. If a student score of 10 is reported, the advisor must also attach the programming file for that student.


1. ACSL will send each advisor a newsletter containing the team standings and a listing of student's with high scores.

2. ACSL will post results on its web site.

3. ACSL will select sample student programs from those submitted and post them on its web site. Programs using several different languages will be posted.


1. Based upon cumulative results after the four contests, ACSL will invite the top scoring teams in each division to complete at its All-Star Contest. At the All-star Contest, prizes are awarded to top scoring teams and to top scoring students. Also prizes are awarded to students and teams based upon cumulative scores after Contest #4 based upon region.