I have been doing competitive programming for the last 3 years. Initially, everything was going great. I was learning new things, and my rating was also improving. However, at this stage of my life, I’m seeing no noticeable improvement in competitive programming. I am still not at the stage where I can apply advanced data structures and algorithms (Max flow, suffix array, FFt, Mobius Inversions etc) in a programming contest. Also, my rating on Codeforces is not improving at all. What’s the best way to get out of such a situation ? Also, if you have successfully gone past this stage, we would like to know about your valuable experience, which might encourage struggling coders to carry on ?
The key to improve the rating is not just applying advanced data structures and algorithms. To improve your rating most important is upsolving the question which you were not able to solve during the contest for any reason, may be because of shortage of time, or not able to decode the solution, or unable to implement your thought.
Another most important thing is solving at least first 150 most solved problems in spoj because it has a wide range of questions. Sometimes want to solve problem in a particular topic then a2oj.
And CodeForces gives very nice tutorial just after the contest so upsolving is the key.