No matter which institute you are considering for your USACO training need, make sure you ask all following questions!
Leveling – What are the prerequisite for each class?
You want to make sure your student study alongside others that are around the same level to have the most effective and efficient learning! Especially check the prerequisite of bronze level class to understand their base line.
Objective – What can you expect after student completes each of the class?
Don’t assume you will learn everything you need to pass the current level, pay attention to the objective statement, if it is not clear, ask for clarification. Some institute says objective is to gain 300 points in the contest, make sure you are ok with the objective of each entire session.
How are their curriculum developed and do they keep them updated?
For USACO, the scope to teach students for each level is super important for the students to learn in the most targeted and focused manner. There are also new problems created each year. It is essential for the institute to keep monitoring and updating the scope of their curriculum for perfect alignment with the actual contests, and keep the curriculum updated with new problems. Ask them the following questions:
- How are the curriculum created? What is the philosophy and methodology used?
- How are the curriculum aligned with problems in each level?
- How do they keep the curriculum updated with each year’s new problem?
How many sessions/courses are needed to finish each level? （What is the overall time needed to finish all courses for each level?）
How many sessions/seasons/semesters? And when comparing tuition, make sure to multiply each course’s tuition by number of sessions needed. Think both tuition and time needed to finish training for each level.
Do they provide detailed, well-written & commented, and easily understandable solutions to all practice and homework problems?
How is absence handled and supported?
What is the policy for absence? Did they simply say no-make-up class? Are there recordings for the missed classes? Do they stress that students much make up the lesson to keep up?
How directly accessible is the teacher when students or parents have questions?
When students or parents have questions, can they contact the teacher directly and how responsive is the teacher expected to be?
Can I find the list of your students that are promoted each year?
We published actual student name list that were promoted each year. Ask the institute their name list and verify their claims.