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USACO tutoring with Mike Mossey

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Using English effectively

Writing out your thoughts can help

Put your questions in writing

If you’re confused I suggest writing down your questions in English. Use pen and paper or type on your computer. Use full sentences and punctuation. Take your time. As you continue to work on the problem, your brain will be primed to notice the answers.

Example: describing what your code is supposed to do in English

Let’s say you are writing a loop. It helps to write a detailed description of what the loop is supposed to do. I also teach a principle called “loop invariants.” It can help to describe the loop invariants in English.

Help with writing

Some students are more naturally gifted at writing than others. It turns out that the basic elements of writing, like you’ll find in an English class, are important to this strategy. I work with my students at improving their writing skills.