NACLO Rules (2008)
The NACLO competition is for middle and high schools, and thus you may
participate only if you are a middle-school or high-school student; it
consists of two rounds, called the Open Round and Invitational Round.
Open Round (February 5, 2008): The first round is open to
all interested middle-school and high-school students; its purpose is
to identify the strong contestants who advance to the second
round. The judges expect that about one hundred contestants will
advance to the Invitational Round.
Invitational Round (March 11, 2008): The second round is
for the contestants who have advanced from the first round, and the
problems at this competition are harder than the Open-Round problems. The
purpose is to select national winners, who will be eligible to participate
in the international competition.
Problems and solutions
- The Open Round is three hours long, whereas the Invitational Round is
five hours long. The judges have the authority to lengthen either
competition in the event of unforeseen circumstances.
- You should submit all your solutions in writing, using a black
nonerasable pen, and you should ensure that your handwriting is
legible. The use of a black pen is essential to ensure legible photocopying
or scanning of your solutions, which may be done to streamline the grading
- You should write your name and registration number on each page of the
booklet, and you should write your solutions in the appropriate spaces,
provided in the booklet; the judges will grade only legible solutions in
the provided spaces.
You may solve the given problems in any order, and you should try to solve
as many problems as possible. Every problem includes "practice" and
"theory" questions; the practice parts are worth about 60% of the score,
and the theory parts are worth about 40%. You may receive partial credit
for providing an incomplete solution to a problem, or specific ideas for
solving it. Thus, if you have ideas for solving a problem, you should
write them even if you have not been able to develop a complete solution.
Allowed and disallowed materials
- On-site participants: You may bring your own supply of blank
paper, pens, and pencils. The facilitators will provide unlimited
supply of paper and pens during the contest.
- Remote participants: You should bring your own black
pen, and you may also bring blank paper, additional pens, and pencils.
- You should write your solutions in black ink, and you may use
pencils only for scratch work. You may use blank paper for scratch
work; however, you should copy your final solutions into the spaces
provided in the problem booklet.
- You may not use any electronic devices except basic wristwatches.
In particular, you may not use calculators, computers, palm pilots,
cell phones, pagers, or wristwatches with built-in calculators.
Attempts to use electronic devices will normally lead to
disqualification. If you have any medical electronic devices, required
for health reasons, you should discuss it with facilitators before the
- You may not use any written or printed materials, such as books or
your own notes produced before the contest.
Conduct during the contest
- You should follow all instructions of the facilitators; if you
have questions about the rules or conduct during the contest, raise
your hand and ask a facilitator.
- You may not talk with anyone except facilitators, and you may not
collaborate with other contestants. Attempts to communicate with other
contestants will normally lead to disqualification.
- If you have a bag, you should place it under your seat before the
contest, and you may not access it during the contest. If you need to
leave the room temporarily during the contest, you may not take your
bag with you. Thus, you should get all required materials from your
bag before the contest.
- If you have a cell phone, pager, or any other sound-emitting
device in your bag, you should turn it off completely; note that
switching it to the silent mode is insufficient.
- You may take bathroom breaks during the contest; however, you
may not take your bag, any electronic devices, problem booklets, or
your notes with you when temporarily leaving the room. Also, two
contestants may not take a bathroom break at the same time.
- You may bring a snack into the contest site and eat during the
contest, but you should be considerate of others. In particular, you
should avoid "noisy" foods, such as foil-wrapped chocolates, and foods
with a strong smell. The facilitators have the authority to remove any
types of food from the contest site if they feel that these types of
food may distract other contestants.
- If you arrive late, you may still participate in the contest;
however, you may not ask facilitators to repeat any instructions or
announcements that you have missed. Also, you may not ask for time
extension in the end of the contest, which means that you will have
less time than the other contestants.
Questions during the contest
Note to facilitators: The contact email for clarifications is
email@example.com. Please do not attempt to answer questions about
problems without contacting the judges. Also, please monitor your
e-mail for possible clarifications and corrections.
- If you have a question, please raise your hand, and one of the
facilitators will talk with you. When talking with a facilitator, you
should keep your voice low, to make sure that you do not distract
other contestants and do not accidentally provide a hint for solving
- If you need a clarification for a specific problem, the
facilitator will need to contact the judges via email, which means
that you may not get an immediate answer; please note that local
facilitators are unable to answer your questions without contacting
the judges. If the judges agree that the problem requires a
clarification or correction, they will normally announce it to all
- If the facilitator or judges feel that the answer is already
contained in the booklet, or that your question relates to a solution,
they may refuse to answer it.
- Every problem will be worth a specified number of points;
harder problems are generally worth more points.
- The judges will score each solution based on its correctness, quality,
and clarity, and determine your overall score as the sum of solution
scores; see the NACLO scoring page for more
details. They will complete the scoring and announce the results within
three weeks after the competition.
- The judges are solely responsible for scoring the solutions,
ruling on unforeseen situations, and selecting the winners; their
decisions are final.
If you have special needs, please notify the contest organizers as
soon as possible, and they will try to accommodate you. You should
discuss all your special needs before the contest.
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