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Currently, relatively few participate in the national olympiad in informatics (high school) of my country. This is partially because the first round takes a bit of time (up to 40 hours if one wants to reach a perfect score, but 10 hours should be sufficient for a passing score). I'd like to encourage participation in the national olympiad in informatics, because I think that several students are good enough to do well in the olympiad and I think they would like it.

How can I encourage participation?

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  • $\begingroup$ 40 hours!? Either they've changed a lot or there's a lot of variety between countries: when I competed in the British one the first round was (IIRC) 2 hours under exam conditions, and the national finals took place over 2 days. $\endgroup$ – Peter Taylor Mar 13 '18 at 12:39
  • $\begingroup$ @PeterTaylor I think it varies, here the first round is just sending in solutions and it is open for a few months. Then there is a second round (best 100 of first round), which is 3 hours under exam conditions and a third round (best 10 of second round) which is also 3 or 4 hours under exam conditions. In addition to that there is some training for the final round. I think your first round is comparable to our second round. $\endgroup$ – wythagoras Mar 20 '18 at 7:16
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Personally, assembling a team (or club etc.) of those students and teach them the relevant material would encourage most (if not all) of them to participate.

Also, finding a guide\mentor who can teach them would give the sense of, for lack of a better word, prestige.

Here, where I live, there's a national competition and it's very popular, due to the use of the aforementioned method.

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One approach is to host a contest for your students yourself. You can either 'force' participation by including it in the lesson program or make it extra-curricular, where you can give additional incentive by handing out 'bonus points' to grades for all participating students. For the students that are good enough and enjoy your contest, the contest can strongly encourage them to participate in the olympiad.

An advantage of this approach is that you not only encourage the students you think are 'suitable' for the olympiad, but simultaneously have an activity that can motivate the other students into programming and algorithmic thinking and, ultimately, your course.

The main disadvantage is that this will take time and some skill to pull it off successfully. This may be less daunting than it seems: you can get questions from various sources and relatively small contests need no complicated submission software. However, I'll refrain from discussing further how to host such a competition; that would be worth a question on its own.

Then again, I agree with @Itamar Green that you likely need someone to deliberately invest time to encourage the students, so it is likely the time has to be spent anyway.

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Set students tasks inside your lessons that are similar to the Olympiad(or as extension/home tasks for your most able). A good selection come from http://projecteuler.net/index.php?section=problems and http://codingbat.com/python

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