Interview coding tests

  1. Listen - usually all the information in the question is useful
  2. Example - make examples larger, avoid special cases
  3. Brute force - better to have brute force than nothing at all; don't necessarily code it, maybe just state the runtime
  4. Optimise
  5. Walk through your algorithm
  6. Code
  7. Test - use small test cases, then edge cases
  8. Analyse and optimise - check for loops, maths, walk through the code, not the algorithm

See Hackerrank's interview guidelines.


  • Use straight lines
  • Start top left
  • Leave space to insert lines of code
  • Modularise up front (use a function that you haven't yet written)


  • Bottlenecks
  • Unnecessary work
  • Duplicated work

Space / time tradeoffs

Consider saving time by using extra space (often hash tables).

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