Python Competitive Coding Input Methods Tutorial – Complete Guide

Demystifying competitive coding can seem like a daunting task, especially when it comes to grappling with unfamiliar methods of input in Python. But taking it one step at a time and focusing on crucial techniques can go a long way. In this article, we introduce you to Python’s competitive coding input methods, essential skills for both budding and experienced programmers.

What is Python Competitive Coding Input?

This refers to the way programmers provide input to their Python code while participating in coding competitions. Python offers numerous ways to accept user input, each with its unique implications.

Why is Understanding Input Methods Important?

In competitive coding, efficiency is key. The right input methods make your Python programs not just functionally correct but also performance optimized.

Decode Python Input Methods with Us

Whether you’re a coding newbie hungry for knowledge or a seasoned programmer looking to brush up on Python input methods for competitive coding, we’ve got you covered.

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The basic input() function

Python’s built-in function, input(), prompts the user to enter an input, and always returns a string.

user_input = input("Enter your input here: ")

This code will prompt the user to input their data, which is then printed on to the console.

The int() function for Integer inputs

If you intend to input an integer, you should use the int() function. This converts the string input to an integer.

integer_input = int(input("Enter an integer: "))

This will only work if the user input can be converted to an integer format.

The map() function for multiple inputs

In many coding challenges, you might need to take multiple inputs separated by space. Here’s where map() function can be used.

user_input = list(map(int, input().split()))

This code will convert a sequence of space-separated inputs to an integer list.

The input() and split() function for string inputs

If you intend to take multiple strings as input, split() function is your way to go.

user_input = input().split()

This code will take a sequence of space-separated strings, split them, and store them into a list. It then prints the list.

Multiple Lines of Input with input() and split()

Sometimes, coding challenges require you to take multiple lines of input. This can be done using a combination of the input() and split() functions in a loop.

number_of_lines = int(input("Enter the number of lines: "))
data = []
for i in range(number_of_lines):
  line = input().split()

In this example, the code takes in an integer to determine the number of lines it will accept, then loops that number of times to take string inputs. The input strings are then split into separate words and added to the data list.

Reading from a File

Designated input files are often provided in competitive coding. You can read these using the open() function.

with open('input.txt', 'r') as file:
    data =

In this case, the code opens the ‘input.txt’ file in ‘read’ mode. The read().splitlines() method reads the file line by line and then splits each line into separate words, converting each line into a list.

Using sys.stdin

Use sys.stdin for efficient reading of large inputs. It’s faster than the conventional input() function.

import sys
for line in sys.stdin:

This will keep on reading lines from the user and printing them until an EOF (End Of File) character is encountered.

Using input().strip() for removing whitespace

If you want to remove leading and trailing spaces from your input, use strip() function with input().

user_input = input("Enter your input: ").strip()

The strip() function removes any leading or trailing whitespace from the user input.

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Mastering input methods for Python is an essential skillset for competitive coding and can hugely contribute to your success in coding challenges. With practice and a good understanding of the techniques we’ve discussed in this article, you will be well on your way to becoming a Python wizard.

Remember, your Python programming journey doesn’t end here. Here at Zenva, we’ve curated an expansive Python programming course library that caters to learners at all levels, ensuring you have the resources to progress further and deeper into this powerful language. Sign up today and keep pushing those coding boundaries. Happy coding!


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