# Can solving too many hard problems hurt your interview?

Generally, no. However, be mindful of the situation in this post.

**Hard problems can make you worse at some easy problems!**

Sounds far-fetched?

Take a look at these two questions:

**(Hard Problem) Calculate the Edit Distance between two given strings.**

For example, the edit distance between*“cat”*and*“cog”*is 2 - it requires two substitutions:*a -> o*and*t -> g.***(Easy Problem) Find if the Edit Distance between two given strings is 1.**

For example, the edit distance between “dog” and “dogs” is 1 - it requires one insertion - the letter*s*.

The first problem - *Finding Edit Distance* - is well known. It’s a hard problem, usually solved using Dynamic Programming.

**Here’s what we’ve observed:**

Let’s say a candidate has practiced the 1st problem.When we ask them the 2nd problem, they approach it via Dynamic Programming, even though it’s unnecessary.

In their mind, the 2nd problem is a variation of the first, so naturally, it should be solved with a similar technique, right?

*Wrong! The second problem is much simpler!*

Yet many candidates fall into this trap. They apply a solution prematurely - without digging deeper into the *specific* problem.

Luckily, you can avoid this - when you get a new problem that sounds familiar, don’t get too excited.

Don’t just try to recall a solution.

** Instead, solve the problem from scratch**. Take examples and try to understand the problem’s components.

With this process, you will find a solution naturally - even if it’s the same solution you’ve seen before.

Now obviously, this advice doesn’t apply to all situations. In general, solving hard problems is good for your problem-solving skills.

Just be mindful and don’t ignore easier problems.

*“When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail” - Law of the instrument*

Originally posted on Quora