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The 2012 STEP Results Discussion Thread

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  • View Poll Results: Should we include the AEA in this thread?
    Yes
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    No
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    (Original post by Oromis263)
    This, but I understand where you're coming from.
    In that case, by all means go for it. I'm not sure when you have to decide to enter, but see how you get on up to that point. If you're sure you'll get a 1, it can only help your chances. I'm not sure how a 2 or 3 would look on a NatSci app though.
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    (Original post by Oromis263)
    ...
    If you fancy it then you should definitely do it. A good grade can only help you but you should definitely not deceive yourself as to how much work it takes. There is a big difference between casually glancing over a paper, doing the odd easy question that catches your eye and sitting down at a paper with 3 hours on the clock and thinking: "right, I need to bang out a strong 4/5/6 questions fairly quickly and with few snags".
    I hope DFranklin concurs...
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    I concur, indeed...
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    Although, to follow on, this is STEP I we're talking about so tbh, if you're good, you could squeeze out a cheeky 1 with minimal work (compared to STEP II/III)+ PhysNatsci people should definitely be able to own the mechanics questions.
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    I would consider doing the stats as its bound to be useful in a NatSci course...
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    Your feedback has been most excellent, good fellows. I have just settled down to read the booklet, and I think I still have a couple of months (maybe just under now?) until the deadline for handing in my form. Cheers!
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    I have an offer for warick, all they require me to achieve is a grade 2 in any of the step papers? so should i enter 1 and 2, or just go for all 3 to give myself te best chance as i will have done all of further maths by the time i take the exam.
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    (Original post by Troll the Trolls)
    I have an offer for warick, all they require me to achieve is a grade 2 in any of the step papers? so should i enter 1 and 2, or just go for all 3 to give myself te best chance as i will have done all of further maths by the time i take the exam.
    The chance of geting a 2 in III when not getting it in I or II is slim - but you don't have anything to lose by entering all 3.
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    (Original post by Troll the Trolls)
    I have an offer for warick, all they require me to achieve is a grade 2 in any of the step papers? so should i enter 1 and 2, or just go for all 3 to give myself te best chance as i will have done all of further maths by the time i take the exam.
    I'd say STEP I is by far the easiest - if you're not sure then go for STEP II as well. That way, you can just focus on knowing the Maths (not Further) STEP material. But if you're confident in your further maths knowledge, or you want to do it for the practise, then take all three.

    There is also the issue of cost... if you're one of the fortunate sods who has school pay for them (hear the bitterness there? ), then by all means go for all three...
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    (Original post by DFranklin)
    I think the key problem here is the question is ambiguous. Knowing the plane is "perpendicular to n" and has minimum distance l to the origin is not enough to uniquely define the plane. Your solution to (ii) seems to work on the assumption that the plane equation must be of form \mathbf{n}.\mathbf{r} = l but \mathbf{n}.\mathbf{r} = -l is also possible.

    But once you allow the ambiguity it's not actually clear what the question means. Are you looking for a conditions on the sphere such that *a* plane satisfying the requirements exists, or are you searching for requirements on the definition of the plane such that it will be tangential to the sphere?

    I suspect your interpretation is the one the examiner was after, but it's not a good question.
    One way of thinking about this question is that the sphere and plane are unambiguous geometrical objects and l is said to be a minimum distance hence non-negative. d and a are also well defined but as you say there are two normals. Let the plane be tangential to the sphere.

    If abs(n.d)<a then n.d = l-a is satisfied for the correct choice of n. For any value of n.d we have l=abs(n.d+a) for the correct choice of n.

    If, on the other hand, we specify that n must "point towards the plane" then if abs(n.d)<a we have l=n.d+a and otherwise the condition l= (one of) n.d+/-a is satisfied. n.d<-a is impossible - the plane and the sphere cannot intersect in this case.
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    Gonna settle down to do a full II paper tomorrow. Any recommendations for one that you'd class as 'averagely difficult'.
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    Having a crack through Siklos' latest booklet now: I found the solution to question 11 striking - in particular the first part.

    How many integers greater or equal to zero are less than 1000 and are not divisible by 2 or 5?

    Apparently the answer via a simple argument is 400. But I'm convinced it's 401. How can you argue that 0 is divisible by 2 or 5?!

    EDIT: Wait, I think I may be missing something ridiculously obvious in that 0 is divisible by every number...? Oh crap.
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    (Original post by Ree69)
    EDIT: Wait, I think I may be missing something ridiculously obvious in that 0 is divisible by every number...? Oh crap.
    An integer a is divisible by b, if we can write a = bd for some integer d.

    Hence, \displaystyle 0 = n0 for every integer n.

    (Original post by hassi94)
    Gonna settle down to do a full II paper tomorrow. Any recommendations for one that you'd class as 'averagely difficult'.
    Depending on the definition of "average difficulty", I think S2 2002 and 2003 are good papers.
    I'm also interested to know what papers people are planning to do in timed conditions.
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    Just done 1999 II in 3 hours. Answered 4 complete questions and 1 partially. Really happy!!
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    (Original post by maths134)
    Just done 1999 II in 3 hours. Answered 4 complete questions and 1 partially. Really happy!!
    :O

    thats good :cool:

    what questions did you? Im guessing the trig and calculas
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    (Original post by Rahul.S)
    :O

    thats good :cool:

    what questions did you? Im guessing the trig and calculas
    Aha yeh. First question I did was the trig, then the calculus . they were like 5/6 I think. Then I did question 1 which was actually really nice! And question 2. And then part of question 7 (your favourite graph sletching)
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    (Original post by maths134)
    Aha yeh. First question I did was the trig, then the calculus . they were like 5/6 I think. Then I did question 1 which was actually really nice! And question 2. And then part of question 7 (your favourite graph sletching)
    what were the boundaries for that paper? This thread only has boundaries from 2000 onwards in the 1st post....
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    (Original post by maths134)
    Aha yeh. First question I did was the trig, then the calculus . they were like 5/6 I think. Then I did question 1 which was actually really nice! And question 2. And then part of question 7 (your favourite graph sletching)
    Well done on getting 4 full solutions!

    I think you may have missed a trick on 1999 SII Q4 though, as it was a very straightforward question, only requiring you to equate coefficients using combinations algebra (1 side of A4 max). Part ii) was slightly more fiddly (probably better to introduce 2+ notations) but the question was not challenging at all by STEP standards imo.


    A lot of people get a bit stuck with the "I'm going to answer calculus and trig and ___ questions regardless". I don't really think that is the best method. I think Calc. is often a good option but something that will boost your grade by a boundary would be to spend ~10 mins looking over all the questions fast and learning to spot which questions are difficult and which questions are not.

    I think having a solid grounding in a few topics (calc., trig., maybe vectors too) is very good insurance as it can guarantee 2 or 3 solutions in almost any paper. But I think most of the candidates who are looking at S grades are probably ready to tackle almost any question on the paper, and purposefully seek out the easier ones. Perhaps you should work towards this model, although 4 solutions + 1 partial is probably around an S for II already...

    (Original post by Rahul.S)
    what were the boundaries for that paper? This thread only has boundaries from 2000 onwards in the 1st post....
    I can't find any boundaries after a few searches, and the official website only goes back to 2005. Unless anyone has hard copies, I'd use 90/70/50/40 for S/1/2/3.
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    (Original post by gff)
    An integer a is divisible by b, if we can write a = bd for some integer d.

    Hence, \displaystyle 0 = n0 for every integer n.
    Yup, I definitely don't deserve to go to Warwick.
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    (Original post by Ree69)
    Yup, I definitely don't deserve to go to Warwick.
    I would say that thinking about why things are true or false is better than just accepting the answer; that's one thing Warwick seeks for certain.
    On the other hand, these are the tricky ones that people like to put on exam papers, so that you would struggle with them.

    According to the definition, we can write a = 1 \times a and a = a \times 1 for every integer a.
    This means that an integer a is always divisible by itself and the number one; if these are the only divisors it is a prime number, as usual.

    Here's another tricky one, why isn't zero divisible by zero, if we can write 0 = 0 \times 0?
    (That's what I was trying to avoid, but then corrected.)

    Spoiler:
    Show

    It boils down to the definition which implicitly assumes that b is a non-zero integer.

    Proper Definition:
    An integer a is divisible by a non-zero integer b, if there is an integer d such that a = bd, and it is written b \mid a. Otherwise, b \nmid a.



    Now, look up and note what I have written:
    "This means that an integer a is always divisible by itself and the number one..."

    There are many things that are assumed implicitly -- you just have to get used to them.

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