For those taking STEP in 2013, here is the place to discuss, post problems, or ask any questions you may have regarding the exam!
Download the STEP Megapack here
Please read this post before asking questions.
This includes the following:
Past papers, solutions, exam reports 1987-2011 (download separately for years 1998-2012 here)
Formula booklet (download separately here)
Stephen Siklos' booklets (download separately here and here)
Spreadsheet to print out and keep track of which questions you have done (download separately here)
for a cross reference between the first Siklos booklet and the original STEP papers from which the questions are taken.
The University of Warwick has uploaded a few videos of worked out STEP questions here
, which you may find helpful.
you will find the STEP Problem-Solving society, a fun thread where you can solve/mark problems with your peers.
TSR has a solution bank of its own if you are interested:
· 2012 II
· 2012 III
(note: 2008 and 2010 are incomplete, and 2009 seems to be non-existant)
Avoid recent papers & solutions at all costs (2009 - 2012)! You will need these as mocks in June 2013!
For the moment, the links are there more for coherence than anything else.
When should I start preparing?
Start preparing early
(but be careful not to use up all the past papers too fast!).
Where do I start?
S. Siklos' booklets are a good place to start (link above)
. Once you feel more comfortable with the questions, you may
want to tackle STEP I papers. It is good to begin with papers that are not too old (the exam has somewhat changed since 1987)
but not too recent: I would say start around 2000.
Doing one question a day starting January/February and then moving on to full papers in April/May is a good plan.
Your aim should be approximately 45 minutes per question.
What if I get stuck?
Don't worry if STEP seems difficult at first - it is meant
to be hard, and everyone is feeling the same. When you're stuck,
keep searching. Why is this so important? Because you will
get stuck in the exam at some point
(unless you're superhuman,
which you may well be), and in the exam, you will not have a hints & answers booklet.
Get used to the idea of spending lots of time on a single question.
Will it get easier?
Yes - but this doesn't mean it will get easy
. With practise, you will come to enjoy the problem solving,
and you will start recognising certain techniques/tricks which inevitably make the questions more accessible.
Also, it should be said that many questions seem very difficult from the outside, but turn out to be
easier than expected once you start writing things down.
Is it strategic to focus on pure only?
No. Since preparation time isn't an issue, it is best to give yourself more choice
and work on all areas of STEP questions. You never know where a gift-question might lie.
Also, rumor has it that the applied questions tend to be slightly
easier than the pure ones.
Read the post below for more information
(many thanks to shamika)
Look here or the last pages of Siklos' booklets
STEP I & II:
C1-4 + M1-2 + S1-2 + proof by induction
Above + FP1-3 + M3-5 + S3-4
The syllabus for III is very wide,
so the above is roughly
what the questions can
(TSR thread) & Graph sketching
STEP grades: S (Outstanding), 1 (Very good), 2 (Good), 3 (Satisfactory), U (Unclassified)
Mark-schemes are not published so it is difficult to say how STEP is marked. What we do
Questions are marked out of 20, no bonus points - you should look at no more than
6 questions in the exam (total out of 120). Any correct answer will be awarded maximum marks.
No points are given for mathematical elegance. Most marks are method marks: according to DFranklin
small slip-ups will only cost you 1-2 points. Four good (not necessarily perfect) answers will generally
award you a 1.
The Exam Reports (link above)
are informative on marking too - take a look.
Grade boundaries for years 2000-2012:
STEP I: 93 - 77
- 54 -35
STEP II: 91 - 72
- 60 - 31
STEP III: 84 - 65
- 53 - 32
The exam lasts 3 hours sharp. With the exam sheet, you will be given the formula booklet (link above)
It is the same each year. Calculators are obviously banned.
You will have to write in black ink, and correction fluid is not
Drafting paper is
allowed (ask your school to provide some if you want any), but generally it is advised to
of your working down on the exam sheet - even if this means writing out multiplications.
Standard (STEP) offers
University of Cambridge: 1,1 in STEP II, III
University of Warwick: 1 (if A*A* not ach.) or 2 in any paper
Imperial College London: 2 in STEP II or III (occasionally)
University College London: 1 (if A*A* not ach.)
University of Bath: 2 in any paper (occasionally)
In the week before the exam...
(thank you shamika)