STEP, AEA and uni Watch

maths101
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#1
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How much of the stuff you learn in AEA, STEP I, II and III do you actually use in uni, and which one will help the most? Most uni people should be able to answer this after their first term. And if you are doing a combined course like Maths and Stats or CompSci, then what from A-level is actually relevant.

I just want to know which of the two (AEA or STEP) helps the most in the long run. :confused:
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Catsmeat
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I'm doing an AEA in English and I have little idea of what it contains...so I'm not paticuarly clued up on the whole thing. I know this has nothing to do with Maths, but from my understanding it just takes the harder parts of the A level...the higher level criteria...I hope that helps, even though I'm not doing maths!
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Dekota
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(Original post by maths101)
I just want to know which of the two (AEA or STEP) helps the most in the long run. :confused:
Both prepare you and give you an overview of Oxbridge/Warwick University maths. Both can help, but STEP is more demanding and challenging than AEA. AEA is just what is says; Advanced A-level.
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davros
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(Original post by maths101)
How much of the stuff you learn in AEA, STEP I, II and III do you actually use in uni, and which one will help the most? Most uni people should be able to answer this after their first term.
I just want to know which of the two (AEA or STEP) helps the most in the long run. :confused:
I think you're slightly confused about the purpose of these exams. You don't learn ANY new material for them. They test your ability to apply existing knowledge (i.e. the contents of the A Level course) to more challenging problems.

Your ability to do maths improves with practice, so in that sense tackling past AEA or STEP papers will give you more confidence generally with maths, but these exams don't require any additional learning per se.

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Gaz031
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(Original post by maths101)
How much of the stuff you learn in AEA, STEP I, II and III do you actually use in uni, and which one will help the most? Most uni people should be able to answer this after their first term. And if you are doing a combined course like Maths and Stats or CompSci, then what from A-level is actually relevant.

I just want to know which of the two (AEA or STEP) helps the most in the long run. :confused:
AEA and STEP don't have any additional content in relation to A-Level Mathematics or Further Mathematics. The real value of doing AEA/STEP simply comes from the fact that the questions are a bit tougher and require more thought - so your way of thinking about mathematics and problem solving skills potentially improve.
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maths101
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Ok, thanks, but is there anyone who is doing a combined course with maths and did STEP/AEA, that is finding that practice in problem solving useful?
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AlphaNumeric
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I did STEP II and III for my application to do maths at Cambridge, and as has been pointed out, it isn't about learning new material, it is much more about learning to think about questions in a new way, which you definately find useful when you get to university.

A Level maths questions are almost the same year to year. You know there's going to be a question on differentiation, series sums, geometry etc in P1. The numbers in the questions change each year obviously, but the style doesn't. STEP (and to a much smaller extend AEA) changed hugely year to year, and tests your ability to recognise elegant solutions to problems, or to be able to use slightly less obvious hints than A Level gives. You have to actually understand the material, not just regurgitate it parrot fashion. When you get to uni, you will find almost all questions are like that, you're expected to demonstrate comprehension of material, not the ability to mentally photocopy your notes.

If you aren't required to do AEA, but are very good at maths and fancy a challenge and a decent preparation for uni maths, doing STEP I would be worth a try. STEP II and III if you're very good, but they are only asked of Cambridge applicants who've done double maths A Levels, so are obviously quite hard.
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