With 2014's STEP exams having finished, it is about time for all of us taking the exams next June to take the baton. Below is the familiar OP put together by LOTF two years ago, with a few small edits and adjustments, so thank you to him for that.
For those taking STEP in 2015, here is the place to discuss, post problems, or ask any questions you may have regarding the exam!
Download the STEP Megapack here
This includes the following:
Past papers, solutions, exam reports 1987-2012 (download separately for years 1998-2014 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 Siklos booklets 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.
The 2013 & 2014 papers can be found using the following link:
TSR has a solution bank of its own if you are interested:
· 2012 II
· 2012 III
note: there are currently no solutions for 2009 on TSR)
Avoid recent papers & solutions at all costs (2011 - 2014)! You will need these as mocks in June 2015!
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 2002.
Contrary to what it might seem like on this thread, most people start their preparation in January when they know what uni offers they have. Whilst its always helpful to start as soon as possible, it is still possible to do very well if you start your preparation after you've received your offers
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. This is crucial, because unless you're superhuman, you will
get stuck in the exam at some point
, and you will not have a hints & answers booklet by your side.
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. If you are doing a substantial number of mechanics or stats modules (e.g. you are doing M3 or S2), then you should definitely look at the relevant applied sections. Not only does this increase your question choice, sometimes you can get a gift question, which is much rarer in the pure section.
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). All questions are marked but only the marks from the best 6 contribute towards the final grade. Any fully-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 2000-2014 (previous years are not available):
STEP I: 93 - 77
- 54 -35
STEP II: 91 - 72
- 60 - 31
STEP III: 84 - 65
- 53 - 32
STEP I: 100 - 82
- 64 - 40
STEP II: 100 - 79
- 67 - 32
STEP III: 85 - 63
- 48 - 27
STEP I: 90 - 63
- 43 -28
STEP II: 95 - 74
- 64 - 30
STEP III: 81 - 59
- 48 - 28
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 have been banned since 1997.
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)
This year's exam dates have been released, and are as follows...
STEP I - Mon 15 June 2015 (am)
STEP II - Wed 17 June 2015 (am)
STEP III - Fri 19 June 2015 (am)
In the week before the exam...
(thank you shamika)