You are Here: Home >< Oxbridge

# Step. Is it impossible for me? watch

Announcements
1. Hi,
I just got into a grammar school and i moved into the further maths AS set where i had to do C1 on my own. I got 90 in C1, 83 in C2 and 76 in S1. We're doing C3 and M1 this summer.

I happened to look at one of the step 1 past papers and they looked quite tough. I asked my teacher if the questions are from C4 and he goes "No."

So my question is if the step papers are waaaaay beyond a level single maths or even further maths AS then how do they expect us to do it?

EDIT:
I intend to read physics at uni and i though that if i do step or AEA then it would look gud on my ucas.
2. STEP is done at the end of A2, not at the end of AS. Hence its name: Sixth Term Examination Paper.
3. All A level papers do is test that you know a certain set of formulae and thus how to do certain types of questions.

STEP papers actually make you apply your knowledge of the formulae to solve any range of problems.

Think of A level as the education and STEP as the real world.
4. As far as mathematical knowledge goes, STEP I and II require nothing more than A Levels Maths knowledge (+ simple proof by induction). What is different, however, is the level of thinking required. I've found by doing A Level past papers is that they are very mechanical, and you could get an A without really thinking for yourself.

With STEP, you need to think 'outside the box'. This sometimes means returning to first principles. Also, you'll see that first 'half' of the question is quite simple and sometimes guided, and that this will link up to second half which is more independent. Another point is that your arguments are expected to be technically sounder, so when proving something implication signs and justifying assumptions is required.
5. ic ...but this still leaves my question unanswered. When step is beyond a level maths then how do they expect us to do it?
6. It isn't . Unless you were looking at an old one, which would be based on a different A Level maths syllabus. It requires thinking beyond A Level, but not maths beyond A Level. And of course, they don't expect the average A Level to do it since it's aimed at the top 2%.
7. (Original post by Glutamic Acid)
It isn't . Unless you were looking at an old one, which would be based on a different A Level maths syllabus. It requires thinking beyond A Level, but not maths beyond A Level. And of course, they don't expect the average A Level to do it since it's aimed at the top 2%.
ah..so this january, i will be doing C4 which would finish my maths a level. Then, will i be able to do STEP?
8. STEP is NOT beyond A-level maths. Look at the specification: http://www.stepmathematics.org.uk/doc/Specification.pdf
As you can see, it's pretty much single A-level Maths for STEP I and II, and Further Maths for III.

The difference is that STEP questions are bloody hard. If you want to see the kind of stuff on them, look here: http://www.stepmathematics.org.uk/do...athematics.pdf
9. (Original post by hasnain721)
ah..so this january, i will be doing C4 which would finish my maths a level. Then, will i be able to do STEP?
Yes. (I and II.) Although to be honest, a large amount of questions don't even require C4 knowledge.
10. (Original post by Glutamic Acid)
Yes. (I and II.) Although to be honest, a large amount of questions don't even require C2 knowledge.

not really!
11. (Original post by hasnain721)
not really!
Sorry, I meant C4. No idea why I typed C2.
12. if you want to read physics at uni, then i would suggest AEA physics over step. what are your other subjects, out of interest?
13. (Original post by karmenchiu)
if you want to read physics at uni, then i would suggest AEA physics over step. what are your other subjects, out of interest?
chemistry and ict.

Physics aea...how do u prepare for that again?
14. (Original post by hasnain721)
chemistry and ict.

Physics aea...how do u prepare for that again?
ahh good combination of subjects you have there
ermm well you could just get some past AEA papers and work through them thats the main way really. obviously learn all of A2, know it all, so that you can apply it to different types of questions. At my school, we have 40 minutes a week for AEA class, and we just go through questions that we wouldve done for homework.
15. 40 minutes a week? This is why I'm against AEA's being used at all as part of an offer... some schools don't tell anybody about them and just leave the candidates to do it entirely on their own, whilst others provide weekly teaching.
16. But then it's the same for STEP - some schools have classes for it, some don't.
17. (Original post by hasnain721)
ah..so this january, i will be doing C4 which would finish my maths a level. Then, will i be able to do STEP?
Eh? No no no.

STEP is bloody difficult. It's no more than C4 knowledge but it's very difficult. Do you remember back to your GCSEs? There was always a piss easy 10-mark question on solving a quadratic equation or finding the angle in a triangle or something towards the beginning, and then towards the end they had some really difficult extension question on turning points or finding a certain angle made in two concentric circles. STEP is similar. It's A-level material, but much harder.

Your teacher is right when he says it's not C4 questions. You don't need more than C4 to do the questions, but you do need a lot of experience with their question style, which you don't have and won't have until you do tons of practice and ask your teacher a million times. In the same way, if you'd just been given the formula book for C1-C4 and then handed a C3 paper, you wouldn't be able to do it without a lot of scratching around. Expect each STEP question to take you between half an hour and an hour, whereas you'd normally expect an A-level question that was taking you any more than 10 minutes to be either far too difficult or just something you'd neglected to learn.

In conclusion: STEP is impossible for everyone at the start. Get practising and it won't be. But don't sit there in your little A-level box and expect it to get easy - it never gets easy, it only ever gets more familiar. A few hundred people pass it every year - I don't see why you can't be one of those.
18. id like to do step. I dont think i will end up doing maths at uni but i would still like to do it.
I wouldnt say i was an amazingly talented at maths - but i am quite good.

How much time would STEP (just 1) take. Id be willing to put the effort in plus my dads a maths teacher and has done step with pupils before so hes got solutions to every step questions before 2002

Is there any point me doing it?
19. (Original post by eulerwaswrong)
id like to do step. I dont think i will end up doing maths at uni but i would still like to do it.
I wouldnt say i was an amazingly talented at maths - but i am quite good.

How much time would STEP (just 1) take. Id be willing to put the effort in plus my dads a maths teacher and has done step with pupils before so hes got solutions to every step questions before 2002

Is there any point me doing it?
If you like maths, then yes, there's a point. If nothing else, if you can do STEP I then you can do A-level by default. It'll probably take you a couple of months of preparation on top of your A-level studies, depending on how good you are of course.
20. Also there is no "you will get it after spending x hours on it" element to STEP.

STEP should be about enjoying applying maths that you know to unfamiliar circumstances. Have you ever looked at any of the Maths Challenges/BMO questions. Though different in style, the two (imo) have similar aims.

Don't be disheartened if you find STEP hard though - it is meant to be! I passed it and still find it hard!!

Updated: June 19, 2008
Today on TSR

### The Simpsons...

How would you end the show?

### Electrocuted by iPhone in bathtub...

Poll

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE