Official Cambridge Maths 2020 Offer Holders Thread

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GreenCub
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This is a more casual thread for Cambridge maths offer holders to discuss STEP preparation, A level revision and generally how life is going.

Introduce yourself:

What college do you have an offer from?
What are your offer conditions?
Are you a home or international student?
What A levels are you taking?
How's life going?

I'll tag in a few people I saw have offers on the general Cambridge discussion thread just to get started.

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mathshooray
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hello gang gang, how are the STEP papers going? I'm doing well on old ones but I want to move off of them quickly to do harder new ones
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thekidwhogames
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Hi everyone. I have an offer from St Catharine's - A*A in Chemistry/Physics in any order + 1,1 in STEP 2/3 (I've done Maths/FM). I'm a home student (from London). For STEP, it's quite hard but I'm currently doing questions by topic and learning applied content then I will do full timed mocks from 2010+ until 2019.
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GreenCub
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(Original post by mathshooray)
hello gang gang, how are the STEP papers going? I'm doing well on old ones but I want to move off of them quickly to do harder new ones
I can do probably most of the questions without help in a more or less reasonable time (say 35-45 minutes) but there are some where I'm not very good at "spotting the tricks".
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4D Chess
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Anyone going to the STEP support thing later today?
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GreenCub
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(Original post by 4D Chess)
Anyone going to the STEP support thing later today?
Yeah I'm there today.
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4D Chess
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Me at school on Monday vs Me at Cambridge yesterday (not really, but this probably applies to someone):

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GreenCub
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(Original post by 4D Chess)
Me at school on Monday vs Me at Cambridge yesterday (not really, but this probably applies to someone):

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"Parabolic polynomial"

How did you find the STEP support day?
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4D Chess
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(Original post by GreenCub)
"Parabolic polynomial"

How did you find the STEP support day?
The walkthrough on the integration/inequality question was good. The Fibonacci question was not so good. I wished one of the students referred to STEP as a "STEP-ladder" instead of a ramp from A-level to Uni maths - a missed opportunity! I'm shy, so didn't talk to many people, there was a lot of awkward waiting involved. I was half-asleep during the "My name is... and I like..." and forgot most of the people in the circle. :flute:
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GreenCub
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(Original post by 4D Chess)
The walkthrough on the integration/inequality question was good. The Fibonacci question was not so good. I wished one of the students referred to STEP as a "STEP-ladder" instead of a ramp from A-level to Uni maths - a missed opportunity! I'm shy, so didn't talk to many people, there was a lot of awkward waiting involved. I was half-asleep during the "My name is... and I like..." and forgot most of the people in the circle. :flute:
Yeah, I usually have a tendency to go on my phone and talk to nobody whatsoever at events like this but I tried to make an effort to talk to people.

How confident are you/anyone else in making STEP?
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peaerhead7997
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Hi, I have an offer from St John's and my offer is A*A* in Further maths and physics with 1,1 in STEP 2 and 3. I'm a home student taking Further maths, Computer science and physics. For preparation, I do 2 timed papers every weekend and do the modules & finishing off Siklos' booklet. Did any of you get the thing from project access about talking to a cambridge student to help with getting your offer? I have the guy who talked about the ramp so I'll tell him about calling it a step ladder instead
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Spookyayu
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Hello, I have an offer from Queens', my offer is 1,1 on STEP 2 and 3. I'm a home student and I already did my A levels last year with A* in Maths, Further, Biology and English.

Got CV right now so not studying much for this week. Generally, I am feeling really pessimistic about STEP. I don't see myself getting 1,1; but I was also very pessimistic about my A levels and they turned out ok.

I started around early January, doing the 1998-2003 papers very casually, and often looking up solutions because I was so unused to the style. After 2004, I started doing them properly, mostly timed for 3 hours for 6 questions and untimed for the rest from each paper. I scored between 55-65 on STEP 2/3 and 70-80 on STEP 1 on the timed ones. I'm starting 2009 STEP 2 right now. I've stopped doing 3 hour papers and do all the questions, 30 minutes timed each and then take the best 6 of all the attempts. Sometimes a good few of them take longer than 30 minutes and for these, I just change the pen I use and don't give myself marks I gain after the time limit.

I'm a bit ahead of where I should be, so I think I can afford to take it easy while I recover for the next week or two. I'm giving myself 10 days for the three papers from every year and expect to finish 2019's papers by June 9.

I've sort of identified my weakness and strengths already, some areas are doomed, others just need more work, I think. Obviously, I can't do every "strength" question of mine as well as I'd like and some "weaknesses" aren't completely hopeless either. But in general I'd be more likely to try the former topics in the real thing and less likely for the latter ones.

Strengths:
- Continuous probability functions (the ones that involve calculus work)
- Integration
- Evaluation of sums
- DEs
- Mechanics questions that are mostly just DEs and Calculus
- Matrix Algebra (there isn't much STEP stuff for this but I've always loved Linear Algebra and done a fair few questions for them beyond A-level)
- Statics (moments, centres of masses not involving integration, friction etc)

Weaknesses:
- Geometry (vector, complex, 3d, Euclidean; I'm just awful at everything geometry except the easy diagrams and trigonometry for mechanics)
- "If and only if" proof heavy questions for polynomials (proving both ways is usually an excruciating chore)
- CeNtReS oF mAsS (by integration). I never even understood the FM2 chapter 3 on actually deriving the integrals, so this is beyond doomed. Coupled with how no past STEP questions (none!) actually have centres of mass AND integration, this is hopeless.
- Moment of Inertia, Moment generating functions (don't even know anything about these)
- Simple harmonic motion (I forgot all of it... STEP tested it directly a total of two times between 98 and 08 LOL)

Besides these, I have some "gray areas" with topics that I think are mostly simple but that I just haven't shown myself enough consistency with:

- recurrence relations
- elementary probability/combinatorics
- projectiles
- collisions
- probability with a new idea (usually of some analytic flavor) introduced

So I'm trying to improve specially on the above 5. I also think co-ordinate geometry and parametric curves demand a lot from me often but I've been able to do them to an ok degree usually.

If in the real exam we have a continuous PDF on STEP 2, matrix algebra on 2 AND 3 like in 2019, and at least one approachable mechanics question in both papers, it might not be completely out of the question for me to scrape by with a 1. I don't think this will happen. I hope the rest of you that make it get the most out of your degree
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ibsy
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(Original post by Spookyayu)
Hello, I have an offer from Queens', my offer is 1,1 on STEP 2 and 3. I'm a home student and I already did my A levels last year with A* in Maths, Further, Biology and English.

Got CV right now so not studying much for this week. Generally, I am feeling really pessimistic about STEP. I don't see myself getting 1,1; but I was also very pessimistic about my A levels and they turned out ok.

I started around early January, doing the 1998-2003 papers very casually, and often looking up solutions because I was so unused to the style. After 2004, I started doing them properly, mostly timed for 3 hours for 6 questions and untimed for the rest from each paper. I scored between 55-65 on STEP 2/3 and 70-80 on STEP 1 on the timed ones. I'm starting 2009 STEP 2 right now. I've stopped doing 3 hour papers and do all the questions, 30 minutes timed each and then take the best 6 of all the attempts. Sometimes a good few of them take longer than 30 minutes and for these, I just change the pen I use and don't give myself marks I gain after the time limit.

I'm a bit ahead of where I should be, so I think I can afford to take it easy while I recover for the next week or two. I'm giving myself 10 days for the three papers from every year and expect to finish 2019's papers by June 9.

I've sort of identified my weakness and strengths already, some areas are doomed, others just need more work, I think. Obviously, I can't do every "strength" question of mine as well as I'd like and some "weaknesses" aren't completely hopeless either. But in general I'd be more likely to try the former topics in the real thing and less likely for the latter ones.

Strengths:
- Continuous probability functions (the ones that involve calculus work)
- Integration
- Evaluation of sums
- DEs
- Mechanics questions that are mostly just DEs and Calculus
- Matrix Algebra (there isn't much STEP stuff for this but I've always loved Linear Algebra and done a fair few questions for them beyond A-level)
- Statics (moments, centres of masses not involving integration, friction etc)

Weaknesses:
- Geometry (vector, complex, 3d, Euclidean; I'm just awful at everything geometry except the easy diagrams and trigonometry for mechanics)
- "If and only if" proof heavy questions for polynomials (proving both ways is usually an excruciating chore)
- CeNtReS oF mAsS (by integration). I never even understood the FM2 chapter 3 on actually deriving the integrals, so this is beyond doomed. Coupled with how no past STEP questions (none!) actually have centres of mass AND integration, this is hopeless.
- Moment of Inertia, Moment generating functions (don't even know anything about these)
- Simple harmonic motion (I forgot all of it... STEP tested it directly a total of two times between 98 and 08 LOL)

Besides these, I have some "gray areas" with topics that I think are mostly simple but that I just haven't shown myself enough consistency with:

- recurrence relations
- elementary probability/combinatorics
- projectiles
- collisions
- probability with a new idea (usually of some analytic flavor) introduced

So I'm trying to improve specially on the above 5. I also think co-ordinate geometry and parametric curves demand a lot from me often but I've been able to do them to an ok degree usually.

If in the real exam we have a continuous PDF on STEP 2, matrix algebra on 2 AND 3 like in 2019, and at least one approachable mechanics question in both papers, it might not be completely out of the question for me to scrape by with a 1. I don't think this will happen. I hope the rest of you that make it get the most out of your degree
Just so you know- Moments of Inertia and Moment Generating Functions have been removed from this years syllabus
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peaerhead7997
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(Original post by Spookyayu)
Hello, I have an offer from Queens', my offer is 1,1 on STEP 2 and 3. I'm a home student and I already did my A levels last year with A* in Maths, Further, Biology and English.

Got CV right now so not studying much for this week. Generally, I am feeling really pessimistic about STEP. I don't see myself getting 1,1; but I was also very pessimistic about my A levels and they turned out ok.

I started around early January, doing the 1998-2003 papers very casually, and often looking up solutions because I was so unused to the style. After 2004, I started doing them properly, mostly timed for 3 hours for 6 questions and untimed for the rest from each paper. I scored between 55-65 on STEP 2/3 and 70-80 on STEP 1 on the timed ones. I'm starting 2009 STEP 2 right now. I've stopped doing 3 hour papers and do all the questions, 30 minutes timed each and then take the best 6 of all the attempts. Sometimes a good few of them take longer than 30 minutes and for these, I just change the pen I use and don't give myself marks I gain after the time limit.

I'm a bit ahead of where I should be, so I think I can afford to take it easy while I recover for the next week or two. I'm giving myself 10 days for the three papers from every year and expect to finish 2019's papers by June 9.

I've sort of identified my weakness and strengths already, some areas are doomed, others just need more work, I think. Obviously, I can't do every "strength" question of mine as well as I'd like and some "weaknesses" aren't completely hopeless either. But in general I'd be more likely to try the former topics in the real thing and less likely for the latter ones.

Strengths:
- Continuous probability functions (the ones that involve calculus work)
- Integration
- Evaluation of sums
- DEs
- Mechanics questions that are mostly just DEs and Calculus
- Matrix Algebra (there isn't much STEP stuff for this but I've always loved Linear Algebra and done a fair few questions for them beyond A-level)
- Statics (moments, centres of masses not involving integration, friction etc)

Weaknesses:
- Geometry (vector, complex, 3d, Euclidean; I'm just awful at everything geometry except the easy diagrams and trigonometry for mechanics)
- "If and only if" proof heavy questions for polynomials (proving both ways is usually an excruciating chore)
- CeNtReS oF mAsS (by integration). I never even understood the FM2 chapter 3 on actually deriving the integrals, so this is beyond doomed. Coupled with how no past STEP questions (none!) actually have centres of mass AND integration, this is hopeless.
- Moment of Inertia, Moment generating functions (don't even know anything about these)
- Simple harmonic motion (I forgot all of it... STEP tested it directly a total of two times between 98 and 08 LOL)

Besides these, I have some "gray areas" with topics that I think are mostly simple but that I just haven't shown myself enough consistency with:

- recurrence relations
- elementary probability/combinatorics
- projectiles
- collisions
- probability with a new idea (usually of some analytic flavor) introduced

So I'm trying to improve specially on the above 5. I also think co-ordinate geometry and parametric curves demand a lot from me often but I've been able to do them to an ok degree usually.

If in the real exam we have a continuous PDF on STEP 2, matrix algebra on 2 AND 3 like in 2019, and at least one approachable mechanics question in both papers, it might not be completely out of the question for me to scrape by with a 1. I don't think this will happen. I hope the rest of you that make it get the most out of your degree
If you like we could work together; I suck at statics the most(mechanics in general) while I can cover your weaknesses except geometry and projectiles is a bit iffy for me. I think the way you do it by attempting each question in 30 minutes is good too but if you can do a question in less than 30 minutes you could give yourself that leftover time to try the other ones. I'm not too sure what you mean by 'probability with a new idea' though.

Did you go to the step state school day? There was a question on complex number geometry which I think was good, Step 3 2009 Q6. S2 2012 Q6 from there too was also another good geometry question but focusing on shapes so things like cosine rule.

For recurrence relations, I feel like induction is a good way to go about things because it gives you a lot to work with. I think collisions are mostly about algebraic manipulation, use the coefficient of restitution, 0<e<1 and conservation of momentum and the rest of it is good algebra and wise choice in notation.
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GreenCub
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Just did my first timed conditions paper - STEP II 2016. Got 83 which is a solid 1 but I'm not quite as confident on STEP III.
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Spookyayu
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(Original post by peaerhead7997)
If you like we could work together; I suck at statics the most(mechanics in general) while I can cover your weaknesses except geometry and projectiles is a bit iffy for me. I think the way you do it by attempting each question in 30 minutes is good too but if you can do a question in less than 30 minutes you could give yourself that leftover time to try the other ones. I'm not too sure what you mean by 'probability with a new idea' though.

Did you go to the step state school day? There was a question on complex number geometry which I think was good, Step 3 2009 Q6. S2 2012 Q6 from there too was also another good geometry question but focusing on shapes so things like cosine rule.

For recurrence relations, I feel like induction is a good way to go about things because it gives you a lot to work with. I think collisions are mostly about algebraic manipulation, use the coefficient of restitution, 0<e<1 and conservation of momentum and the rest of it is good algebra and wise choice in notation.
By "probability with a new idea" I mean things like 98-S3-Q13 (introducing the idea of MLEs) or 16-S3-Q12 (you are given something new and are expected to use it in the rest of the question). I couldn't go to the STEP school day because I was ill and had to self-isolate. Right now I'm on 2009 STEP 2 (finished the applied section quite badly, got the 8 pure left) so I should get to that complex geometry problem soon. I'll probably end up doing the 2012 one quite a while later though (after finishing the three papers for 2010 I'm thinking about doing all the STEP 1 papers from 11-19 before doing 2 and then 3). Recurrence relations really do feel simple in principle but they make it difficult sometimes, like by making it so that there are two things that need to be proven concurrently via induction (assume two things - 2 induction hypothesis that work together etc)

Regarding, working together, I think that's a good idea. If you want to use some instant messaging platform for convenience, feel free to PM me which one.
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peaerhead7997
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(Original post by Spookyayu)
By "probability with a new idea" I mean things like 98-S3-Q13 (introducing the idea of MLEs) or 16-S3-Q12 (you are given something new and are expected to use it in the rest of the question). I couldn't go to the STEP school day because I was ill and had to self-isolate. Right now I'm on 2009 STEP 2 (finished the applied section quite badly, got the 8 pure left) so I should get to that complex geometry problem soon. I'll probably end up doing the 2012 one quite a while later though (after finishing the three papers for 2010 I'm thinking about doing all the STEP 1 papers from 11-19 before doing 2 and then 3). Recurrence relations really do feel simple in principle but they make it difficult sometimes, like by making it so that there are two things that need to be proven concurrently via induction (assume two things - 2 induction hypothesis that work together etc)

Regarding, working together, I think that's a good idea. If you want to use some instant messaging platform for convenience, feel free to PM me which one.
The probability ones you gave look quite interesting (especially the 2016 one - it's a bit similar to 2014 S2 Q13) and I've not seen many of that type. I'm planning on keeping later papers towards the end (2016-2019) like I did for MAT as I feel they'll closely represent the exam we get; I've heard STEP has gradually gotten harder so things like 2000 and 2017 are quite different in difficulty. I'm not focusing on STEP 1 papers in timed conditions as much as I feel like if I can do 2 and 3 timed then I should be able to do 1 timed as well - instead I just do problems from it. If you're interested, the questions from the step day were S3 2014 Q6, S3 2012 Q8, S3 2014 Q7, S3 2014 Q8, 2013 S2 Q11, 2013 S2 Q12, 2012 S2 Q6, 2013 S3 Q1, 2012 S3 Q1, 2006 S3 Q4, 2008 S2 Q8, 2009 S3 Q4, 2009 S3 Q6, 2010 S3 Q9 and S3 2008 Q13. I've sent a PM too
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deathbySTEP
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(Original post by Spookyayu)
Hello, I have an offer from Queens', my offer is 1,1 on STEP 2 and 3. I'm a home student and I already did my A levels last year with A* in Maths, Further, Biology and English.

Got CV right now so not studying much for this week. Generally, I am feeling really pessimistic about STEP. I don't see myself getting 1,1; but I was also very pessimistic about my A levels and they turned out ok.

I started around early January, doing the 1998-2003 papers very casually, and often looking up solutions because I was so unused to the style. After 2004, I started doing them properly, mostly timed for 3 hours for 6 questions and untimed for the rest from each paper. I scored between 55-65 on STEP 2/3 and 70-80 on STEP 1 on the timed ones. I'm starting 2009 STEP 2 right now. I've stopped doing 3 hour papers and do all the questions, 30 minutes timed each and then take the best 6 of all the attempts. Sometimes a good few of them take longer than 30 minutes and for these, I just change the pen I use and don't give myself marks I gain after the time limit.

I'm a bit ahead of where I should be, so I think I can afford to take it easy while I recover for the next week or two. I'm giving myself 10 days for the three papers from every year and expect to finish 2019's papers by June 9.

I've sort of identified my weakness and strengths already, some areas are doomed, others just need more work, I think. Obviously, I can't do every "strength" question of mine as well as I'd like and some "weaknesses" aren't completely hopeless either. But in general I'd be more likely to try the former topics in the real thing and less likely for the latter ones.

Strengths:
- Continuous probability functions (the ones that involve calculus work)
- Integration
- Evaluation of sums
- DEs
- Mechanics questions that are mostly just DEs and Calculus
- Matrix Algebra (there isn't much STEP stuff for this but I've always loved Linear Algebra and done a fair few questions for them beyond A-level)
- Statics (moments, centres of masses not involving integration, friction etc)

Weaknesses:
- Geometry (vector, complex, 3d, Euclidean; I'm just awful at everything geometry except the easy diagrams and trigonometry for mechanics)
- "If and only if" proof heavy questions for polynomials (proving both ways is usually an excruciating chore)
- CeNtReS oF mAsS (by integration). I never even understood the FM2 chapter 3 on actually deriving the integrals, so this is beyond doomed. Coupled with how no past STEP questions (none!) actually have centres of mass AND integration, this is hopeless.
- Moment of Inertia, Moment generating functions (don't even know anything about these)
- Simple harmonic motion (I forgot all of it... STEP tested it directly a total of two times between 98 and 08 LOL)

Besides these, I have some "gray areas" with topics that I think are mostly simple but that I just haven't shown myself enough consistency with:

- recurrence relations
- elementary probability/combinatorics
- projectiles
- collisions
- probability with a new idea (usually of some analytic flavor) introduced

So I'm trying to improve specially on the above 5. I also think co-ordinate geometry and parametric curves demand a lot from me often but I've been able to do them to an ok degree usually.

If in the real exam we have a continuous PDF on STEP 2, matrix algebra on 2 AND 3 like in 2019, and at least one approachable mechanics question in both papers, it might not be completely out of the question for me to scrape by with a 1. I don't think this will happen. I hope the rest of you that make it get the most out of your degree
I have a very very similar set of strengths/weaknesses - I didn't do much mechanics (except for the old M1) so I can pretty much ONLY do collisions and projectiles, and that too only half of the time. My statistics is a bit better admittedly

Having said that, we should both still manage a 1 - I've been getting quite a consistent S is the earlier papers (2000-2006 so far) by pretty much doing everything other than geometry/vectors/other annoying questions. You're pretty much guaranteed 1 (and usually 2) calculus questions involving derivatives/integration/DEs as well as a sum/Taylor series type question, which is usually 3 questions in the bag. Sometimes, you get an 'easy' first question as a nice warm-up too, and some of the trig and complex numbers that is non-geometric is pretty approachable too. I'm also a bit in the gray area on recurrences but find that most don't actually need any real knowledge about them, just a bit of 'maths sense' on what the next term should be and stuff like that

So don't be so pessimistic, I'm confident you'll get a 1! Just keep working hard and stay strong !
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