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How should I prepare for the STEP Maths exam?

I applied for Computer Science at Cambridge (rejection), Imperial (offer), Durham (still waiting on decision), Edinburgh (offer) andManchester (offer).

Three days ago, I received an offer from Imperial at their standard requirements which I was chuffed about because it is the lowestrequirements I can get since I am not eligible for contextual offers.

The A level requirement is A*AAA, which shouldn't be too much of a problem. I am predicted 5 A*s in Maths, Further Maths, CS,Chemistry and EPQ.

The bit of the offer I am worried about is the STEP condition. I have to attain a grade 2 in STEP II.

How should I go about preparing for the STEP? Any advice would be useful. I did some STEP I stuff as practice and I'm getting 4-5questions right but I am worried about STEP II because obviously, it is going to be a huge step up (no pun intended). Any tips forthe paper would also be much appreciated (e.g. sections I should avoid save time and sections I should focus on). Any links that would help in preparation for this paper would also be much appreciated.

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For me personally at the minute, I have an offer of 1,1 in STEP 2 and STEP 3 and so I'm just spending hours a day going through old past papers and I've saved the last few years worth of past papers as I plan on sitting them as proper papers closer to the exam date for exam technique and such under timed conditions but for now I think it's all just about doing as many questions as you can and improving your problem solving skills.

In terms of strategy you don't want to be mindlessly doing every question you see unless you think you're capable of it but everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, for example for me, I plan on fully ignoring the mechanics and statistics sections basically as my strength lies in pure specifically probably calculus, graphs and equations, sums, series and trig but I'm currently looking at specifically working on questions involving vectors as well as complex numbers as I feel they could definitely be strengths. Having said all of this, if you want to approach the papers like this you have to make sure that you have quite a few topics under your belt as you don't want to just base your grades off getting lucky with questions as you can't predict what's going to come up.

Either way though, congratulations on your offer! and good luck with preparing for STEP. I know I definitely need it.
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Reply 2
Original post by AHJCheung
For me personally at the minute, I have an offer of 1,1 in STEP 2 and STEP 3 and so I'm just spending hours a day going through old past papers and I've saved the last few years worth of past papers as I plan on sitting them as proper papers closer to the exam date for exam technique and such under timed conditions but for now I think it's all just about doing as many questions as you can and improving your problem solving skills.

In terms of strategy you don't want to be mindlessly doing every question you see unless you think you're capable of it but everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, for example for me, I plan on fully ignoring the mechanics and statistics sections basically as my strength lies in pure specifically probably calculus, graphs and equations, sums, series and trig but I'm currently looking at specifically working on questions involving vectors as well as complex numbers as I feel they could definitely be strengths. Having said all of this, if you want to approach the papers like this you have to make sure that you have quite a few topics under your belt as you don't want to just base your grades off getting lucky with questions as you can't predict what's going to come up.

Either way though, congratulations on your offer! and good luck with preparing for STEP. I know I definitely need it.
Congrats on the Cambridge Maths offer (I'm assuming Cambridge because it's only them that tend to give that STEP condition but correct me if I am wrong). I genuinely wish you the best of luck and you've got it within you! We have faith! Getting the offer in itself is impressive and is really a credit to your calibre, if you will. I'm struggling a bit with STEP II ,and I have no idea how you are coping with STEP III, because it feels like I'm making no progress. I understand that the difficulty of the questions are the same but STEP III is all Further Maths whereas STEP II is AS Further and A level Maths. Like, when I start to read the question, my eyes begin to rotate lmao.

I'm currently doing the AMSP STEP II course as well (funded by school) in addition to the past papers and the foundation modules.

Thanks for the advice! Yeah, I'm currently trying to figure out what my strengths actually are because it's very much question-specific rather than me having a specific strength. I can think of weaknesses (vectors, graph sketching etc.) but not strengths. Proof by induction and differentiation come to mind but not 100% certain.

I'm completely ignoring the Mechanics section because I'm only just about able to get by with the Further Mechanics in Further Maths so not sure how I'm going to cope with the STEP mechanics. If I'm struggling for marks, I'll do it but I doubt I'll do it otherwise. Also, on my interview day, I asked some of the current students and one of the second year students was like "I did FM1 and FM2 as my elective modules in Further Maths and I couldn't do the Mechanics section at all." But the one thing that was said by all students is that the Stats is the most accessible and I concur with this hypothesis (in my opinion).

I'm currently getting 1 or 2 fully correct and then partial answers for the rest, which is what I need, but I need to be more consistent. Also, school is holding mocks rn so I'm currently losing on valuable prep time.

Thank you for your kind words! I also found out that my offer has the lowest conditions I can get so that is a massive motivator. 80% of CS offer holders got 2 A*s 2 As with STEP but my grade requirement is one less πŸ’ͺ so we take it. What's your grade requirement?
Haha yeah managed to sus out my offer that's right! and thank you ill definitely need it with the offer requirements ive been given. Proof by induction is definitely an iffy one for me some of them are great when they come at say the end of a question or part way through but for a lot of questions where its the main part i definitely struggle even though generally i was quite confident with them. Im not the best at vectors either but i think that theyre not that difficult if i get more used to them which is why im working on them and can be quite common especially with the fact there might be transferrable skills with complex numbers.

With stats i remember hearing that its difficult for them to make like "harder" stats questions using only a level and FM content; having said that I still struggle with them definitely 😒 but there have been some questions in past papers that have been very logic based with ive answered well; however, i dont know if there are questions like that in newer papers as im still holding off on them.

Its also worth noting that i heard from a current maths student at cambridge that over the last few years (i wanna say 2020 onwards but im not sure) that the papers have gotten a lot more difficult due to the moderation changing as unfortunately, Dr Stephen Siklos passed away but again im not 100% sure as i havent looked at newer papers yet but its worth keeping in mind for closer to exams.

I've not actually used any of the materials that cambridge or unis offer like the step support programme and up till now have only just been trying out questions by myself and brute forcing my way through them however long it takes. Its also worth noting though that i probably started off with step 1 last year around like christmas maybe this time ish but also that its only really this year that ive started being able to do step 2 or 3 questions in an actual reasonable amount of time so it was very very very slow for me at the start but it definitely picks up with practice as long as you stay motivated but you'll definitely be fine if you work hard!

My offer is 2 A stars in maths and further maths and an A in physics (i dropped computer science because i didnt enjoy it that much and it hasnt affected any of my offers)
For extras i got an offer from warwick with the same A level requirements but a 2 in either step paper but im planning on putting UCL as my insurance choice as they offered me A* and A in maths or further maths and a C in physics as i am eligible for contextual offers and a 2 in either step paper as well.
although if i miss my grades i am seriously considering reapplying next year but i'm still not sure on that one.
That was a bit more than i originally intended but whoops.

A few more things in that at the moment my favourite way to work through step questions is by working on whiteboards although i am aware that i need to practice on paper but its up to you and obviously everyone prefers working differently and I have a big step folder in my phone because i always take photos afterwards and if you'd like some solutions then I'd be more than happy to give you some to some more fun questions in my opinion or ones that were definitely interesting or if you just want to see what my working looks like to try and gauge a thought process then also fine πŸ˜€

Theres also definitely a lot of questions that i look at and just go nope and skip straight on because as i said before im not really working through any one given paper at the moment as i have quite a lot saved on my tablet that i look through and just whenever i see a question that interests me then ill just do it but thatll change in the coming months as we get closer to the dreaded deadline πŸ’€
Reply 5
Original post by vnayak
Congrats on the Cambridge Maths offer (I'm assuming Cambridge because it's only them that tend to give that STEP condition but correct me if I am wrong). I genuinely wish you the best of luck and you've got it within you! We have faith! Getting the offer in itself is impressive and is really a credit to your calibre, if you will. I'm struggling a bit with STEP II ,and I have no idea how you are coping with STEP III, because it feels like I'm making no progress. I understand that the difficulty of the questions are the same but STEP III is all Further Maths whereas STEP II is AS Further and A level Maths. Like, when I start to read the question, my eyes begin to rotate lmao.

I'm currently doing the AMSP STEP II course as well (funded by school) in addition to the past papers and the foundation modules.

Thanks for the advice! Yeah, I'm currently trying to figure out what my strengths actually are because it's very much question-specific rather than me having a specific strength. I can think of weaknesses (vectors, graph sketching etc.) but not strengths. Proof by induction and differentiation come to mind but not 100% certain.

I'm completely ignoring the Mechanics section because I'm only just about able to get by with the Further Mechanics in Further Maths so not sure how I'm going to cope with the STEP mechanics. If I'm struggling for marks, I'll do it but I doubt I'll do it otherwise. Also, on my interview day, I asked some of the current students and one of the second year students was like "I did FM1 and FM2 as my elective modules in Further Maths and I couldn't do the Mechanics section at all." But the one thing that was said by all students is that the Stats is the most accessible and I concur with this hypothesis (in my opinion).

I'm currently getting 1 or 2 fully correct and then partial answers for the rest, which is what I need, but I need to be more consistent. Also, school is holding mocks rn so I'm currently losing on valuable prep time.

Thank you for your kind words! I also found out that my offer has the lowest conditions I can get so that is a massive motivator. 80% of CS offer holders got 2 A*s 2 As with STEP but my grade requirement is one less πŸ’ͺ so we take it. What's your grade requirement?
The most important thing to do is just get started on past papers and ask about solutions/hints/getting started. That first step or how to interpret the "hence" when you generalise an easy first part, is often the key thing to understanding what the question is about.

However, do try some mechanics questions as they can be relatively routine although a bit trig heavy at times. At random from the 2022 paper, Q10 is a projectile range question. The first part is almost a write down x-y cartesian parabolic form. Then its just a matter of adapting the usual range results to the case where the ground is an inclined plane or a transformation where gravity affects both x and y coordinates etc. Like the stats, they can be routine, at least for step.

The other thing to getting started is to look at / do the topic modules and notes for step 2 which are on the website. They at least get you started on a range of topics in a relately short time so when you try more recent papers youve a reasonable chance of doing questions.
(edited 1 month ago)
Reply 6
Original post by mqb2766
The most important thing to do is just get started on past papers and ask about solutions/hints/getting started. That first step or how to interpret the "hence" when you generalise an easy first part, is often the key thing to understanding what the question is about.

However, do try some mechanics questions as they can be relatively routine although a bit trig heavy at times. At random from the 2022 paper, Q10 is a projectile range question. The first part is almost a write down x-y cartesian parabolic form. Then its just a matter of adapting the usual range results to the case where the ground is an inclined plane or a transformation where gravity affects both x and y coordinates etc. Like the stats, they can be routine, at least for step.

The other thing to getting started is to look at / do the topic modules and notes for step 2 which are on the website. They at least get you started on a range of topics in a relately short time so when you try more recent papers youve a reasonable chance of doing questions.
OK thanks! I'll try to attempt the mechanics questions and I'll do my best to understand it and at least come to a point where I can develop a partial answer to the questions.
Reply 7
Original post by vnayak
OK thanks! I'll try to attempt the mechanics questions and I'll do my best to understand it and at least come to a point where I can develop a partial answer to the questions.
Wbf, Id really try and get through a (full) paper a week, even if its in ~1 hr daily bursts where you attempt a couple of questions and if necessary ask for a couple of hints. When you go over your answers, look at the markers report to see what common mistakes were/what they wanted out of the question and if necessary make a top 5 things you learnt from the paper so that its easy to review closer to the exam. Then in a month or so, make any decisions about which questions to ignore, if necessary.
Reply 8
Original post by AHJCheung
Haha yeah managed to sus out my offer that's right! and thank you ill definitely need it with the offer requirements ive been given. Proof by induction is definitely an iffy one for me some of them are great when they come at say the end of a question or part way through but for a lot of questions where its the main part i definitely struggle even though generally i was quite confident with them. Im not the best at vectors either but i think that theyre not that difficult if i get more used to them which is why im working on them and can be quite common especially with the fact there might be transferrable skills with complex numbers.

With stats i remember hearing that its difficult for them to make like "harder" stats questions using only a level and FM content; having said that I still struggle with them definitely 😒 but there have been some questions in past papers that have been very logic based with ive answered well; however, i dont know if there are questions like that in newer papers as im still holding off on them.

Its also worth noting that i heard from a current maths student at cambridge that over the last few years (i wanna say 2020 onwards but im not sure) that the papers have gotten a lot more difficult due to the moderation changing as unfortunately, Dr Stephen Siklos passed away but again im not 100% sure as i havent looked at newer papers yet but its worth keeping in mind for closer to exams.

I've not actually used any of the materials that cambridge or unis offer like the step support programme and up till now have only just been trying out questions by myself and brute forcing my way through them however long it takes. Its also worth noting though that i probably started off with step 1 last year around like christmas maybe this time ish but also that its only really this year that ive started being able to do step 2 or 3 questions in an actual reasonable amount of time so it was very very very slow for me at the start but it definitely picks up with practice as long as you stay motivated but you'll definitely be fine if you work hard!

My offer is 2 A stars in maths and further maths and an A in physics (i dropped computer science because i didnt enjoy it that much and it hasnt affected any of my offers)
For extras i got an offer from warwick with the same A level requirements but a 2 in either step paper but im planning on putting UCL as my insurance choice as they offered me A* and A in maths or further maths and a C in physics as i am eligible for contextual offers and a 2 in either step paper as well.
although if i miss my grades i am seriously considering reapplying next year but i'm still not sure on that one.
What college did you get into?

Yeah, the stats is definitely logic-based, which suits my strengths more than anything else. I would say that I'm a more logical person, which is why I do well in the UKMT stuff but then atrociously when it comes to actually doing something that requires some level of memorisation. I too don't know what it's like in the recent years' papers so I can't comment on that either.

Yeah, the new STEP is a lot harder. I mean, just in terms of people meeting requirements, 50% of the people who get the Cambridge Maths offer fail the STEP requirement (at least according to a Maths teacher on this website). Last year, around 40% of the people who were accepted into Imperial CS didn't actually meet their requirement for the STEP but were kinda close. Now, I want to get way better than kinda close because I don't want to get in through an element of luck.

I've done like one STEP I paper in Jan. I didn't really feel the need to do more STEP I because I have already done the TMUA so am confident on AS and A level Maths content and before I decided on applying to Cambridge, I thought I would apply to Oxford instead (went against it because the odds of getting in are against me even more so - 1 in 13 at Cambridge vs 1 in 18 at Oxford) so I have done a decent bit of MAT prep. It's reassuring to know that the pace will pick up.

That's actually a nice offer! My friend got the same for Economics but other than A* in Maths, they haven't specified anything else for her - it's free choice.

However, another one of my friends got into St John's for NatSci - 5 A level offer - 3 A*s 2 As. Idk how they're gonna cope!

You'll deffo meet your grades. That's the one good thing about admissions tests - the stuff is so advanced that in allowing you to get better at that stuff, you simultaneously get better at the easy stuff as well in A level Further Maths and stuff becomes easier. UCL as insurance is crazy though icl....not many get to say that. Saying that, my friend is insuring LSE because he got into Oxford PPE πŸ˜‚ so I'd say that's even more crazy.
Reply 9
Original post by mqb2766
Wbf, Id really try and get through a (full) paper a week, even if its in ~1 hr daily bursts where you attempt a couple of questions and if necessary ask for a couple of hints. When you go over your answers, look at the markers report to see what common mistakes were/what they wanted out of the question and if necessary make a top 5 things you learnt from the paper so that its easy to review closer to the exam. Then in a month or so, make any decisions about which questions to ignore, if necessary.
Thanks for this advice! No one at school has sat the STEP for like the past 7 years and the teacher that used to help with the STEP left two years after that so I'm basically fighting this battle by myself. I really appreciate this.
Original post by vnayak
What college did you get into?

Yeah, the stats is definitely logic-based, which suits my strengths more than anything else. I would say that I'm a more logical person, which is why I do well in the UKMT stuff but then atrociously when it comes to actually doing something that requires some level of memorisation. I too don't know what it's like in the recent years' papers so I can't comment on that either.

Yeah, the new STEP is a lot harder. I mean, just in terms of people meeting requirements, 50% of the people who get the Cambridge Maths offer fail the STEP requirement (at least according to a Maths teacher on this website). Last year, around 40% of the people who were accepted into Imperial CS didn't actually meet their requirement for the STEP but were kinda close. Now, I want to get way better than kinda close because I don't want to get in through an element of luck.

I've done like one STEP I paper in Jan. I didn't really feel the need to do more STEP I because I have already done the TMUA so am confident on AS and A level Maths content and before I decided on applying to Cambridge, I thought I would apply to Oxford instead (went against it because the odds of getting in are against me even more so - 1 in 13 at Cambridge vs 1 in 18 at Oxford) so I have done a decent bit of MAT prep. It's reassuring to know that the pace will pick up.

That's actually a nice offer! My friend got the same for Economics but other than A* in Maths, they haven't specified anything else for her - it's free choice.

However, another one of my friends got into St John's for NatSci - 5 A level offer - 3 A*s 2 As. Idk how they're gonna cope!

You'll deffo meet your grades. That's the one good thing about admissions tests - the stuff is so advanced that in allowing you to get better at that stuff, you simultaneously get better at the easy stuff as well in A level Further Maths and stuff becomes easier. UCL as insurance is crazy though icl....not many get to say that. Saying that, my friend is insuring LSE because he got into Oxford PPE πŸ˜‚ so I'd say that's even more crazy.
I got my offer from Jesus College which is the college i originally applied to so luckily I didn't get pooled or anything I think my first interview went quite bad but my second seemed really good which is what I think got probably was the deciding factor for me.

Having said all this I definitely need to look more into stats and mechanics as I know that I shouldn't just like write them off especially not this early. But my focus will still be on pure as one its my strengths and two its what I'm more interested in as well for my degree and going beyond that as well.

I heard a while back that apparently you can see the statistic somewhere on a table that if you get 1,2 in STEP then you still have about a 75% chance of getting an offer and a 2,2 about a 25% chance but I've not actually seen this myself and of course these numbers would fluctuate so it's not the end of the world. But of course, the aim is for an S,S even though realistically i'm not sure how feasible it is but my goal is for that why settle for less y'know haha.

I'm definitely glad i dropped CS though because I don't think I'd be able to cope with 4 A Levels as well as STEP preparation on top of coursework and that but to each their own (5 A Levels sounds horrendous but I wish them luck!).

Like you say though it has definitely helped with my A level Maths and Further Maths as the stuff there has kind of become trivial but it's also important to remember to practice questions as well as question style's and things they look for in A Levels is different to what they ask for in STEP. For example, when I get integrals in FM i often go looking for fancy methods or tricks that I might have to go for in STEP just to find out that it was something much simpler or more just brute forcey if that makes sense.
Original post by vnayak
Thanks for this advice! No one at school has sat the STEP for like the past 7 years and the teacher that used to help with the STEP left two years after that so I'm basically fighting this battle by myself. I really appreciate this.
Just post any questions/attempts/ask for hints ... here or on the f38 maths forum. Its about putting in the time (appropriately, you dont really have the time now to spend hours going over a single question) and practicing a bit beyond the a level questions.
Original post by vnayak
Thanks for this advice! No one at school has sat the STEP for like the past 7 years and the teacher that used to help with the STEP left two years after that so I'm basically fighting this battle by myself. I really appreciate this.
Honestly, I'm the same, my school isn't let's say known for top top grades so it's just me working through things by myself and I can feel the frustration or reluctance from my teacher's to help as they don't really know how to teach it either and the best they can do is work alongside me to try and solve a problem so I've kind of stopped asking them for anything but a lot of the time now, because I've done more questions anyway, I ask my teachers about a specific idea in a problem rather than looking through the whole problem as I will often have a base understanding or will try and figure it out myself so like I'll talk through my thought process about why I'm thinking about a specific method and see what they think rather than just asking them straight up for hints like I used to. It's all a process though be it a long and difficult one.
Reply 13
Original post by AHJCheung
I got my offer from Jesus College which is the college i originally applied to so luckily I didn't get pooled or anything I think my first interview went quite bad but my second seemed really good which is what I think got probably was the deciding factor for me.

Having said all this I definitely need to look more into stats and mechanics as I know that I shouldn't just like write them off especially not this early. But my focus will still be on pure as one its my strengths and two its what I'm more interested in as well for my degree and going beyond that as well.

I heard a while back that apparently you can see the statistic somewhere on a table that if you get 1,2 in STEP then you still have about a 75% chance of getting an offer and a 2,2 about a 25% chance but I've not actually seen this myself and of course these numbers would fluctuate so it's not the end of the world. But of course, the aim is for an S,S even though realistically i'm not sure how feasible it is but my goal is for that why settle for less y'know haha.

I'm definitely glad i dropped CS though because I don't think I'd be able to cope with 4 A Levels as well as STEP preparation on top of coursework and that but to each their own (5 A Levels sounds horrendous but I wish them luck!).

Like you say though it has definitely helped with my A level Maths and Further Maths as the stuff there has kind of become trivial but it's also important to remember to practice questions as well as question style's and things they look for in A Levels is different to what they ask for in STEP. For example, when I get integrals in FM i often go looking for fancy methods or tricks that I might have to go for in STEP just to find out that it was something much simpler or more just brute forcey if that makes sense.
Damn! Jesus is so nice! I was considering Jesus or Gonville and Caius but I went with Caius in the end because it looked awesome and was in the town centre so there would be some level of activity (ended up getting rejected pre-interview because of a mishap related to timing in my admissions test. The test was easy but I messed up the end timings - I saw the wrong end timing and during the test, since I thought I was working through it really quickly, I should pace myself a bit more so I don't make stupid mistakes. I didn't know that I looked at the wrong end timing until I got told to put my pencil down. I remember that I thought that I had about 17 minutes left and I should start shading in answers on my answer sheet transferring from my question paper now that I had finished the paper and I was doing it really slowly. At the end of the test, I only got about half of my answers down and I knew at that point that I was going to be rejected because the first TMUA paper is normally the one that brings my mark up). Still, you got the offer and that's what matters - you clutched up when you needed to and you got the result so hearty congrats for it.

Given a chance, I would drop Chemistry in a heartbeat - absolutely no link to what I want to do and it's just wasting my time but I've come so far with it that it would seem stupid to drop now. Yeah, 4 A levels isn't fun but 4 +EPQ is even worse, which is what I'm doing 😭😭. CS seems difficult because of the amount of stuff there is but I felt that there isn't too much learning involved for the papers themselves. The most taxing part is deffo the NEA but once that's out the way, CS is SUPER CHILL (at least imho). We finished the entire course in November and have just been revising since then.

Yeah that's true to be fair but I think I always try to find tricks and hacks for A level Maths and Further Maths - for instance, I made my own method with a group of friends for solving oblique collisions questions that involves linear transformations to rotate the shape so that it becomes a collision in 1-D and the collisions happen perpendicular to each other. I find that going from basic to complex is much easier so that tends to be the approach I take. It's what I did in my interview for Imperial when it came to tackling the questions at the end, which are either Maths-based or problem-solving based (I got two Maths but it definitely varies because different people got different things).
Reply 14
Original post by AHJCheung
Honestly, I'm the same, my school isn't let's say known for top top grades so it's just me working through things by myself and I can feel the frustration or reluctance from my teacher's to help as they don't really know how to teach it either and the best they can do is work alongside me to try and solve a problem so I've kind of stopped asking them for anything but a lot of the time now, because I've done more questions anyway, I ask my teachers about a specific idea in a problem rather than looking through the whole problem as I will often have a base understanding or will try and figure it out myself so like I'll talk through my thought process about why I'm thinking about a specific method and see what they think rather than just asking them straight up for hints like I used to. It's all a process though be it a long and difficult one.
My teachers were struggling with STEP I so I don't think I can approach them for STEP II lmao.
Reply 15
Original post by AHJCheung
That was a bit more than i originally intended but whoops.

A few more things in that at the moment my favourite way to work through step questions is by working on whiteboards although i am aware that i need to practice on paper but its up to you and obviously everyone prefers working differently and I have a big step folder in my phone because i always take photos afterwards and if you'd like some solutions then I'd be more than happy to give you some to some more fun questions in my opinion or ones that were definitely interesting or if you just want to see what my working looks like to try and gauge a thought process then also fine πŸ˜€

Theres also definitely a lot of questions that i look at and just go nope and skip straight on because as i said before im not really working through any one given paper at the moment as i have quite a lot saved on my tablet that i look through and just whenever i see a question that interests me then ill just do it but thatll change in the coming months as we get closer to the dreaded deadline πŸ’€
Yeah, if you would please send me those answers, it would be much appreciated. It would help me to get an idea of your thought process when you see different questions.

I've PMed you my email address.
(edited 1 month ago)
Original post by vnayak
Damn! Jesus is so nice! I was considering Jesus or Gonville and Caius but I went with Caius in the end because it looked awesome and was in the town centre so there would be some level of activity (ended up getting rejected pre-interview because of a mishap related to timing in my admissions test. The test was easy but I messed up the end timings - I saw the wrong end timing and during the test, since I thought I was working through it really quickly, I should pace myself a bit more so I don't make stupid mistakes. I didn't know that I looked at the wrong end timing until I got told to put my pencil down. I remember that I thought that I had about 17 minutes left and I should start shading in answers on my answer sheet transferring from my question paper now that I had finished the paper and I was doing it really slowly. At the end of the test, I only got about half of my answers down and I knew at that point that I was going to be rejected because the first TMUA paper is normally the one that brings my mark up). Still, you got the offer and that's what matters - you clutched up when you needed to and you got the result so hearty congrats for it.

Given a chance, I would drop Chemistry in a heartbeat - absolutely no link to what I want to do and it's just wasting my time but I've come so far with it that it would seem stupid to drop now. Yeah, 4 A levels isn't fun but 4 +EPQ is even worse, which is what I'm doing 😭😭. CS seems difficult because of the amount of stuff there is but I felt that there isn't too much learning involved for the papers themselves. The most taxing part is deffo the NEA but once that's out the way, CS is SUPER CHILL (at least imho). We finished the entire course in November and have just been revising since then.

Yeah that's true to be fair but I think I always try to find tricks and hacks for A level Maths and Further Maths - for instance, I made my own method with a group of friends for solving oblique collisions questions that involves linear transformations to rotate the shape so that it becomes a collision in 1-D and the collisions happen perpendicular to each other. I find that going from basic to complex is much easier so that tends to be the approach I take. It's what I did in my interview for Imperial when it came to tackling the questions at the end, which are either Maths-based or problem-solving based (I got two Maths but it definitely varies because different people got different things).
Ah no that's definitely unfortunate, how did you find TMUA btw? I took it because if I got a decent grade in it then I wouldn't have to worry about a STEP grade for warwick and I want to say UCL as well but I can't exactly remember but I remember I did not have fun with that test I'm not sure why though, actually it was probably because my prep for it was just 3 papers the night before but anyhows haha.

Yeah it was definitely the NEA that was worrying me, but I didn't enjoy it at all so any time I could have spent revising CS could have been spent on maths or physics so I ended up not really doing any work for it at all so it would have been a big problem. I honestly don't know how you're managing 4 + EPQ I could never haha especially with STEP prep on top of that. What's your EPQ on btw?

I remember when choosing a college the ones I had in mind where Pembroke Katz and Clare's but then I went to Jesus on a whim and I just like kind of knew that it was the one I wanted to go to and then it also has a good music department and rugby ground's on the college campus which are definitely big pluses.

I always like finding tricks and things for maths and FM but then realistically i think it might be better to just drill and practice questions for my A Levels because that's more of what they look for at this level in comparison to STEP where you can't just see a question and know straight away exactly what method and what way to set it out to meet a marking criteria but it definitely is fun finding different approaches or really understanding whats going on although a little boring in lessons sometimes but then I'll just practice more STEP haha.
Original post by vnayak
Yeah, if you would please send me those answers, it would be much appreciated. It would help me to get an idea of your thought process when you see different questions.

I've PMed you my email address.
I've just sent you an email hopefully you've gotten it and if you want me to add more questions my folder's got about 100 things in there so I've got more than enough haha just didn't want to overwhelm you with too many at once.
Original post by vnayak
OK thanks! I'll try to attempt the mechanics questions and I'll do my best to understand it and at least come to a point where I can develop a partial answer to the questions.
Aren't your school giving you support sessions? We start ours with Year 12 soon after Easter [state school].
I would recommend not looking at hints too quickly - you need to learn to get 'unstuck'. At the beginning we usggest trying a question for a limited time - say 10/15 minutes then leaving it and coming back to it later.
People jump to hints and mark schemes far too quickly
Reply 19
Original post by AHJCheung
I've just sent you an email hopefully you've gotten it and if you want me to add more questions my folder's got about 100 things in there so I've got more than enough haha just didn't want to overwhelm you with too many at once.
Yeah I've just received the email. Thanks so much! As soon as mocks are over, I'm going on the grind. The good thing with having mocks now is I know that all of my foundation content is sound and solid so I don't have to look at something again.

Yeah, it's not a problem. If you want, I'll send you my answers as well to the questions I've attempted to do so that you can add it to the drive file? Up to you - you probably don't need it because your own Maths ability is WAY above mine given you have a Cambridge Maths offer.

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