Are you hoping to study Mathematics at University and been asked to take the STEP Maths exam? Are you confused by exactly what this entails? You’ve come to the right place! This short guide is designed to help students with exactly how STEP Maths works, who needs to take it, what the passing grades are and what extra help we can provide, should you wish to ask for any.
The STEP (Sixth Term Examination Paper) is an extension exam for students looking to win a place to study Mathematics at some Universities.
It is currently used as a post-interview test at Cambridge and Warwick, and sitting it is also encouraged for applicants to Oxford, Bristol, Imperial College and Bath. The questions differ from A-Level in that they are closer to the style of work encountered at University.
Students normally sit one or two out of three papers (the University will make it clear what their requirements are), and these can normally be sat at their school or college during the summer exam season.
As the name suggests, and owing to its level of difficulty, this paper can only be sat in the Summer term of Year 13. Entry fees are reasonable and similar to those charged for A-Levels. The final grade on a STEP is collated from the best six answers on the paper. A correct answer automatically achieves full marks, regardless of the method used to get there, and the marking system is designed to reward “good progress” towards answering a question. Scores are given on a 5-level grading system, going from S (Outstanding) to U (Unclassified), with grades of 1, 2 and 3 in-between representing “Very Good”, “Good” and “Satisfactory” respectively.
Competition is stiff; last year less than 6% of applicants achieved a grade of Outstanding.
Due to the increased difficulty level, students may well require extra help to complete the STEP exam. All of our STEP Maths tutors have significant higher-level study in Mathematics. The majority already have a PhD or are working towards PhD in Mathematics or a closely related discipline.