STEP (Sixth Term Examination Paper) is an examination used by Cambridge colleges as the basis

for conditional offers.

There are three STEPs, called papers I, II and III. Papers I and II are based the core A-level syllabus, with some minor additions, and Paper III is based on a ‘typical’ further mathematics mathematics syllabus (for which there is no recognised core). The questions on Papers II and III are supposed to be of about the same difficulty, and are harder than those on Paper I. Each paper has thirteen questions, including three on mechanics and two on probability/statistics. Candidates are assessed on six questions only.

From the point of view of admissions to a university mathematics course, STEP has three purposes. First, it acts as a hurdle: success in STEP is thought to be a good indicator of potential to do well on a difficult course. Second, it acts as preparation for the course, because the style of mathematics found

in STEP questions is similar to that of undergraduate mathematics. Thirdly, it tests motivation. It is important to prepare for STEP (by working through old papers, for example), which can require considerable dedication. Those who are not willing to make the effort are unlikely to thrive on a

difficult mathematics course.

Useful documents can be found here.

Past papers can be found here.

for conditional offers.

There are three STEPs, called papers I, II and III. Papers I and II are based the core A-level syllabus, with some minor additions, and Paper III is based on a ‘typical’ further mathematics mathematics syllabus (for which there is no recognised core). The questions on Papers II and III are supposed to be of about the same difficulty, and are harder than those on Paper I. Each paper has thirteen questions, including three on mechanics and two on probability/statistics. Candidates are assessed on six questions only.

From the point of view of admissions to a university mathematics course, STEP has three purposes. First, it acts as a hurdle: success in STEP is thought to be a good indicator of potential to do well on a difficult course. Second, it acts as preparation for the course, because the style of mathematics found

in STEP questions is similar to that of undergraduate mathematics. Thirdly, it tests motivation. It is important to prepare for STEP (by working through old papers, for example), which can require considerable dedication. Those who are not willing to make the effort are unlikely to thrive on a

difficult mathematics course.

Useful documents can be found here.

Past papers can be found here.