Staff from NRICH worked with the Cambridge Admissions Office, Mathematics Faculty and Cambridge colleges to run the 2013 Cambridge STEP Easter School in April.

STEP (Sixth Term Examination paper) is an additional examination which normally forms part of a conditional offer to read Mathematics at Cambridge. The Cambridge STEP Easter School is an important practical component of the University of Cambridge's Widening Participation programme, and offers support to applicants who have received a conditional offer to read mathematics at the University and who attend non-selective state schools which have little experience of STEP preparation.

100 Year 13 school students holding conditional offers, nominated for the course by their Cambridge colleges, took part in the intensive 5-day residential study school. Led by Dr Stephen Hewson and Alison Kiddle from our NRICH team, with support from Cambridge undergraduate mentors, the students engaged in problem-solving workshops developing their advanced mathematical thinking and helping them to prepare for the STEP examination.

This is the second year that NRICH staff have led the STEP Easter School. Last year, 2012, NRICH developed a new academic programme for the residential study school. The cohort of mathematics applicants involved in the 2012 STEP Easter School saw a marked increase in the number of participants successfully gaining the STEP results needed to meet their conditional Cambridge offers, with the highest conversion rate since 2008.

More information about STEP can be found on the Mathematics Faculty website. Our free AskNRICH discussion boards, supported by volunteer Cambridge maths students, also offer online help for all students taking STEP, regardless of which university they are applying to. While the STEP Easter School is only open to nominated participants holding conditional offers to study at Cambridge, the University also runs free subject-specific residential summer schools for Year 12 students, as well as a huge range of other access, widening participation and outreach events and programmes: for more information please see the Cambridge Admissions Office website.