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STEP Support Programme

Foundation Module Overview

More about the Foundation modules

These modules are designed to develop your problem solving skills and provide an introduction to solving STEP (and STEP-like) problems. Most of the questions are taken from STEP 1 papers, with some STEP 2 questions appearing in later modules. They are designed for year 12 students who are taking STEP 2 and STEP 3 at the end of year 13 as well as year 13 students who will be taking STEP 1. The assignments also introduce mathematical ideas beyond the syllabus with lots of opportunities for extra reading.

The STEP 1 specification includes subjects usually taught towards the end of an A-level in single Mathematics, so you may sometimes be asked to use things that you have not met in school yet. The Foundation modules derive or explain mathematical results before they are used. Later modules sometimes make reference to results from earlier modules, and if there are two STEP questions testing similar things the preparation for the earlier one will be longer. Whilst the Foundation modules have a logical order, you do not have to do them in order, or do every one, if you have only limited time or start the programme later.

The assignments can be used in different ways, depending on how you like to work. You can, if you like, just answer the STEP questions. Alternatively, you might like to just answer the preparation and STEP questions. Or you might like to start by trying the STEP question first, and then look at the preparation if you get stuck, the choice is yours. Bear in mind, however, that the other parts of the assignments are also useful, and will also improve your mathematical reasoning and problem solving abilities.

The hints and solutions files are provided to give you some ideas for you to try if you are stuck, and for you to use to self evaluate your work. It is not cheating to use the answers to work out what you could do to solve the question – as long as you fully understand the method. Using the answers to find a solution to a STEP question is far better than not attempting it at all, and you will be in a better position to answer similar questions.

Even if you think you have done everything correctly, it is still a good idea to have a look at the hints and solutions as there will also be some guidance for similar types of problem.

Go to the Foundation Modules

Useful Links

Underground Mathematics: Selected worked STEP questions

STEP Question database

University of Cambridge Mathematics Faculty: What do we look for?

University of Cambridge Mathematics Faculty: Information about STEP

University of Cambridge Admissions Office: Undergraduate course information for Mathematics

Stephen Siklos' "Advanced Problems in Mathematics" book (external link)

MEI: Worked solutions to STEP questions (external link)

OCR: Exam board information about STEP (external link)

AMSP (Advanced Maths Support programme): Support for University Admission Tests (external link)